All media outlets appear to be suggesting that Juan Mata should sign sometime in the next 48 hours, which is great news. Also confirmed by our Chairman and this is a rarity, Arsenal never comment on transfer news and every time Hill-Wood speaks it is to say something against the existing players, Arsenal have made an offer for Jagielka.
“We have made a bid for him but they didn’t think it was enough,” Hill-Wood said. “It is very busy but nothing is actually happening. We are trying to buy a few players but it isn’t going to happen overnight.”
What is interesting is the Hill-Wood stated we are trying to buy a few players, this could mean that Mata and Jagielka will not be the end of the buying spree!
The news last night from Costa Rica is that Joel Campbell has agreed to join us after the FIFA Under-20 World Championships. What is still not clear is will Campbell be given a work permit to actually play for us next season. Arsenal appear to have applied for a “special talent” permit for Myiachi, which if granted means that we cannot apply for a second “special talent” permit. Whatever happens the signing of Campbell is great news, he is young, strong and athletic, just what we require.
Hill-Wood also gave an indication as to the frustration over the Cesc transfer, which has rumbled on for over a year. Barcelona have offered us £26M, yes a paltry £26M, not because they have no money, but they are still hurting that he left them for small fee 8 years ago and that since then we have taken a couple more of their academy players. In the eye of Barca the difference in valuations, £14M, equates to £6M for Bellerin and Toral, rather than the €1M we agreed and have paid, and £8M is what we should have paid Barca when Cesc joined us as a 16 year old. Barcelona begrudge paying us £40M for a player who they consider to be theirs! Arsenal need to make a public statement that unless the deal is agreed by next week-end, then Cesc will be staying at Arsenal for the 2011/12 season. This needs to be made clear to Fabregas and his representatives and if they are not happy with the situation then they can speak to Barcelona to increase their offer.
At long last we are seeing some movement on the transfer front. It will be amazing if we go into the new season with Gervinho, Mata, Nasri and Fabregas, that will be an awesome squad.
When the season came to a close, Arsene stated that we needed a bit more strength and experience in the squad, in particular in defence. The old sage has since enlightened us with the fact that he will be busy this summer, this was then refined that most business will be done at the end of July . Le Professer told us that we will bring in one more defender (f we can) and that he wishes to keep Cesc and Nasri.
These were the titbits that gave us all hope that changes were afoot, players will come in and deadwood would leave.
Three weeks before the start of the season and we need to take stock of where we are.
Clichy has left to Manchester City, Eboue is about to leave for Galatasaray and could be joined there by Arshavin. Cesc is so desperate to leave that it is affecting his fitness as he is suffering with a hamstring that has not cleared up after 3 months treatment. Nasri has made it clear via his representatives that he will not sign a new contract and will leave next summer on a Bosman. How can Arsenal allow this to happen, this is a disgrace and we should sell Nasri. Denilson has not been able to find any clubs willing to pay for him, so it is a season long loan to Sao Paulo for him, whilst Bendtner is also struggling to find anyone prepared to pay a fee. Also due to leave is our mercurial goalkeeper Almunia.
That is eight first team squad players that will be absent at the start of the season. Added to this list are the possible departures of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and more worrying is the possible transfer of Henri Lansbury.
The departure of these two youngsters is something that all Arsenal fans need to be worried about, they follow the long list of youngsters sold without being given the opportunity to prove themselves. What is it with Arsene and our home-grown players, why are bothering with a youth academy if just sells them once thy turn 19 or 20? The coaches at Hale End must be pulling their hair out. Lansbury was a pivotal member of the under-21 team for England this summer and now he is being shown the door, this is a DISGRACE.
So how busy has Arsene been in the transfer market? We have managed after a very long time to sing Gervinho a transfer that took so long so of us doubted it would ever happen. Also added to the squad is Carl Jenkinsson, and that is it.
We have been linked with Chris Samba, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Ricardo Alvarez, Juan Mata, Santi Carzola, Matthieu Valbuena, Jose Enrique and Joel Campbell. Many sources have stated that we have been in discussions with these players, their clubs or their representatives. What has been the outcome? Alvarez went to Inter Milan because we were not prepared to pay the extra £1.5M wanted by his club. Samba, Cahill and Jagielka we have been making silly offers for these players, not really re-assuring if you are one of these players to know that Arsenal are not really prepared to push the boat out for you. Mata has a release clause of £23M, so we are prepared to offer £15M.
It is the same old story, someone at the club is not prepared to pay the extra money to secure the players we need. Who is this someone, Wenger or Gazidis or both? Whoever it is it is a disgrace. This club has lost major players every season and has not replaced them, there is only so long a club can paper over the cracks, if we do not bring in players of quality this summer then Wenger will have to answer to the fans not the board for his failure to buy this summer.
This is the week that Arsene said he will do business, Monday has gone and still no players, time is running out and the fans patience is wearing thin.
Arsene Wenger must be on the look out for a striker this summer.
We know van Persie can score goals, but we are also aware that he is unlikely to go through the season without a major injury keeping him out of action for 3 months. So long as RvP is fit he will bang in goals for fun, but with an international break coming early September, this is the call sign for an injury whilst playing for Holland.
Marouane Chamakh started last season well, scoring goals, but then he went quiet. Arsene said he was tired, Chamakh said he was burnt out, but he never recovered. I hope he scores early this season to give him his confidence back. Chamakh is the only recognised striker left at the club once Bendtner leaves.
People will point out that Gervinho, Walcott and Vela can all play as strikers. Which is true, but can any of them really play as the main striker in our 4-5-1 or 4-3-2-1 formation? The answer is probably no.
Wenger has cast his net far and wide and he thought he had captured Joel Campbell, the 19 year-old Costa Rica striker only for last minute complications resulting in the player not showing up for a medical. His father has since announced that the deal will be concluded after the FIFA Under 20 World Championships. The problem is that a good display will have other clubs knocking at his door, so this could be one that got away. Besides can Arsene wait until mid-August before he knows if Campbell will or will not join?
Arsenal have reportedly met with the representatives of Belgium scoring sensation Romelu Lukaku, who has been tracked by Chelsea for the last two seasons. Chelsea’s manager has stated that he is not looking at bringing in a striker at the moment, which might allow Arsenal to make an offer in the region of £20M. Lukaku knows that a move to Arsenal will allow him to play regular first-team football, whilst a move to Chelsea will probably involve a loan deal back to Anderlecht. Lukaku, though young is a powerhouse striker and could be the perfect answer for Arsenal.
Closer to home Wenger has Benik Afobe. The young player had a successful season at Huddersfield and is now ready to step a level. Is this level the first team? The intention was to give Afobe a run out against FC Koln on Saturday, but instead the youngster saw 2 minutes of action and did not touch the ball. Afobe is a strong athlete, powerful and big, his loan spell at Huddersfield was evident of his ability to score. The question now is whether he has impressed during the Germany training camp and will he be given the opportunity this week-end to show Arsene that he can be as good as Lukaku, or will Arsene want Benik to spend another year on loan.
Are the three youngster, Campbell, Lukaku or Afobe ready to step into the breach or should Arsene move for a more established striker, this is the decision that needs to be taken before the season starts. Whichever way we go, Arsenal cannot go into the new season with only Chamakh and van Persie as our only recognised strikers
Whilst it’s still early in pre-season and players are still finding their feet, some patterns are emerging after two games.
Wenger’s early acquisition Carl Jenkinson looks a good buy. He never put a foot wrong in either game. As the pre=season friendlies move up a level it will be interesting how he copes against Cologne and Benfica. Jenkinson can expect to start the Carling Cup and even push Sagna in the league. To fully develop as a player, Jenkinson should be on the bench against teams like Wolves, West Brom and Norwich giving Wenger the option to blood him if things are going well.
The other flank is a bit of a worry and I think Wenger will have to go back on his word and recruit a left-back. Traore still looks unsure as a left-back and this was against two inferior teams. If Gibbs is injured at any time, and that looks inevitable, Traore will be exposed at the back and we will be in trouble. The two options to Wenger are Jose Enrique from Newcastle United or the logical solution is to accept Eric Abidal as part of the Fabregas deal. Abidal can offer advice to Gibbs and adequate cover anywhere along the back. This is the type of move that might appeal to Wenger.
At centre-half we saw the nightmare that could unfold next season, Squillaci. This is his last year at Arsenal, but Wenger should offer him a free transfer and route back to France. It is not that he is the worse centre-back we have had in recent years, it is just that his presence causes panic amongst the other centre-backs. Wenger needs to cut his losses with Squallaci and press home the move for Cahill in the forthcoming week. We have no option but to come to an agreement over Cahill and the sooner the better.
Arsenal’s midfield performances proved that Nasri playing in the playmaker role is the ideal position for Samir. Whether we see him playing in that role in an Arsenal shirt next season remains to be seen. In both games we saw the emergence and further development of Ramsey as great midfielder. Ramsey and Wilshere complement each other in the middle; both are creative, tough tackling and always looking to go forward. I would like to see Ramsey, Wilshere and Nasri start against Cologne,
From both games so far and also for most of last season, what is become apparent is that Rosicky has lost it. He is not the creative playmaker, he slows the game down too often and his passes are wayward and without thought. Playing Rosicky against Brimingham in the Carling Cup was one of Arsene’s biggest mistakes. As with Denilson we need to cut our losses with Rosicky and let him go. We need to look at bringing in another midfielder this summer plus promote both Henri Lansbury and Emmanuel Frimpong to the first team squad.
The striker options looked a bit threadbare for Arsenal. Wenger must be looking at either another striker or playing Walcott or Vela upfront, though neither will be able to play the sole striker role that our 4-1-4-1 / 4-2-3-1 formation requires.
It has been reported this week-end that Arsenal sent Richard Law to Costa Rica to negotiate the signing of 19 year old Joel Campbell from Saprissa. Gunnerblog have reported that the player’s father has stated the clubs have agreed a fee in the region of £2M and that the player will join on a 5 year deal. If Arsenal are able to get a work permit for Campbell, then he will wear the number 12 shirt. The only question will this 19 year old be the answer to providing sufficient back-up to van Persie and Chamakh.