Arsenal fans are gearing themselves for an influx of players, we are waiting with baited breath. We are also aware that the exodus from the Emirates will be a big one this summer. Players who have not made the grade, others who have not had the opportunity and some who think the grass is greener on the other side of the tracks.
Starting at the back, the first player to be shown the door is Manuel Almunia, probably a season too late. Almunia had a nightmare season, at fault against WBA in both games and dropped after each game, Wenger will let Almunia go for anything and I think Almunia will want to get away from the club, he ranks 3rd choice at the moment.
Wenger’s other decision will be whether to bring in an experienced goalkeeper, if he does then either Vito Mannone or more likely Lukas Fabianski will also leave this summer.
In the defensive line, Sebastien Squilaci will be allowed to leave on free transfer if we sign both Samba and Gary Cahill. Squillaci was signed as fourth choice centre-back, but due to injuries to Vermaelen he appeared 32 times for Arsenal. Wenger will keep him as 5th choice centre back if he fails to land both his centre-back targets.
Gael Clichy looks like he will definitely leave this summer. Wenger does not appear to have made any effort to keep the France international and he is right not to open contract discussions with him. The only question is where he will go and the price. Roma appear to be the favourites and the fee around £8M.
Emmanuel Eboue our loveable Ivorian could also be on the way out. I would be sad to see Eboue go, not necessarily for football reason, but he is the joker in the pack, the man who will greet every player at the end of each game, the player who leaves the pitch last. Eboue could be frustrated with his lack of first team opportunities and ask to leave. If he does leave his fee will be around £8M.
Midfield could see several players leave. Denilson has started that he wishes to leave, well the feeling is mutual. This player has been given 5 seasons to prove himself, an opportunity not afforded to Sebastien Larsson or Fabrice Muamba, both of whom are better than Denilson. There will be no tears shed over his departure. Denilson has been offered as a makeweight in our attempts to lure either Willian or Costa from Shaktar Donetsk. The value of Denilson will again be in the region of £8M.
Tomas Rosicky will be allowed to leave and his destination will be the Bundesliga. Rosicky has never recovered from his massive injury. Arsenal have remained loyal to him, but this summer he will be told his is no longer required and will go on a free transfer.
The interesting player is Andrey Arshavin. A player of immense talent; but the laziest player in our current squad. His former club have made noises about buying him back, but the player has stated he does not intend to leave. If Wenger secures Gervinho and one of Willian or Alvarez, Wenger will listen to offers for the Russian in the region of £10M.
The one player we all expect to see leave this summer is Cesc Fabregas, forget about the Barcelona posturing over lack of transfer funds or that Cesc’s value has dropped, Guardiolla is obsessed with Cesc and fee of around £30M plus players will be agreed this summer.
Nicklas Bendtner has made is clear that he wishes to leave and there is interest in the Dane. Bendtner was never given the chance to play as a striker; Wenger was obsessed in playing him on the wing. Bendtner has neither the pace nor the ability to play in the role, Arsenal‘s valuation is £12M and we should stick to this figure.
Another player never to have fulfilled his potential is Carlos Vela. Is Wenger prepared to give him one more season to prove he can make it or will Wenger say its time to say goodbye? There will be plenty of takers in Spain and Vela will have some success there, the fee will be around £6M.
We could see up to 11 players leave this summer; these departures could add £82M to Wenger’s transfer budget which is already reported to be £60M! What players can Wenger bring in with £140M?
The one player that we missed for a season and a half has been Tomas Rosicky. It was a nothing injury that turned into a nightmare for the club and the player.
Rosicky was creative, direct, and scored goals. He offered us an avenue of attack from both wings. It has been a long and tireless path back to fitness, but hopefully he will be back in contention soon.
The Czech playmaker gave a interview recently which whilst reassuring but also confusing and not as positive as I had hoped.
“I will be back in the autumn,” Rosicky said. “According to my fitness coach Tony Colbert I could have been playing at the end of the [last] season as he thought my fitness was okay.
“It was obvious from the training that I was ready to play, if not for 90 minutes. But the club decided not to play me. They saw that I was OK, but maybe they just did not want to take the gamble.
“Until I play in a league match I will not be able to tell what my chances are, but when it comes to fitness alone I am in better shape than when I came to Arsenal.
“Now that I have recovered, I am a new option for the manager.”
In his first sentence, he says he will be back in the autumn, I hope he realises the season starts in the summer and not September and this was just a slip.
With the return of Rosicky and Eduardo, we genuinely have two new signings for this season, players that have the ability to make a difference, all that remains is to see if both are really over their injuries.
Last week amongst all the Arshavin news, Arsene Wenger announced that we will not be seeing Rosicky in an Arsenal shirt this season.
This is very sad and disappointing news for all Arsenal fans. Rosicky joined us as a replacement for Pires who was a goal scoring and goal-creating midfielder. Our first glimpse of Tomas was as a Czech player when he scored a cracking goal in the World Cup finals.
Rosicky was and hopefully still is a great midfielder, he provided us with goals and creativity just as Robert Pires did. Then an innocuous challenge and injury against Newcastle saw him come off with a hamstring. But this was no ordinary hamstring; a tendon was torn inside the hamstring.
The medical staff indicated September return; this gave optimism for Wenger who do not recruit a replacement. September became October, then February. He returned in March with a view to playing for the reserves in April and giving Arsene the option to play him in May. This has now gone by the wayside.
Rosicky needs to spend the summer months with the Arsenal physio and fitness team, they need to work tirelessly to get him ready for pre-season. The medical team needs to be in a position to deliver him to Arsene in July, failing that Arsenal need to face the truth that Tomas may never play football again. If this is the case then Arsenal need to recruit a replacement and not fall into the same trap that we did last summer. Rosicky’s injury reminds me of another overseas player that came to Arsenal in the 1980s and was a revelation, Siggi Jonsson who spent nearly three years at Highbury before retiring injured. I hope the same fete does not await Tomas.
People have forgotten what Tomas Rosicky looks like it has been so long since we have seen him in an Arsenal shirt. Tomas was injured during our FA Cup tie against Newcastle on January 26 at Emirates Stadium. Arsène Wenger described his injury as “not a serious one, but a strange one”, but Rosicky was ruled out of the rest of the campaign, Euro 2008 ,the start of pre-season and most of this season.
In his short time at Arsenal Tomas has played on the left wing scoring 13 goals in 50 starts. It is this experience and goals that were the difference last season between us winning the title or not.
The plans were for Rosicky to play in the reserves tonight against Tottenham and theny face Tottenham again in the reserves the following Tuesday at Underhill. These palns have now been put on hold with Rosicky not i nthe squad for tonight’s game with Tottenham.
Rosicky’s injury has been a long one and a difficult one to predict his eventual comeback. There were hopes of him returning in April but it now looks likely that if we see Tomas in the Arsenal first team this season it will be a bonus.
Tomas would have brought us vital experience and goals from midfield. Let us hope we do see him this season.