Transfer deadline day looms and Arsenal are still in the market for midfielders, this is not idle blog gossip but Arsene Wenger stated we are short of players in this area. This became self-evident in recent games were the creativity has been left to Rosicky and his best days are behind him.
Today is a day we will all go mad in following rumours and tweets.
MVila was the player we were linked with and apparently made a £22M bid for the France international, but Rennes want £30M. I doubt Wenger will stretch to £30M, but Wenger could try and push this one through, though M’Vila is more of a defensive player.
Until the window is closed the Eden Hazard to Arsenal bandwagon keeps rolling on, though Lille are reluctant to sell to Arsenal following the Park transfer, the possible arrival or Joe Cole on loan and also Arsenal could offer Chamakh as part of the deal. Though it is being reported in La Voix du Nord that Liverpool have first refusal on Hazard for 2012 due to the possible Cole deal.
Further afield, Italy in particular, Arsenal have been linked with Montolivio and Vargas from Fiorentina. Could Wenger go for a double Italian scoop?
Closer to home Wenger has made inquiries about Everton duo Arteta and Felaini and also Chelsea duo Benayoun and Malouda.
My preference will be for the Everton duo, but in dealing with English clubs the transfer fees will be inflated, but the positive is that we know what they can do in England with no bedding process required.
Do not discount a last minute move for either Gary Cahill or Chris Samba.
On exit front Bendtner, the self-confessed best striker in the world, is in talks with Stoke City. Manual Almunia has disappeared off the radar; this is daunting as he could appear in an Arsenal shirt in the forthcoming months. Two other Arsenal players that could have gone in this window, but arte likely to stay as we are short of players are Arshavin and Rosicky.
Most worrying is Henri Lansbury. Wenger went on record to say he will give him a chance, but Lansbury’s appearances this season were against Liverpool when we were down to 10 men and a cameo appearance at the Old Trafford Massacre. Not really the chance the Lansbury deserves. If Wenger cashes in on Lansbury, Arsenal FC should close down its Academy. This is one of the best players to come out of the Academy and he has been given zero opportunity by Arsene, whilst the likes of Rosicky and Arshavin stroll around the pitch with minimal effort.
What amazes me is that deals can be concluded in hours at this time of the season, players jet in from everywhere to undertake medicals in a matter of hours, whilst during the rest of the window it could, if you are an Arsenal fan, take weeks for transfers to be concluded.
After yesterday’s debacle, it is time to take a step back and see where we are, how did we get he and what the future holds. There is no point in analysing yesterday’s match, it is certified XXX in the minds of all Arsenal fans.
We all knew it was not going to be an easy match but the roots of the result go back, probably two or three seasons ago. Namely in our continued transfer policy of selling top players and not replacing them or when we do bring players in we offer them a four year contract which means we either offer a new contract after one year or we are left on tenderhooks as to whether they will stay or not.
Four years ago we had Gilberto, Flamini and Diarra all competing to play alongside Fabregas, things looked promising, then we managed to lose all three players in the same season. The replacement was a young Welsh midfielder, Ramsey who was not ready at the time for first team football.
The scenario was to continue the two season when we sold Adebayor and Toure for a combined fee of £40M, and we brought in Veramelen.
Last summer Arsenal were active, no players left but bough Koscielny, Squillaci and Chamakh joined on a free transfer.
This summer saw a summer exodus, though no Arsenal fans were surprised, the squad had gone stale, the same errors were happening, the same inability to compete for trophies were re-occuring. Out went Eboue, Clichy, Denilson (loan), Vela (loan), Fabregas, Nasri, with Almunia, Bendtner and Squillaci all expected to follow.
This summer window was one I was looking forward to, because the noises coming out of Arsenal was that it would be an active window, Wenger “knew” what went wrong and was determined to put it right, the dead wood was going to be cleared and new faces were going to arrive.
All Arsenal fans expected Cesc to leave this summer, the only person in denial was Arsene Wenger, why? When it also emerged that both Clichy and Nasri were not going to sign new contracts, the Arsenal board and Wenger should have planned for life without them straight away. These three departures, were big players leaving Arsenal and we need to ask the question who was responsible for allowing Nasri and Clichy to reach the final year of their contracts? Someone in the Arsenal hierarchy needs to answer some questions to ensure that we are not faced with the same situation next summer with van Persie and Walcott.
With so many players leaving what were Arsenal doing in the transfer market? We secured Carl Jenkinsson, but was he an able replacement for Eboue, was he ready step into the first team so early? Wenger insisted, when Clichy left, that Gibbs, Traore and Vermaelen were all capable of playing left-back. Whilst Gibbs is an able left-back, his tendancy to get injured meant we needed a second left-back and Traore was not that player. Jose Enrique was available for £6M from Newcastle, but Arsene dithered and Dalglish stepped in and we are now left scouring Ligue 1 for a replacement as we could be selling Traore!
Wenger knew we were short of strikers. Bendtner is going to leave and Wenger has decided that Vela is not ready and probably will never be ready for Premier League football, this left us with van Persie whom we know will play 50% of the games at best and Chamakh who has disappeared as a striker. So the club waits until the last moment to bring in a striker, expected to be Park the South Korea captain, not Benzema that all Arsenal fans wanted. Once again we shopo at Lidl whilst others shop at Harrods!
Our search for midfielders has been a farce. Ricardo Alvarez was to be our first signing, yet we lost out because of a £1.7M difference in valuation, this is pathetic, Arsenal made around £5M from the Asia Tour. Juan Mata a quality player was available for around £13M due to a clause in his contract that expired on 31 July, so the incompetence and dithering of Arsenal meant we made a bid for him on 1 August! These two signings, plus Gervinho would have compensated for the loss of Nasri and probably allowed Arshavin and Rosicky to leave the club.
Our search for a centre back continues, with four candidate, Samba, Dann, Cahill and Jagielka all the prime candidates, but once again Arsenal are arguing over £3m-£4m. We do not need one centre-half, but two and Samba or Dann should be bought in addition to Cahill.
Our summer transfer window has been a disaster, a non-starter. Everyone knew we needed players, yet we dithered, we were incompetent. We were faced with our hardest start to a season, a tough Champions League qualifier, yet as a club we were prepared to wait until the last minute to buy players. The end result has been the worse start, players suspended and injured and squad so decimated that our bench yesterday was made up entirely of kids.
The situation is not reversible. We have three days to bring in not 3 players, but 5 players and we need to pay the money to ensure this happens. If we bring in the right players, Wenger can turn things around, but he needs to buy. Failure to bring in the right players, failure to bolster the squad and turn things around will result in the worse season in Arsenal’s EPL history. We will fail to qualify for Europe next season, we will be humiliated in the Champions League, we will lose more vital players next season and Wenger will leave Arsenal and be remembered as the stubborn, intransigent manager who led Arsenal to their worse season in the EPL.
The next three days will define our season and our immediate future, the sake of the club Arsene spend the money to bring in the right players.
Nasri leaves for £24M, to add to the departures of Cesc £35M, Eboue £4M and Clichy £7M. That is £70M so far, with Bendtner (£9M), Arshavin (£7M) , Squillaci (£1M) and Almunia (Free) to follow. Arsene’s total sales could generate nearly £87M. Yes Arsenal fans look at that number £87M generated through sales this summer. In addition Arsenal’s coffers have been increased by the Asia Tour and the Emirates Cup to the tune of £6M, in addition to the lucrative sponsorship deals concluded with Indesit, Carlsberg, O2, Citreon and Betsson this summer. The money does not stop there, Arsenal sold the Queensland Road development for £25M, and the sales of the remaining flats at Highbury Square continue to bring in revenue to the club.
As mentioned several times before, Arsenal had a cash balance of over £100M in November, with the second half of the season likely to add to that mountain of cash.
Arsenal FC is awash with cash. The UEFA Financial Fair Play rules will not prevent us or any other big club from playing in Europe, this is a smokescreen put up be Wenger and the board, UEFA will not prevent Manchester City from competing in Europe that is a fact and time will prove me correct.
The recent departures and proposed departures have also reduced our weekly wage bill by over £450K a week.
Our new additions have come at a total outlay of £19M and total wages of no more than £120K a week.
Arsene is now set for what should be a massive spending spree, he has the transfer cash and the wages to entice Scott Dann, Christopher Samba, Mikel Arteta and Mauro Zarate, these four players will cost us a total of £46M but will re-invigorate the squad, they will refresh the squad and add the extra spark that has been missing.
It appears that Wenger and the board are waiting to see what happens tomorrow in Italy, but regardless of the result Arsenal need to strengthen and this needs to start on Thursday morning.
As we approach the Emirates Cup and Wenger’s self -imposed timescale for transfers, there are favourable rumblings.
One of Spain’s leading sports newspapers Marca is quoted as saying that Arsenal are close to finalising a deal for the Valencia winger Juan Mata. The deal is being held up as Tottenham, surprise, have launched a late bid. The fee for Mata is expected to be at mot €20M as this is his release clause figure, but Marca is quoting €15M.
If we can get this sorted out before the weekend, then this will be a great boost for Arsenal fans.
Out of the blue Arsenal were yesterday linked with Anderlecht and Argentina midfielder Lucas Biglia. The 25 year old has been described as a defensive midfielder. It is reported that Arsenal have been following him for some time. The player has indicated that it is time for him to move on. How much of this story is his agent trying to drum up interest for his client only time will tell. It is not uncommon for agents to use Arsenal to flush out potential suitors, on the other hand at €6M he is the kind of player Wenger will try to buy.
Arsenal are also reported to be increasing their bid for Jagielka to £14M. All Arsenal fans have been calling out for a new centre-back, but is Jagielka really the man for Arsenal. He will be 29 in August and is no taller than Vermaelen. Will Phil Jagielka really provide that aggression at set pieces? Chris Samba is 28 years old and 6ft 4” and is available for around £10M-£12M. We all know that Samba is a colossus in the box and not many balls will get past him. Blackburn are under financial constraints despite the sale of Phil Jones to Manchester United. They are away at the moment, but Wenger and Gazidis should make contact with Blackburn and try to secure a deal for around £10M.
The alternative is Gary Cahill, he ticks all the boxes, English, young (25 years old) and tall (6ft 2”). Again the stumbling block as always is his fee. Bolton want £17M, we value him at around £12M as he has one year left on his contract. Bolton are also a club in debt and Cahill is their last asset to bring in cash. Owen Coyle has been recruiting players whose wages will probably equal Cahill’s wages. Coyle likes the challenge of a young player to coach and develop. Look what he did for Wilshere and Sturridge, a cash plus Lansbury and Miguel on loan deal could still be on the cards.
The Fabregas deal should be resolved soon, thus giving Arsene the money to bring in two or three players at least, it would be nice if we bought the players before selling.