Arsene will be focusing on rebuilding his central defence this summer. This rebuilding has started with the acquisition of Thomas Vermaelen, but it will not and cannot end here.
Of the central defenders on our books from last season, four of them have contract that expire next summer. William Gallas, Kolo Toure, Mikael Silvestre and Philippe Senderos all have contracts with one year left and none have been offered a new contract.
It is no secret that Wenger does not see Senderos staying at the Emirates beyond the current transfer window and he will be moved on, sooner rather than later. There has been some interest shown in the player from Italy and Germany, whilst Aston Villa are ready to make a move for the Swiss international.
Mikael Silvestre has been a disaster from his first game at Arsenal, no Arsenal fans will shed a tear for the former Manchester United player, and the way he played last season, I am sure he was still on Fergie’s payroll. The sooner he goes to France the better.
This leaves us with William Gallas and Kolo Toure. Both players have been good servants for Arsenal, but at the same time we know they do not like each other and things came to a head with Toure asking for a move in January. Something persuaded Kolo to stay. It was one of two things, either Wenger promised Kolo that Gallas will be sold in the summer or he told Kolo that he can leave for Manchester City this summer.
Neither situation is satisfactory for Arsenal. If Gallas leaves, why has Toure not been offered a new contract yet? Toure can wait till next season and leave on a free transfer. If Toure was told he can leave this summer, this means Gallas stays, which is a good thing, but it appears that he has no intention of staying beyond the forthcoming season.
Whatever happens, the centre of our defence will be Wenger’s top priority this summer, Vermaelen is not, and cannot be the only centre-back to arrive at the club this summer otherwise we will have a massive rebuilding programme next summer.
Following last week’s declaration by respected French journalist Philippe Auclair that Arsenal are close to signing Morocco striker Maraoune Chamahk, another well respected journalist Gabriele Marcotti has made revelations about a potential Arsenal signing.
Talking on talkSPORT, Marcotti indicated that Fiorentina’s Felipe Melo will sign for Arsenal once the Confederations Cup is over. Arsenal have been linked with the tough, no nonsense, rugged midfielder for some time.
Fiorentina are looking at accepting Phillip Senderos as a makeweight in the deal following the Swiss international’s successful year long loan spell in Serie A. Marcotti went on to state that Fiorentina have accepted an offer from Arsenal.
Marcotti is a well respected and well connected journalist, he is a man to trust and this is not just a journalist who is trying to sell newspapers. If someone like Marcotti makes a statement like this then there is will be some truth behind this.
Wenger stated on Setanta that wants his remaining two targets in place before pre-season training starts. Signing Melo will be just what the manager wants and just what the team needs to strengthen our midfield. If Melo signs then that is one giant step towards creating a squad that will challenge for next season.
Another day in the transfer market, so it must be a new target for Arsenal. Today the Daily Mail has Arsenal preparing a bid (I love the thought of Wenger, Gazidis and Friar sitting over a PC and typing out a bid) for Fiorentina’s Felipe Melo.
The price is £15million (it appears that this is the going rate for players) despite the fact that Fiorentina have a bid of £15 million plus a player on the table, Arsenal are supposedly offering less!
Latest developments according to Tribal Football (a valued source of all transfer stories) Fiorentina are interested in Senderos. If Fiorentina are serious about Phillipe, than cash plus player deal could be o nthe cards.
Melo has been on Wenger’s radar for some time now, he sees him as the enforcer we need and with his disciplinary record we will need a suitable deputy. He is a tough tackler, maybe the player we need.
It is reported that he has a €20 million buyout clause, which equates to £17 million, though there were rumours that he signed a new contract at Fiorentina earlier this month.
There is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether this is a “true” story or just a journalist with little else to do and who will never be held to account if this “exclusive” never materializes.
What is for sure is that Wenger WILL sign a central midfielder, what is also certain is that between now and that signing we will be linked with dozens of players, our hopes will go up and then they will be dashed as he signs a new contract or he signs for another club. This unfortunately is the nature of the transfer window, more hot air than actions.
Tomorrow no doubt the interest will switch to Portugal or Russia!
Last summer I wrote that the writing was on the wall for Phillipe Senderos. Newcastle were one of the clubs interested in taking the Swiss international away from his Arsenal nightmare.
Wenger let Senderos go to AC Milan on loan a deal that cost the Italian club £1.5 million, the deal was constructed with a view to AC Milan signing the player on a permanent deal this summer for £6.5 million. The new manager has decided against exercising that option, but this does not mean the Swiss centre-back will be playing for Arsenal next season.
The player has stated that he does not see his future at Arsenal; in effect he has signed his exit permit from the club. Wenger will not allow such comments and then keep the player.
Some people think that Senderos is the answer to our defensive problems, but if people had seen Senderos in action, they would have realised that he too often appears to play like a rabbit caught in the headlights. There is complete panic. He is a tall muscular player but does not enjoy the physical side of the game, he lacks pace and his tackles are too often mistimed. Clearly the Premier League is not the place for Senderos.
The likelihood is that Senderos will end up in the Bundesliga. I would have thought that Arsene could use Swiss Phil as bait to lure Dzeko to Arsenal, but it appears that the Wolfsburg striker is set on joining AC Milan. Wenger will be looking at selling Senderos for £6 million to augment his transfer budget.