Summer 2012 needs to see a change in direction in Arsenal’s transfer policy. Out must go this incessant desire to collect 15-16 year olds from around the world and expect and hope that they will develop.
Arsenal have many youngsters in the reserves or on loan for whom the time is ripe for them to be given their chance.
Kyle Bartley will have played the better part of two seasons for Rangers, the time is for Kyle to come back and be given a real chance at Arsenal. In addition we have seen Ignasi Miguel this season at left-back, 2012 must see play at centre-back.
In midfield we need to allow Frimpong and Coquelin a real chance. Wenger needs to play these two guys next season regularly. Arsene needs to learn the art of developing and bringing young players through the ranks. This means resting your regular players.
In addition to these two, is the precocious talents of Henri Lansbury. This youngster has Arsenal running through his veins, he has spent the last two seasons on loan at Championship teams and he was a vital member of Stuart Pearce’s England under 21 team. If Wenger fails to keep Lansbury and develop him, then Wenger can be discounted as manager who develops and gives youth its chance.
Another youngster who will be given his chance, next season or more likely this season is Connor Henderson. His progress has been hampered by severe injuries for the last two seasons, but Wenger believes in the young Ireland winger.
The final person that needs to be given an opportunity is our other summer signing Joel Campbell. Campbell will develop into a good striker, only through Arsenal’s folly in applying for a special talent work permit for Ryo rather than Campbell, has the Costa Rica international had to ply his trade in France,
These seven youngsters along with Szczesny, Gibbs, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be the basis of Arsenal for years to come. They will fight for Arsenal and feel Arsenal, every defeat will mean something to them, they will give heart and soul for the club.
This is the promotion from within that we failed to undertake for many seasons. Too often our talent has been releases, only for them to flourish elsewhere.
The club then needs to invest in three top quality players. A central midfielder, a creative player and a world-class striker. The argument that buying these players will curtail the advancement of the players mentioned above is utter rubbish. Young players will thrive by training and playing alongside top players. The youngsters will develop better and faster in a winning team.
This summer needs a clear-out of our deadwood, and we have a lot of deadwood, we need to promote and give young Arsenal players the chance to flourish and we need to invest in three world-class players. This is the mix that Arsenal need to overhaul our squad and put us on the right track.
It appears that both Park and Santos have been signed subject to work permits, which we need confirmed today.
Arsenal are in advance talks with long-term transfer target Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen, with a fee in the regions of €10M having been agreed. Mertesacker is 6’ 6”, which will help us at both ends at set pieces. The German defender is 26 years old (27 in September) and has played 74 times for Germany. This is the experienced tall commanding defender that we have been crying out for, his critics talk about his pace, but how quick is Djourou and how effective is Djourou?
Arsenal have made enquiries about Benayoun and Malouda, I expect one of these two to join Arsenal. Malouda is a more direct player with an eye for goal, whilst Benayoun is a creative player but is injury prone.
It is possible that Wenger could conclude four deals for £25M, leaving the Cesc transfer fee free for two major signings.
With the arrival of Mertesacker, does this signal the end of the Cahill deal? Gartside must have regretted his comments over the week-end that infuriated Arsene Wenger. If Gartside had kept quiet and merely told Arsenal that £6M plus Bendtner was a non-starter but can we talk about cash plus a loan deal, then Cahill could still be an option. Bolton’s problem is that Cahill is in the last year of his contract, if he refuses to sign a new contract, then Bolton will lose the one major asset for nothing and this is a club with major financial problems.
I still believe that Wenger fancies Cahill, but he refused to pay £17M for Cahill. Wenger’s valuation is probably around £10M. Unless Spurs step in and offer Bolton £15M for Cahill, I can see Wenger renewing his interest in Cahill tomorrow, but this time he will not be desperate for the player as he would have secured Mertesacker. Bolton will be negotiating from a position of weakness and the deal could be clinched for around £10M. If this happens, this is typical Wenger, the artful poker player, always ensuring that the cards are stacked in his favour.
Wenger’s pursuit of either Malouda or Benayoun is a sign of defeat in the purchase of Hazard. Lille were always reluctant to sell both Gervinho and Hazard in the same window, so this is a player that goes onto the backburner and the pursuit starts again next summer.
Arsene will turn his attention north, and in particular Everton. The targets are Arteta, Fellaini or even Rodwell. Rodwell will be a typical Arsene move, a young player, someone who will be in demand in a year’s time from Manchester United, but the cost will be £20M, which will concern Arsene. Arteta is a player whom we made a bid for in the past (probably £6M!), he is creative but as with so many of our players on the small side. The one that I would like to see is Marouane Fellaini. He is young, 23 years old, tall 6ft 4” and is a solid midfielder. Fellaini cost Everton £15M three years ago and Everton are trying to extend his contract, however a bid from Arsenal around £20M could tempt cash strapped Everton. Everton have not spent any money this summer meaning Moyes has been unable to strengthen his squad, £20M wil lalow the Everton manager to go into the market at this late stage.
If Arsene finishes August with Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Malouda, Cahill and Fellaini, then Arsenal fans will be looking forward to the Swansea match on 10 September, the doom and gloom of August will be behind us.
Following Saturday’s performance, we were slightly buoyed yesterday to be linked with Arteta, Kaka and M’Vila. Wenger has also gone on record that we are looking bringing in experience and we are looking at a couple of buys, this was however qualified with the usual, we are not near bringing in any players yet.
Today, Monday we read that Rennes are not looking at selling M’Vila, Mertesacker wants to see out his contract at Werder Bremen and it appears as if the Kaka story was all pie in the sky. So where are we at the start of a vital week for Arsenal FC?
Arsenal fans all over the world are worried about this season and the general direction the team is heading towards, the displays so far this season have not been promising so unless there is a influx of 3-4 players the season looks doomed.
There will be no transfer activity, in terms of players coming in before Thursday. The squad flies out to Italy tomorrow, so it will be amazing if we sign anybody today. If we fail to qualify for the Champions League, then the board will probably tell Arsene that he will have a reduced transfer budget. Failure to qualify will cost us £25M, the amount Chelsea are spending on Juan Mata a player who was due to sign for us at the end of July.
This means that our transfers, if any will happen after the Manchester United game. Wenger is playing a high risk game, wait until the transfer deadline and then try to tempt clubs like Everton, Bolton and Blackburn to sell their players. If it comes off and Wenger gets good deals for players like Samba, Cahill and Arteta, then well done Arsene, but is saving £10M in the transfer market worth risking a Champions League place?
Arsene made an impassioned defence of his transfer activities over the last 15 years and to be fair his bad buys have been very few, but what is worrying the fans is the inactivity at the moment. We expected more than Gervinho and the noises coming out of Arsenal was that we were going to get some experienced players in this summer.
Arsene has said we have focused a lot of time negotiating the outs, but the transfer of Fabregas and Nasri were known to all of us in June, why did we not have the replacements lined up?
On the outbound trail, further stories today have Arshavin linked with a move away to either Juventus or Galatasaray. The Russian will be a free agent next summer, so here we have another player that the club failed to secure his future. Neither Arshavin nor Bendtner played in the first leg against Udinese and I doubt either will play on Wednesday.
Nasri is expected to finalise his deal within the next 24 hours, it appears that his agent is holding out for £3M from Manchester City for delivering Nasri to them, so there we have the reason why Nasri is leaving his agent wants £3 M.
Two other players who will probably leave by the end of the month, but there have been no takers are Almunia and Squillaci. Wenger says that Squillaci is injured, but this the type of injury that kept Cesc from taking part in our pre-season and the type of injury that plagued Almunia all of last season.
As an aide memoire, here are the players that have gone or likely to leave this season:
Alminua, Eboue, Clichy, Squillaci, Fabregas, Denilson, Arshavin, Nasri and Bendtner.
It’s now or never for Wenger. The squad is the weakest since Arsene’s reign started that there is no doubt. Suspensions and injuries are mounting and we have only played three games. Our squad for today included two players who are outward bound and contained 8 youngsters.
Whilst we could see the potential in both Frimpong and Miguel today, trophies are not won with potential, but as Wenger told us in May with experience.
Our attack was blunt today with the only Nasri showing any inventiveness. The defence was on the whole solid but Jenkinson looked exposed on several occasions.
Arsene has insisted that the players he has brought in Gervinho, Jenkinson, Ryo and Oxlade-Chamberlain are good quality players and by implication adequate replacements for Febregas, Nasri, Denilson, Vela, Eboue and Clichy. I think Wenger is either deluded or lying to the fans. Defence is the main area to strengthen, yet Arsene has refused to move for any of our “targets”, why? Is it that he thinks they are not good enough for Arsenal or does he think they are too expensive? We have had bids turned down for both Samba and Jagielka within the last 12 months, so they must be good enough, but Wenger appears to refuse to spend. Arsene needs to spend money and strengthen our defence there is no other option.
Midfield is devoid of players with invention. We were missing Gervinho and Wilshere, but that is no excuse. Wenger is culpable allowing this situation to develop. Everyone know that Cesc was leaving, Denilson wanted out and Nasri was not prepared to sign a new contract, so why were so indecisive in the transfer market? If we go back to Ricardo Alvarez, how did we let this one slip away over a reported £1.5M difference in valuation? At the end of July we were about to sign Mata for £13M, but failed to lodge the bid before his buyout clause expired and now Chelsea are favourites to sign him for £28M.
In attack we have let Carlos Vela go out on loan and Niklas Bendtner is due to leave, this leaves us with van Persie who only plays 50% of our games and Marouane Chamakh who looks like he’ll never score again.
Frankly our squad is too weak to compete this season, not to challenge for the title but too weak to even try and make a fourth place finish.
Why has this happened? The board needs to accept some of the responsibility. They have, since David Dein’s departure allowed Wenger to dictate and conduct transfer negotiations. This adds pressure on Wenger in terms of spending, he is fearful of spending say £17M on Cahill and then the player not producing the goods. The situation at Arsenal is calling for a Director of Football who is responsible for transfer and contract negotiations. Wenger hands this person a list of players in priority order and he then goes out and buys the player within the transfer budget.
Arsenal now have two vital games, away to Udinese and Manchester United. Defeat in these games will be disaster; we will have Europa League football at Arsenal and potentially out of the title race by the end of August.
Unless Arsene brings in a minimum of three players this week, Arsenal fans are going to have a very long and frustrating season.
Today saw swarms of fans leave the ground once Liverpool took the lead, there was dissent from fans calling for Arsene to spend the money and for the second game in a row there were hundreds of empty seats. The latter has prompted the club to stop announcing the attendance during the games.