As revealed late on Tuesday night, Arsenal have completed the surprise signing of Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United. The France defender becomes Arsenal’s fourth summer signing and will add experience and versatility to the squad. The greatest surprise was that Ferguson allowed him to move to one of United’s rivals. What will shock Arsenal fans is that Silvestre, aged 31, is being offered a two year contract, whilst Wenger let Gilberto leave, 31, and now we are trawling Europe looking for an experienced midfielder.
Following Silvestre’s arrival, it was no surprise to learn that Armand Traore had joined Arsenal’s south coast retirement home, Portsmouth. Traore is a raw talent, spending time in Arsenal’s reserves with the occasional Carling Cup game will not improve him as a player. A season or more on loan at a Premiership club or a Championship club will benefit Traore. He will be exposed to top rate wingers week-in week-out at Portsmouth and be al to improve on his defensive qualities. At Portsmouth he will come under the defensive instructions of Tony Adams, if he is sensible he will listen to the Arsenal legend and improve ten-fold.
The great piece of news coming out of the Emirates is that Arsene Wenger has stated that he is still after another player, and that it will be a midfield player. When pushed as to whether Barry is out of the equation, Wenger merely stated the obvious that a player’s value drops if he is not available for European competition, but that does not preclude you from buying him. Wenger stated that he might surprise the media as he did with Silvestre. Whilst not dismissing the Barry link, this might have been a way of Wenger telling Beintez that if he doesn’t get his finger out over selling Alonso to Arsenal, Wenger is prepared to move for Liverpool’s number one transfer target of the summer. This will be a kick in the teeth for Benitez and might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, leading him to resign.
Other target for Wenger are Gohkan Inler, he will be a cheaper option than either Barry or Alonso, however he is not the experience we need. I am sure given the chance Diaby or Denilson will perform as well as Inler.
Miguel Veloso has again been mentioned as interesting Wenger. The drawback is the high transfer fee that Sporting Lisbon expect to receive for him. A transfer fee of £18M, is the transfer fee that was expected for Barry and Alonso before their European appearances redcued these fees. The Veloso transfer link is being engineered by his agent, who is desperate to get a move for his player and is running out of time and clubs.
I clearly believe the Alonso is the number one target for Arsenal, as demonstrated in the recent Spain game he is a goalscoring midfielder, something that Diaby and Denilson clearly are not. Alonso will add to the experience of the squad and to the attacking abilities of our midfield something distinctly lacking last season. But Arsene being Arsene it will not surprise anyone if the new signing is one who has not been mentioned in dispatches so far. Time is running out, the FC Twente game is 6 games away, this was the target set be Wenger for a new midfield signing, we will have to wait and see.