Gazidis This, Wenger That, Adebayor This… It's Time To Review The AST… And Some More Transfer Rumours

On Monday, Ivan Gazidis has his meeting with the Arsenal Supporters Trust - today he has another board meeting with Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board of directors. The timing of this meeting, before the end of the season is timely considering we're out of all competitions. As we enter the summer months, it is clear that this season, pre-Arshavin, we were dangerously close to finishing outside of the top 4. Many people believe that without the Russian we wouldn't have been able to grind out the late season results that have made our season semi-respectable. We've achieved the absolute minimum that we could have set up to achieve again. And what does that mean? It means that we need to strengthen the squad. Simple facts. We're definitely not close to Man United at the moment.

Do we need to radically change the squad, no. We have a very good nucleus of players, young, exciting and the future of Arsenal. But what we lack and, of course, everyone knows this, is experience in midfield and a steady head in defence.

Gazidis was quickly forthcoming when asked about his views of the season and how we did:

“I am not happy where we ended up but I am pleased we are disappointed by it.There are other clubs who would feel this is a good position. Or we could say in December if someone had said we’d have been in this position then we would have bitten their hands off. So why aren’t we feeling great about it? The answer is because we have higher expectations. But this is not a situation where we should be over-reactive and feel that we are in crisis. We are not. We have a team with an average age of 23 or 24 that went to the Champions League semi-finals and is going to get better. Does it need to be supplemented? Quite possibly but it is a very, very promising situation for the next four or five years. So right now I think it is important to have some perspective and be brutally realistic with ourselves – but not only on the negative side but the positive side as well.”

I think he’s hit the nail on the spot – we have higher expectations. Under Arsene Wenger especially and historically, we are title winners, if not title challengers. We’re up there winning trophies and playing attractive football. We do have a young squad, but experience is something you definitely need at this level. Maybe people say Arsene is stubborn (me included), it’s a claim that our CEO refutes.

Gazidis spoke about working with Arsene and the philosphy behind the man:

“He is not closed-minded. The idea that Arsène Wenger is some stubborn guy who is not open to having his ideas challenged and there is nobody there who can say ‘listen we need someone with experience in the middle of the park or at the back’ just isn’t true. He is asking questions of himself all the time and talking to people all the time. He does not believe he has all the answers and I see that as one of his strengths. ’He is not someone who takes the easy route to protect himself. He will place the protection of his players above that. He is not going to go out and say ‘this guy is not good enough’ or ‘this is where we are weak’. He has the ability to make difficult decisions when they have to be made, but until then, he protects and supports the players he has.”

Whether Arsene acts upon this season and sprinkles the side with some experience is something that we will all have to wait and see. It’s amazing, but I feel that we’re in exactly the same place as we were last summer, when we needed a midfielder and defender. The return of Senderos may be one option, an option that Arsene is probably considering quite well, but it’s not the answer to our defensive problems. Part of conceding goals is related to confidence, and if we don’t strike fear into our opponents and instead are timid in attack, then the opposition will always thrive on it and become stronger.

There has been some tabloid news suggestion Adebayor may be in line to replace Drogba at Chelsea – I find that a little hard to believe. On current form, I’d say Drogba edges out Ade, but of course Ade has time on his side. I think this is purely a fabricated story – it’s surfaced because Ancellotti is rumoured to be taking over from Hiddink next season, and of course, the Milan manager has made comments saying he’s a fan of the Togan International. Having signed a new contract last season, I expect Adebayor to stay at the club.

One new recruit, according to the newspapers, is Argentian goalkeeper, Damian Martinez – he’s only 16 – from Independiente, and apparently he’s going to have a trial with us. The kid spoke on radio saying:

“When I was told that I was going to have a trail at Arsenal I thought that someone was joking,” he told Radio Rivadavia.
“In fact, I thought that they were talking about Arsenal de Sarandi, the team called like that but that plays in Argentina.”

“When I was told that I was going to have a trial at Arsenal I thought that someone was joking. In fact, I thought that they were talking about Arsenal de Sarandi, the team called like that but that plays in Argentina.”

It’s amazing to see this story spread from website to website, newspaper to newspaper, no one really knowing the truth until it’s published on the official Arsenal site. Another South American youngster linked with us today is 17-year-old Uruguayan striker Gonzalo Barreto, who currently plays for Danubio and this news happening just days after we were linked with Mathieu Coutadeur – a 22 year old midfielder… it certainly is that time of year hey!

Time to create a new panel on the right hand side of the blog… called Transfer Rumours Summer 2009…

I’ll leave you with this thought… would you like it or dislike it if Emmanuel Adebayor was playing for Chelsea next season?]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[It's funny that u mention we were in a similar position last yr Dev...it has even given us similar results in all competitions as well (bit better in the FA Cup and CL...a steap backwards for the PL) albeit trophyless again. I think that's something that Wenger will be asked about and will ask himself. If we just look at the last 2 seasons, whilst we are improving with the players we have, we do need more than we have. Nxt season won't b a success if we make the CL and League Cup finals and 2nd in the league without a trophy...in other words, i can see us getting closer to winning wsomething with the guys we have but we simply need proper additions in vital areas without losing players of course.

    I like Gazidis in the way he talks, let's just see action now... Get us those players Gazidis & Wenger! And Ade to Chelsea? I'll not be abgry bcuz we lost a great talent...more bcuz he'll b a disloyal player for saying that he's an Arsenal player "100%" nxt season then goes. Disloyalty gets on my nerves. Also, I really don't like Chelsea so that would get on my nerves too. The only thing that'll soften a blow is if we get David Villa or sum1 2 replace him...mite cope a bit better then!]]>

  • Fabrez

    *step backwards for the PL

  • CON-MAN

    < ![CDATA[there is no way in hell ade is going to chelsea unless they offer us a stupid amount of money

    not being funny, as much as i appreciate ade at arsenal there is no way he is in the top 5 strikers worldwide]]>

  • jeffvip

    < ![CDATA[Hi Dev,

    For Adebayor case, I prefer he stay at Arsenal. No doubt, there are so many striker for Arsenal at the moment. But i guess he is the only one who is capable of the leading the line for Arsenal. Eduardo, Van Persie, Arshavin is more of a 2nd striker man. About Bendtner, he is still too young. We have been always talking about lack of exprience for quite a few years now and I really cannot believe we wanna trade 25-year-old guy to a 21-year-old guy. Bendtner still need a year or 2 to develop.]]>

  • Berth

    I care less for Ade now.

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[New breaking...

    Tomas Rosicky has returned to full training for the first time in almost 16 months and Arshavin returns for the trip to Old Trafford!]]>

  • AJ

    I am not a big fan of Adebayor and wouldn’t be that bothered if he left to Milan or someone out of England for a nice hefty fee, but if he went to Chelsea for the 10million price tag (what I read in a paper) or to any other english team then I would be angry, but not suprised, I don’t think he is loyal and a interview he gave the other day said, if it wasn’t for money he would be playing football back in Togo.

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[On current form, I'd love Ade to be at Chelsea. He can be our trojan horse and bring them down from within lol.

    On a serious note though, I'd prefer not to sell any player to a rival club, and ideally if we were to sell him then it should be to a foreign club. It might end up being a step backwards for him if he did go there too. Chelsea have only been really serious contenders in the last few years, and although they've got good players too, apart from Joe Cole and Essien there doesn't seem to be any replacements for the older guys like Drogba, Lampard, Carvalio, Anelka or Ballack. I really do think it's a matter of time before Chelsea's era come to an end.

    Gazidis seems to be saying all the right things and these two meetings seem like a good place to start. There's no point in waiting til the end of the season to hold these discusions if we're not playing for anything, and who knows, it might give us a head start in the transfer market ahead of the other clubs. But I too am cautios of any talk until any signings are made. Experience is needed in a few key areas. Just look at the difference one player made since January. Arshavin hadn't even played outside Russia before, but already has become one of our best players. On good signing goes a long way and helps share the load. If we could make 2 - 3 signings with similar quality in our defence and holding midfield areas then we'll be much stronger numerically, and not have to defend so much as a team. Plus we'll be able to rotate a little more which can help avoide all these injuries happening.

    It's better to have a few too many players than not enough, and right now 3 defenders and two up-and-coming defencive midfielders isn't enough. United haven't missed Hargreaves all season because they've had Carrick to fall back on. We lost Flamini and Gilberto in one go, and we only had Song and Denilson to rely on.

    Honestly I think we're only 2-3 good signings away from being a winning team again. The young lads are very good, but the experience is needed to get through the whole season too.

    A few names I've come up with who I wouldn't mind seeing in an Arsenal shirt.

    Defenders:
    Martin Demichelis (Bayern)
    Bruno Alves (Porto)
    Rolando (Porto) - also CM
    Cristian Chivu (Inter)
    Francisco Javier Rodríguez (PSV)
    Aleksei Berezutski (CSKA Moscow)

    Midfielders:

    Sebastian Eguren (Villareal)
    Lucho Gonzalez (Porto)
    Hamit Altintop (Bayern)
    Andreas Ottl (Bayern)
    Esteban Cambiasso (Inter)
    Mathieu Bodmer (Lyon) - also DF
    Kim Kallström (Lyon)
    Jean Makoun (Lyon)
    Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
    Alou Diarra (Bordeaux)
    Malkhaz Asatiani (Kyev)]]>

  • zohaib

    AJ, that 10 million was what Chelsea want for Drogba apparently. Obviously Ade being much younger would command a higher fee, since Drobga’s days are numbered.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I'm all for selling Ade to Chelsea. At least that'll ensure they won't get anyone better like Benzema or Villa or Eto or whoever.

    Seriously, it won't make much difference if he goes to a rival club. He'll probably end up doing us a big favour that way, by being useless as usual, just not for us anymore.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Also, I don't think Arsene has necessarily been stubborn, at least not deliberately. I think he's just been fully committed to the youth policy despite all the criticism this approach has gotten in recent years. You have to remember that we had loads of experience in the side when the youth policy was established and young players like Bentley and Pennent were leaving because they didn't have a chance. It's only as the years have gone by that the pendulum has gone the other way, the experienced guys have moved on and the younger players have stayed. The experience in the squad became fewer and fewer with the more people moving on and youth became the predominant force in the side. But perhaps now we've reached another crossroads after this season, and by the looks of it we seem to be going towards a more Youth and Experience Policy. This is what I feel is more balanced and could actually help win us something.

    Lastly, great news about Rosicky :D I'll put in an early bet for him to be our player of the season next year lol]]>

  • zohaib

    Yup, great news about Rosicky. Maybe he can get a game against Stoke ? Although Wenger says he wants to play the players who’ve played the most this season, against Stoke. I wonder what he means by that, and why he wants that. Anybody have any ideas ?

  • JAT

    < ![CDATA[yet fabianski plays in goal on saturday. brace yourselves for more comical defending...

    whatever they say about winning the league on saturday, they've still never won it at our home stadium!]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Think the Stoke game might be a bit soon for Rosicky mate. Wenger said he wont play this season, and I think today was only his first training session in a year. But it's a good sign. Reckon he could be ok to start next season with a good pre-season.

    Hmm, not sure why we'll start players who've had the most game-time. If thats the case then we'll probably have something like:

    Almunia

    Sagna Toure Djourou Gibbs

    Theo Cesc Denilson Nasri

    Ade Rvp

    But I dont see Arshavin or Song being left out either.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Fabianski in goal is suicidal. We're playing for pride, not looking for further humiliation. He better get his act right.

    It's a relief seeing Arshavin will be available.]]>

  • jeffvip

    If Ade is leaving with any player coming in is ok… but the problem is I doubt new player will be comin in once Ade is leaving… so he cant leave now

  • Toby

    < ![CDATA[After seeing that having a youthful keeper who shows a lot of talent and some phenominal reations, but when it comes to big matches is simply too inexperianced, i would have thought wenger would have learnt his less. With Fabianski it is a fine line between giving him experiance that he needs and wasting goals in big matches. I still think that he will be an outstanding keeper someday, once he gets his confidence and experiance up. Another young keeper is really not the answer. Perhaps a solid older keeper who would give us five good years, but not another 16 year old.

    I would personally loathe it if ade went to chelsea, as i could see him coming into form and it backfiring on us. However, I would rather not have the drama of someone who says he is loyal to arsenal, after saying that he is only in this country for the money. If we could sell him to Milan for a large amount of money that could be used to buy us a GOOD striker, that would be ideal.

    I could see why Wenger would want to reward the people that have done the most this season, and there is no chance that he would risk another injury with Rosicky over an irrelevant game. seeing the likes of denilson and gibbs- who have both had fantastic seasons with us, dispite the fact that neither of them were first choice, playing in the last game of the season would be a great experiance for them.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Even with Ade in the squad we need a proper front-man / lone-man type striker, because he's not good enough. This is why selling Ade doesn't really affect us negatively. We have enough players in number and in quality to challenge in all the different competitions. Eduardo should be a regular, so should VanPersie. Bendtner would be back-up and if needed, we could use him for aerial threat as well. Then we have Walcott and Vela who are strikers, who should get games up front next season. We then also have Simpson on loan, who we can bring back. If that isn't enough, we have Arshavin, Nasri and Rosicky (who also comes back next season) who can all play as a support striker. That's quite a load of options.

    Even though we don't have a quality, clinical-finishing striker other than Eduardo, I'd choose to sell Ade to get the money to buy the players we need in defence and defensive-midfield, rather than keep Ade and not have any funds for the right men (signings like Silvestre are strictly forbidden !) in those two positions.]]>

  • Berth

    < ![CDATA[There is a big difference between a support striker and a main striker. You cannot be the two. Eduardo and V.P can always be support strikers and not main strikers.

    Ade (sighs) would have being it but lacks so much quality. Come to think, we had Wright, Anelka and Henry - these lads were real strikers not Ade; its quite unfortunate in the modern premier league you have to have a big man in the middle (not fact though, see Man u) - something we have to admit is really killing our style of play.]]>

  • Pissed Off

    < ![CDATA[Things I would personally want Wenger to improve on.

    1. He has to be a fast learner and keep pace with modern day coaching: Benitez and Fergie seem steps ahead of him - The zonal marking and space covering we don't do is a big issue. Fair enough most times we return players in number but usually they seem not to have a clue as to what to do with spaces.

    2. His substitution timing is awful (something Zohaib has always highlighted) - Football is not like rocket science where you have a rigid formula; you have to readjust when necessary and not just have a fixed time for substitution (Between 65 - 70 min) - that is very ridiculous and unprofessional.

    3. Stop being a liar - Its hard to justify this bad but I will say that Wenger has this notion of using injuries in a fashion less way of accommodating and satisfying his team even to the point of compromising the team performance. Most games where he dropped Alumina to accommodate Fabianski in the name of injury is crap to me. (may not be sure about this, but I sure have a point)

    4. His inability to make proper team selection against big teams in the name of tactics is very funny. This is something his done in the past; I could remember a game Fergie lamented that without Henry we cant survive, Wenger being a lesser thinker started Henry from the bench in that very match which we eventually lost; again not fielding Arshavin and Song in the FA semis with Chelsea , has no logical meaning - that is a real minus in his part.

    5. The Ego - yes he helped build the new stadium, gave us a meaningful future and we seem to be on track; but he should at least remember that before he came we have had men like -Herbert Chapman and George Graham who where equally as good as he is now. No man is an island and he should please do the right thing, buying 2 players to have a shot at the league doesn't mean you will have to break bank - the favour is for Arsenal and supporters and not you alone.

    6 Back - to - Back : why on earth has Wenger never won back to back premiership title; I guess he lacks the mental strength to do that. Okay folks time to hear your views about our Lovely coach " Arsene"]]>