A Summer Of Speculation…

Of course, in the last couple of days, I've been discussing the future of Adebayor and the omission from the squad on Saturday as well as the recent quotes from Arsene and the player himself. In a very interesting interview with Football Focus, the Togan international has pretty much admitted that it may be time to leave. And the rumour is that he will be leaving and you won’t see him in the squad this Saturday either. Many players may be concerned that another big player is potentially leaving, but in reality, a player can leave IF he is replaced. If he is not replaced, then it becomes a problem.

Part of me says he doesn’t need to be replaced with the amount of attacking talent at our disposal, but another part of me says he definitely needs to be replaced considering at one point Bendtner was our only fit striker… unless he has already been replaced by Arshavin who Arsene may already consider more of a striker than a midfielder…? Our attacking players (strikers / forwards wise) are Van Persie (more on him later), Bendtner, Vela, Eduardo, Walcott and Arshavin – of course with players like Jay Simpson also in and around the squad.

Another aspect of the requirement for Adebayor would be the formation, and Arsene has been experimenting with a 4-3-3 this season – mainly to accommodate players like Arshavin and Walcott in the starting line up, something that Chelsea have managed to adopt over the last few years and it seems to work. Personally, it’s a little bit different with Arsenal – we’ve always been a 4-4-2 side and even if one striker drops a little deeper, it makes sense for our game to keep it as is… but please note – Diaby and Cesc are not strikers and therefore should never be played in “the hole”…!

Okay, I’ve got off topic… I was talking about Adebayor and his future at the club. Yesterday, AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi spoke to the Italian press and had this to say:

“There is a good chance that we can get Adebayor. We will see at the end of the season. I still think he’s a good investment.”

And the stories begin again. This time though, the feeling may be more mutual than last summer. It’s a bit of shame if we do lose Adebayor but with VP, Eduardo and Bendtner (who is about as good as Ade – well this season at least – and 4 years his junior)…

Rumours that Arsene was considering an approach by Perez and his westside crew down at Real Madrid are just that… rumours. There is no real truth in it and something I’ve covered on in some detail in yesterday’s blog. It’s been very hard to find the source of this as it’s not been on any video or textual context. A lot of websites and news corporations are trying to make a lot of this rumour, but on Sky Sports News this morning, the quote read.

“Any coach would find the Real Madrid job an interesting proposition, but I am committed to Arsenal and have a contract until 2011.”

I’m not sure where Sky got their source from and I’m yet to see the full quote anywhere. Samir Nasri, a Wenger summer signing was quick to comment and appease the fans, as he’s recently joined in the debate and confirmed that he knows Arsene won’t jump ship. The guily French midfielder had this to say:

“But him leaving is out of question! Ask me the same question again in two years and I will tell you ‘maybe’. But I understand that he has a two-year project and is trying hard to help Arsenal link up with their glorious past. We will see what happens within two years. And we may speak about his future again.”

Arsene speaks to his players on a regular basis and with Walcott recently signing his new contract, you’ve got to think that question has already been raised and Walcott still signed, which means the answer’s been given already.

And finally, I’ve leave you with something positive and true that Arsene spoke about post-Saturday.

“But we had seven players today of under 22 years-old on the pitch. So why should we not hope to be even better next year?”

Very true, we’ve got a very young squad if you look at the players who participated in the game against United and if you throw in even younger players that we’re likely to play against Stoke a la Portsmouth, you’ll agree that the future is very bright… if Arsene can get his hands on two or three experienced heads, we’ve got years of great football and title challenges ahead of us!

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[Your blog posts always keep me thinking in loads of different ways... the blog seems to give me perspective...!!

    I think it's a shame that Adebayor is leaving - I remember when Thierry left how he really started trying his best and turned out to be a good player - but after last summer, he's been a shadow of his former self... oh well, in Arsene we trust!]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I feel Ade would need to be replaced, rather than relying on our current strike force to fill in for him mate. The fitness of RvP has been problematic in the last few seasons, and its still not clead how many games Eduardo can play, so if whose two suddenly get crocked, we've only got Bendtner and Vela as recognise Arsenal strikers, and Arshavin and Walcott who can also play up front. We've seen the strain our midfield has shouldered this year after after not replacing Flamini and Gilberto, so doing that in the striking area would be shooting ourselves in the foot again imo.

    If Ade does leave (I'm still not totally convinced he will just yet) then I'd prefer someone with similar physical stature to come in his place, a Carew/Santa Cruz type of player. I think either of those two would relish the amount of goal scoring chances we create and I feel there's a realistic chance of signing one of them up. David Villa would be a dream signing, but in all honesty I don't see him signing for any Premier League club other than possibly going to Liverpool, what with his Spanish team mates there.

    The thing is, I think Ade will come good again, whether he's a Gunner or playing at another club, and thats what will really grates on me! You don't suddenly become a crap player overnight, and he was very affective last year. Ideally all the disappointment of this season will be put behind us and he'll pick his game up for us 100%, but if the situation is so bad that he must leave, then yes, a replacement is what I'm leaning towards rather than settling for what we have. Besindes, RvP hasn't signed a new contract yet, so there's still that to keep an eye on.]]>

  • Berth

    We sell Ade without replacing, we are screwed.

  • Toby

    < ![CDATA[When you consider the fact that RVP and Eduardo spent such a large part of this season injured, you can not afford to let Bendtner and Vela (not yet at least) be our third and fourth choice strikers. When you look at united this season you see players like Tevez being sidelined for much of the season due to the fact that he is not good enough to break into their first team. to compare Bendtner to Tevez would just be silly. Bendtner is simply not good enough to play for large parts of our season with Eduardo still feeling the reparations of his multiple injuries. We need something more from the striking end.

    But for what cost?

    With the reported £13 million along with a £25 million bid for Ade (assuming it is the same as last season), that’s less than a £40 million budget to buy...

    one/ two experienced and solid centre back/s
    one experienced and big midfielder to support Cesc
    one experienced and clinical finisher to bring us goals

    If these financial reports are correct then personally I think that we should just keep with the youth system and hope that we are lucky with injuries. And that the development of players like Vela, Ramsey and Wilshire goes according to plan, and hope that the team will finally be unified and everyone will see how incredible Wenger really is.

    If these financial reports are not correct then I think that there is actually some sense in spending big money on a few reinforcements that will stabilise the team without completely changing it and all that Wenger has worked towards.

    Part of the frustration is that the potential for our team is so high, and on a good day we can play the best football in the world. But it is a fine line between when the promise of potential and future is limiting the current season and when it will simply means that next season we will be unstoppable.

    Personally I will give it one more season before even beginning to think about Wenger's future at the club.

    For any other club spending such a little amount of money and reaching semi finals in Europe and the FA would be phenomenal. and if you think that we did all this on a "bad" season think what we could do in a good one!]]>

  • Berth

    When you guys start making all this presumption of having or not having, I just get mad of my existence as an Arsenal fan, better you lads just shot U* ,lets see what happens. The media are just having a fields day playing on Arsenal fans frustration and we are here playing to their hands. What I do understand though is that what ever will happen will certainly happen; no stopping it.

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Fo, are you thinking about a different Thierry Henry to me? I'm thinking about one third of the most prolific strike force the Spanish league has ever seen. I'm thinking about the player who played in less than 50% of Arsenals games in his final seasonm, who sulked his way to Barcelona leaving his wife and kid behind...

    To say Henry is a shadow of his former self is a bit odd - he's playing better now than he did in his final years at Arsenal!

    Also - do we really have enough strikers? A lot of noise on this particular blog centres around our defence and the lack of cover, despite two world class centre backs in Toure and Gallas. Put aside their differences and they'd walk into nearly every premiership team, even Chelsea need a partner for Terry (Alex is poor).

    Now I'd argue that Toure and Gallas are probably more dependable than RVP and Edaurdo. Edaurdo has been unlucky, it's true. But Wenger has repeated in interviews that he believes RVP can play a maximum of 1 game per week to avouid injury. Who fills the gaps when we're in three cups and the league mid season? Bendtner?

    Vela hasn't had a proper run out yet and we may see more of him - but you guys seem (and I agree partially) to think that we need experience. Well then Vela patently isn't the answer.

    Adebayor hasn't played well at all this season - but if he had been on the same form as last year and scored 30 goals - how different would Arsenals season be?

    I have faith in Wenger and I have faith in the squad - so whilst I don't always agree with the boo boys or the "OMFG WE MUST BUYZ NOWS!!" club - I can't abide the club losing any more experience and not replacing it. That would set us back again.]]>

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Kieran, you certainly hit the nail right in the centre spot. My fear is not much in losing adebayor but replacing him. We lost diarra, flamini, gilberto, hleb, rosisky(to injury) and with who did we replace them ? diaby ? denilson ? song ? certainly not good enough after losing such talent.

    If we lose adebayor, they boss might feel inclined (due to his loyalty to his players) to replace him solely with bendtner since they have similar build.

    I personally have just two problems with adebayor apart from which he is a very good player.
    1. ball control is very awful
    2. he likes passing all the way to the goal mouth. Adebayor would never have scored the type of goal cena scored against arsenal or the goal ronaldo scored against porto.

    I belive we need a striker who can score such goals]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I think Fo meant Ade was trying his best and became a good player after Henry left mate. At least thats what I think he meant, apologies if I'm wrong.

    Agree about Gallas and Toure, they are quality centrebacks who can play well together depending on who the opposition is. If the opposition required a bit more height in our defence, then thats the only time I'd consider rotating.

    RvP's fitness still concerns me after all this time. No doubt the guys talented, and I wouldn't want to get rid of him, but if he's only physically capable of playing 1-2 games at most each week, then the need for someone to cover for him is pretty obvious. Whether thats bringing in a new player or relying on someone already in the squad, I'm still not sure. I think Arshavin can do the job of playing as second striker, which apparently is his prefered position, so maybe we're alright upfront as it is. with Nasri and hopefully a fit Rosicky occupying the left wing, we might see more of Arshavin playing up front next season.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Yemi - I actually don't mind Song/Denilson etc replacing those players at the moment - we've had a painful season and next year they will be at the right level.

    But to then take a step back in attack would be a mistake.

    It's fine to have a season of transistion - but Arsenal always seem to be in transistion and now they need to supplement the squad and go for it. We've got a great squad with plenty of talent, add a little experience and I firmly believe we'll be picking up some silverwear.

    And finally - just think about how painful it would have been to be in Liverpools shoes - they've won nothing either, and arguably, they should have.]]>

  • James Le Beak

    whether you want Wenger to stay or go show your appreciation. The way some shareholders spoke to him was disgusting, fair enough you’re not happy but carry yourself with dignity and come across in a more adult fashion. I’m not happy with 4th and no trophies but why do we not question the board? We are a bunch of spoilt brats really because I know your past is your past but this guys has given us CL every season bar his first, if we had not had that do you think we’d been able to keep Henry, Vieira, Pires and Bergkamps for so long I think not because other clubs would have been circling and we would not have had the cash that has generated. Look at the facts the guy has come in we now have a state of the art training ground, state of the art stadium, he has chnage the way players prepare got the best out of the majority of the players he has signed, not to mention trophies. Again I am just pointing out the facts, I totally believe Wenger is borrowed time as he has been lacking but when guys on here and at the shareholders meeting carry on like he is senile it’s stupid. Instead of sitting in your seats like toffs(the minority) why not ask questions of the board as they share this blame.

  • Berth

    < ![CDATA[Kieran dont reach conclusions that way about Song / Denilson; its a question of may be or may be not.

    Looks like Arsenal FC are heading to a really defining moment;http://www.sportinglife.com/football/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=soccer/09/05/19/SOCCER_Arsenal_Hill-Wood.html&TEAMHD=soccer]]>

  • ny

    we dont have money but we need a big central defender / defensive midfielder .Looks like Paul Scharner is the best option

  • CON-MAN

    < ![CDATA[personally i think this is 2 much, from the interview i got no impression that ade was leaving or wanted to leave...he made some valid points and i agree with him

    that said its going to be an interesting summer]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Kieran, what I find amusing is, you say we need a replacement for Adebayor, when we have Eduardo, VanPersie, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott, Arshavin, Simpson. That's 7 other options to choose from, at the front. Yet, you don't think we need another CB when we have only 3 quality CBs in Toure, Gallas and Djourou.

    I think the point some of us were making was that when it comes to what the higher priority is, for us to buy; where we need to buy, the answer is we need a CB more than we need a replacement for Adebayor.

    Sure Bendtner isn't a first-choice striker. We've already established that. I'll even somewhat agree that Eduardo and VanPersie will have to show what they can do next season, for us to rely on them as the starting pair. But I've seen enough from Vela to know that he can be our 3rd choice striker. He's got enough quality overall. He's even stronger than Ade ! (Portsmouth game against Distin and Campbell). The only question is, can he play week in week out. And for a 3rd choice it shouldn't be asking too much. We've had enough injuries over the past few seasons so I suppose it'll be normal for us to not have as many but I know we can't sit back under that assumption. That's what caught us out the past few seasons. But there's no reason to assume that Vela would have the same injury worries that VanPersie has. Eduardo was injured and he's coming back after a while so he'll need a bit of time to adjust. He's a different case than VanPersie, who seems to be injured every now and then. But just because he's had a few bad seasons doesn't mean he's never going to be able to play a whole season without injuries. So, if VanPersie's the only one who can't play more than a game a week, we still have Eduardo, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott and Arshavin. Who knows maybe even Jay Simpson.

    I don't think I need to elaborate any further when Wenger himself has said he won't be going after any strikers, because clearly the area where we're weak is at defence. And what we need is certainly not any more strikers. We need a defender and a strong midfielder.

    We have no cover for RB. Toure's the only one that can play there, if not Eboue, who shares RM responsibilities with Walcott. What happens when Sagna gets injured and one of Djourou or Gallas is injured. Who do we play at CB ? Song ?!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Also, has anybody explained to Adebayor that he's totally misunderstood why he was booed ?!

    Here's a really good comment I read on another site which highlights pretty much everything that needs to be said:

    Dear Mr E. Adebayor, As a life-long Arsenal supporter I feel I have to inform you for the good of the team that you appear to have totally missed the point. It has nothing to do with other clubs that may or may not have an interest in you it's the mere fact that you are generally lazy, show no commitment, hold the world record for being offside, constant missplacing of passes, have the first touch of a JCB, have not won a header all season & your self assessment of being a great striker whilst only contributing 10 goals in a Premier league season, not forgetting a totally inept display in both Champions League Semi Finals. THAT is why !]]>

  • Yemi

    Zohaib, we have a lot of replacements as you have mentioned in Eduardo, VanPersie, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott, Arshavin, Simpson but to be honest, apart from maybe a fit eduardo , who amongts this strikers will you rate on the same level as Drogba or Torres or even Yakubu (who delivers an average of 15 – 18 goals every season) or ronaldo or etoo ? What we are saying is that most of these players are not yet up to that level hence they need more time to mature. If we lose adebayor, then they will be thrown into the mix immediately and that will not be good. I think that is what kieran is trying to point out

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[You've got to realize Yemi that we don't have enough money to buy a world-class striker, let alone a world-class striker and an experienced first-choice CB and an experienced first-choice DM.

    That is the point I'm trying to make here. 'We're not that rich' as Wenger said recently. So I don't understand how some people expect us to replace Adebayor with someone of similar quality to Drogba, Torres, Eto' etc.

    Why do we keep forgetting that we're still paying our debts off ?!

    The point is, with the limited money we have available, what is the top priority ? The top priority is a CB or a DM or both. Certainly not a replacement for Ade ! Yes I agree that we lack a top class finisher. But that's not the point. We don't have enough money to be thinking about buying a Villa or a Benzema etc. Not yet.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I don't agree with the statement you made about Adebayor, 'If we lose him....'

    I don't get it. What has he done to deserve such high regard. Read the comment I posted earlier, the one that I got off another site.

    He's done nothing but get offside, waste numerous easy chances, misplace passes too often, can't hold the ball up, can't win headers, can't get into the box when needed etc etc. Why do we think he's so good ?

    I've pointed out before that I think Bendtner is as good as Adebayor, taking this season's form into account. Another interesting thing I'd like to point out is that if you take away the penalties, all our top 3 strikers have the same goals - 10. That should tell us something. I remember VanPersie's netted a lot of penalties. As has Adebayor. And Bendtner's got most of his goals away. It's not a complete surprise. The home fans have been brutal this season.

    And it's not like the rest will be 'thrown into the mix immediately'. Vela's played in Spain and he's had a few decent games in England. At the start of the season the Vela-Bendtner partnership was doing so well we were wondering why Wenger didn't give them a few starts in the Premier League !

    I think we'll be okay !]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[

    Kieran, what I find amusing is, you say we need a replacement for Adebayor, when we have Eduardo, VanPersie, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott, Arshavin, Simpson. That’s 7 other options to choose from, at the front. Yet, you don’t think we need another CB when we have only 3 quality CBs in Toure, Gallas and Djourou.
    Except that’s not what I said at all is it. Learn to read.

    Edaurdo and Van Persie can’t play more than once a week. That might improve, it might not. Do you really want to bank on them? Walcot is patently not a striker – against Chelsea he had several gilded oppurtunities and missed them all. Arshavin may fit the bill, and I guess he likes to play in the hole. Bendtner is shit. Vela is a great finisher.

    But my point was, if you read it, Vela is unproven. How many league starts has he had? And you’re probably the most vocal person on this board about getting in some experience.

    Make your mind up.

    I also never said we don’t need another CB. We need two in my opinion. What I said was, Gallas (current injury aside) and Toure are less likely to get injured that RVP/Edaurdo on this seasons form.

    Vela is an exciting talent for sure, but relying on him up front will be like relying on Song and Diaby in midfield.

    And learn to read.]]>