So, the transfer window is officially exactly 1 month away – it will open on the 1st July and close on the 31st August – but that won’t stop the speculation or indeed stop clubs actually agreeing transfers, so in reality – the transfer window is now open!
Cesc has recently spoke about transfers and about Arsene knowing who to bring in. He’s specifically mentioned Xabi Alonso and we all know that they are good mates. Apparently they go bowling together and sometimes eat sushi together, so it’s no surprise that the Arsenal captain has suggested his international team mate.
Cesc said this:
“We have lost big players, but the boss knows what he is doing. The days of signing a new player aren’t finished. We need someone in the middle to make competition and make a difference, plus give us a new dimension. I think that is all we need. The rest is perfect. Xabi would be great. He’s experienced and can score goals. I’m sure the boss is aware of that fact.”
Of course, the question is whether we need Xabi Alonso and in reality will he solve the problems that our team have at the moment. We play a very expansive game and the areas we lack are in height and strength. It is interesting to see Cesc saying that Xabi would be good, but in reality, Cesc and Xabi wouldn’t be defensive enough to hold a midfield together. At Liverpool, Xabi has either Mascherano or Lucas behind him, so can afford to sit in the middle of the park and distribute balls as well as get forward and have a shot or two.
Looking closer at the quote – it does baffle me – as Cesc says he requires a player who will give the team a new dimension – but I fail to see how Xabi Alonso will give us a new dimension. Surely he’ll give us already what we have with Cesc, Denilson and even Nasri, who can all play in midfield along side a more orthodox defensive midfielder.
He also says, “I think that’s all we need, the rest is perfect” – I’m not too sure – what he is saying is probably that we have enough strength on the wings. It’s clear by saying this, he’s also basically stating that he needs a partner. He doesn’t feel he has a partner of the right stature and that’s an interesting fact. Personally, looking back at the previous season, when the Spaniard played alongside Flamini, it seemed to work well. Flamini wasn’t a tall and strong lad – he was more of a high work rate and good tackler time of player – he was one of the annoying playing in Pro Evo who doesn’t seem to give you space or time to do anything.
But do we need Flamini back? No, because firstly it was a kind of one season wonder – he’s not been able to repeat / sustain that level at Milan – and secondly no, because with him next to Cesc, we still didn’t win anything. So, looking at Xabi Alonso – will he bring us that? I’m not convinced. But Cesc and Alonso are friends and also can play good football together. You see at Barca, with Iniesta and Xavi playing together that it can work, but only in a 4-3-3 formation where the two midfielders in front of the defensive one are attacking – so unless we change our formation and style of play, it’s unlikely that we’ll need Xabi in our team. And if we wanted to go hell over crook and change to a 4-3-3, then players like Nasri or Denilson will be quite suited to this role.
So, this article goes full circle, and goes back to the question – who do we need? In Alex Song, Denilson and even Diaby, we have players who can play next to Cesc, and players who have all grown this season and will be better players next. Unless we sign something different, then there isn’t a point in signing much of the same – and the something different is a 6 foot 6 inches, tall, strong, aggressive tackler – not Alonso, not Barry – but more like Yaya Toure, Lorik Cana or the likes.
I’m very keen on signing someone with strength and character, a winner, a never say die attitude – and the players that have come to mind are players like Gary Cahill and Brede Hangeland, both whom have come out and said they don’t want to leave their respective clubs.
More later on the rest of the world of Arsenal…
In the meantime, what do you think? Xabi at Arsenal?
[Update] Just as I write this, Guillam Balague has been speaking about Xabi to Real…
“Xabi Alonso is a definite Real Madrid target and Rafa Benitez is aware of that fact. After 5 years at Anfield, the player could be feeling that now is the right time to return to Spain, plus Benitez could certainly make use of the €25 million or so he will receive for Alonso in the transfer market this summer. There is still much work to be done, but if it were to happen, I am under the impression that this deal could be concluded relatively quickly and be finalized within the next three weeks or so.”
Believe Guillam at your peril!