Guest Article: Insight Into Arsene’s Transfer Thoughts

By Artful Gooner

Arsene Wenger is a man who intelligence should not be questionned. He is educated beyond belief and calculated in every aspect.

This summer has seen the sale of two players who were surplus to requirements at Arsenal. Adebayor was a bad influence in the team, wanted to leave and after his display in the Champions League, showed the world that he wasn’t a replacement for Thierry in any shape or form, but had reached his peak. Adebayor had not been a fans favourite and he’s not be of the quality of a striker you’d expect at Arsenal. Although, the player did have potential, which is why he was brought to the club, the player himself failed to realise it. In the summer of 2008, we had no offers for Adebayor from major clubs, despite rumours of interest from Milan and Barcelona. The reported fees of £20m were never discussed with Arsenal.

However, the exertions of last summer and the threat of leaving, showed Arsene that Adebayor had the character not wanted by an Arsenal player. The player stayed for one season after, and this was a great decision by Arsene. It allowed him time to bring in a replacement in Arshavin and groom him into the team, readying him for a big role this season. In addition, Adebayor moved this year for £25m – a higher value than previously mentioned and after a season where he showed the world his level.

Then, we have Kolo Toure, who after 9 years at the club, felt it was time to move on. He spoke to Arsene in September last season and then again in January – he also handed a transfer request in Jan and was in the last year of his contract. The player post January 2008 had failed to regain the form that made him first choice, following a bout of malaria, and when a £16m bid came in, Arsene was keen to move the Ivorian on. But not at the expense of the team – Thomas Vermaelen having been brought in first.

Arsene managed to remove two players whom he was happy to see go and replace them with two players who can help Arsenal get better. And by doing this, profiting from these sales, allowing other areas to be strengthened.

If you have read Arsene views about the market and about the economic cycle, then his manner in the transfer market makes even more sense. We see clubs like Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Real Madrid spent > £25m on one player. Yes, they can do that, but all these clubs do not operate within their own means. 5 years ago when we bought Van Persie for £2.5m or even 3 years ago when we bought Sagna for £7m – these are the figures we will operate in. We have the same income this season as we did last, as we did the season before – we can’t sudden break the bank and splash high values on players – high values that are reflective of an abnormal market – we still have our debts to pay.

This is why you will see players like Felipe Melo out of our grasp – he is certainly not worth the £21.8m + a player that Juventus paid for him. He was only worth £7m last season. We are not in the position to compete with teams like Juventus for players like Melo or United for players like Hargreaves. With big sums of money comes big wages.

But we are in a position to strengthen where necessary and if the right player comes along, Arsene will buy – players like Eduardo, Sagna, Vela, Denilson, Cesc are brilliant players whom have been the current crop of unearth gems. If we do indeed require a defensive midfielder, then Arsene will be sure to get one. But if he doesn’t – it is because the team we have is good enough. We may look from the outside and say Cana, we should have signed him, but comparing like to like, Denilson are Song are actually better – Arsene sees them in training and on the football pitch and is clear that Cana would not be a good addition to the squad.

In the recent years, we came very close the season before last, we’ve been thwarted by injuries – and yes on a relatively small squad in terms of big name players, it does take it’s toll. See where we were before Eduardo broke his ankle, see how we were doing before Rosicky was out for 18 months. See how we performed when Cesc and Theo return and see how we performed when Arshavin joined.

Injuries have been our major issue in the last four seasons, not the manager.

Get behind Arsene, support our manager and he will yet again prove why is by far the greatest acquisition we, as a club, have ever had.

Should we be worried…?

That’s the question on everyone’s lips and after a season of finishing fourth and four years without a trophy, it seemed only sensible to add to the squad this summer.

The season before last was probably our best in the last four years, having led the table for large periods of the season and finishing four points behind eventual winners Man United. Of course, the season before and last season were two seasons where we really struggle and in both seasons we’re sure of our fourth placed finish until the run in.

It is true that a season can change quickly – look at the last three! After last season, many people thought the answer to all Arsenal’s problems were to keep the squad and add two players – a defensive midfielder and a defender… of course, from a fans point of view, it’s been very much the opposite.

I’ve always trusted in Arsene and of course will continue to do so, but when Arsene made his earlier decisions in the glory days when players like Vieira, Henry and Pires were signed, was this based on a different situation than now? Back in the Highbury days, Arsene didn’t have to consider selling any of his players and could keep on building a squad.

Now, Arsene has to change his strategy and as a result, are his decisions now based on something else? And if so, should we be worried?

There is of course a flip side to all of this, and as I’ve said on today’s earlier article, which I’ve actually seen quoted by other people (very flattering)…

If you look at the squad and where it was last summer, add Arshavin instead of Adebayor and add in Vermaelen instead of Toure – then throw in Eduardo and Rosicky, two players who were missing for pretty much the whole season, then give everyone in the squad an extra year of Premiership and Champions League experience, you have what we have now. Is that good or bad?

And of course, in theory it is good. But there’s more to it than just that. News coming out of Arsenal is that Rosicky isn’t ready yet and has been sidelined through injury during the last three friendlies – there is a concern that for this season he will not be able to play many games and of course, will suffer many injuries along the way. With Nasri also sidelined, there is a potential issue here, that we only have two wingers available at the start of the season, those two being Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin – both players preferring to play up top than out wide.

This of course, leads me to belive that we may go into the season with a 4-3-3 as we saw yesterday and this may allow more players in different zones. However, if you add in Eboue and Vela to the wing list, we can push through. We saw last season without Rosicky and Arshavin and Theo injured, we ended up deploying Diaby and Denilson on the wings.

So, back to the question of should I be worried?

Well, no in terms of our first XI – if all players stay fit – but in reality – I think yes – if we do suffer injuries and our players are off form. Alex Song and Denilson both looked very much the part against Hannover – but can they sustain that level and not be injured for a whole season? That is my major concern.

Nigel Winterburn is worried and he said:

“Given the quality of player that has left the club people will always say that it looks like they are standing still or have taken a slight step backwards but if they get players in and then start to move forward then obviously it will be very, very good for the club. The supporters are sitting on the fence at the moment. They’ve had great success in the past but now all of a sudden that success has dried up and they are now saying ‘when are we going to win our next title?’ They probably need to bring in another three players to help that squad,” he added. “You have to trust Arsene Wenger. He seems to be able to pull a gem out of the bag and it looks as though he has got to do it again because he has let two big players go. Arsenal have always had a wage structure, a valuation of buying and selling players and Arsene Wenger has a policy that if a player expresses a desire to leave he will try to talk him out of it if he wants him to stay. But if at the end of it that player still insists he wants to leave then Arsene Wenger will always let him and try to create the best value for money for that player that he can. ”What Arsene Wenger now has to do is try and replenish this squad, bring players back in and make Arsenal stronger again. We may not know a lot about the players that come into the squad but if they make Arsenal stronger then we have to believe in what Arsene is doing.”

And this is a worry about the size of the squad in key areas.

My issue last summer – and I’m sure it was the same as yours is that we were one defensive midfielder short and one winger short. And if indeed, it is Arshavin in, Ade out and Vermaelen in, Toure out – then we’re back in the same position as we were last season. Okay, so Traore is back and Vela will play more – so I can do without the winger if absolutely impossible to buy someone who will help our cause. But I don’t think I can do without the defensive midfielder.

And not because I don’t think Denilson and Song are good enough, but simply because I do not think they can remain on top form and injury free for a whole season. How would you react if you heard that any one of Cesc, Denilson or Song suddenly got injured for two months – it would be one nail in the proverbial coffin… so with an additional £45m to spend this summer, or £20 if Arsene wants to give £25m more to service the debt (although this I believe is already serviced for this year)… then surely there is a good player who is on par with or if not better than our current group of central midfielders.

And finally, Kolo has spoken about his move and thanked the coach and the fans, he said:

“I believe we are title contenders, that’s why I’m here. We’re going to work to be on the top.

“The target is to go as far as we can. Last season we were mid-table and now we will aim for top six or four.

“We all know that Arsenal, it has been a good time for me and I want to thank Mr Wenger and all the fans for all the support. I was expecting to leave and it was really important to leave at the right time. I didn’t want to leave England because I love the football.

“Manchester City gave me a chance and I think they are a really good team and they want to do something. I want to be part of it. I’m 28 and I think I’m in my prime, I am really delighted to be here.”

Til later mes amigos.

Hannover 0 – 1 Arsenal (& could Vieira return?)

Evening all,

Our final pre-season before the Emirates Cup took place today and what seemed to be a decent run out for the team. Arsene took the opportunity against Hannover to experiment with a 4-3-3, fielding Bendtner, Arshavin and Van Persie. With the 4-3-3 that we play, it always looks a bit like a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-2-3-1, as one or two of our midfielders join the attack on the regular basis.

Today, we saw deployed in a more forward role, with both Alex Song and Denilson behind him. In a way, the formation looked like this:

Mannone

Eboue – Vermaelen – Gallas – Traore

Denilson – Song

Bendtner – Fabregas – Arshavin

Van Persie

It was on the whole, a decent game, the first pre-season game for Cesc and good to see Arshavin and Van Persie in action and fit. It looks like our first choice centre back partnership will be Vermaelen and Gallas and the pair looked solid enough considering it’s early days in their partnership. I do like the look of Vermaelen and of course, remember the stellar performances that Gallas put in before his injury last season.

The result was 1-0 and the goal game through good play from Van Persie and Cesc, a nice one two creeping through the defence for the captain to round the keeper. The rest of the was a good workout – Hannover having a go – and we did well throughout – Alex Song and Denilson putting in pretty amazing performances.

I won’t deviate from the topic of this post too much but I will touch on the Kolo transfer. Whether or not you approve of the transfe of Kolo Toure to Man City – and I love Kolo to bits – Arsene has brought in a replacement. One thing that I’ve come across recently is a statement by Oliver Kay at the Times, who said something very interesting.

Wenger, while continuing to search for reinforcements, has told his board that Arsenal will be a force to be reckoned with next season, he has done so with conviction, rather than hope.

And whilst I do think we’re a club who have a debt to service and cannot turn down massive offers for players, I’m sure if Arsene thinks the squad need a player or two, a Chamakh or similar player, considering the sudden £45m war chest, he will buy a player. But if he doesn’t buy someone, it may be because he honestly doesn’t believe we need anyone.

Kay went on to say:

Wenger has weighed up the threat posed by City and concluded that his club’s needs are best served by selling them Touré and Adebayor. It is a risky strategy, one that may feasibly backfire, but Wenger believes that it will make Arsenal stronger.

And if you look at the squad and where it was last summer, add Arshavin instead of Adebayor and add in Vermaelen instead of Toure – then throw in Eduardo and Rosicky, two players who were missing for pretty much the whole season, then give everyone in the squad an extra year of Premiership and Champions League experience, you have what we have now. Is that good or bad?

Our best player against Hannover? Alex Song.

Finally a quick one for you – although I didn’t listen to it – I’m hearing that Ian Wright believes that Vieira is on his way back to Arsenal – he said this on his show yesterday:

“I’m hearing Vieira, pay-as-you-play back at Arsenal. That’s what I’m hearing and that’s what I’m hoping.”

Interesting news, I wonder if there is any truth in it!?!

Life without Ade and Kolo…

Life after Adebayor and Toure will start very soon. Yesterday’s debate was very interesting, with a lot of comments and different opinions giving us a lot to talk about throughout the afternoon when the Toure news broke. In one way, my reaction by the title of the last article, “Selling Kolo Toure is a mistake” expressed my initial reaction to the news and although my sentiments haven’t changed all that much, it may have been a little bit of an over-reaction.

From an emotional point of view, I want Kolo Toure at Arsenal – simple as that. He has epitomised what Arsenal is all about in recent times and has been a very loyal player through out his career at Arsenal. He’s played in midfield, left back, right back and central defence after original joining as an attacking player. He played along side Sol Campbell, Philippe Senderos and William Gallas in central defence and has been an outstanding player in my mind for the club.

In January, Kolo Toure handed in a transfer request and here’s what he said about it:

“I have been here a long time, and when I saw some players leaving the Club last year that was difficult for me. ”Then when we didn’t start the season well I was scared. You start to think that maybe the Club don’t need you anymore. When it’s like that and you are 28 you have to think about yourself as well. But I came back, I’m playing at the moment and I hope that will carry on. There is still time on my contract and I hope the Club will show me that they need me. When you love somebody it’s important that they love you back. I have loved this club for years, and I always give everything for the team. Since I’ve been here I’ve just tried to do my best but you can’t be at the top all the time. Sometimes your level will drop a bit. That’s when you need to be strong and bounce back and that’s what I tried to do this season. People know I love the Club, nobody can say I don’t. I believe you can only truly love one club in your career, and my club is Arsenal. It doesn’t matter if I ever move onto another team, Arsenal will always be the one in my heart. When my career is finished and I’m older, I will always think of myself as an Arsenal man.”

It was a heart filled statement and it’s clear that Kolo loves being at Arsenal – he’s a fans favourite and a friendly figure around the team. But you have to consider the background behind some of the comments in his statement – firstly he refers to “not being at the top all the time” and secondly he referred to “sometimes your level with drop” and of course, this must be related to his view and the view of the club that his performances last year were not up to the standard of what they were once upon a time. When Gallas and Djourou were fit in Winter, it was them who had their run in the team and it was Kolo who was dropped.

Kolo goes on to say “it doesn’t matter if I ever move onto another team” and maybe this statement offers an insight into the thinking behind the matter – the transfer to Man City first came about in January and I’m sure it would have been discussed between Arsene and Kolo. Of course, from Kolo’s point of view, he wanted first team football and for him, if he wasn’t first choice, then it would be a problem for him.

However, from an economic point of view, the amount of money offered for Kolo was interesting – a fee believed to be £16m – take into consideration that we bought the player for £150k. Kolo, you must remember was in his last year of his contract and could have gone for free next summer. At 29 / 30, a player has retail value and as he wasn’t first choice, and wanted first team football, then maybe this can be considered a good piece of business. Arsene is famous for selling players before they decline and still have retail value – and for all his mutual affection, would you say Kolo was on the decline? I don’t actually want to analyse whether or not that’s true, because Kolo is one of my favourite players. I like players who play for the badge, respect their colours and as a defender, puts themselves in line of fire, and of course, that’s Kolo.

Kolo stat’s from last season were actually terrible – Sky Sports revealing he was 67th in the list of defenders in terms of aerial duel, 28th in terms of tackles, and 35th in clearances. When you look at Terry – being #1 or in the top 4 or 5 for these figures, then put his season into perspective. 67th in the list does not bode well considering there are only 20 clubs in the league.

Looking at the transfer activity so far, it does look like Arshavin was brought in (with time to adapt) to replace Adebayor and Vemaelen brought in to replace Kolo Toure. So in reality, we haven’t yet added to the squad, instead we’ve just replaced players that have left – albeit, with a whopping £40m surplus in cash.

Ray Parlour was in the news today and talked about the Toure transfer:

“It will be interesting to see who Arsène Wenger brings in if Kolo does leave. He’s got service from a quality player over nine years, they’ve paid his wages and they’ve still made money. I think Arsène Wenger has been unbelievable in the transfer market since he first arrived. He bought Nicolas Anelka for half a million pounds and sold him for £23.5million the season after. Nobody can knock him in the transfer market, but Adebayor has left and if Kolo Touré leaves you do need to replace him because the squad is lighter. He needed a couple of players anyway so I’m sure Arsène Wenger has got his scouting network all over the world to try and get the right players for the team.”

Now we’ve got a relatively balanced squad, there is still the matter of whether or not we’re going to sign players – and as I mentioned on Sunday, it does look like our fortunes may lie in what Arsene does with this money. If he doesn’t sign anyone, then yes, we have a squad that can go into the season – and if we have no injuries and the players are on form, then we still do have a very good chance of winning the title. But it’s a risk. Reducing the experience in the squad and reducing the size of the senior squad is definitely a risk. Yes, we’ll see more of Vela, Wilshere and Ramsey – but the question is do we have enough strength in depth and do we have adequate experience in the squad?

We’ll see what Arsene has to say later today and maybe by the time you read this, the Toure transfer may be wrapped up and we may have heard from Le Boss.

Til later mes amigos…

Selling Kolo Toure is a mistake.

Quote me on this:

“Letting go of Adebayor was required for the health of the team, but if Arsene sells Kolo Toure, it will be a mistake that he will live to regret”

And I don’t mean that in a threaty way, I mean it in a results driven football industry way.

In this day and age, where loyalty, hard work and a sincere love for a club are rare qualities, we have all of that packaged into one player, one rock of a defender, one player who has been dubbed Mr Arsenal, and that player is Kolo Toure. We’re entering a new season and we need our players. In fact, it was Arsene would said his priority was to keep the existing group of players together.

After the season finished, I expected the following to happen:

  • Buy a top quality defensive midfielder with experience
  • Buy a top quality defender with experience
  • Sell Senderos to Milan

Instead, the following has, and may happen:

  • Sell Adebayor
  • Sell Kolo Toure
  • Buy a young defender
  • End up deploying Senderos in midfield

Now, if you ask me, it’s getting a little bit weird. Our aim this summer was to buy two experienced, strong and powerful players, one to partner Cesc and one to join the defensive group. I was certain that Silvestre and Senderos wouldn’t be here at the start of the season. It did start well with the purchase of Vermaelen, but then got worse when we lost out to Melo, Cana and Yaya (never really a no-go). We then went on to sell Adebayor and then Arsene said he wasn’t planning on buying a replacement. It also looks like we won’t be signing a defensive midfielder with outcast Philippe Senderos deployed in an unfamilar defensive role, and now, the icing on the cake… Kolo Toure is off.

The fee is apparently £16m, which is quite low considering his OPTA stats and his experience in the game – the fee is agreed and the player is having a medical.

Kolo Toure is reportedly flying back to England from Arsenal’s Austria training base to finalise his transfer to Manchester City. Sky Sports News report that Toure is returning to undergo a medical at Eastlands after the two clubs agreed a fee of £16m. It’s thought that Toure may be unveiled as a City player by Friday. If so, Toure will be the second Arsenal player in as many weeks to leave for Eastlands after the £25m transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor.

Personally, I am a little shocked, but it’s another one of those “put your Faith in Arsene” ones, and it’s some serious faith. When Arsene spoke about bringing experience in and keeping the squad together, the subsequent sales of Toure and Adebayor are very much in constrast to this.

What are your views? Is this one sale too much? Is this one move too many? Has Arsene made a mistake?

Szombathelyi Haladas 0-5 Arsenal

Another great run out saw us cruise to another emphatic victory in our Austrian tour. The opponents this time were Szombathelyi Haladas it was an energy filled evening over in Austria.

Szombathelyi Haladas 0-5 Arsenal
Bendtner 17, 43, Eduardo 24, 40, Van Persie 66 (pen)

Our starting line up was:

Mannone

Eboue – Toure – Djourou – Traore

Wilshere – Song – Denilson – Ramsey

Bendtner – Eduardo

And personally I was very delighted to see Wilshere, Ramsey and especially Eduardo line up and they played very well too. Eduardo will be a big player for us this season, especially with the departure of Adebayor and his run out today showed that he still had the magic touch.

It was his strike partner that scored the first goal through a sublime header from a Traore cross, whose crossing was pretty accurate, I have to say. Bendtner played well throughout the game and his height and presence were signs of how he can be effective this season.

It was too long until Eduardo scored as we scored a low stinging drive from left to right. And five minutes before half time, the Crozilian scored a very intelligent free kick as he found a gap and found a path. It kind of feels like we haven’t scored a free kick in years, so pleasing to see one go in. I expect Eduardo to just get better and better, so if he continues in this vein, we’ll have some hell of a player come the start of the season.

Bendtner got his second with a very good finish from just outside the area and Robin Van Persie added a penalty to make it 5-0 – although his sixth was disallowed for offside.

Technical Glitches… We’ve lost the weekend!

Due to some very annoying and very frustrating technical glitches, it seems that we have lost the last two days on the World of Arsenal. The last back up was done last Friday, so it’s been recovered until then..

Apologies for this loss, but it was completely out of my control… we had some good comments, and some good debating on here, and it’s such a sham that it’s been lost!

Not to worry, I’ll try my best to re-post! Once again, apologies for the inconvenience!

Sunday Round Up

Yes, guys and girls, the week has moved so quickly, it’s already Sunday and we’ve got a game tomorrow which will mostly see Eduardo’s first pre-season friendly. To be honest, I can’t wait to see Eduardo in action. In my eyes, he is – along side Van Persie – are the first choice strike force at the club – and I can’t wait to see him in action. If he puts in a performance that we all know he is capable of, and remains injury free, then my attitude towards the new season will be one of excitement instead of worry.

In reality, we are pretty much set for the season – many people calling for a new striker or defensive midfielder, but personally I am in a major debate whether we actually need either – when I look at the squad and talk to other Arsenal fans, the squad does seem to have a balance. We have good players in all positions, and back up in all positions too. But of course, when you read the newspapers, read websites, and listen to the noise from the media, it seems that if we don’t sign a striker and a defensive midfielder then we’ll finish behind Man City.

It’s tough to balance what you hear from the media and you’re actual genuine synopsis of the team, but in reality, I think I would be happy if we went into the new season as we are. I feel that the three players – Denilson, Song and Diaby – would all have become better players for their exersions last season and with Ramsey, we have one gem of a player who can play along side or in place of Cesc. With Nasri and Rosicky also able to be deployed in the middle, there are a plethora of options. The same goes for the striking berth – Van Persie, Eduardo, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott, Arshavin, Simpson, Sanchez Watt – that’s a list of strikers whom can all give something to the club.

Don’t get me wrong – a quality signing in one of those aforementioned positions could obviously enhance our squad – but I really don’t think it’s wise for us to get too hung up over it. We have to remember that we have 20 players of the highest quality and a youth system that is better than all in the land.

When you think about why we’re not so active in the transfer market, you can get a glimpse into Arsene’s feeling when he talks about the economics of football:

“It looks like football has not been hit by recession but that is only due to exceptional circumstances. I still think that we will have to become more reasonable in the game, even if you have exceptional circumstances like Real Madrid and Man City. I believe that in the next eight to 10 months football will suffer much more than people think.”

And it does put some of this summer into perspective. Football is a big money business, and the bigger the money, the greater the fall.

Talking about Man City and silly money – the transfer of Adebayor has been discussed in the press by Alex Ferguson – who has revealed that the lanky Togan striker didn’t want to move to City at all and that he was desperate to find another club, contacting United, Chelsea as well as 6 other European teams about the prospect of joining them, SAF revealed:

“When someone offers you that kind of money, it is a big attraction,” Ferguson said. “At the last minute, from what I can gather, either Emmanuel Adebayor or his agent phoned us after they had agreed a deal with City and then did the same with Chelsea. He was desperate to get to either Chelsea or us.”

It’s funny, because Adebayor is a simple case of two-faced-ness. On one hand, he complains says he doesn’t know why the Arsenal fans stopped supporting him – on the other hand, he courts Milan and Barcelona for a whole summer. On one hand, he does an interview with the BBC and says he has no future at the club then he releases a statement saying he wants to stay. On one hand, he signs for Man City and says there were “his only choice” and “he really wanted to sign for them” and on the other hand, he’s courting 8 clubs hours before signing his deal.

In the same vein of this article and whether or not Arsene will use the money he has at hand to strengthen the squad, SAF continued:

“There will be three teams to beat. Ourselves, Liverpool and Chelsea will be very close together. The one who has the challenge this season is Arsène. He doesn’t have the money and how he uses the £25m from Adebayor will be very, very interesting.”

And yes, there is a lot of truth to the fact we don’t have the ability to buy buy buy without selling – you saw Liverpool earlier this season buy Glen Johnson for a whopping £18m. Very much overpriced, but who did they sell to buy that player – no one. But it’s a perceived handicap and one that is easier to talk about when you’re looking from the outside in. It is interesting though hearing what other managers have to say – we’re clearly the underdogs in the top four and that’s a good position to be in sometimes – it allows you to have the element of surprise.

Although I think we’re done with the transfer activity this season, if you pick up a newspaper today you’ll most likely see stories saying that we’ve offered Real Madrid £17.5m for Huntelaar – I don’t think there is any truth in this (of course, I am speculating), as that would be our record signing and considering what Arsene has been saying, it’s an unlikely transfer.

News coming out of Usmanov’s camp is one of worry about the transfer of Adebayor and our intent to buy – take a little read of this:

“He did not have the best of seasons last year so I can understand the fans’ feelings, but the bottom line is we are down a proven striker going into the next season. He averaged 20 goals a season so unless we replace him with a striker of that talent we will be weaker going forward. That is the most worrying thing because Manchester City with their enormous firepower are one of the challengers for the fourth spot and I would have felt much better if he had been sold to any other club than Man City. Based on our analysis any money is very limited and possibly spent already and I don’t think there are any spare funds with the exception of Adebayor’s proceeds. Arsenal are the only club in the land that rejects an offer to pay their huge debts in these troubled times, I’m truly mystified. It wasn’t just about today, it was about making sure the club was well placed to compete at the highest level of European football for the future.”

I wouldn’t take this too much to heart – I think the thoughts of Usmanov and his clan are very distant to the club. If they had their way, we probably would have replaced Wenger. You can see by the comments about Man City that there is not enough confidence in what is happening at Arsenal and the existing squad. So really, I would not worry about that last quote and personally, I’d join in with what Almunia has been talking about and be happy hearing this:

“I think the squad is complete. We will have to wait until a few games into pre-season to find out and the Emirates Cup (which gets underway on Saturday) will be a good test for us. We have a few lessons to learn from last season but I think that the more mature we are, the more responsible we are, too. I hope this season every player is responsible with their attitude and in all circumstances. I hope we will be very professional, not just in the games but every day as well. There is always a hunger in the squad. The good intentions are always in our mind and, personally, I will try to do my best for the team. Sometimes other teams are better than you and this season we will try to be better than them. I think every single player has to realise what club we are playing for.”

Very exciting, and with a few games this week, we will see a little bit more of what’s the squad is made of.

Competition Extended Until 31st July!

For those of you have already entered the competition to win an Arsenal Kit Cooler, the suspense will prelonged another week.

The guys down at staychilled.com have kindly given us more Kit Coolers to give away… with a very sunny August due, it’s a must have accessory for any Arsenal fan!

If you haven’t already entered, you can do so here:

http://worldofarsenal.co.uk/2009/07/08/win-an-arsenal-kit-cooler-with-staychilledcom/

Do it now!

The competition will close on July 31st 2009. Winners announced on August 1st!

We love you Thierry… (As Sp*rs bid for Huntelaar, Sunderland agree fee for Chamakh and Everton make an offer for Cana)

The summer of highs and lows continues… one minute we’re on the high of a new signing such as Thomas Vermaelen, and then suddenly we’re on a low when Adebayor leaves and we find out there is no intention to sign a replacement. But then seeing Rosicky in action after so long gives us another high! But then suddenly… Nasri is out for 2 – 3 months with a broken leg, but then we hear that Eduardo is back…

High, low, high, low, high… it’s all so emotional down at the Grove…

Time for another low… The collapse of the Huntelaar move to Stuttgart has followed our worst nightmare, yes the reason for the collapse is a late bid for the striker by none other than our oldest rivals in Sp*rs… with their manager saying this:

“The lad is a very good goalscorer and I’m still interested in him. I know of Stuttgart’s involvement but I’m hoping we will still be able to do something. There’s a lot of talk about who I may or may not be after but Huntelaar is the one I like.”

Apparently they have made a bid – believed to be in the region of £18m to match that of Stuttgart. Terms have already been agreed with the striker too and it’s a conversation that has supposedly happened in the last 4 days after the striker’s agent contacted various clubs to ensure a move to a top four club or if not, then a move to the Premiership could materialise before signing on the dotted line. Sp*rs confirmed their interest and all seems to point in their direction now.

Which of course, makes me think… who has the best strikeforce out of the top teams?

Arsenal, first choice: Robin Van Persie and Eduardo

Arsenal, second choice: Carlos Vela and Niklas Bendtner

(Arshavin considered as a winger)

Chelsea, first choice: Drogba and Anelka

Chelsea, second choice: Kalou and Sturridge

Liverpool, first choice: Torres and Gerrard

Liverpool, second choice: Kuyt and Ngog

Man United, first choice: Berbatov and Rooney

Man United, second choice: Owen and Obertan

Food for through, no doubt… I’ll let you mull over that… yes, I’ve missed out Man City and Sp*rs on purpose, as they’re not top four, but Ade, Tevez, Roque, Defoe are all decent players too… who has the strongest line up and who has the strongest backup?

Personally, Eddie and VP up front is definitely a very good line up!

Transfer news circulating the world of Arsenal, also sees Chamakh really considering a move to Sunderland – the club having agreed a fee – although not sure if there are any complications in the player’s minimum release clause as it seems a little difficult – early reports suggesting the player was available for about £7m… but not exactly sure now – if there is a clause, then why are there so many murmurs from Bordeaux?

We’ve seen a lot of players, including Melo go to other clubs, when we all thought they’d join us and Chamakh may end up joining Sunderland, Huntelaar to Sp*rs and now we hear that Everton have made a bid for another target Lorik Cana. We either have something special in store, or are basically dragging our feet big time, or of course much faith in the existing players, which from a cost perspective is probably what Arsene is thinking!

Okay, onto the main part of this article, and our very lovable legend Thierry Henry has been in the press and been talking about our chances this season. Despite the loss of Ade and the injury to Nasri, he thinks we’ve got a great chance to win the league and if you look at our first choice line up, you’d have to say there is something special going on here:

Almunia

Sagna – Vermaelen – Gallas – Clichy

Rosicky – Denilson – Cesc – Arshavin

Robin Van Persie – Eduardo

The attacking foursome of RVP, Eduardo, Arshavin and Rosicky is mouthwatering. Very much different to the attacking quartet of Bendtner, Adebayor, Diaby on the left and Denilson on the right, which I believe we did field once or twice last season…

Let’s take a listen to what Thierry had to say:

“It’s not going to be easy without Adebayor, obviously, and what happened with Nasri was unlucky, but I still believe they can win the League. That is always my feeling about my old club. It won’t be easy because there are teams who are doing it every time, but you never know. I remember when I left everyone was saying it wouldn’t be the same, but they ended up having a great season and nearly won the League.

“It can happen this year. I know eve rybody is saying this and that but in my heart I will always talk like that. Arsene and Arse nal have proven so many times they can win without spending a lot of money. People talk about the top four but the only thing that matters to me is who is going to be top and I know that’s how Arsene sees it as well.”

Some very good and heart warming points there, definitely. I won’t take too much away from what Thierry has said, because it’s a good honest view…

However, I will say a little something, which is that we’re not asking Arsene to spend loads of money, but after selling a £25m striker, buying a £7m one is a decent gamble / replacement, surely… I won’t carry on reiterating the same point!

Thierry does have a valid point – do you think if Arsene believed that spending £7m on a player would be a wise decision and help us to win the league and honestly think if we didn’t we wouldn’t win, then do you think he wouldn’t sign him? Does that sentence make any sense?

Thierry continues:

“It is vital Arsenal keep Cesc. Vital. He is the Arsenal captain and he is young and I’m sure he wants to give something back to the club. Knowing him, he will. But it is vital they keep Cesc.”

And I really hope that giving something back means winning a trophy!

I seem to have developed a habit of going off on a few tangents, so I’ll wrap it up for today!

Til tomorrow.

Let’s talk Nasri, let’s talk Diaby and let’s talk Senderos… basically, let’s just talk!

Evening guys,

As the season draws nearer, the games are coming thick and fast – as I said yesterday, I will be back with a review of the game of SC Columbia soon, but I’ve yet to watch the game…! Actually, the games aren’t coming that thick and fast… we have to wait until Monday until the next game against our old pre-season enemy, the very hard to pronounce, Szombathelyi Haladas.

So, let’s take a look around the wonderful world of Arsenal, and Arsene has given us some info on Nasri’s injury… here is what he had to say:

“Unfortunately he fractured his fibula and he will be out for six weeks,” the manager said. “It was the bad news of the day.

“He accidentally nicked the ball away from somebody having a shot on goal. Unfortunately he got kicked and broke his fibula. It’s not a complicated one, it’s a simple one but it will take six weeks to heal.

“But the options are Tomas Rosicky who is back. And in [those] two months Eduardo will be back as well. We do have offensive options but we don’t want to lose important players before the season starts.”

And yes, that someone was “Diaby”. My first reaction to this injury was that it would affect us because we’re short in numbers. My initial thoughts (apart from Ahhh Diaby) were oh my gosh, who will we play… well, the addition of Arshavin and return of Rosicky has actually made the wing position relatively competitive…

On the wings, we have four players who can effectively be deployed on the wings – Nasri, Rosicky, Arshavin and Walcott. Last season, we had only Nasri, with Arshavin not recruited, Rosicky out for the season and Walcott also out of large periods of time. Add to that quartet the likes of Traore and Eboue and it kind of feels like we’re covered in the wing department, even though we’ve suffered a major injury – throw in Vela as well and even young Jack Wilshere and we’ve got 8 players to play in two positions.

In reality, last season is totally different to this season with the return of Rosicky and the signing of Arshavin, so if Arsene doesn’t sign a winger, I won’t panic. However, there are two positions that of course do need to be filled:

1) Striker

2) Defensive midfielder

And that defensive midfielder is not Philippe Senderos! Arsene doesn’t seem to think so either, despite playing him in that position yesterday.

“He has offers and it is open. He has come back here with us still looking for solutions but he is still yet to decide on his future.”

I’m sure Arsene would want Big Phil to take up one of the offers, believed to be from Aston Villa and Sunderland, for approximately £6m. It’s clear that we don’t really want him and we’ve signed a replacement for a first choice defender demoting him to sixth in the pecking order, time to go, surely…

And then there is the striker position, we’re left with the likes of Robin Van Persie and one of Niklas Bendter, Carlos Vela, Eduardo and maybe Andrei Arshavin as the support striker. Now of course, Ade wasn’t the best player in the world, but Carlos Vela and Niklas Bendtner may not strike too much fear into many defences. Of course, Eduardo and Arshavin are potentially world class talents, but I don’t see Arshavin as a striker, despite his preference to play their, he’s too small… surely? I think he’s pretty damn good on the wing and yes, he is good in a 4-4-3, but as one of the strikers in a 4-4-2, I have my reservations.

Arshavin does talk the talk, here’s an excerpt of an interview with SKY…

“Next season will be like my first real season. This has been like the preamble, a demo version before the start of the real game. Everything will start for real next season. We’ll have to see how that unfolds. My main concern will be making sure I keep my place in the team. I want to enjoy a good pre-season with the team. I have already adapted. I am very happy. The fans love me, which is important for me. We all believe that there will be trophies, and that the new season will be full of joy for the players and the fans. But we have to finish speaking about how young we are. We need to play like we are a big and strong team.”

And that’s right, the worry is that we’ve lost some serious experience up front without Ade. I don’t regret the decision to sell (not that it was my decision to sell), but I always thought that if we did sell, we’d buy a replacement. I wasn’t the greatest fan of Adebayor, but at the end of the day, I think I preferred him to Niklas Bendtner up front. With the Togan gone, we may see more of Niklas, and he was our first choice striker going into next season, should I be worried? Well, I think so. Eduardo is back too, but is he 100% fit and raring to go, is he at the level where he was before he got injured?

Personally, from a numbers point of view, I’d like a new striker. I think if we were to spend a decent amount we could get one, maybe a £10m striker (that’s what got us Henry all those years ago) or even an unknown from France (cite Nik Anelka) who can make an instant impact… of course, Chamakh is one of those players, and despite some people not really wanting him, I think he’d make a good addition. He adds to the group, has a decent height, good touch and pace…

Sp*rs, Everton, Sunderland, Blackburn, Fiorentina, Roma, Hamburg, PSV are all clubs which have been linked with the striker, and surely that says something positive about the player – or maybe they’ve all gone for him based on Arsene’s comments – I wouldn’t put it past Sp*rs at all!

Laurent Blanc, the current Bordeaux manager doesn’t think a small club will suit him and you kind of feel that Blanc knows he will suit a club like Arsenal. The former Man United player saying:

“I can understand Marouane wanting to leave, even him wanting to go at any cost, but he must go to a club which merits him. ”If this is not the case I might refuse his departure. If it does not work out he can stay at Bordeaux, it would not be a jail sentence to stay for another year after which he could have the promise of going elsewhere.”

Very interesting stuff. I think I’ll call it a day for today, I seem to have rambled on for a while…

Til tomorrow…