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.