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.

  • bayo

    wenger

  • bayo

    yes we should be cause other teams are getting better and we are dying.wenger is so stnbborn

  • berth

    Amigo Dev- do u want to challenge for the league or settle for the 4th spot -its a question I really want you to answer. In my view 4th position will be an easy task for us considering we have Arshavin and Rosicky; but that little bit we need to challenge the title is what am crying about. That is why I keep questioning Wenger’s motives; does he want the 4th position or does he want to challenge for the title

  • Pete

    Not signing anyone won’t good enough, as far as I’m concerned. Having £40 million at you disposal and not spending any of it would be big mistake but I honestly don’t think that’s what Wenger will do. He’s made two big money sales with over a month left in the transfer window, and I think thats part of his summer transfer strategy. We were told that he had to sell before he could buy, so thats stage one out the way. I expect him to add to the squad in the coming weeks, maybe not straight away as we all know thats not how he does things, but definately by the end of August. It’s pretty obvious that no matter how talented players may be, they can’t play every minute of every game in every competition, and Wenger knows this.

    As to whether we should worry or not, Dev, you’ve probably asked us a month early. I’ll only be able to answer by the time the transfer window shuts, but for now at least, I have no reason to believe we wont add to the squad.

  • Pete

    Also, I know Wenger made comments today regarding the squad already being “strong enough”. But this perhaps will stop clubs trying to up the prices of our transfer targets, seeing as its well documented that we’ve £40 million to spend. Alex Fergusson said something similar the other week as everyone knows about the £80 million they received for Ronaldo, but that doesn’t mean he wont sign anyone. It just helps avoide being ripped off.

  • Pete

    And another thing, its disappointing about Rosicky’s setback and Nasri’s injury, but perhaps it can work in our favour by makeing the club think twice about not siging anyone. Remember, we signed Arshavin as a result of Cesc being out for 3 months, so a similar outcome could result from the current setbacks.

  • bayo

    wenger already said it we would challenge but not win he already gave his mission statement if he was confident enough about the squad he would v said we wld win the premier leaue.sorry to burst ur burble we dont have top 4 we have top 3 and we are not part of the top 4.

  • debs

    I don’t think Wenger will refuse to buy anyone. As Dev said, we’ve already financed our debt for this year, and it wouldn’t make sense to trade £40m for 2 less players. I’m sure Wenger’ll agree that having Ade and Toure in the squad, even if they both wanted to leave, and no matter how much faith he has in the remaining squad, is a whole lot better than £40m or so smiling at you in the bank. He could easily have convinced them both to stay until January or so. And to be honest, I don’t think Wenger would be making these decisions to buy/sell without advising the board about his plans, and I can bet you that based on all the noise Ivan has been making, there’s no way he’d have allowed Arsene to sell both Toure and Ade if ALL that money was simply going to stay in the bank. We’ve still got a month left anyways, so there’s no massive worry. I’ll leave my worry-hat off until the day the transfer window shuts. What’s the point worrying now, when you don’t even know what’s going on behind the scenes? I think it’s pointless. It’s the 30th of July today, and if you are already tearing your hair out, I wonder what your state of mind would be come the final day of the window, if we haven’t signed anyone by then! Lol. Just chill out for now, and enjoy the rest of summer!

  • Jimmy

    What formation do you guys thick Arsenal should play this season.

  • hello

    .
    ……….Almunia………..

    Sagna Vermaelen Gallas Clichy

    ……????? Fabregas………

    …Walcott Arshavin Nasri…

    ……..Van Persie……..

  • Leeroy.N

    I’ve said many many time before we have to wait. We have no say over who comes in, we can just specualte and hope. But know Wenger has the teams best interest in hand. I know rumours are coming thick as fast and these supposed targets are getting snapped up left, right and centre but again I stress if he REALLY wanted them, they would be in our squad now. He is carefull and meticulous about everything he does and the way he operates. Wenger has my full backing now and until he retires, Arsenal have my heart til I die.

    Gooner Til I Die!

  • hello

    (backup)
    ……….Fabianski………..

    ????? Djouru Silvestre Gibbs

    ……Song Denilson………

    …Wilshire Rosicky Vela…

    ……..Eduardo……..

    Squad: Bendtner, Ramsey, Diaby, Troure

  • Leeroy.N

    Almunia

    Sagna Vermaelen Gallas Clichy

    Walcott Song Fabregas Asrhavin

    Eduardo Van Persie

    I feel that would be the strongest most consistant and injury free.. Hopefully!

    Impact players off the bench ;

    Fabianksi (if needed)

    Djourou + Silvestre – DEFENCE

    Rosicky, Denilson (even though he was a ROCK last season), Ramsey, Diaby, Gibbs, Barazite + Traore – MIDFIELD

    Bendnter, Vela + Simpson – ATTACK

    But I do believe Walcott may get his wish to go upfront. Shifting it to 4-3-3. Then would would definatly need that General or even Generals of the Mid to be in sync and top of their games.

    Gooner Til I Die!

  • devday

    Arsenal TV Online:

    Arsene says “We do not make money to put it in the bank. We are looking at a few possibilities at the moment”

  • Leeroy.N

    I knew he wouldn’t let us down!

  • syah

    in arsene we trust.

  • hello

    F-FAITH…. i told you!

  • Berth

    hello – So Song and Denilson are back up to ???? – I like your little sense of humour

  • bayo

    breaking news:rosicky is fit and not injured and he would play at the emirates cup on saturday

  • hello

    yeah Berth ‘????’, you know, our new 30m signing from A.C.Borussia-Wednesday-Town… he’s quality!! Gonna wear the No.13 shirt left vacant by Hleb… haha

  • Berth

    A thing says – rumour says Arsenal bid for Hunteelar and Diarra for 20 million pounds

  • bayo

    berth where did you get that

  • hello

    where?

  • bayo

    got the rosicky news from goonernews.com

  • Leeroy.N

    BERTH – Which Diarra??

  • Vazy

    @Hello

    Tres Amusing George Michael comments.. made me laugh quite a bit.

    @Berth
    that would be a damn quality set of signings, £20mil for the 2? mental! hope there is truth in this rumor berth!

  • bayo

    sagna gallas upson clichy walcot inler fab arsh gignac van p bench rosicky nasri denison song vermaelen eduardo bent daiby djourou.guys wat do u tink pls make ur addition or subtraction

  • Fabrez

    “[Kolo] wanted the move” – Wenger (ATVO). I so didn’t expect that even tho i knew it was a possibility at the back of my mind. Well there ya go. Vermaelen was definitely the replacement since Kolo did say he kept that desire to leave from since January. I guess he kinda knew he wasn’t gonna b a regular starter anymore so that was that. All the best Kolo (except against us!).

    And also delighted to hear that Rosicky isn’t injured and will b at the Emirates Cup. Wenger seemed to indicate on ATVO that no1 got injured after the Hannover game so i guess Vermaelen and Traore are fine. 5 more weeks for Nasri! (i reckon it’s more but hey…i just want a fully fit squad soon!) And great to hear nothin bad about Edu! Seems as if he mite have just got over those niggles from last season.

  • Vazy

    @bayo

    Good news if its true!

  • Dave

    every year, a team with potential… we all know Fab, Arshavin, Walcott and others can attack from midfield but do we really want to take chance, when Van Persie gets injured on hanging the hopes of a trophy on Bentner? You cant pass up the money when offered for Ade and Kolo but we need legitimate replacements… at least on a striker

  • Debs

    I wonder who’s spreading these injury rumours! First it was Eduardo, now it Rosicky! How annoying! Great news they are both fit!

  • AJ

    Just heard a rumour, not sure whether to believe it or not, but in some quarters people think Viera is going to return to us. What´d you guys think of this?

  • Leeroy.N

    AJ – Yea we was talking about that prospect. It would be a great signing for maybe cover and experience. Not sure what kind of level he is still upto nowadays with his age and playing in Italy. But no doubt just his presence would be amazing for the club, dressing room and our young midfielders. I say bring him in. I would love to see him back and to finish his career with us.

    Gooner Til I Die!

  • bayo

    we dont want another silvestre and he is going to be injured most of the season if we are building lets buy the right players and let them grow together.2 or 3 signings would do a new striker and a defensive midfielder that stays at the back and pushes arshavin cesc walcot nasri to attach without looking back pls let the viera rumor die and if we must bring a player that left us then bring back flamini

  • Mehedi

    good point bayo

  • hello

    HANGELAND played for Fulham tonight which means he’s illegible for all European Competition until Janruary!!

  • Berth

    Sighs hello!! maybe Wenger is not really interested in a defender – did he not claim to have 7 defenders

  • Jimmy

    If we can’t get Hangeland what about Zapata, we could also bid 30m for De Rossi, unlikely though.
    Shame about Hangeland

  • Macaw

    Let keep our faith with Arsene Wenger. I believe there is something up in his sleeve. And looking at all the trend in the past few seasons, he usually sign player towards the end of the transfer period.
    I know most of us are disappointed that we are without silverware for the last four season, but somehow i feel that we are improving. Last season we are in the semi final of both FA Cup and Champion League. It shows that we are the character and attitude to win big things. Have faith in our professor and I’m sure we can win something next season.

  • Leeroy.N

    HELLO – Really?? Thats a shame. I would have liked to see Hangelaad in an Arsenal shirt. Zapata is a good shout though JIMMY. Wenger has been scouting him for a while now. But I don’t know if we could spend 30m on one player, it’s not the “Arsenal” way… But if it brings us success and trophies… bring it on!!

    Gooner Til I Die!!

  • Kenneth

    Even, if Wenger wanted hangeland, he would not mind playing him in the champion’s league from January because there are lots of defenders to fill up that position before January.

    What kind of over-shrewd businessman do we have as a coach.

  • khai

    but this is wenger we’re talking about, then again, we still got 1 month left in the transfer window. let’s trust wenger. although i am getting abit worried.
    somehow, should wenger really fail to bring anyone in, i think fans will start losing faith in him. : /.
    cmon wenger, we want to have faith in you.

  • Pete

    Just read the following article:

    After losing Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City, Arsenal are ready to make their interest in Girondins de Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh more concrete by coming to the negotiating table for the Moroccan, according to a report in Parisian-based sports daily L’Equipe.

    The Gunners have long understood to have been courting the forward, though no official advance has been made as yet. “[Arsene] Wenger has in fact called me,” Jean-Louis Triaud, the Bordeaux president, affirmed. “He said he had a list of attackers and Marouane was one.”

    This casual approach appears set to end in the near future, as the north London club are preparing a bid fuelled by the proceeds of Adebayor’s big-money move to Eastlands.

    However, at present, there seems to be chasm between the respective valuations of the player. Arsenal are reportedly willing to offer little more than €6 million, whereas Bordeaux are holding out for closer to €15m.

    Head coach of les Girondins, Laurent Blanc, has stated his desire to keep hold of the centre-forward on several occasions this summer, but Chamakh is intent on leaving. Bordeaux have asserted that they will only sell him to a ‘big club’, thwarting the attempts of Sunderland to pinch the 25-year-old.

    Chamakh, who has played his entire professional career to date with the Stade Chaban-Delmas outfit, scored 13 goals and laid on several more as he acted as the key spearhead to the Bordeaux side that enjoyed Ligue 1 success last term.

  • Pete

    Also, looks like we’re interested in Matuidi and Vieira:

    Arsène Wenger is closing in on the £8m capture of Blaise Matuidi from St Etienne and he is also expected to talk to Patrick Vieira in the coming days about the former Arsenal captain making a dramatic return to the club.

    The manager, who has signed Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for £10m but raised £39m through the sales of Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City, has confirmed that he has money available, although he added that it had to be spent “in the right way”, meaning with great prudence.

    Wenger has monitored the progress of the 22-year-old Matuidi for the best part of three seasons, with his chief scout in France, the former Arsenal player Gilles Grimandi, urging him to move for the central midfielder. Matuidi, a graduate of the Clairefontaine academy and a former mainstay of the France Under-21 team, would appear the archetypal Wenger signing, for he is quick and intelligent, with good technique and passing ability.

    St Etienne’s sporting director is Damien Comolli, who served as Wenger’s European scout at Arsenal for seven seasons before he went to work for Tottenham Hotspur. The pair have remained close, and Comolli, who has just overseen the €15m (£12.8m) sale of the striker Bafétimbi Gomis to Lyon, has conceded that “it would be difficult to prevent Matuidi from leaving if a top-10 European side came in for him”. Matuidi has said he feels the time is right to seek a fresh challenge.

    The possibility of Vieira, now at Internazionale, also moving to Arsenal sounds outlandish, but the proposition has been mooted by middlemen. Wenger, who is a mentor and confidant to Vieira, will raise the issue when the pair next speak.

    Even though Vieira left Arsenal in 2005 after nine seasons, the 33-year-old continues to have the utmost respect for Wenger and his return would also be welcomed in the dressing room, where Vieira has remained in touch with his fellow Frenchmen William Gallas, Mikaël Silvestre, and Gaël Clichy, as well as the captain, Cesc Fábregas. His experience could help to galvanise a young squad.

    “When we find the right players … of course, we do not make money to leave it in the banks,” Wenger said. “We are looking at some possibilities to strengthen the squad and we will only do it for players who it is worth spending the money on.”

    Tottenham had made a move for Vieira, and their interest in him remains alive, although the midfielder has reservations about playing for Arsenal’s local rivals. There is also the option of his staying put at Inter, which did not exist two months ago when the manager, Jose Mourinho, frustrated by Vieira’s wretched luck with injuries and inconsistent form, was prepared to usher him towards the exit. Vieira has since enjoyed one of his fullest pre-seasons for some time and feels fighting fit for the new campaign.As with every international player, this is a big season for Vieira, with the World Cup finals in South Africa at the end of it. Despite missing a host of France matches last season, he remains Raymond Domenech’s captain. Moreover, Vieira’s leading of the team at next summer’s showpiece would carry extra significance, for he was born in the west African country of Senegal. He needs to be playing regular club football in the build-up and he will take his time to assess where best that interest will be served.

  • manoo

    IN:Vieira(free) + Huntalaar (£15 mil) + De Rossi (£30) + Hangeland (£10 mil) = £55 mil

    OUT: Toure (£16 mil) + Adebayor (£25 mil) + eboue (£10) = £51 mil

    That would be class. Unrealistic, but we could afford them now, especially as it looks like eboue is on his way out to fiorentina. What do you think?

  • Berth

    @ Pete: Do you mean getting Viera, matuidi and Chamakh; if that is the case it will surely relax my mind.

  • Pete

    Yep, thats what todays reports are indicating.

  • Pete

    Off topic but football related. Bobby Robson has died today. RIP.

  • hello

    RIP… legend!!

  • bayo

    exclusive arsenal would wrap up the signing of blaise matuidi fot 7 mill pounds mid next week.arsenals bid has been accepted and the player would travel to london for his medical

  • Yemi

    RIP to the legend….

  • hello

    bayo… wheres the Matuidi news coming from??

  • bayo

    skysport news:wenger has made a phone call to president of boardeaux for chamakh as confirmed by the club psesident.wenger says i have a list of strikers and chamakh is one of them.

  • bayo

    clichy is struggling with a back injury and its possible he misses the first few games of the season

  • bayo

    wenger says chamakh is on a list of strikers he wants to buy.PLS WHAT OTHER PLAYERS ARE ON THE LIST.Boardeaux want 12mill pounds why cant we get the hunter for 15mill or vucinic

  • Gooner Get Ya

    RIP Sir Bobby Robson you were and will continue to be a legend in football.

  • bayo

    PLS HOW GOOD IS CHAMAKH SOMEBODY PLS

  • justin

    Bayo… from where did u get that Arsenal has done a deal for Blaise Matiudi????
    any links???

  • Macaw

    I don’t no whether Chamakh whether is he good or not. But something tell me that players that Wenger is interested in tend to reward us as fans. Look at Henry, Van Persie and … They all shows what it takes to become an Arsenal player.

  • Adeniyi

    This is the latest

    http://goal.com/en/news/9/england/2009/07/31/1414082/arsenal-target-romas-daniele-de-rossi-report

    Arsenal Target Roma’s Daniele De Rossi – Report
    Gunners boss Arsene Wenger could be lining up a €35 million bid for the Italian…
    31 Jul 2009 09:34:56
    Giuseppe Rossi is the hero for Italy against the USA in the Confederations Cup Group B match as his double helps clinch victory
    Photo Gallery
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    Giuseppe Rossi is the hero for Italy against the USA in the Confederations Cup Group B match as his double helps clinch victory

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could be interested in spending big and signing Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi.

    Wenger could have as much as €47 million (£40m) at his disposal after the sales of striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Kolo Toure to Manchester City.

    The majority of the money received may be used in a bid for De Rossi, according to The Independent, with an offer of around €35 million (£30m) speculated.

    The figure would eclipse any previous transfer fee spent by the north London outfit and will need to be in order for the Lupi to even entertain parting company with the 26-year-old.

    Gunners boss Wenger is keen to add some grit to his midfield and could get both aggression and creativity from the fiery Italy international, who is invaluable to the Giallorossi and regarded as one of the finest talents in the national setup.

    Saint-Etienne holding midfielder Blaise Matuidi has also been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium today, while rumours persist suggesting club legend Patrick Vieira could return to his spiritual home as he appears set to leave Inter this summer.

  • justin

    Chamakh is just an average player.. He is good at holding the ball upfront and letting others to get in the play, thats his best quality.. His assists prove it!!!
    He is an horrible finisher, but may be under Arsene he would improve on that aspect..
    Even though he is tall at 6ft 2″, he is’nt a good header of the ball. He has missed more than a dozen of absolute sitters. But amazingly out of the 13 goals he scored last season 7 where headers!!!
    For me its a gamble on trying him.. He is 25 yrs old, so its upto Wengers judgement….

  • JDD

    i see people are saying vieira is past it and therefore we sholdnt’t sign him but if we buy him it wont be soley on how he will perform on the pitch.his presence will give the team a boost and are cm would learn a lot from him.plus the love and passion he has for club will make him work hard for the team.people have been saying its easy to bully us,if we get vieira back i think they might have to eat there words.

  • Karl

    i think regardless of whether we buy players or not we can challenge for trophies ( as long as the squad can stay long term injury free ), but imagine what we could achieve if we managed to get Huntelaar, Hangeland ( if we sell Senderos ), Viera and Matuidi.

  • Debs

    Bourdeaux coach:

    “Wenger has called me,” he told L’Equipe.

    “He told me he has a list of forwards and Marouane is one of the names on it.

    “However, I expect this could be a complex case which could become a soap opera.”

    LOL at the last sentence! Arshavin part 2, maybe?

  • steveyj

    newsnow .co.uk /h/Sport/Football/Premier+League/Arsenal/All+Sources

    good news stream

  • bayo

    i may sound funny but i believe we need a player that works his socks up for the team not huntelarr,football is not about scoring.Rooney is not the best of goal scorers but he is an asset to man u so i bel chamakh is good enough if wenger wants him and sees himlike that adebayor was a nobody outside arsenal

  • bayo

    EXCLUSIVE Tribalfootball.com Arsenal have opened talks with newcastle keeper KRUL

  • hello

    .
    GREAT!!
    .