Today’s blog is not going to be about Cesc. The will he, won’t he, should he, how could he saga of Cesc’s future at Arsenal has sidetracked us all from the main things to talk about this summer. And I for one am going to try my best to focus on the rest of the world of Arsenal. Despite new fresh rumours from the rumour mill saying a contract has been agreed and all that silly business, I still believe it’s a pure fabrication – if you want to discuss Cesc, click here. (I hope nothing bad happens overnight!)…
One final Cesc related note from barcelonafootballblog.com, about how Barcelona fans feel about Fabregas:
If Fabregas comes, he comes, but stop talking about him as if we have some divine right to him. We don’t. He’s a player who left the farm in search of greener pastures, and found them. He didn’t show any particular loyalty to the club back then, so I just don’t see any sorts of talismanic qualities present in him right now. All I see is a 50m benchwarmer. If he doesn’t start for Spain, what makes anyone think that he is going to be starting in our midfield, which is essentially the Spain starting midfield?
We need midfield depth that won’t grumble about sitting on the bench, and reliable excellence at right and left back. I’d rather splash for that, than for Cesc Fabregas, who certainly has an admirable skill set (no, that isn’t tapping up). But he would basically be sitting around, filling in a waiting for Xavi to retire.
So, in all this furore, it’s clear that Barcelona fans a) understand that there is no divine right to the transfer of Cesc and b) they aren’t really too bothered if he signs. One thing for sure, is that the campaign is very much media driven, and I’m not convinced that there is a genuine threat behind this. If Barcelona continue to do this every summer, then at 25 or 26, he will probably leave.
Anyway, we’re not supposed to be talking about Cesc.
Time to think about next season with Cesc… and what is going to happen in transfers in…
We already know that Maroune Chamakh is virtually an Arsenal player, which poses the question on whether or not we will revert back to a 4-4-2 and I honestly don’t believe we will. Arsene has adopted the 4-3-3 through the ranks and the youth team are currently modelling themselves on it, so having gone so far in believing in the formation, it’s unlikely that we would abandon it after one season.
David Seaman seems to think that Almunia and Fabianski will be our number one and two next season and that Arsene won’t be investing in a new keeper. I’d be surprise to a degree if that does happen but not overwhelmingly surprised. It may be a switch round that sees Fabianski take over as number one and Almunia drop down to number two. It wouldn’t surprise me in the manner that Arsene has expressed so much belief in the Pole, but it would surprise me considering the fan backlash that would happen if Arsene didn’t sign a new keeper. On current form, our top two keepers are somewhat maligned and completely devoid of all self confidence. Neither are punching at any weight and neither will turn into world class players over night. Has Almunia been at fault for the 40 odd goals conceded in the league this season or have our various back lines been at fault. In reality, it’s hard to know – but what we do know is that both have a mistake in their locker, and to win trophies, you need a consistent and effective goalkeeper at the helm. I would love to see a Frey or a Hart come in, and I really do hope that one of them will be signed. It’s time for fresh blood.
The priority in Arsene’s eyes will most definitely be a central defender with Gallas and Silvestre departing, one will be replaced by Nordtveit and the other will be a new signing. That, I am pretty sure of. Depending on who the manager brings in, will determine who else he brings in. Despite the big move supposedly available, player contracts have been extended and more long term contracts will be signed by the beginning of next season. Will Jack Wilshere return to Arsenal and is he ready for first team action? That’s a whole other question and he has shown us that he can ply his trade in the Premiership and he looked pretty good up at Bolton.
Our midfield has a problem that we play 3 in midfield, but Diaby and Denilson are very very inconsistent and don’t quite have the something that would make them automatic first choices. There is space for a new midfielder, but who? At Barcelona, they play one defensive midfielder and two attacking ones. We have Cesc and Song, but the third spot is yet to be filled. But it could easily be filled with Nasri. A middle three of Cesc, Nasri and Song is a damn good middle three.
So, let’s take a look at our possible best eleven…
New Keeper (see above)
Almunia / Fabianski
Sagna – New Defender – Vermaelen – Clichy
Eboue – Djourou – Campbell – Gibbs
Song – Nasri
Denilson – Diaby
Van Persie – Cesc – Arshavin
Walcott – Rosicky – Vela
I’ve put Chamakh straight in there as I think he’s more of a finished article than Bendtner, but our first XI looks strong, and even stronger if the two players whom we bring in (GK and CD) are quality. The second XI does have a lot of talent in it too. Add into this mix, a third team consisting of Mannone, Traore, Nordtveit, Ramsey, Eastmond, Wilshere, Eduardo, etc and we do have the strength in depth required. But as a first XI, we do need two big players to come in preferably in the positions outlined above.
If Arsene chooses to keep faith in the goalkeeping department, we may see another midfielder come in. My dear friend, JAT, said the difference between us and the other top European teams is that – yes, we have a great first XI, but Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid have a great first 18 and that is what makes the difference. Every team has injuries, but when we have injuries, we can’t replace a top player with another top player, but instead a youth product or a reserve player.
Yes, we will be a better team next season than we have been this season, but as we have seen with Liverpool, if you don’t mix it up, spruce it up and try to improve your team, it can easily go downhill. I will be happy with a new centre back and a new keeper. If we sign those two players, I’ll be happy to go into next season and we confident that we can finally win a title. We don’t need to get rid of players like Diaby, Denilson and Vela, they are good young players whom have learnt a lot and can be very good squad players. But Diaby, for example, should feel that he has to work at his game to get into the first team.
The difference next season has to be in attitude – no player should believe that he can walk into the team (except for RvP and Cesc who are the two truly world class players) and each player should be on top of their game to get into the team. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson – both Nani and Valencia aren’t automatic picks and what that does to them is make them feel like they a) have to get better and b) have to be consistent. A small change in attitude and a small change in personnel will make all the difference, turning us from 90% of a complete team to 100%.
The change is down to Arsene. He should know what we have to do to regain a lost foothold.