Is Our Squad Ready For The Season?

Morning fellow Gooners. First of all, apologies for the downtime, and comment system failure. We’re undergoing some changes down at WOA headquarters but as I understand, everything is back to normal… well, at least as far as the blog is concerned. Personally, I’m not sure exactly what is going on this summer in terms of clear out and regalvanisation of the squad. After a promising start to the transfer window, with the quick announcement of Maroune Chamakh, which was followed up by the protracted signing of Koscielny.

Both have looked “okay” in pre-season, but neither have really shone – yet.

There have only been two pre-season games, so a little more time can be given to the two new recruits. We have obviously deficiencies in the squad, and the big question is whether they will be addressed properly or not this summer. Before the start of the transfer window, we knew we need to replace the exiting defenders with some fresh blood and with the exits of Silvestre and Gallas as well as Sol Campbell and the final departure of Senderos, we do look thin on the ground in defence. We have four defenders in Vermaelen, Djourou, new signing Koscielny and loan returnee Nordtveit. Pretty much as a group of defenders they are inexperienced – albeit the captain of the last game, Vermaelen, who I would say was quite experienced, but has only one season in the Premiership. Numbers wise it looks okay. 4 defenders and maybe Song… but apart from Koscielny, we had all of these players on the books at Arsenal last season. So we’ve basically let Gallas, Silvestre, Senderos and Sol Campbell move on and got Koscielny in return. When you look at that stat, you have to think another signing is required. But is that signing the re-signing of 35 year old Sol Campbell? Yes he was good last season, but was he technically good enough?

If I told you before the summer that Eduardo, Gallas and Silvestre would leave the club and that we’d replace them with a free transfer, an unproven centre back from the French league who had been playing in Ligue 2 the season before, the resigning of a 35 year old Campbell and a 37-year keeper in Schwarzer, you would have laughed at me. The squad has been crying out for a real world class keeper since Lehmann fell from grace – Almunia and Fabianski have just not cut it. The squad has been crying out for a world class defender – we finished the season with the most goals conceded out of the top four, have we made our defensive unit better?

We’ve had to put up with high earners and low performers like Diaby, Denilson and Theo Walcott – the latter, a player who just seems like he has not progressed as he should have in the last couple of years – to the point where Capello picked the clueless Lennon and the hapless Shaun Wright Philips ahead of him for the World Cup.

Yesterday Arsene spoke on the defensive side of things, saying:

“There is no news on a defensive signing but numbers wise we are short in defence. The situation is still open for Sol Campbell and for the rest we are still looking.”

And my gut feeling is that Arsene would like to bring back Sol Campbell and thus conclude the addition of any further defenders.

I have to admit that I am genuinely worried at the pursuit of Mark Schwarzer. I don’t rate him – he is 37. Fulham want in excess of £3m for him. The star of the World Cup, Eduardo has now moved from Braga to Genoa for £3.4m who in my eyes was a better prospect. There are some rumours that there is a get out clause in Schwarzer’s contract and thus the fee wouldn’t be anywhere near £3m – not the case if the papers are to be believed.

Will the signing of Sol and Schwarzer really galvanise the squad? Does it appease the likes of Van Persie and Cesc, whom have both been with us for some time, without a sight of a trophy? Is this the extent of what we can do within our budget? Questions have to be raised, as Ade, Kolo, Eduardo have brought in just shy of £50m, and their wages have also been taken off the wage bill – as well as high earners like Silvestre and former captain Gallas.

Sol Campbell has shown us – again – that he is not as loyal as we want from a player whom we’ve supported through thick and thin and has tried to earn a package with Sunderland, West Ham, Celtic amongst others – all whom have decided against him – if he is not good enough for them – where Steve Bruce would rather sign the error-prone Titus Bramble instead – then how on earth is he good enough for us? I may be jumping the gun – there have been some interesting performances from the youth, and yes the future does look promising – but to win the biggest prizes we need top quality now – and with Man City and Liverpool back in the transfer market and Chelsea always there – if we don’t strengthen, when will be able to stop competing.

I don’t want to put a downer on things, but I really do hope Arsene can bring in some better players than the ones we’ve been linked with. It’s make or break…

  • Berth

    Its make or break for you but its not for Wenger

  • Mehedi

    LOLOLOLOLOL Henry scores against spurs

  • Berth

    Wenger likes Fantasising a lot. Am sure in his mind he is trying to figure out Nordevit or Campbell as our best shot to glory, he does not realise that Nordevit is too young to make a difference while Campbell is too old to make a difference.

    I Know we fans have been crying for experience but what we ask is quality experience (Sol ain’t quality any more and Mark Schwarzer could be quality but getting him will be a gamble).

    Dev as for the age; Van da Sar joined man u when he was 35.

  • andrew

    For the most part, I support Arsene’s transfer policies. I don’t mind that we are “cheap” due to the stadium debt. BUT… It is about time that some quality comes into the side!!! I definitely agree with devday that some class needs to be brought in for defence and at keeper.

    It is highly improbable that Arsenal will win the league if we enter the season with the current set of defenders and hapless keepers. Could we potentially see Vermaelen partner with Djourou/Koscielny for a season long strong partnership? Small chance that there will be no injuries and that they will gel together as a cohesive pairing immediately. Is there a possibility that one of our young keepers takes the job and performs admirably all season long without an injurious mistake or two? I doubt it. Unfortunately, we will see a repeat of this year (a lot of promise but no reward) if we do not buy a solid defender and shot-stopper.

  • AmriGooner

    Simple answer on the title “NO” our squad is not ready as it is for the season.
    And I think Wenger knows that and will do something about it. “but numbers wise we are short in defence” he said.

  • kunal

    Christian zapata will cum. aw said he’d buy a defender n zapata’s agent confirmed that arsenal are interested. we can surely buy him from udinese at a reasonable price. the money is available

  • devday

    @ Berth:
    I know Van Der Sar joined United at 35 – but at the time he was regarded as one of the best in the game – but Schwarzer isn’t regarded as the best in the game at all – and to be honest, with the link, my eyes were on him at the World Cup and he was pretty bad…

  • Arsefan101

    @ AmriGooner:
    When he says he is short in defence, do you think after he signs Sol Campbell and Mark Schwarzer that he will be happy?

  • Arsefan101

    @ kunal:
    I hope we sign Zapata – he would definitely be our #1 choice!

  • Arsefan101

    I heard that New York are playing Man City!??
    Henry vs Kolo Toure, Vieira and Adebayor!!

  • edison

    if something doesnt turn up in the next week, i think we should all worry.

    There has not been ANY talk of arsenal transfers this week. The media is already looking at our ‘start to the season’ and current squad.

    Almunia is simply not consistantly good enough, or a threat to the likes of drogba, rooney and torres. Although not ideal, Swartzer may work, at least a recognised big keeper with experience would put abit of doubt into the oppositions mind.

    As for a centerback, I still think we should have signed Mexes while we had the chance. Kosielny is effectively another vermaelen – and i dont think we will often seen the two of them start together at the back.

  • devday

    @ edison:
    It’s true – it’s all about Man City, Chelsea and even Liverpool in the transfer news…

  • Flamez

    @edison yeah they aint been any talk for the last week, but we all know thats how arsene likes to do business so you cant read into it to much

  • Bonathan

    I don’t know what the big deal is about schwarzer. in my opinion he’s past his best now and his best was never amazing. he made a howler in the world cup and gifted us a goal last year when we played them. if he makes mistakes like that in an arsenal shirt he’l be blasted big style. you’ve seriously gotta question if he’s better than almunia. Almunia hasn’t done that bad. yes, he’s prone to the odd mistake but i’d prob stick with him ahead of schwarter.

    our main problem, keeper wise, was when almunia was injured. the young keepers need to be loaned out to make their mistakes elsewhere. we can’t afford to have them doing it for us if we wanna be serious contenders. if wenger isn’t gonna spend big on a keeper, which looks unlikely, then i’d say some old veteran who could challenge almunia for the jersey and step in for big games when almunia’s injured. shwarzer would fit into that category, trouble is, you have to think he’ll only come if he’s guarenteed the number one jersey. he’d have to earn it in my eyes. of course, if the money is there, then we should just be looking to get the best we can.
    Another centre back would be useful. there are a few names being branded about to be fair. the jagielka price tag seems awfully steep to me although i do like him. mertersacker’s name has been mentioned as well. will we get anyone? i don’t know, i’m so used to seeing the transfer window go by with no one else coming in now that nothing surprises me.

  • Goonerman

    Don’t you think it’s a bit early to be getting worried about our squad dev? We have over a month to strengthen, Liverpool are only getting freebies and I’m pretty sure without selling they can’t really afford to spend more than 10 to 13m on a single player, Chelsea have replaced joe cole with a player who I don’t think is even as good as him while apparently nearly buying ramieres for 20m who I don’t think is as good as song and man city are on another level which nobody can compete with and I’d like to see what happens when new financial rules come In and also how on earth are they going to keep players happy when the have nearly 3 players for each position.

    Stats show that swarchzer os a better keeper than our others and if he is the only chance of a new keeper then I will happely accept, dojourou does actually look like the kind of defender we need, big,strong and lacey so maybe if we give him a chance to find some match fitness in the next few pre season games he will start looking the part alongside vermaelen!

    Let’s just give wenger a couple of weeks and see what he has up his sleave!

  • devday

    @ Goonerman:
    Your comment makes sense – but in this day and age, wouldn’t you think a decent bid for Bolton’s Cahill and the signing of Eduardo before he went to Braga would have been better for the squad than what we’re doing with Nordtveit / Campbell?

    Agree than Djourou is going to be a gem this season!

  • Jimmy

    I wouldn’t complain if Djourou was starting in defence alongside Vermaelen but if Wenger is willing to pay 14m for Jagielka does that mean that Djourou would not be a starter this season. I highly rate Djourou but if he keeps on sitting on the bench we may see him leave for first team football.

  • edison

    also – I think we are the only team in the top four and out of our rivals who hasnt lost a pre season friendly yet.

    spurs and chelsea liverpool have both lost/drawn games – we have shown no sign of letting up ! even with a team full of youth and reserves.

    Cant read too much into the pre season, but it atleast shows that our arsenal bench/reserves surpasses our rivals

  • RVP

    we still need 3 signings 1 gk 1 cb 1 dm but if we dont get them we will still be ok IF we dont get as many injuries as we have been gettin

    schwarzer
    clichy vermaelen mertesacker sagna
    melo song
    nasri fabregas arshavin
    van persie

    or

    fabianski(i dont really rate him but atm hes is our no.1 :( )
    clichy vermaelen koscielny sagna
    song djourou
    nasri fabregas arshavin
    van persie

    and remember players like rosicky walcott wilshere chamakh bendtner and many more aint even in those teams

    to be honest i think we will get schwarzer if he pushes the deal through its now down to him if not i feel we wont buy a goaly unfortunately. i think wenger will put all his efforts now into buying an additional centre half mertesacker or jagielka the players with the strongest rumours lately. the third signing a defensive midfielder depends on how wenger wants to play next season- 4-2-3-1(2 dm 3 am 1 striker) or
    4-3-3- (1 dm 2 cm/am 3 am/wingers 1 striker) if he decides to stick to the later it will be nasri song fabregas-arshavin chamakh/van persie van persie/walcott. however if he wants to go with the first we will need a dm – song new dm-arshavin fabregas nasri-van persie

    whatever our squad looks like on sep 1st i know we will be in the hunt for trophies this season.van persie will stay fit and get 20+goals , arshavin and nasri now with a couple seasons under their belts will perform to there best , fabregas will continue to improve , song will be a beast in the middle once again.and our back four will be solid.this is our year

  • RVP

    also another thought we could move vermaelen into dm if we got another top cb and pair himw ith koscielny or djourou i kno vermaelen and song would be fuckin solid in the middle of the park

  • goonerman

    i definetley agree with Eduardo and Cahill, something was a bit weird about the eduardo thing though because surely he wouldnt of rejected one of the biggest clubs in europe just becuase he had to wait a bit.

    as far as cahill goes i have liked him for a long time i think he would be perfect along the verminator, hes got plenty of premier league experience and has all the things we need in a CB, i would definetley pick him over jagielka and mertsacker.

    maybe things will start happening in the next week when wengers back from austria because wenger does seem like someone to do his buisness face to face. we have celtic lyon and ac milan coming to the emirates next weekend, would you take Hugo Lloris???? and even though im sure im alone on thins one who would have flamini back for a bargain price? he made a huge mistake leaving us but we could make him great again lol i know im dreaming here!!

  • goonerman

    just thinking man city have to sell some players to meet the 5 man squad rules, so what about a cut price move for either de jong of kompany??

  • RVP

    @goonerman definately de jong hes one of the best dm in the game right now

  • Goonerman

    And as he demonstrated on alonso he’s got amazing karate skills lol !! I reckon wenger will have an eye on who’s gonna be leaving city, even though I hate them it does seem the club get on ok as the adebayor and toure transfers happened pretty smoothely!

  • andrew

    Inler was the most impressive DM for me at the world cup. He seemed to single-handedly keep Switzerland in contention in their games. I really liked his style. I know Udinese are not selling, but he’d be my personal choice, if anyone listened to me.

  • vj

    guys for the new rules does that mean that if we have say 6 injuries which we normally do we can only replace them with people in the 25 man squad? or can we draft reserve players in?

  • vj

    ive been trying to find some good gossip and one encouraging one was arsenal trying for martin stekelenburg, ajax have admitted they need to sell players, and have commented “there is one english club interested in a GK for sure” at 4 mil for the 27 year old who had a great world cup it would be an epic signing, plus there are rumours if sol leaves the we might try 15 mil for phil jagielka

  • Goonerman

    @vj
    on too of the main 25 man squad we can have as many back up players to fill in as we want as long as they are under 21 so the likes of theo and Gibbs don’t even have to be put into the 25 man squad. Get it?

  • goonerman

    i know you have to approve it first dev but this isone serioy amazing penalty even though like most at the moment!

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/world-of-sport/article/19275/

  • goonerman

    my computer did not let me type what i wanted just then i meant, i know you have to approve it first dev but this is one seriously amazing penalty even though i hate most of the spanish at the moment!

  • vj

    yes arshavin delivering the goods on akinfeev step in arsene before ferguson cock blocks u

  • Vazy

    @goonerman

    that’s just amazing, so simple yet unbelievable