Morning all… the transfer market has officially kicked off, and it looks like even we’re on the verge of another signing – albeit based on the fact that our two summer targets, Sol Campbell and Mark Schwarzer looks of our reach now. The Solman has signed for Newcastle, whilst Mark Hughes appointment at Fulham means that it’s increasingly unlikely that Schwarzer will sign.
So where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us short in defence and messy in the goalkeeping department. It feels like I’m a broken record, but it’s clear that it’s two positions that we need to fill. It’s a bit of an annoying thing for me as a fan to see that we had our transfer targets as a 35-year old centre back and a 37 year old keeper, but perhaps I don’t know what exactly is going on – perhaps this is all smokescreen – but we have started our pre-season friendlies and have the Emirates Cup coming up soon. You would want whoever was going to be the mainstay of the squad to be here already. Having said that, if it does take a week or so to get the two players we need in, then obviously the wait will be worth it.
Who would we choose? Well, an overwhelming 75% of responses indicated that Akinfeev would be the number one choice, believed to be the most talented out of the group and with a lot of experience behind him. Schwarzer was second, ahead of both Stekelenburg, which I thought was strange considering the fact that he’s so much older and the fact that the latter was in a World Cup final. But the World Cup was a competition which let Stekelenburg down. His stock depreciated after a few blunders, but with his overall reputation still very good, and with the fact he has so much experience under his belt, plus the fact he is number one for his country and plays for a club who need to sell – Ajax – he could be a decent signing.
Marchetti came in fourth in the poll, and probably because he is more unknown – but out of the lot, he is probably the most likely player to come in. His club Cagliari have announced that he’s on the way out and have even mentioned that we’re the club interested, and it’s quite surprising after this quote, that the papers aren’t going mental.
“I understood from his words that he doesn’t want to stay with us. I would have preferred it is he had said so to me and not to the newspapers, but there aren’t offers for him. And there is full confidence in (reserve goalkeeper) Michael Agazzi. The only real club that is pushing for his signature is Arsenal.”
That quote was from club president, Massimo Cellino and it would be hard to see him making it up – which means it could be the signing we’ve all been looking for. The emphasis on the comment is “pushing” for his signature which means we’re trying hard. The stopping point is the price and rumours are that have offered £4m but the club are holding out for £6.5m. If we can stretch a little more, the Italian number one (well, at the World Cup anyway) could be down at the Emirates sooner than we think.
Edit: Sky Sports News reports that Marchetti was left out of the Cagliari’s pre-season’s friendly yesterday against Bastia.
And back to the defender we all know we need – especially with Djourou looking like he’s going to be a tad injury prone this season, as well as Koscielny looking like he may get blown away in the wind, the current target on everyone’s lips is Weder Bremen’s Per Mertersacker. Arsene commented on the defensive situation saying:
“We are still on the search for centre-halves. We have three and we need at least four. There are people we consider and are analysing and we look at the financial possibilities,”
There have been rumours that we’re in negotiations with Bremen, so I’ll be keeping an close eye on that one too. There were rumours that he was seen in a Highbury pub, but everything is still unknown about whether the picture was genuine or not…
For now, I would just like to leave you with a stubborn but very correct Arsene statement from yesterday:
“I am very happy with Cesc and we are all very happy at the club with Cesc. He is a very important player for us, he is our captain and we have worked very hard [for him] to be the future of our team and that is why we are always adamant about [not] letting him go.”
That’s it Arsene, tell them how it is… Cesc is staying…