So, there we have it… the transfer window is officially closed. It was a crazy day for any fan if you’re obsessed with your team as much as I am and I know pretty much all of you are – the signs at the beginning of the day were that Mark Schwarzer was the serious target and with Fulham looking at various alternative keepers, Shay Given, Doni (from Roma) and a few other links, it looked like as soon as they got the keeper they were looking for, then Schwarzer was all but ours.
Well, it simply didn’t materialise. Not only didn’t it materialise, it was never going to. Despite the euphoria of the deadline day, and the madness of blogs, news sites, twitter and facebook – Arsene failed to tell us that we were never going to sign a keeper on deadline day. Mark Hughes revealed to Sky Sports News reporters that we hadn’t made any contact at all on Tuesday. None whatsoever. That – for me – was the confusing part in the whole affair – personally, I was convinced that we were in for a keeper.
When quizzed earlier in the Summer, Arsene had categorically stated it was an area he was aware that need. Before the end of the season, he did come out and talk about Almunia not necessarily being his number one. With Fabianski’s form so bad, we all expected a keeper to be signed.
“I don’t think it is the best moment to talk about that. I never said that he [Almunia] will be my long-term No 1. I think he is a great goalkeeper and he is in competition with Fabianski. But I want to see how we finish [the season] now so I don’t think it is the best period to talk about individual players.”
And the strange thing about the comments from Arsene is that you feel that despite Almunia obviously being much better than Fabianski, you feel that the gaffer has some sort of undying commitment to the Polish keeper. Many people, including myself, are worried that we haven’t got a world class number one – but even more worried that if Almunia is injured, our number two in Fabianski is well below par. Personally, as it looks like now, if Almunia is number one, then so be it. But I’d rather have Mannone or Szcznesny as number two than Fabianski. Without meaning to sound like I am going on about it – to be honest – if Arsene had put in two different bids in for Schwarzer – than he’s publically made everyone aware that it was a department that he needed to improve – to see Eduardo (the goalkeeper) sign for Genoa for only £3.4m – we all thought it was just a matter of time before a Schwarzer, Given or Hart would be unveiled.
One thing I do have to say – is that Xabi Alonso had one of his best seasons after Benitez tried to move him on for Gareth Barry – so if anything, if Almunia knuckles down and proves to us all that he can win us those games and win our a title, then this summer will be a passing moment.
That’s it – I’m drawing the line on the goalkeeping situation. We didn’t sign a new keeper – Almunia will be our number one and it’s time to get behind him. Here is the line that I am drawing:
Not the best line, I may have to draw one and scan it in, but a line it is nevertheless.
The transfer window is closed and it’s had it’s interesting moments. Good news are the signings of Koscielny, Squillaci and Chamakh and without a doubt, that Cesc has stayed with us. For the last couple of years, we had becoming quite a selling club. The double sales of Adebayor and Toure for a combined £41m was a prime example of – if the buying club pays enough – that we will sell. And we all worried that a £35m bid would be enough to tempt the club to part with talisman Cesc Fabregas. The club’s rejection of several bids and desire to keep the club captain, was impressive. And the fact that we then went on to sign three players for about a £15m outlay is good – recognising that certain improvements were required and duly those positions were filled.
We’ve not got a game until a week on Saturday and before that we have two friendlies – England will have Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott and our top goalscorer this season spoke about his call up to the full squad:
“He [Capello] has got me back in the squad, and it shows he has faith in me. As a player you need to deal with the ups and downs. I think now I am a much better player (than two years ago). I had a very good pre-season, no injuries, and this season has gone well so far. I have just got to keep my feet on the ground and keep working hard. That’s all I can do.
And I have to say, I have been impressed with Theo’s attitude this summer. He’s got his head down and he’s making better and better decisions. The headline on Arsenal.com yesterday was “Walcott can be as good as Henry for Arsenal”… a collection of tweets about his performances… but if he continues in the same vein, he could really become the player we all want him to become. Good on you Theo…