Arsenal’s Biggest Summer…

Afternoon all and it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon here in North London. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, there are smiles on people’s faces…. and that doesn’t happen that often during a season – especially where Arsenal’s season has been one of embarrassment. I’m not going to start ‘aving a go… but instead reflect on why this is Arsenal’s most important and biggest summer.

If you look at the current squad, there are a lot of very good players – but in reality, how many “world class” players do we have? If you think about it, we only have Cesc, Van Persie and possibly Nasri. Two class players, capable of winning games. Back in the day, Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Henry were all players capable of winning games from nothing – plus we also had the likes of Van Persie on the bench as well and a solid spine to back them up.

The problem is now, that the bench of game changers has turned into a bench of has-been’s – Rosicky and Lehmann, and a bench of kids, Ramsey, Gibbs, etc and a bench of fringe players who offer little or no substance when they come on, Chamakh, Bendtner, Denilson etc.

If anyone thinks for a minute that these players “will come of age” next season, they will be mistaken… When I hear Arsene come out and say this:

“We have enough quality to beat anyone in the world, even with the current squad. You have a Champions League Final and only one team has beaten both of them and that is Arsenal.

It worries me! He is right though, we have beaten Barcelona and Man United at home this season, so yes, we can all agree that there is a lot of quality in the squad. But then again, we’ve lost to Newcastle, West Brom and Aston Villa at home – so, what is the reasoning for that?

Arsene said yesterday that this is our biggest summer:

“[One of the most important summers of my time at Arsenal?] Yes, I think so, we had a few important ones but this will certainly be a big one, on all fronts.”

And I really hope it is… it has to be – the likes of Van Persie, Cesc and the emerging talents of Ramsey and Wilshere need quality players around them. Having a clueless Walcott on the right of midfield and a hopeless Arshavin on the left doesn’t help much – to have people like Bendtner, Chamakh and Denilson on the bench simply doesn’t inspire. I don’t agree when I say project youth has failed, it’s created a nucleus of good players – enough quality in the side to beat the top teams and compete until March / April…

Just imagine a team like this:


Sagna – Vidic – Vermaelen – Marcelo

Nasri – Cesc – Wilshere – Hazard

Suarez – Van Persie

With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Song, Ramsey, Walcott, Arshavin, Chamakh…

And the likes of Gibbs, Koscielny, Lansbury, Miyachi, JET, Watt in and around the squad…

This example of a squad has proved to me that we are 4 players short of team able to compete on all fronts – of course, the four players I’ve mentioned, Vidic, Marcelo, Hazard and Suarez are only examples of players out there that would transform our squad – but I don’t think for one minute we’ll possibly sign any of them. If you now look at the bench, you’ll see it’s relatively strong – with players available to change the game. That’s what we need.

Our left side is obviously in need of a full scale replacement – neither Clichy or Gibbs have really proved themselves and they need to be replaced. Out of the four players I mentioned, Edin Hazard could be a realistic £15m signing if we wanted him. Of course, Vidic, Marcelo and Suarez are out of our budget – they’re first team players and talismen for their current clubs – but if Alex Ferguson can find Hernandex for £8m and Vidic for £6m, then surely Arsenal – who apparently have the best scouting network in the world – can find players of that quality.

Many people say we need a big strong defensively midfielder… but it’s not the defensive midfield position that has let us down – United don’t even have such a player… it’s the team formation, the team defending as a unit and the individual mistakes that our back five his season have created that have undermined our season – confidence in our team mates and mental strength has been lacking.

I’m not an accountant and obviously not the manager, but for me, the exodus of Clichy (£10m to Juventus), Eboue (£6m to Athletico Madrid),  Diaby (£8m to PSG), Denilson (£7m to Sevilla), Squillaci (£3m to Villareal), Almunia (£2m to Galatasary), Bendtner (£12m to Bayern)… could easily raise £50m +… surely enough to get 4 quality players Arsene Wenger style… I’m not sure if you would agree with me, but who would your four players be, if you had a £50m budget?

Arsene continued talking about the summer and said:

“[That my first priority is to keep my squad together] is true [but it] doesn’t mean that there will be no movement. There will be some movement of players who have played less, who need to play and as well of course we will try to strengthen our squad again but we want to keep the basis and style of play we have. We are very very busy all over our Club, we are looking, analysing, talking to people. There are two steps in the transfer market during the summer, the first is very early and the second one is very late.

Considering it is late May now, do we think we’ll suddenly get a news of a new signing very soon? Hmmm, debatable… but fingers crossed…

Okay, back to the Arsenal Ladies game, it’s half time, they’re looking good, and we’re 2-0 up… come on you Arsenal….!

  • Bonathan

    My ins and outs would be:

    Almunia 0
    Squillaci 2.5m
    Traore 3.5m
    Denilson (not because i’d get rid of him but because he said he’s had enough) 9m
    Fabregas (again, I just think he’ll be on his way) 35m
    Bentdner 10m
    Total: 60m

    Given 4.5m
    Sakho 15m
    Chaimberlain 10m
    Hazaard 18m
    Milito 6m?

    Move nasri to a central role and welcome back frimpong and lansbury (and ramsey from the start next season of course) to replace fab and denilson. Making way for the new wide men to contend with arsharvin and walcott.

    sakho maybe not the old experienced head that would be ideal, but from what i’v heard/seen of him, he’s awesome. Already captained sides through the ranks, and for a 21 year old, has plenty of experience under his belt. Born leader they say.

    Milito and Given would provide some much needed experience.

  • Bonathan

    Oh, and also out vela, 6m

  • Berth

    The truth Dev is declaring an intent. look at Ac Milan as an example. last summer they went for broke getting Ibra, Robinho, Boatang and co. Later in January they got Cassano and to balance the team they went for experienced Van-Bommel that to me is how you declare something or tell the world that you really mean business.

    Truth be told. If Wenger or Arsenal Mean business by declaring an intent we will all know; even if results don’t come fans will understand.


  • devday

    @ Bonathan:
    I’d agree – re Given, would be an excellent keeper to have around with Szcznesy learning from him…!

  • devday

    @ Bonathan:
    So you’re thinking 4-5-1 still?

    Sagna – Sakho – Vermaelen – Clichy
    Walocott – Nasri – Song – Wilshere – Hazard
    Van Persie

  • devday

    @ Berth:
    Have to agree – we need to show that we’re actually up for it and want to challenge – which means strengthening in areas that we’re weak in. If we don’t then we’re obviously not declaring intent… which means we’re doomed again next season.

  • Bonathan

    i still like the 451 yeah. but i think united have shown it’s important to be able to switch for certain games, or during a game. That’s something we probably haven’t mastered. then again, you need strikers that can play with eachother. none of ours have had much chance to play together as a front two. I’d like to see walcott maybe play up with RVP at times.

    I’d maybe go for benzema rather than milito actually. benzema would give greater flexibility as he could play from a wide floating position also. Probably woudn’t need chaimberlain and hazaard then. I’d like to see them both though because they both look like exciting prospects. That said, I guess we’re sick of hearing about exciting prospects so maybe just pick one of them, and benzema rather than milito.

    I think we’d be well covered all over the park and if we did switch to 442, i think benzema and rvp would be a nice partnership. Both got plenty of goals in them, but both got a whole lot more to their game as well.

  • Bonathan

    It’s funny because there’s definitely an arguement that we don’t even need a keeper now as well. So if we decided we didn’t need a keeper, then I’d probably be happy with 3 players, even if fabregas and the others i mentioned above left. As long as those 3 players were something like:
    sakho (or other top, top class cb), hazaard and benzema.

    it’l be interesting to see if united go for benzema if it’s looking like he’ll be on the move. Ferguson tried to sign him on 2 other occasions. I think they may be too busy looking for a keeper and a midfielder this summer though. unless they offload berbatov and bring him in.

  • Vazy

    The kinds of names id be looking at

    someone realistic like Samba i think would be a solid choice, as he has bags of PL experience and has good physical presence, i wouldnt turn my nose up

    Nzogbia and Rodallega if Wigan go down whats going on with them? i wouldnt mind nzobgia but again im thinking too central but if cesc goes again he could be an alright shout

    Benzema or hazard would be nice but im not sure if we would splash it for either let alone both

    bring back Ryo Miyaichi from loan he looks decent to be honest if he can possibly play not sure if his work permit is or not valid for the uk

    has anyone heard of this guy called Alvarez? there has been a few storys from argentina have said we have snapped him up for free, well according to a mate out there traveling

    apart from samba its me thinking aloud to be honest.

  • GunFrogg

    Rumours said Arsenal pre-signed Ricardo Alvarez. He is on youtube. Beside this, Wenger said he will be very active on the market this summer. I hope he will go for Hazard and a CD. Benzema is too expensive and will not come if the Ricardo Alvarez rumour reveals true.

  • jamessssb

    I think that the biggest problem this season is the failure in defence and lack of desire and skill on the wings. Hazard looks extremely promising, not only young but also from what i have seen on youtube and club games doesnt mind having a pop at goal and seems to provide the cutting edge arsenal seem to be missing. The centre back is of course a problem but sakho and samba would both be quality buys. Arsenal should also cut the baggage, get rid of Almunia, Rosicky, eboue etc. The funds are there and the players are there for arsenal to buy. If cesc really wants to leave let him, we need a captain that is willing to put everything in line for the team. The other problem is the lack of grit and guts. We seemed to be doped half the time and the attitude given off is more of a cant wait to get back to bed rather than a lets win this thing. The return of viera in a managerial postiion would help this significantly … bring back viera and buy a die hard centre back and a flyer on the wings and arsenal are sorted … the cutting edge would be there and the youth in the subs and on the pitch would be there as well …