A Bit Of A Rant, A Bit Of A Ramble

There are three major events that are happening this summer.

  1. Euro 2012
  2. The Olympics
  3. Arsenal’s Transfer Activity

It’s an extra-ordinary off season for all of us who live in England as it’s going to be back to back, millions of people will join us post the Euros as London becomes the venue for the Olympics. I managed to get tickets, so I am one of the lucky few… although the Gods seem to like to stunt my variation of sports – I’ve got Wembley, semi-final of the football!

Now, the most important thing this summer is surely how Arsene and his scouting and negotiating team can improve the team. Improve is just one word, but it has a wider connotation than just signing people.

We’ve got to do some spring cleaning. And whilst it’s fun to think of all the lavish new signings we want, it’s important to shift the dead wood. If Arsene can get Denilson, Vela, Bendtner, Chamakh, Park, Squillaci, Fabianski and Djourou off our books, we’ll get some money in, we’ll get them off our wage bill and we’ll be able to re-invest.

For every Denilson and Vela we shift, it will free up wages for a M’Vila; if we shift Squillaci, Park and Chamakh, that’s a new shiny striker in the squad. This summer, Arsene really should have come up with some sort of incentive to get the fans involved. Any fan who manages to successfully get rid of any of the aforementioned players gets a season for life!

I’ve held off writing a blog for the last couple of days, so that Tottz’s WOA Questionnaire could get some airtime… and it’s proved an interesting debate for many. I’ve been added a few replies on to the article too, but still have a lot of questions to answer. If you’ve not done so yet, it’s worth a read and both Tottz and myself would be very interested in the answers.

I’ve been debating the transfer requirements with quite a few top Gooners in the last couple of the weeks, and I have one question for you?

If the squad remained as is, and you could strengthen only one position, which position would that be?

When asked, it made me think, what major difference would one player in one position make to the whole squad. It was a tough one, as there are some areas that are in obvious need of strengthening, and some other areas which we will need to strength for general squad numbers too. But identifying the exact one position that overwhelms others is a very good question.

With Almunia already departed and Fabianski hoping to leave, we will be short in the goal keeping department and for that reason, I do expect Arsene to buy someone. However, the question is more about the first team.

My initial reaction was “we need a defensive midfielder”, a top one – and I think that the general consensus. Song goes forward and leaves Arteta to cover the back four, but without Arteta in the team, no-one mops up, which as we saw at the end of the season, leaves a gaping hole. But, next season, if all goes well, we’ll have Wilshere back, Arteta back and both Frimpong and Coquelin as defensive midfielders. Add Song, Rosicky, Diaby and Ramsey, who out of this group could make way for the likes of M’Vila?

But, shouldn’t we be looking to having a “proper” central midfielder like M’Vila or the like of such a player in the middle of the park – a Tiote – someone who sits in front of the back four, and shouldn’t we loan out younger players like Ramsey and Frimpong until they’re actually ready for the first team?

After that little ramble, the thought process went to the back four – Saga, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs – do we need to replace any of them? Well, we have conceded a lot of goals, that’s for sure. Kos has been excellent this season, and Vermaelen doesn’t need any discussion. Sagna is one of the best right backs in the league and Gibbs has been very impressive.

Wingers? Gervinho, Walcott & Oxlade are three players who will only get better next season, but Walcott was clearly over-used and had no competition for his place in the team. Gervinho had an on / off season and Oxlade, well, is the junior. Another winger would be an excellent addition.

Strikers? We play one striker, and the question above assumes that Van Persie will be with us (despite my thoughts to the contrary) and Podolski has joined. So two top forwards – it sounds very interesting.

So back to the question….

If the squad remained as is, and you could strengthen only one position, which position would that be?

I’ll leave that question with you…

  • lorenzo

    i’d say dempsey, for the reason that he can be an extra midfielder and second striker should we need one, case in point; against acmillan that game was crying out for attacking input but we desperately needed one, i believe that with a dempseyesque player in the side …who knows?

  • devday

    Interesting you mention Dempsey – he has come out today suggesting he wants to play in the Champions League. He seems like more of a predatory striker than a second striker. But it’s a combination that could work…

    Dempsey – Podolski – Van Persie – Walcott – Gervinho – Oxlade – that’s quick a few attacking options to choose from…!

  • JP

    I’d say the one position that we definitely need is someone who can win games.

    We have Arteta and Wilshere coming back and Coquelin and Frimpong back too – so we have numbers there.

    But if we had to buy one player, then someone amazing and well known to gee up the rest of the players.

    Podolski was a good signing. He has a name, and is a top player, but someone like RIBERY would be an awesome addition.

  • Berth

    M villa all the way, reminds me of how much we missed Flamoney

  • ArseFan101

    I’d agree – someone really defensive. An enforcer. A ball winner. Someone who the rest of the team can rely on.

    M’Vila fits the bill. It will allow the team more rotation. I am not sure if Jack will be back and fit to start the season, so a middle three of M’Vila (or similar) Arteta and Song could work – allowing Song to go forward and also allowing Arteta more space to attack.

    I’d definitely loan out Ramsey too, maybe for the first three months of the season?

  • SpeedDemon

    I thought it’s be a striker, but with Podolski coming in – if we keep Robin – it has to be a midfield enforcer – it will help us save conceding so many goals.

  • devday

    @ SpeedDemon:
    Defenses always play better or seem to play better when they are protected. When Arteta was in the side (pre-injury) he offered a disciplined role. A midfield enforcer would add stability to the back 4 and allow more space for the attacking part of the team.

  • prime

    any news on joel campbell?

  • patrick

    so the big question all AST members will answer i’ll put to do guys.first the question:do you still support wenger as afc manager?thumbs up for yes, and thumbs down for no.i’ll say yes.if wenger as lost it as some made out then how did he get the team to 3rd in the table,when in truth,we looked poor that first half of the season.i think he deserves next season on that basis,not only that,who the hell is better to get better than 3td in the table.so for me,wenger stays.this should be interesting???

  • patrick

    Cesc was a different story, he has Barca DNA, Nasri and Clichi were just greedy but we run out of excuses in case RVP leaves. We will be officially a feeder club trying to finish off with a positive balance. His departure will be a massive blow for all remaining players with any ambition to win something in their careers. Can’t see Ox and Wilshire stay to become statues when they see all their role models leave one by one … AFC must sign another one or two big players to make RVP sign the papers.

  • lance

    What we do this summer will dictate how Arsenal perform through out the 2012/13 campaign. Arsenal usually don’t buy in the winter transfer window. I’d say 99% of Gooners want new players bought. I’m one of those. There are so many brilliant footballers that’ll dramatically improve Arsenal but I don’t what Arsenal run the same way Chelsea and Manchester City being run. You never know Arsenal could inadvertently lose some of it’s fans. Not to mention, it is desperate and pathetic. I don’t Arsenal cheating their way to trophies. Arsenal will lose it’s essence and above all it’s soul. P.S. Chelsea fans do me a favour and take that dumb banner and lie you have at Stamford Bridge calling yourself ‘The Pride of London’. That tag simply belongs to Arsenal Football Club!

  • Bonathan

    hmm, i still think the nasri/fabregas role as the most advanced of the three central midfield positions needs addressed. no-one has got the goals from there since.

    although, the reports linking us to a more robust, box to box, strong tackling midfielder suggests one of 3 things to me:
    1. wenger has lost faith in song and feels he needs to replace him, but i do not believe this to be the case.
    2. wenger is planning on pushing wilshire further up into the ‘fabregas’ role. or
    3. doing away with the fabregas role, and having song sitting with a box to boxer either side. similar to i always think of the chelsea system, certainly of years gone by with makalele.

    certainly, finding someone who can do that job fabregas done AND get the goals is tough. those players usually come with a big price, unless they are not well established at it, in which case they may not be able to do it in the prem. cartainly mata would have been a good option, but we lost out on him and these players are hard to come by.

    so either option 2 or 3 would make sense. wilshire is already tried and tested, has awesome quality, and a cool head. maybe he could adapt to that role. i rather think that option 3 is the way we may be going though.

    either way, from what i have seen (which to be fair is only one you tube clip) of yann m’villa, he could well be the guy to put us on the right track.

    a more robust, defensive central 3 would likely give more of a license for our wide men to stay up the pitch and not track back as much. which could mean more goals from walcott, gervinho etc.

  • Bonathan

    What does everyone think of our centre back situation? i must admit i’m still not entirely convinced. this is a situation that has dragged a number of years now and we really should have put it to bed. maybe we have, but i still have a few question marks….

    vermaelen. probably our best CB. just how good is he? i’m still not so sure. certainly, he has his injury problems.

    Kos. improving all the time. still a bit hit and miss at times though. juries still out for me though.

    Mertersacker- as far as i’m concerned, the jury is very much still out here. he has great experience, and i’d hope he keeps us organised, but he isn’t the domineering aerial master i was hoping for. and then of course, there’s his pace!

    we then will have a battle for 4th choice between a disappointing JD and kyle bartly. hopefully jd can up his game and hopefully bartly will be good.

    but lets concentrate on the main 3 vying for two positions. there is one thing they all lack, that sense of just knowing that when a ball was put into the area, it would be dealt with. When we had adams, keown etc, that was the case. mertersacker is tall, and TV and KOS get stuck in as much as anyone, but none of them can dominate in the air. TV and Kos are good in the air, but they lack a little height (and bulk i think), mertersacker sometimes looks useful in the air, other times he looks like a wet fart getting muscled out of it.

    certainly, i’m not saying that i’d scrap any, but i’m just yet to be fully convinced by them (apart from maybe TV). they all need to bulk up a little for me.