Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wenger Continues Search Around Clock For Signings While Transfer Deadline Day Looms

Well, it's that time of the year again. I'm writing this 1 day and 21 hours before the transfer window slams shut. Arsenal fans the world over are no doubt worrying about said window slamming shut on Arsene Wenger's fingers. He, on the other hand, must be the calmest man on the planet as he doesn't seem the least bit worried about whether he gets the players his squad needs. Whether that's because he has a fool proof plan in place to get his targets or it's just down to his naivete is up in the air. It's hard to tell with him as he is easily the most enigmatic character in all of world football when asked about transfers in the summer. He's gone on record earlier this summer stating that he believes his current crop of players are good enough to challenge for the Premiership title. In another breath, he says Arsenal are in the market for players and are searching around the clock for the right additions to the team - that any player he signs has to be better than those currently at the club. Given this last statement, you have to wonder if the clock he's searching around might be Big Ben!

I'm very pleased with the talent we have at our disposal. I believe though that unless we make a number of signings in the 1 day, 20 hours and 41 minutes (yes I'm counting, how is it that you aren't?) remaining in the window we'll come up shorter than Andrey Arshavin trying to ride a roller coaster at Six Flags, in terms of winning anything this season. Our squad is simply just too small to survive the rigors of playing the over 60 games teams that win silverware at the end of seasons usually play. So I've tried to work out what positions we actually need to sign players in and who we should turn to in order to fill these gaps:

In Goal
We currently only have two relatively experienced goalkeepers on our books at the moment. Conventionally, teams should look to have three. When you consider that Lukasz Fabianski is pretty injury prone for a goalkeeper, the need to have three becomes more pressing. Wojciech Szczesny is obviously our Number 1 but I believe if we sign an experienced goalkeeper it would only do him a world of good. At 23 years old, Szczesny is still, in goalkeeping terms, a child in the game. I think Szczesny will be a world class goalkeeper someday but he has a few errors in his game he needs to sort out. Sign someone who's already been there, done that and worn the T shirt and Szczesny could learn a lot from him. It would also help to keep him on his guard as he'll know that if he wants to keep his spot in the starting eleven he can't slack off as someone is always lurking and waiting to take his spot away. Remember it happened last season with him being benched for Fabianski, until Lukasz hurt his shoulder.

I'd like to see us make a move for either Iker Casillas or Julio Cesar. We could easily get Casillas on loan since he's still being asked to warm the bench despite Mourinho's exit. Cesar, on the other hand, is still stuck at Loftus Road with Queens Park Rangers and needs to be in the limelight with a top club if he wants to keep his starting spot in the Brazil team. This is a World Cup year after all!
Iker Casillas
Julio Cesar

We started the season with only two fit defenders: Mertesacker and Koscielny. For a club like Arsenal, this is utterly unacceptable. Sagna has deputised well at center half but I hate seeing players being asked to play positions other than their natural ones if not necessary. You may say with Vermaelen out injured it was necessary but how can it be when we've had all this money at our disposal all summer long? We have Gibbs and Monreal at left back and should both pick up an injury, we have Vermaelen who could do a job there when he returns from injury, if required. At right back we have Sagna, who is always consistent and full of energy. We also have Jenkinson, who has developed leaps and bounds in that role. If both are injured, we don't really have another player who we could ask to play there, unless you're gonna look to Flamini or Ramsey. Since we desperately need a center back and we could do with someone who could play at right back in an emergency, why not go after Micah Richards at Man City? 

Micah Richards

On The Wing
Podolski has a three month lay off with a hamstring injury and The Ox is out for a few more weeks. Our only option at left wing at the moment is Santi Cazorla. I feel the same about him playing on the wing as I do about Sagna at center half. He does a good job there but why not utilise him in his best position and actually use our money to sign someone else? Why not Angel Di Maria? Surely with Bale's imminent arrival he'll have far less playing time at Madrid, right? He's said he wants to stay but Madrid will be looking to offset the cost of Bale's world record transfer fee and I'm sure they'll listen to any offers they can get for anyone they might deem surplus to requirement. If Florentino Perez wants you gone there's a high chance you'll have to give in to his wishes and leave, regardless of whether you want to stay and try to fight for your place in the team. Like I've mentioned with the goalkeepers earlier, this is a World Cup year and no one wants to sit twiddling their thumbs all season and end up missing out on a place in their respective nations' teams at next summer's tournament. I'm sure Di Maria will be reconsidering once Bale's protracted transfer becomes reality.
Angel Di Maria

On the other hand, what's going on with Juan Mata at Chelsea? Since Mourinho's arrival he's hardly played at all for them. Couldn't we also tempt them, with all the money we have, to sell him? The whole not wanting to miss out on the World Cup definitely applies to him as well, especially since he plays for the hardest team to break into. I'd definitely take a punt on him!
Juan Mata

Up Top
If we want to mount a serious challenge for the title against the likes of Chelsea, and the Manchester sisters this season, one striker who'll bag you roughly 20 goals is just not good enough. We have Podolski who could come in at center forward should Giroud get injured but he's hardly played there at all since leaving Cologne. I could also mention Walcott there but while he's improved as a striker, I think he should stay in the wide right position. This is because if we use him in that role too often he'll easily be found out by other defenders. Sanogo is one of our two signings so far but from the little he's played he still looks raw. Every new player to the Premiership needs time to adjust to its pace. While this is what's happening to him at the moment, I think it's fair to say that a more experienced striker will find the adjustment period a bit shorter than Sanogo is. After all, he is only 20 and still learning the game.

My prediction is we might make a bid for Benzema but that would just be ridiculous. On deadline day, there's only a snowball's chance in hell that Madrid will sell their only experienced center forward with virtually no time to replace him. We'll then look a lot closer to home and perhaps take Fernando Torres on loan. With Samuel Eto'o arriving at Stamford Bridge, Torres has been pushed down the pecking order and might decide to go somewhere else for regular playing time. I could definitely see him on holding up our kit on Tuesday morning. Keep in mind, we do seem to like knocking on Chelsea's door on deadline day. In the past we've signed Gallas, Diarra and Benayoun from them on this day and I don't see any reason for us not to go to them this year given how many signings they've made and how many players there are becoming concerned about their role in the team.

Fernando Torres

With all these players I've listed, I'm pretty sure we'd have a strong enough squad to not only challenge for the Premiership this season but also go very deep into the cup competitions. I'm just a guy who watches way too much football from his television and I've identified six players who could easily give our squad the quality it has needed for such a long time. Why can't Wenger find them too? Why does he insist he won't sign anyone unless he finds exceptional quality? Again, is it because he's literally looking around the clock for them? There's only 1 day, 19 hours and 29 minutes to go til the window slams shut. Tick tock, Arsene, tick tock.

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