Monday, July 14, 2008

The squad starts to take shape, but is still too shallow.

A long time since my last post, and not much has actually occurred.

Let's summarise events:

* Adebayor hasn't moved anywhere, despite skulking round the Nou Camp/ San Siro for the last month wearing a 'please, please, please buy me, i'm easy' shirt on. He definitely wants to leave, let's get that clear. Obviously he's correct that we should be paying him the same salary Henry was on when he left the club; he's clearly achieved as much as Thierry in his career at Arsenal so far...

* Alex Hleb has similarly not moved anywhere, but will surely be tucking his Bielorussian tail between his legs and scampering off to Barca in the next week, if reports in Spain are to be believed. Do I believe them? I'm not sure, but i think we'll at least recoup what we paid for him three years ago at some point during this summer.

* Gilbero will leave the club soon, moving to either Athens or Toffee land, depending on who you believe. Time for him to leave, I think, but is losing Flamini, Gilberto and Diarra in one season a bit too much? Do we have any defensive midfield players left in the squad? The thought of Diaby or Denilson being upgraded to the first XI would be a gamble, as would throwing in Ramsey from the off.

* Samir Nasri has, in the shock of the summer, arrived from Marseille. I have to say I'm actually quite excited about seeing him in action.

So, that's three in for the summer - Ramsey, Nasri and Vela - and one, officially, out - Flamini, with Hleb and Gilberto almost certain to leave, and Adebayor still 50/50.

Hleb and Adebayor's potential transfers leave a sour taste in the mouth, especially as money has been the overriding motivation in both players pursuit of a transfer.

Hleb, well, maybe 10 goals in three years tells us it's time to cash in. Nasri's record isn't that much better at the moment, but he's young, and he doesn't have the almost pathological fear of shooting that Hleb is seemingly afflicted by.

Adebayor - sod him. One good season and suddenly half the Arenal fan-base is terrified that we'll lose him. Well, he went missing for seven games last year at a crucial stage in the campaign. 6 of his much lauded 30 goals last year were against Derby. And the amount of chances created for him was almost obscene; he won't get 4-5 chances before scoring in Spain. He's a good player, and has the opportunity to kick on and become an even better one at Arsenal if he'd had some discipline this summer. But, his head has been turned by the first talk of money and I wouldn't be surprised if he was, justifiably, booed in the opening game of next season. He needs to leave, or win the fan base over all over again.

If he does leave, we will sign a replacement. And we still have Bendtner, who is a class player, if a bit of an arrogant sod. Ken Aguero's name was mentioned in a paper yesterday, who would be a fantastic signing, but I can't see it happening.

What worries me most about the exits is that they create players that need replacing, on top of those that we needed already this summer. We needed a new centre-back, but this plan has been scrapped, and Senderos will surely be given yet another chance next year. We also need an experienced, defensive midfield player, but I'm not sure whether that will occur. Veloso's name has been bandied around a bit, but who knows if he can hack the premiership.

Our squad was overly thin last season and it eventually cost us the title. We need more players in the squad than we had last year. If players like RvP and Rosicky suffer another injury-strewn season - remove and replace. Simple.

There's only a month before the start of the season, but an additional 2 weeks after that til the end of the transfer window. This has been a particularly painful one so far, but there is still ample time for additions yet. Let's hope they happen.