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.


Anonymous said...

Theo wasn't a right midfielder last season, we had to put up with the ineffectual Eboue, this time round, we have Theo and nasri who can play wide right. Vela has come in and can play left wing as can Rosicky. Trouble is, vela is completely unproven and Tomas aint fit!

Upfront, we'll need an Ade replacement when he does eff off and we may get Arshavin, maybe not. At the back we could do with a defender who can play LB too.

So, yeah, at the moment, the squad is a bit thin, but I expect a few more signings yet.

Lewis Ambrose said...

I think Theo is ready to take more of a role on upfront this year, meaning we also don't need to replace Ade. I expect another CM and hopefully a CB (I say break the bank for Micah Richards), which Wenger has said he won't sign. I don't think we need a left back as we've got Traore already. If Tomas stays fit I can see him having a good year, the same as RVP.

bill said...

Nice post, though I don't agree this has been a painful summer. If Cesc were to elave, that would be bad. As it is, you have to expect there will be unexpected (to the fans at least--Wenger has known about all of this for months now) turnover in the squad. That's just normal course of business. If Wenger thinks we need help in a position, you can be sure he will get someone for that position. Us fans just need patience.

Anonymous said...

I would say we need a new keeper tho Bill! Doubt Wenger concurs fella.

Anonymous said...

you know what i fancy...?? i fancy that we get arshavin & eto'o, and lose them effing players who does not wanna stay with us.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Small correction on Adebayor. Torres conversion rate was 25%, Santa Cruz 24% and Ade's 23%, so he's not as profligate as you claim. Secondly, so what if he scored six against Derby? I cannot understand this sour grapes argument. Derby are shit, so he annihilated them with six goals in one and a half games against them. He's damned by virtue of scoring a hatful against a shite team. What of Torres who scored once against Derby? Ronaldo, who got two against Derby. Those two must be really shit.

Anonymous said...

Theo has the number 14 shirt this coming season - read into that what you will! But I think we will see more of him this year. Vela is a hero given his comments on Sp**s signing of Giovani Dos Santos. He said...
"I hope things go well for him at Tottenham, that he gets the minutes he wasn't given at Barcelona and that he shows what he can do.

"He is a very good player and let's hope he can then move on to a better team."

As for Adebarndoor. F**k off!

Anonymous said...

It is not conversion rate. He missed way too many good opportunities that the top scorers don't miss. Guys like Torres, Ronaldo, Santa Cruz, and Berbatov were able to carry their teams when needed. . . Ade faded during the crisis games in February and March.