yesterday’s UK bank holiday meant things were a bit quieter than we might have liked, but I suspect this is going to be a busy week. Not just for Arsenal, but for many clubs as the transfer window closes on Friday and with it the final chance to boost/replenish/streamline squads. Personally, I don’t much like the current system. I think if we must have a window it should close before the start of the season, meaning clubs have to do their business early and have their squads settled. Either that or we go back to the old system where you could buy players all season long with a cut off point somewhere in March (I think that was it anyway).
Like it or not, the fact that the window closes at the end of August has a real impact on the way clubs operate and thus on their results.Transfers are multi-million pound deals (fees and wages) so value is sought at all times and it comes to a head when selling clubs will let players go for a bit less, or buying clubs will stump up that bit extra to get the player they want. It’s high stakes brinksmanship a lot of the time and while we’ve played the game well in recent years I still think anything that impacts so greatly on the football itself ought to be looked at.
From an Arsenal point of view we’ll hopefully be looking at players who will come in and add something to our team. I watched Amy Lawrence on the fan’s forum last night on Arsenal Player and when put on the spot she chose a defensive midfielder as the signing she’d like above all else, and possibly a goalkeeper as she’s unconvinced by the options we have should Szczesny miss games for an extended period. From what we can gather the club are looking at midfield and defence, and as I said yesterday I do believe our attackers will click but it’s an area I’d really like to see us spend some money on.
We can, of course, speculate until the cows come home but the reality is that the way Arsenal play their transfer cards so close to their chest accurate information is hard to come by. Names being thrown around include Angel Rangel (even for hilarious name japes I think we should do this), Ligue 1 defenders Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Cheikh M’Bengue, Isco from Malaga, Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and, naturally, Yann M’Vila (the latest to be added to the Trabelsi-Frey-Carr wall of fame).
And although it is players coming in who get people excited we ought not to ignore the fact that Arsenal have a real need to move players on to make room for potential signings and focusing on that for a moment here are the players who I feel could depart before Friday at 11pm.
Nicklas Bendtner – The Greatest Striker That Ever Lived. Wants to go badly, really badly, and his agent talks all the time about how many offers from top clubs he has. Yet here we are 4 days from the close of the window and nothing’s doing. It’s over between him and Arsenal though, he knows it, we know it, and after a good Euros I expect someone to take a punt.
Marouane Chamakh – The Moroccan’s last goal for the club was against Blackburn on Sept 17th 2011. He’s scored twice in 20 months, and hasn’t even made the bench this season despite a shortage of striking options. It hasn’t worked out, it’s not going to get any better, it’s best for all concerned if he goes. A loan move to Malaga has been mooted.
Ju Young Park – It’s a shame Arsene will never write the book we’d all love him to when his managerial career is over, but I’d really love to know what went on with this one. Not an Arsenal player in the manager’s eyes, he simply refused to pick him and as such it’s time he went somewhere else. Celta Vigo on loan is a genuine option.
Andrei Arshavin – not on the bench against Stoke and perhaps he’s got a bit of a knock but the cynical will suggest a visit to St Petersburg last week wasn’t coincidental. He came, he said “I am Goonar”, we loved it. But clearly a “Goonar” is a small, lazy flightless bird who is content wasting his talent. Such a shame the way this has gone and if the right offer comes in I think we’ll take it.
Sebastian Squillaci – His last appearance was in February in the FA Cup. Did not feature at all during pre-season, is unlikely to feature at all bar a huge injury crisis and has been linked with moves to Bastia and other Ligue 1 clubs, with wages proving an obstacle. To his credit has never made a fuss but must surely want to play football at this stage of his career.
Theo Walcott – although the manager confirmed talks about an extension to his contract were taking place, from what I understand there’s real distance between the two sides, so much so that Arsenal may have to contemplate his departure. I’ve said all along that if Theo really wanted to stay at the club a deal would have been done by now. Maybe a compromise will be found but Walcott’s ‘people’ have walked away from discussions more than once, have been difficult throughout, and with less than 12 months left on his contract we’re faced with losing him on a free next summer. I suspect our hand is being forced on this one a little bit and while he could make a fool of me and sign on (perhaps because he has no club really chasing him), it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he was a high profile departure this week.
Lukas Fabianski – the Polish keeper has an ‘injury’ which has kept him out of the squad for the opening two games of the season. He has expressed a desire to leave more than once, and I’ve got no issue with a player who wants to go elsewhere and play. He knows, bar serious injury to Szczesny, he’s going to play second fiddle to his countryman, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him go somewhere to play first team football. Especially if Arsenal are looking at goalkeeping reinforcement.
When you add to that the youngsters who might go out on loan, such as Conor Henderson, Nico Yennaris, Ignasi Miquel, and others, it could very well be a busy week for those involved in the club’s transfer business. It’s difficult to imagine us being able to sell all these players and Arsene even said himself that we’re likely to see a lot of loan activity. Whether that applies to players coming in we’ll have to wait and see, but even if we cut our losses with some players the financial disparity between a club of our stature and those interested in the players we have available might be too great for permanent deals to be done.
It’s definitely not the same as last summer when we simply had to go on a spending spree in the final days of the window. Back then our squad was in disarray, we needed major, emergency surgery. This time we’re looking at something more elective, a teamoplasty, bringing in players who can make a decent squad a bit more beautiful. There is a need to make space though, the verrucas need to be burned off too, and it’s going to be a real challenge to make it happen before Friday at 11pm.
It should make for a fun week though. Till tomorrow.