Wednesday, November 30, 2022

You wait ages for a winger then three come at once

Welcome to Saturday and the summer has taken a massive step in the right direction. It’s not sunny but it’s not freezing cold and pissing down with rain. Little steps.

And there might well be a signing on the horizon. We’re being very strongly linked with Ricky Martin Alvarez from Argentine club Velez Sarsfields. His name has been on the radar for most of the summer but everything went into overdrive yesterday when the president of Palermo was quoted as saying their efforts to sign him failed because he’d already signed for us.

Now, I would take everything that bloke says with a pinch of salt, to be honest, and despite my good pal at Gunnerblog confirming Martin Alvarez has signed with somebody, I remain a bit dubious about this one.

The Sun quotes a ‘highly-placed club source’ saying:

He is definitely of interest. There has been no deal with his club Velez Sarsfield but it is true the club have been looking at Alvarez.

And then they go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like: Arsenal line up £11m new Cesc

With the greatest respect to our potential new signing that’s rather a heavy burden to carry and I would be very surprised if he was anywhere near that good. I mean, I looked him up on Wikipedia and it said : Ricardo Alvarez is a Latino inmate on the HBO drama Oz, played by Tomas Milian. But then I found his real page and it said:

Álvarez played his first professional game with Vélez Sársfield in 2008. Following his debut, he suffered a knee cruciate ligament injury that stalled his progression on the first team.

Now, I know Wiki is a dubious source of information but I would be curious if anyone could confirm whether or not he played his first professional game in 2008. If true that’s a staggering piece of info and I would be extremely worried about his suitability for Arsenal. There is such a massive difference between English football and that played in South America that even some of the best players from that region have struggled.

Is Alvarez good enough to fit straight away like Silvinho or Edu, or is he going to struggle like Veron or Crespo or, dare I say it, Denilson? He’s not even been a regular starter for his club. If he does sign there’s simply no way he’s a ‘new Cesc’ or a new anybody. I’m confident enough to say that anyway, but cannot with any certainty say anything else about him because I just don’t know enough about him.

On Twitter, well respected scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen, gave his opinion back in May when he was first linked and cast doubts over both his ability and the likelihood of him signing for Arsenal:

Click the image for a larger view of what he said about Alvarez. Anyway, maybe Arsene sees raw materials that he can work with. An unknown player with a history of injury and untapped talent sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it? All the same, I’m still struggling to make sense of this one. Fabian Caballero II or something special? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. And if he signed for Palermo tomorrow I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.

Meanwhile, The Mirror also runs with the Alvarez story and says he’s the first of three ‘big’ deals Arsenal will announce on July 1st. The other two being Gervinho and Alex Oxencart-Chamberpot from Southampton. So, a team that is crying out for defensive reinforcements is going to announce three wingers? And again, with all due respect, the only player from that trio that could even come close to being described as ‘big’ is Gervinho.

He’s coming from the French champions which, when you compare it to Southampton and Velez Sarsfield, is pretty big but in itself not so much. And what are we going to do with all these wingers anyway? Perhaps a revolutionary double-winger formation that not even Zonal Marking could make sense of. It’s all a bit odd.

Elsewhere, the Guardian runs a rather odd piece about Cesc being ‘free’ to leave but only if Nasri stays. Which is obviously a bit silly because Cesc is not ‘free’ to leave. He’s about £45m to leave. And I don’t think there’s anything new there to bother with this morning. The Nasri situation remains at an impasse and I heard Philippe Auclair talk this week about how felt Nasri would stay, see out his contract at the club and move on a Bosman next summer.

I know for a fact that Arsenal are really not keen on that situation and would prefer to sell him this summer, even if it were at a knock-down price. They’d rather get back some of the £13.5m we paid for him. The problem, of course, is that if Nasri doesn’t want go there’s very little we can do. We can’t force him to sign for someone else. So unless the club find a deal that suits Nasri and his agent as much as a Bosman in 12 months we’ll just have to live with a player who is clearly uncommitted to the club and on whom we’re going take a big loss.

Such is the reality of modern football, I guess, but it does leave a bitter taste. Also in that article, another link to Everton’s Phil Jagielka, who is Arsene’s first choice, ahead of Samba and Cahill. I have to say I like him as a player and he fits the bill in many regards, although he’s not the huge physical presence a lot of people would like to see.

With our super-abundance of wingers it will be most interesting to see what’s going to happen in terms of defensive recruitments. Gael Clichy’s exit draws closer and closer and that means a left back is needed too. Jagielka and Baines? Can’t see Everton letting both of them go in one season so we’ll have to just bide our time and see how it all develops.

What’s certain is that things are beginning to happen and I suspect the next week or so will be quite busy. Famous last words there, eh? It’ll probably be slower than Sylvester on the half-turn.

Still, all we can do is watch that pot. Have a good Saturday folks.

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