Friday, October 7, 2022

Three in, more to come?

Right then, here we are. It’s TDD. Transfer Deadline Day. The sporting equivalent of Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. A load of shite made up by Hallmark simply to sell you tat you don’t need.

And you don’t need me to tell you that’s exactly what Sky Sports have done with football. As clubs feel the pressure to buy tat they don’t need (or tat they do!), their intrepid reporters like Johnny Sixphones and Jim ‘Redknapp Rimmer’ White, feed us non-stop information about who might on their way here, or who they understand is going there and for whom there’s talk of a medical somewhere else.

Most years Arsenal fans are on the periphery of TDD. We go into it with hope and not much expectation. Arsene has already said he’s done his business but, tantalisingly, says that if a bargain crops up then it’s not impossible. As the window draws to a close that flicker of optimism is snuffed out, other clubs go about the place like market traders, a-haggling here, a-bartering there, and we end up with nothing. But today should be different.

We know of three deals done or very close to being done, more on those soon, but Arsene still has a big chunk of change burning a hole in his Farrah slacks pockets and we still need a player or two. So it could be an interesting one. There’s hope, but there’s also expectation. Who might we be after? How much will we spend on them? Will we break our transfer record? Who might we sell? What does Sixphones have for lunch? All these questions and more will be answered before the day is out. In the meantime though, we’ve done some business although not all of it has been made official. Some thoughts on those.

Park Chu-Young:

South Korean captain, signed from Monaco, fee believed be less than £3m, which would make sense because he’s got to go back to South Korea in 2013 to do his national service. It seems extremely odd to me that we’d sign a player we are forced to lose in a couple of seasons time but clearly he’s a stop-gap signing, made when it became clear Joel Campbell wasn’t going to get a work permit.

That said, for a ‘stop-gap’ he seems to fit the bill. He’s experienced enough, at 26 years of age, will wear the number 9 shirt, and although the signing is odd in terms of the profile of the player and the fact his future is out of our hands, I’m interested to see what he can do.

On arrival he said:

I will do my best, I will never give up, I will show heart, I will give everything and I hope [the fans] will support me.

Can’t fault that and you can be sure of one thing – if he shows all those qualities on a consistent basis then he won’t be lacking in support. We’ve seen players come in to this club, give it socks for a few months, and then turn decide that’s enough effort. Hopefully that won’t be the case with him and he can make himself an important part of the squad.

Per Mertesacker

The gigantic German has been linked with us plenty of times before but his arrival now, for around £8m from Werder Bremen, signals a desire to finally do something about our porous central-defence.

There have been questions over his pace but, frankly, it seems like nitpicking to me. We’ve had plenty of fantastic defenders down the years who weren’t quick and if we’re worried about his ability to get back when teams exploit the space behind us, perhaps the answer is not to leave so much space behind us in the first place.

He adds height, experience (75 German caps), and at 26 is exactly the sort of age we’ve been looking for. I get that some people love to have a moan but you can’t cry out for this type of signing then complain when we make this type of signing. We’ll have to wait and see how he adapts to English football but on paper this signing ticks all the right boxes.

André (dos) Santos

Andy Two Saints (no relation to Johnny Sixphones) is a Brazilian international defender. We’ve just sold Armand Traore to QPR, Kieran Gibbs injury problems continue to plague his fledgling career, and going into the season without strengthening at left back would have been quite insane.

28 years old, 22 international caps, perhaps more of an attacking left back than a defensive one, but that in itself might not be a bad thing. Remember when our left hand side used to produce goals? In the Clichy era, and with all due respect to our departed friend, we lacked a little something. He’d intercept, bomb forward, then cross the ball perfectly for Arthur Smith sitting in Row Z. It’s safe to say this is an area we could improve.

Of course his first job will be to bed into what’s going to be a very new look back four but if he can offer us more going forward then that’s no bad thing either. And from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of him on YouTube he’s certainly capable of giving us something in the final third. And competition between him and Gibbs should be healthy for both players, especially if Gibbs can stay healthy in the first place.

So, those are the additions we know about but there’s likely to be more movement today. At this moment in time there are still question marks over certain players. Nicklas Bendtner could stay or go. The same with Marouane Chamakh who is being linked with a loan move to Spain. The uncertainty over Bendtner’s departure might well be tied to the future of the Moroccan who, frankly, looks anything but a Premier League player these days. If there’s a straight choice between the two then for me it’s the Dane.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that both could go and another striker arrives but I’d be surprised. There’s also the suggestion that Henri Lansbury could follow Traore to QPR but Wolves and Norwich are interested in him too. Beyond that it’s hard to see anyone else leaving.

There is still a gap though and that’s in midfield. I hope that there’s something in the offing here because since Cesc’s departure we’ve needed a signing here more than anywhere else. It’ll be interesting to see what he does here. The links with Yann M’Vila suggest that he’d add strength to the defensive side of our midfield but it is unquestionably the creative side of it that needs to be improved. So does he go out and buy M’Vila and then when Wilshere is fit again move him forward into his more natural position? Or are we in the market for and out and out creative/attacking midfielder?

I would hope it’s the latter to be honest, and if we’re being greedy we could hope for both, but I think one signing in midfield would probably complete the business. Who it might be I haven’t the faintest idea. I assume the club have targets but even those who get whispers of things before they happen aren’t hearing any names. I hope it’s because details haven’t leaked yet and not because there’s nothing doing.

So, let’s see what happens. It promises to be a busy day, Arsenal have money, and while you might liken it to Christmas Eve spending, sometimes the last minute whirling around shops pays off handsomely. A bargain here, an inspired choice there, and an ‘Ah fuck it, I’ve got until the end of January to worry about my credit card bill’ to finish it off.

Fingers crossed Arsene and the rest make it just so, and that we don’t end up with a DVD box-set of the entire Adam Sandler collection.

You can follow me and Arseblog News on Twitter throughout the day and I recommend keeping an eye on Gunnerblog too. He knows things.

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