It is upon us, at last. The transfer deadline. Tonight, the window shuts at 11pm and after that it’s a case you have what you hold and that group of players will be tasked with taking us through until January, at least. It does look like there’ll be some departures with stories about Nicklas Bendtner having a medical this morning with Juventus, Ju Young Park traveling to Celta Vigo and there’s talk of Chamakh and Malaga but I’m a bit dubious about that one.
They’ve just signed Roque Santa Cruz from Man City and Javier Saviola from wherever the hell he’s been playing so perhaps their need for a striker is not that pressing. It seems almost mean to sign Cazorla then lump them with the Moroccan but hey-ho. Interestingly, however, Diario Sur, a local paper for local people, says they need themselves a centre-half and knowing that Arsenal have no real need for Sebastian Squillaci they might make a move in that direction. Which would be nice.
As for those coming in, your guess is as good as mine. Arsene says we’re ‘active’ in the transfer market:
We are working very, very hard. We are active but we do not just want to bring average players in. If we find a special player who can find us a plus we will do it, if not we will not do it.
You always want to improve your squad … but we believe strongly that we have the quality in our squad to do very well. We have already bought Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud of course.
Of course! And it’s trying to decipher Arsene’s double-speak, qualify everything stuff that makes people go a little bit bonkers. Imagine him at home.
“Arsene, would you like some dinner?”
“Yes, I am interested in dinner if I can find the right food, but I don’t just want a cheese sandwich. I’ll have the filet mignon but if not I will go without for I did partake of Rob the Chef’s cottage pie earlier. It was very satisfying. But if there’s a duck a l’orange available I’ll for that. But not a Pot Noodle.”
So, we could very well sign players. We could just as easily not. As I’ve said already I really think this is a squad which needs some additions if we really want to compete for the title. I think we’re a striker light, a midfielder light and possibly another wide player but of course much will depend on who goes out. If Arshavin stays, for example, I think there’s little chance of us signing a wide man, but it would be nice to see someone come in who could offer something different to what we already have.
Obviously the manager is looking at Podolski and Giroud as his two main strikers, and reminding people it took even the best players time to settle into their new club, but beyond that we don’t have much should they suffer injury, suspension or loss of form. Especially as we’re (hopefully) moving on the trio mentioned above. To go into a season with just two strikers, one of whom is more of a wide man than a centre forward would be a massive gamble in my opinion, so fingers crossed something stirs before 11pm tonight.
For those of you who follow the day with great interest, we’re running a live blog over on Arseblog News. It’ll update automatically throughout the day with all Arsenal related transfer news (and probably stuff that other clubs are doing too so we can go ‘Ooooooh, look at who X signed! Why didn’t we sign them? DAMN YOU, DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!’, and such). We’ll be with you right through until the deadline, we’ve got coffee for daylight hours, beer and pizza for darkness, and the number of our local Samaritans office at hand, so feel free to log on and ‘enjoy’ the day that’s in it.
In other news, the manager says that Theo Walcott will stay with us and will not be sold during this transfer window, even though no agreement has been reached over a new deal. Arsene says:
His situation is simple – he will stay with us and play for us. Theo has one year to go and that is simple. We have to find an agreement with him on whether to extend the contract or not for a longer period. That is what we want to do.
Which is interesting because back in August Wenger said when talking about van Persie:
When you can’t succeed in extending the contract of a player that is in its last year, there is no other way but to let him go.
Which suggests there’s either a change of policy or that there’s no place to let Theo go to. I still think it’s kind of mad to let a player’s contract reach this stage but maybe there just isn’t the required will on either side to make it happen. We’ve secured Kos and Vermaelen with little or no fuss and if we really, really wanted to keep Walcott and if Walcott really, really wanted to stay with us it’d be done.
I’ll happily be proved wrong (not for the first time!) but if I had to put money on it today I’d say Theo will see out his deal and leave on a Bosman. He’d be mad not to consider his options at least, and we have to hope that if he stays he’s focused and doesn’t suffer from the final year ‘difficulties’ that players like Edu and Wiltord did. They found themselves out of the team with ‘injuries’. Ultimately though, and regardless of anything else, it’s a problem pretty much of our own making and we’ll have to just suck it up but also ensure it is not allowed to happen again.
Finally for today’s news, the Champions League draw took place yesterday and it’s been pretty kind to us. We have Montpellier, a return home for Giroud, Schalke and Olympiacos (again!). You couldn’t ask for much more than that and I look forward to seeing us make it as difficult as possible for ourselves to qualify for the knock-out stages.
Right, on to this week’s Arsecast and joining me to discuss Walcott, transfers, deadlines and more, is Arse2Mouse and The Man from East Lower. Also with me, ahead of Sunday’s game against the Mugsmashers is … er … the Mugsmasher. Plus the winners of last week’s competition from GCR Books (and remember: you get 10% off any order by using the code Arseblog at check-out).
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (25mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.[audio:http://podcast.arseblog.com/arsecast/arsecast_episode246.mp3]
And that, my friends, is that. Apart from the entirity of deadline day. Here we go …