This is my first post for a while now, and I’ve had a lot of Arsenal-related stuff on my mind, and I hope to include all of them here, but bear with me if it paragraphs don’t exactly flow into on another and are rather abrupt.
The first thing is the concept of clubs spending money. I had a bit of a debate with a friend of mine, a United fan, who said that Arsene needs to spend and that will send out a message to every single club out there that we mean business.
This whole perception is flawed. Spending money does not show intent. I gave him the example of Liverpool wasting millions on Carroll, Adam, Downing and Henderson, and Andy alone was more expensive than Mario Goetze. That puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
I’m definitely not targeting my mate, because he is a big fan and does know what he is talking about when it comes to football, but I’ve seen this from hundreds of others on facebook, twitter and at the pub. “Splash the cash, Arsene! We’ll win the league then!”
In no way am I saying that spending the right amount of money on the right players will strengthen and improve a side, and possibly make a good side a great one, is wrong. It definitely isn’t.
I read an interesting tweet about how actually having money to spend is a sign of intent and not the other way around. I had never thought of that before, but I definitely agree with it. Arsenal, having been under a shoestring budget for years, can now boast about the funds available after paying off debts and sets up for a bright future. Starting now. I would love to see three new top class players in red and white, and I’m fairly confident we will.
A few people asked me to write about who we should target, but there are thousands of blogs out there doing that and I simply can’t be arsed! I’ll leave it to Arsene.
But, I will like to talk a bit about transfers. Both in and out of Arsenal.
Yaya Sanogo was signed, sealed and delivered a few days ago, and I downloaded the U20 World Cup game between France and Turkey just to scout him out.
From that one match and several youtube videos, it’s fair to say that he’s a very tall, physical striker. Although his physique can be compared to Adebarndoor’s, he looks much stronger and uses his body in linking up play in the midfield areas a lot more. The Togolese flop spaghetti legs simply aren’t scaring but Yaya looks to have filled out his frame a lot more and a young chap like him will only continue to develop.
I think we will see him feature in the cup games, some dead rubber CL games to start with and also for the U21’s. A clear indication, according to me, that he is a part of Arsene’s first team plans is the fact that our official website said, “Sanogo’s shirt number will be revealed on the Club’s official Twitter account @Arsenal in due course.” It was then confirmed that he’d wear #22.
Looking forward to seeing him improve at Arsenal as many youngsters have and hopefully he can be more of an Henry than a Bendtner.
Speaking of the Dane, I personally think he’s underrated. He’s not as good as he thinks he is, but definitely not as bad as most Arsenal fans make him out to be. He scored many important goals over the years and showed a lot of promise, but this just goes to show how vital attitude is in football. You can be the most skilful player by miles, but if you haven’t got the approach to match, you’re progression will stagnate.
I’m glad that he’s close to a move away followed by a list of others, which are simply not good enough for The Arsenal.
Some other ins and outs which have gone under the radar at the ones of Wellington Silva and Ryo Miyaichi. The Japanese winger has had two rather unsuccessful spells at Bolton and Wigan, plagued with injuries and lack of game time. Rumours suggest that Feyenoord want him back on loan, and if we do decide to send him there, I don’t think we’ll see him at Arsenal again.
Wellington Silva is an interesting one. He’s tweeted a few times that he’s going to be with the first team during pre-season and I wonder if Wenger will monitor him and maybe use include him in his plans this season.
With regard to loans, I think Arsenal will benefit from the fact that Owen Coyle now has a job again. When in charge at Bolton, he took a lot of Arsenal young ‘uns on loan (Jack, Ryo, Afobe), and I hope he continues this understanding with Arsene.
The new rule states that top-flight clubs can take a maximum of one player on loan from the same club during a season. Since Wigan, now managed my Coyle, are in the Championship, we should make the most of sending our promising youngsters their on loan; Akpom, Campbell, Eisfeld and Gnabry. I think they would learn and improve a lot more at a lower-league club than they would playing for our U21’s/Reserves.
Coming to the topic that has been Arsenal’s Achilles Heel for years now; our goalkeeping situation.
As we all know, Arsenal are in for another goalkeeper this summer. We have been linked with every single goalkeeper from Siberia to Italy, but if rumours are correct, Julio Cesar will be an Arsenal man next season.
For me, Szczesny has it in him to be the best in the world. He’s just 23. Think about that for a second. David Seaman, arguably AFC’s best goalkeeper in history, was playing for Birmingham City in the old Second Division and then moved to QPR at the age of 23. He then went on to establish himself as Arsenal and England’s number 1 for many years.
Wojciech has all the attributes to be a world class goalkeeper; he’s got a massive frame, a loud mouth (in more ways than one) and has got that arrogance that a ‘keeper always needs. If you look most top sportspersons in the world, they all have got a bit of an attitude, and you need exactly that if you’re going to be a winner.
A few months into the 2011-12 season, I remember coming across this article on The Sun’s website, where they interviewed Natalie Sawyer, a lifelong Brentford fan, about her all-time best club XI. Szczesny had just spent over 7 months on loan at Brentford. In such a short spell at , he had obviously made his mark and won over the supporters. That, for me, is a remarkable feat. Andy Scott, the then Brentford manager said, “It has reached the stage where when he lets in a goal we wonder why he hasn’t saved it”.
The Pole had a bit of a rollercoaster season last term, coupled with injuries and costly errors. Although his flaws (distribution and shot-stopping from distance) are clearly visible, Szczesny pulls off some outrageous saves many other keepers wouldn’t. His reflexes are great, he’s quick off his line and I think he’s particularly good at saving penalties and 1v1’s; just ask the Barcelona boys.
A few months ago, it was revealed that Amy Lawrence, a respected sports journo and self-confessed Gooner, had interviewed Szcz and he made some eyebrow-raising comments about not being motivated for a game vs Stoke and also about an altercation with a Spurs fan in the streets of London. Credit to Amy for not publishing these quotes, as he would have got ripped apart by Arsenal fans all around world. To make things worse, he had recently been pictured smoking a cigarette for the second time.
He did get into a bit of trouble earlier on after his father, a former goalkeeper himself (famous for punching Roberto Mancini during a game), made some rather harsh comments about Arsene’s treatment of his son. He said that he had just returned from injury and was instantly thrown into the deep end by starting between the sticks the very next game. Szczesny Sr. said that this was the reason for Jr.’s lack of form in the first few months of this year.
Wojciech definitely did the right thing by immediately issuing a statement apologising about these comments towards the boss. I believe that was a very professional thing to do and that saved his backside.
He ended the season with some good performances, but there’s still room for improvement. And how does that happen? Some competition for first choice? A new goalkeeping coach? Both, in my opinion.
There have been some reports that Arsenal are ready to re-re-sign Lehmann. He is currently getting his coaching badges at the club and just like Keown helped mentor that make-shift Arsenal defence during our amazing Champions League run in the ’05-’06 season, where the likes of Senderos, Flamini and Eboue were used at the back went 10 straight games without conceding a goal, Mad Jens had apparently worked with the Pole towards the end of the season.
For me, we need a new goalkeeping coach. Garry Peyton has been in and out due to health reasons, but we need someone to push our goalkeepers, considering it’s been our weak point since Jens himself departed the first time.
Cesar is definitely a proven winner, but I simply don’t think he’s good enough. I’m not the biggest fan of keepers who are only specialised shot stoppers and not good overall; something that I’ve seen in Julio a lot while watching him. He tends to make tough saves look easy and easy saves look hard.
In the home game vs QPR, he made one outstanding save off the head of Giroud, but flapped at very saveable shots from Jack and was also beaten in the air a few times. Anyways, we can’t do much but hope for the best as his signing looks likely.
I’m glad we also saw the back of Mannone and, in my honest opinion, Fabianski isn’t good enough either.
I’ve said this before and people are quick to reply with, “If Fabianski hadn’t got injured, Szczesny would not be first choice. Fab was really good until that injury and he just needs a run of games to find form.”
For me, having a second choice/stand –in player is to have a worthy replacement when needed. It means that the incoming standby must be up to the task immediately when called upon. I simply don’t understand the argument of giving Fabianski, Djourou and Mannone “time to get rid of their rustiness”. And what then? Sacrifice three valuable points by fielding footballers who are not good enough at that time? Ridiculous.
Yes, Fab and JD did have great runs of games respectively, the latter particularly having a blinder vs Barca at home, but if you put them on a pitch now vs. a Premier League side, they would struggle.
Fabiasnki did well vs Bayern and in the games that followed, but there’s always a mistake waiting to happen when he’s in goal.
Similarly, I’m completely for the idea of dropping Vermaelen to the bench, like I have said before, but it’s obvious that when he’s played alongside Kos, it simply doesn’t work out. So what is the point of keeping him as third choice exactly? If Mertesacker, who looks like will be Arsenal’s new captain, does happen to get injured, we will leave goals like we have for many seasons with a CB-pairing of Thomas and Laurent.
I personally would like us to sign another CB who would challenge Verm for 3rd choice and even keep the first two options on their toes.
That’s it from me. Early signs look good and I hope we can get deals done and dusted before August, and go into the game vs Villa with a squad full fit and raring to go, unlike last season where we had players still acclimatizing to London life, etc. Higuain edges closer apparently, and Graham Hunter described him as “a guy that will go to war for you.” The last time heard him saying that was when we were about to sign Santi, and how right he was.
Always The Arsenal.