Would you be disappointed to discover you had 13 million Pounds?
I would. I would be deeply disappointed to discover that I had 13 million pounds. Because that would mean that I’ve been working all this time when I could have been doing…well…lot’s of non-work related things. But if I were a football club in Europe, I’d be deeply disappointed that I had 13 million pounds because it means that I could barely afford Alfonso Alves or half of six months worth of Robbie Keane. And then I would be thankful that I didn’t own Robbie Keane and it would brighten my day.
The reason I raise this fascinating question is because one completely reputable and far-from-mendacious publication has stated that Arsene Wenger has 13 million Pounds to spend this summer. Obviously the article is based entirely on one roll from a 20-sided die belonging to an employee of the publication who used to play Dungeons and Dragons as a child. And while 13 is not a good number in the transfer window, we should all be well and truly relieved that it was enough to defeat the Forest Troll with our trusty +3 sword of Groin Slaying. We can’t get much footballing done with a Forest Troll running around the ground now can we?
But the completely fatuous article got me thinking about transfer budgets and what makes sense for Arsenal this summer. Since the season is not completely concluded just yet, I don’t want to start my summer long list of players we should buy, but I did want to dip a toe into transfer talk.
Here are the things we can probably assume:
- Adebayor will leave
- Gallas will leave
- Unfortunately it now looks as though Amaury Bischoff will leave. Farewell Amaury, we knew ye not at all.
While Bischoff will not fetch much in the open market (although who really knows these days), Gallas will be worth something and Adebayor will be the big prize. (He’s kind of like the prize that’s made in China and winds up being composed mostly of lead and asbestos.) Wenger has claimed that Gallas will stay, but I can’t imagine that the dressing room needs another season plagued by the divisive atmosphere that he engenders. If there’s a chance for Gallas to go, I’m sure he will.
Adebayor is also certain to leave if the price is right. That’s the unfortunate part. If he could have mustered at least some kind of effort in his final few games, then we might have actually stolen 30 million Euros for him. Now I’d be happy to get 20. But if Adebayor fetches 20 million Euros then it’s really fine business for Arsenal. His transfer fee alone, plus the return of certain on loan defenders, could go a long way to resolving our defensive issues.
So when you look at the summer from that perspective, it’s really somewhat irrelevant what funds are available at the moment, because Ade will bring in enough money to make a good start at curing what ails the Arsenal. Selection will, naturally, be the most important part of the transfer window. If Adebayor is sold early in the summer, there will be adequate resources to acquire the players we need, especially with Arsene Wenger scouting the talent.
There really are some decent players out on loan that could be returning this summer. While Senderos’ future remains uncertain, Armande Traore will be coming back to the Emirates. But more interesting that the players out on loan, are the former players who’s names have been watonly thrown around as possible candidates for a return. The most obvious speculation surrounds Flamini who hasn’t played at all for AC Milan and could be involved in the talks for Adebayor. His return would be celebrated by most supporters and by Cesc Fabregas, but he’s now without real competitive football for an entire season. Something to consider.
I always like to throw around some reckless ideas, so I’m going to do that now. There are currently two players at Barcelona that are reportedly leaving in the summer. Alex Hleb has played less than Flamini this season and when he has played, he’s been beyond terrible. I’m not sure there’s room for him in the side anymore, and supposedly he hated the big city life in London. But for Hleb, there may not be another big team ready to take a chance on him and I highly doubt that he would command a large transfer fee. He was hugely influential in our passing game last season and his return would allow Wenger to shift Theo or Arshavin into a striker role or move Nasri into the holding position. Either way, he’s going to be available for a discount.
The next player is leaving Barcelona in the summer is a guy who played for Arsenal and had a few good seasons. Thierry Henry. All I’ve heard is that Henry is being targeted by Manchester City but I just can’t believe that Henry would end his career in a dump like that. He’s also not likely to come back into the Premier League unless it’s to return to the Gunners. I realize that what I’m suggesting is asinine in many ways, but he’s been brilliant for Barca this season and he has the experience to help bring the younger players along. If Adebayor is gone and Eduardo is recovering from another sugery, Wenger might like the peace of mind of having one more reliable option in attack. It probably won’t happen, but I’ll bet 13 million Pounds that we hear a lot about it this summer.
The biggest reason these two scenarios are somewhat unlikely is that they don’t do anything to address our problem positions. Alex Hleb defends about as well as I do and Henry isn’t much better. Plus, they would create excess competition for an already crowded attacking midfield roster. But if Rosicky isn’t ready next season and Arshavin or Theo get moved into a central role, all of a sudden the left or right wing position is thin. Only Nasri and Eboue would be left, and Arsene already seems eager to move Nasri around the midfield. Considering that we’ve seen Denilson and Diaby play on the wing this season more than anyone would like, the prospect of Hleb or Henry out wide doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Will it happen? Probably not. Can I see it happening? Absolutely.
I’ll stop there, but expect a lot more of this drivel over the next few months. (Hey, I can’t do any worse than the media!)
One final note for today. REDAction are planning a rally in support of Arsene Wenger for the final game of the season. As I wrote yesterday, it’s a game I really wish I could attend. He deserves a good showing of support this weekend and I suspect that he’ll be touched by what he sees and hears. Considering that I think he took this season’s disappointment pretty hard, a strong showing of supporter loyalty might be just the recipe needed to restore his faith. Knowing the supporters are willing to show him such adoration through tough times might just encourage him to be a little less stubborn in his thinking this summer.
Enough for now.