Arsenal’s transfer needs have already been met
Lately there seems to be a lot of upheaval amongst Arsenal supporters. Everyone wants Arsene Wenger to splash some cash in the transfer market and bring in those two players that will take us from bottom of the table chumps to Champions League trophy winners. It doesn’t matter who those players are. It doesn’t matter how over priced they might be. The important thing is that we sign someone. And we have to sign someone quickly because if we wait another day or two, certain Arsenal “fans” will run out of nasty things to say about Wenger’s reign at the club.
It’s easy to forget that we did sign a central defender right at the start of the summer. While he’s been missing through injury for the past few pre-season games, we received word from the boss today that Vermaelen will be ready to make his full Arsenal debut at the weekend. But Vermaelen’s not the only player that will reinvigorate the squad this season. We might not have a lot of new signings, but we have a lot of players that Arsene would say are “like new signings.” Just look at the littany of “like new signings” we have at the club.
Eduardo was out for almost an entire year. Now he’s healthy and looking great. Surely his presence in attack is like a new signing.
And in the midfield, we can anticipate the return of Tomas Rosicky in approximately six weeks. After the length of time he missed through injury, his addition to the midfield corps is undoubtedly like a new signing.
And let’s not forget that Andrey Arshavin was only part of the team for a few months last season and was unable to participate in the Champions League. Now with an entire pre-season under his belt and the entire regular season to contribute to the team, Arshavin is like a blockbuster new signing.
And Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott are healthy after missing long stretches last season so they’re like two dynamic new signings. And Jack Wilshere has matured to the point that we can see him finally contributing to the first team, so his emergence will be like a new signing.
And Emmanuel Eboue has agreed to stay with the club. Since we had already expected him to leave the club, and now he will be staying with the club, it’s as if he transferred out and transferred back. Clearly that makes him like a new signing.
And bear in mind that Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure apparently had a polarizing effect in the dressing room that hurt the team’s morale. With divisive players gone, the team can finally come together and play harmoniously. They say that a player with an improved attitude can seem like a totally new player. And since most of the squad will have an improved attitude this season, that means that every one of them is like a new signing.
Sadly, we still have Silvestre. But as you can plainly see, with all the players we have that are like new signings, it would be madness for Arsene Wenger to sign anyone else.
And so it’s with great relief that I can tell you that Arsene Wenger will not be signing anyone else before the season starts. In an interview posted on the official website today, Wenger acknowledged that no one would be coming to the club prior to kickoff on Saturday. Having said that, he did not rule out the possibility that one or two players could come into the club before the transfer window closes.
Wenger has been saying all along that he was looking at one or two additional players. While they may not arrive before Saturday, I still feel confident that they will come before September. Wenger might be a proud man, but he is not a stupid man. He knows the mindset of the supporters and was given a front row seat last season to some fans’ frustration. In a summer when paranoia is at an all time high and the fans are clamoring for signings, it would be foolish for Wenger to tempt the masses with the suggestion of one or two new players arriving if he had no intention to deliver. Whether Arsene is able to acquire the players that he has targeted is another question, but I genuinely believe that the boss will try to bring someone to the Emirates this summer.
Marouane Chamakh is clearly on his list, and Hangeland might be as well. Reports suggest that we have recently upped our Chamakh offer to 8 million Pounds and that Fulham will demand 15 million for Hangeland. I don’t doubt that Arsene will get his big stiker before all is said and done, but it’s hard to see the club dishing out Arshavin-esque money for Hangeland. If these are indeed the two targets that we’re chasing, based on the reported transfer fees, it’s unlikely that we’ll get both. As I’ve said previously, I think our spending may be influenced by qualification for the CL group stage. By the end of the month, we won’t have to speculate any further.
One player that won’t be leaving the club this summer is Emmanuel Eboue. Apparently after talking with the manager, Eboue understands that he will be staying with the club for at least another season. While fan opinion of the player is varied, I think it’s a wise decision to keep him around. Before Sagna stepped into the starting right back role, Eboue was a very capable defender. His time in the midfield may not have been a smashing success and his attitude leaves something to be desired, but he provides much needed cover at right back and can contribute as a holding midfielder in the new 4-3-3 formation. Frankly, if it comes down to Eboue, Denilson or Diaby starting as a defensive midfielder, I think it’s fair to say that Eboue might even have the edge.
The legend of young Jack Wilshere continues to grow at an alamring rate. Now Stuart Pearce has called him up for the U-21 friendly against Holland on Tuesday night. It will be Wilshere’s first appearance for England, if he gets into the match. Wilshere certainly deserves the accolades that he is receiving and the call up to the U-21s is flattering. But before we go celebrating his ascendancy, it’s worth noting that the last thing we need is another player with international comittments. The U-21s have two matches in the next month, and we’re already losing players left and right to friendlies and World Cup qualifiers. I’m happy for Wilshere and wouldn’t want to see him denied the honor of playing for England, but it’s no favor to Arsene Wenger to lose another player to a meaningless international fixture.
Finally, Manuel Almunia is talking about the possibility of playing for the Three Lions. He says that he would like to play for England but wants to be embraced by the entire England team. He understands that the issue is very important and says that he doesn’t way to toy with people’s hearts. It seems a considerate, if not slightly melodramatic sentiment. The fact is that Almunia is eligible for a English citizenship and England don’t have a capable keeper. So it seems only natural that he would be a consideration. But I must confess, as an American, I really don’t have any right to delve into the matter and don’t have the insight to support any conclusions. I will say that the issue of citizenship is a little different on this side of the pond. In America if you’re a citizen then you’re a citizen. Simple as that. Everyone came to this country from somewhere else. No one is “from” America unless their ancestors landed at Plymouth Rock. If you had to be “from” America to play for our national team, I’m guessing that we would be an even weaker footballing nation. But I realize that it’s a complicated issue and one that probably engenders strong opinions so I’ll leave it there.
And that’s all that’s happening at the moment. I’ll break down the squad in detail later in the week and then work on a preview for the Everton match. But for now, get excited for all those players that are like new signings.