A summer review/season preview

WTTGT Writer: Daniel Cox – Follow me

So the much anticipated new Premiership season is almost upon us. The time of year when fans across the country start predicting where their team will finish, the time of year when some fans believe ‘this is their year’ for winning the title. One thing is for sure, this time of the year, only the most optimistic Arsenal supporter will be even considering the club’s name carved into the Premiership trophy come May 2012.

This summer has seen central midfielder Denilson return to his homeland with Sao Paulo on a season-long loan. However, the biggest departure so far has been the £7m departure of left-back Gael Clichy to big-spenders Manchester City after eight years with the Gunners – although Fabregas’ exit is nigh.

Step forward Kieran Gibbs. The 21 year old is one of Arsenal’s most promising English talents, tipped to become future England left-back when Ashley Cole retires. Gibbs is a more than capable replacement. However, can he overcome the injury problems he has unfortunately been plagued with? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, the departure of Clichy has offered Gibbs a window of opportunity to establish himself in the Gunner’s starting XI.

There could still be more players heading for The Emirates exit door. Manager, Arsène  Wenger, has all but concluded that captain, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri will leave. With the former’s omission from the squad for this weekend’s Newcastle game seems crystal clear, finally sealing his ‘return home’ to Barcelona for a reported £35m. Both are Arsenal’s key players, and many fans will deem the loss of Fabregas as ‘irreplaceable.’ However, the Gunners will receive £50m+ for the pair, coupled with any remuneration from Bentdner’s impending exit will surely giving Wenger a chance to splash the cash and rebuild the gaping holes left by the departures.

So far, Arsène Wenger has made just three summer signings. Arriving at The Emirates are Gervinho, Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Gervinho is a £10.7m arrival from French side Lille. The 24 year old is a powerful striker and his goals last season fired Lille to the French League and Cup double.  He’s deemed as a replacement for the unsettled Nicklas Bendtner and Gervinho could provide a glimmer of title hope to the Arsenal faithful.

Jenkinson’s a £1m arrival from Charlton Athletic. The 19 year old right-back is tipped to provide Bacary Sagna competition, as Emmanuel Eboué is rumoured to be on the move. A product of Charlton Athletic’s youth academy, Jenkinson has featured for Finland at under 19 and under 21 level. He has the potential to become a key defender for the Gunners, but yet to play in thse Premier League, Jenkinson is not a signing for the present, but for the future. omething some Arsenal fans will feel they do not need right now.

Oxlade- Chamberlain signed this week from Championship side Southampton in a £15m fee. The 17 year old is a winger, but can also play as a striker and he could follow in Theo Walcott’s footsteps at Arsenal. He scored 10 goals from midfield as The Saints sealed promotion to League 1 last season. Already capped at under 21 level for England, Chamberlain could be a future livewire for the Gunners but it is unlikely that he will establish himself in the first-team this season.

Reflecting on the signings of Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain, they are for the future, but should signing players for the future be Mr Wenger’s priority at the moment? It is clear for everyone to see that the Gunners still lack strength in depth. Phil Jagielka, Christopher Samba and Gary Cahill among others have all been rumoured targets for the Gunner’s backline, but the rumours have yet to materialise into product.

If Fabregas and Nasri had both announced their desire to leave in May, then both could have been granted their wishes, and Wenger would have had the opportunity to try and strengthen the club over the summer. However, it looks to be happening this month, signalling a likely scenario of Arsène Wenger making last minute signings before the transfer window closes on August 31st.

To make matters worse, Arsenal have been given a nightmare start to the season. Away at Newcastle, home to Liverpool, a two legged Champions League qualifier with Udinese, and away to Manchester United complete a daunting August.

Arsenal fans are trapped in doom and gloom at the moment, however looking on the positive spin, the club still have three key players in Jack Wilshere, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott. If they can be supported by some new major signings by Arsène Wenger, then last season’s speculated quadruple may not be in sight, but a chance of winning a major trophy could at least be seen as a realistic target for Gunners fans, and not just a distant dream like it is at present.

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