WE WANT A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER! Do we? Do you?
Good day Gooners, I would like to hear from you about another frequent topic, our hunt for a defensive midfielder to protect our defensive line and allow our unbelievable creative force to flourish in the last 40 yards.
Listening to and reading opinions, I’ve learned the following: according to someone we’ve been missing a proper defensive midfielder since 2005, for someone else since 2008 and for others since 2012, which proves that the idea of defensive midfielder is not as clear as we may think.
To recapitulate, someone thinks that Patrick Vieira was the ultimate defensive midfielder; many believe that Gilberto Silva was the man for the job and others again were adamant that Alex Song could have been the right player. To be honest, I never considered any of them as a defensive midfielder and I firmly believe we don’t need one.
The three of them liked to move forward, especially Patrick Vieira, and the three of them used to score goals and provide assists – which proves they were not defensive-minded only.
Exactly like our current crop of midfielders – bar Mikel Arteta – they were box-to-box players able to break opponents’ runs as well as playing an accurate, reliable passing game.
What they had more than our current players are inches and stones, something that we are lacking at the moment and something that we’ve paid a huge price for. No matter how hard our guys try, they often get outmuscled and out-run by opponents in the middle of the park, which then exposes our defensive line – and we all know what happens when our last line is left alone.
With Abou Diaby as the only exception, our midfield contingent is composed by short, lightweight players like Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini, Arteta and Tomas Rosicky who do like a good fight but rarely win it. Aaron Ramsey is quite an exception too, as he wins many tackles due to his unbelievable energy, but at 6ft is not exactly a beast.
In my humble opinion, we don’t need a player who will simply sit in front of the back four and take opponents down (although it could be fun) but we need an all-around midfielder who is able to cover a vast amount of ground and – most importantly – is powerful enough to win the ball back from a Fellainiesque opponent as well as gifted enough to feed our forwards in a quick, accurate way.
Given Arsène Wenger’s obsession for fluid, ever-changing systems, a player whose skills apply to one position only is not a player for Arsenal: each one of our players is able to cover different positions and is able to perform very well on both halves of the pitch, which allows Arsenal to transact rapidly form defense to attack and vice-versa.
Basically, we would need another Aaron Ramsey – perhaps a taller Aaron Ramsey.
I would easily take a less scoring Aaron Ramsey if he were a taller Aaron Ramsey.
Much has been said about Morgan Schneiderlin, both of the Bender twins and Sami Khedira, but I must say that I’d much prefer the latter – although that deal doesn’t seem to be happening at all.
The German has all the qualities required to play alongside Ramsey and provide the Arsenal with the power we need so badly in midfield.
Both Bender twins seem to lack smoothness on the ball and Schneiderlin doesn’t sound like a real upgrade to our current midfield contingent – this is my opinion, at least.
To conclude; should we go for a central midfielder – and apparently we are – I hope that Wenger goes for that kind of player – A powerful, educated central midfielder to partner Ramsey in his surging runs thru the middle.
No despair if that kind of player is not available (or his agent is way too greedy), we still have Abou Diaby…and I’m not even joking, folks!
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.