As May comes to a close and June is in sight, the football world takes on a new form. No longer is it about 11 players giving there all on a football pitch to win, the football supporting masses redirect there attention to transfers. That’s right its silly season coinciding with barbecue season once more; months of twitter chat, ITKs, lazy column inches and charcoaled sausages. The Arsenal to their credit have kicked it off early by grabbing Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach, my goodness that’s fun to say. But what I’m wondering is position by position where does Arsene need to buy this summer to have us cooking up a feast next May?
Let’s start with the goalkeepers where everything seems to be relatively healthy for now. The imperious Petr Cech as are number one and Columbia’s number one David Ospina as our number 2. But it’s not that simple we have smoking rascal Wojcech Sczcesny possibly returning from Rome after a year on loan and young Damian Martinez coming back from Wolverhampton. This leaves the manager with some decisions to make and with a lot of intangibles. Is Ospina happy being Number 2 for another season? Will Wojcech be happy as a number two? Does Wenger still trust the pole? Is Martinez Ready to step up? None of us know the answer to those questions yet. All I do know is that we need someone experienced behind Cech, so if our Szczes and Ospina both get shown the exit door I’d expect to see movement here because you can’t go into a season with an incompetent backup goalie, you’ll be an Arsenal soft tissue injury away from being plunged back into the Almunia years.
Defence is an area that needs attention and where we’ll be expected to see ins and outs. Arsene’s juggling of combinations in central defence at the back end of last season would suggest he’d like a new centre back to partner Koscielny and so would I. Chambers needs a loan for a season or two if he’s going to grow into the centre half we crave, Gabriel is a little too chaotic for a 50+ game campaign at the minute and Per is Per. As much as I admire him for his astute positional nous meaning he’s not exposed for his lack of pace more often than he is. But it has to be the time for him to be improved on. He’s the back four’s weak link who every decent team would plan to exploit. He always does get a raw deal but if were a club with real so called ambition he can’t be in our starting 11.
I’d love to get someone in the British mould with real athleticism and a love for defending. Who that is I have no idea. We have to be living through footballs worst generation of defenders ever; you think ten years ago the world had Ferdinand, Nesta, Cannavaro, Campbell, Lucio, Terry, Samuel, and Puyol. Who’s replaced these players? So I’m certainly not enviable of Arsene’s task to try and find a way to improve that back four. The Full back areas less dramatic and doesn’t need the surgery the centre half birth needs. That whiny French bloke should leave the club. Leaving Jenkinson as adequate cover for Bellerin and Gibbs will stay in Monreals shadow again unless he’d like a move to somewhere warmer in which case we’ll need a new understudy beneath Nacho or even someone to challenge the Spaniard properly.
Despite the midfield being a problem area during the 15/16 campaign I now believe its set and doesn’t need any more additions. Last year’s problems in central positions weren’t for a lack of numbers, more a lack of quality and fitness. I’m of the opinion that Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini (maybe) have already been replaced by the signings of Xhaka and Elneny and also the emergence of Alex Iwobi. With Wilshere (fitness depending), Xhaka, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Elneny, Ozil and possibly Toral and Zelelam coming in to first team contention we certainly have enough central options for next season. There has been a lot of clamour for a new 1rst team wide player but I think that edition would be a little excessive at present and more of a want than a need. With already Alexis, Iwobi, Campbell, Chamberlain and dare I say Walcott in the wide areas we are well stocked. That’s also not considering Wilshere and Ramsey have played wide right in recent seasons. Plus I’d probably think Arsene is starting to plan Willocks and the Jeff’s introduction to the 1rst team as well as still having Gnabry at the club. So I’d certainly say there’s no urgent need for business here and if there were to be any done I’d certainly expect some out goings which would be unfortunate given the age and potential of a lot of them.
The striker situation at Arsenal is maddening, it’s been like a rough end of town lacking in investment and just being run into the ground. And surely the mayor can’t ignore the mess it’s become anymore, it’s time to renovate. For the last three seasons Giruud’s been our only true out and out centre forward, with Welbeck’s injury he’d definitely be a lone gunner if next season started tomorrow. The fact that the clubs got to this stage in the striker department is damning but also quite the achievement to maintain our level of consistency without the required additions. So Arsene has to finally blow the cob webs off the wallet and get a new number nine as a bare minimum. I would feel safer with two coming in but that won’t happen. My worry is he might miss the boat again because he doesn’t deem anyone of sufficient quality.
With strikers forget every other stat there’s only one that counts for them and that’s goals. So take gamble on a Hernandez esque player if you can’t get a Lewandowski Mr Wenger because you can’t go into a season with an undercooked squad again. The Mexican scored 26 goals in Germany in 2015/15 and only Lewandowski, PEA and Muller scored more. For years now every season there’s been gaping holes in the squad staring us in the face. Last season was only one DM in Coquelin, the season before only three centre backs. I don’t think him or the club can afford to do it again given the new competition coming into the league with all that money. So let the moths fly free Arsene and let us enjoy our under cooked sausage baps with peace of mind knowing you’ve seen to the squads needs before its wants.
Red member and 26-year-old engineer from Dorset. My life’s biggest regret is never going to Highbury. I try to attend as many games as possible. I’ve always had a love of Arsenal left wings, starting with Overmars, through Pires and Nasri, right up to Alexis. I don’t have an agenda: I just write about the game and club I love as I see it.