Wenger has confirmed that there is a conscious effort being made by the club this season to prevent last year’s disaster summer, where the signings were made at the very last minute. The Podolski signings, which appears to be near completion (yay!), shows there is truth to Wenger’s statements. But Podolski isn’t the only one being linked to us this year.
Among all the rumors and paper talk, this man Javier Perez has caused quite a stir in the Arsenal community by claiming Arsenal have already tied up deals for Matias Suarez (he reported this back in January) and Shalke startlet Lewis Holtby, and we are close to signing Vertonghen, and we are interested in M’Vila, and…well, that’s about it.
If that’s all true, then I guess I can’t complain. But the amount of players we are being linked to goes completely against Wenger’s comments that we are looking for “quality” rather than “quantity.” And I agree that we don’t need too many players.
The striking department needs reinforcements. We know Chamakh and Park will probably leave. Bendtner probably will not make a return. I would like Arshavin to come back, but the way the team has performed without him has probably sealed his fate. And when you look at the fact that RvP is far and away our highest scorer, you can see we need some serious additions in the attacking positions.
So Podolski and Matias Suarez make perfect sense. Players like Gotze, Hazard are the creative attackers that we have also lacked, so they make sense too. So yes, creative players, goal scorers, we can expect a couple of those to be signed.
But you look at our holding midfield positions, and I think we are very well stocked in that area. It’s important to remember that Wenger doesn’t like to play with an out-and-out defensive midfielder who just sits in front of the back four and just focuses on making short passes. Wenger wants his midfield to be dynamic and fluid. He wants our holding midfielders to be able to attack, to go forward at times and contribute in the final third. Song hasn’t developed a knack for assists and goals over the past two seasons by accident. Wenger encourages him to go forward. When asked about Song’s increasing attackingness, he remarked that we don’t want to be in trouble, but fool the opposition into trouble. The rotating midfield and the attacking defensive midfielder is a part of that.
And if we keep that in mind, then the arguments people make that Wilshere, Diaby, Arteta – they aren’t really DMs, doesn’t hold much water. We don’t out pure DMs, we want complete midfielders. Wenger wants a team of all rounders, not specialists. The midfielders we have including the ones just mentioned, have been brilliant in the holding roles for us. Arteta, in particular, has added a maturity and calmness that our midfield has lacked in recent seasons, especially without Cesc. He is great at reading the game and winning the ball, but also excellent at keeping it, with his precise passing.
So players like M’Vila? Do we need him? Aren’t we essentially “killing” Coquelin and Frimpong if we bring him in? And one virtue mentioned of Vertonghen is that he is “versatile” and can play in midfield. Well, we don’t need him to play in midfield!
One argument made in favor of bringing in M’Vila is that it will allow Song to play further forward in a more playmaker type role. I couldn’t disagree with that train of thought. Song doesn’t have the passing ability or technical quality to play higher up in midfield. He often makes those passes because he is afforded space in his deep position, and doesn’t need the vision of a Fabregas because everything is in front of him. To be able to get 8 assists from his position is remarkable, but to get 8 from an attacking position is a different task altogether, and one that Song isn’t suited for.
And speaking of Vertonghen, we are all set in the center back position, too. Vermaelen, Koscielny are a superb partnership. Mertesacker and Djourou offer good options. Backing the first teamers are Miquel and Bartley.
We already have such a big squad with several promising young players on the verge of breaking through who deserve a chance. And we can only have 25 players in the squad, and a limited number of foreign players, too. So is Wenger really looking to add four or five players this summer? And in positions where we already have plenty of depth?
I don’t think Wenger is looking for a clearout either. Yes, the obvious names who haven’t played this season will leave. But other than that I don’t see anyone leaving.
But maybe Wenger is after all of these players, and he’s just trying to think ahead, and stay a few steps ahead of our big spending rivals.In recent years, we’ve often lost out on transfer targets to the likes of Chelsea and Man City. So the focus has always been on trying to sign players when they are very young, and promising them a chance to play at Arsenal.
Perhaps that is why Wenger is trying to tie up deals for these young players like M’Vila, Holtby, Vertonghen, because maybe they are bound to turn into stars and if we need them two or three years from now they may already be at Real Mad.
And players like Rosicky and Arteta are getting on in age. They don’t have much more than a couple of years at the top level. So it makes sense that Wenger might be trying to find replacements right now. And maybe there are question marks over the potential of some of our young guns. This season we’ve been excited by the performances of Coquelin and Frimpong and Miquel, but the coaches at Arsenal know their potential better than anyone. If it looks to them like some of them might not make it, why not dip into the transfer market and get players that we know will succeed at the highest level.
In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see how much truth there is to the speculation, and what exactly Wenger’s plans are for the team next season. I would prefer if we sign two or three quality, experienced players, rather than stuff the squad full of young hyped up starlets, but that’s just me. Either way, Arsene knows.