The summer has come and Arsenal are planning an active summer shopping according to many who are in the know. The Gunners are set to ship out the ‘dead woods’ in the squad. Players like Andrey Arshavin, Johan Djourou, Niklas Bendtner, Mourane Chamakh, J. Y. Park, Denilson, Sebastien Squilacci and Andre Santos are all set to leave the club. It’s understandable if the club are letting go of these players because in the course of the season, they have played little or no part in the club’s season but it seems the axe is set to fall on some of the first team players as well.
Media reports have rumoured that Wenger is open to the sale of some members of the first team. Gervinho and Thomas Vermaelen. Vermaelen in the latter part of the season fell out of favour owing to dropped form. The Belgian though club captain was relegated to the bench and only started just one of the Gunners’ game since he was dropped for the clash against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and that start was due to the suspension of Per Mertesacker after the German got a straight red card for a professional foul against West Brom. Reports have it that Arsenal are in the market for a new center-back. Is the new defender coming to add to the retinue of the three centre-backs (Mertesacker, Koscielny and Vermaelen) or is he coming in to replace the unsettled Vermaelen? It seems it is more of the latter than the former. The fact remains that Vermaelen has lost his starting berth to Frenchman Laurent Koscielny. That decision was not Wenger’s fault, rather it was down to the Belgian’s complacency. He took his place in the team for granted because he was captain and with the team dropping fast out of the top 4, something drastic had to be done to salvage the Gunners’ season. Koscielny got his chance and grabbed it with both hands and with his form and partnership with Mertesacker which is formidable, it will be difficult for Vermaelen to get back into reckoning.
The way forward for Vermaelen might be to move away from the club and like I always say one bad season doesn’t make a good player a bad one. He won’t be short of suitors with reports claiming Barca that are in search of a new centre-back are readying a swoop for him. Letting him leave for the right price could be the best alternative since having the captain perpetually on the bench will not augur well for the team and stripping of the captaincy will all but destroy him. And we cannot afford to drop Koscielny for him, on current form, the Frenchman is miles better than him.
To Gervinho’s case, the Ivorian just completed his second season at North London and once again failed to reach heights expected. When moving to Arsenal, he came on the back of a good season at Ligue 1 where he had goals and assists in double figures but he has been unable to replicate the form at Arsenal. In the just completed season, he was dropped at some point and at the twilight of the season, he lost again his regained starting berth with Wenger opting for a forward trio of Walcott, Giroud and Cazorla. When the Frenchman was absent, Podolski was called upon. I don’t blame Wenger for the Ivorian’s troubles. Gervinho had his chance but fluffed his lines perpetually. Wenger played him on the wings and even as a false 9 all to no avail. His wayward finishing and poor decision making in the final third is just frustrating enough. His goal return in two seasons leaves so much to be desired, with just 9 Premier league goals in two seasons. Next season we want to battle for the title and we need serious attackers and not wayward finishers. Arsenal have been linked with move for new attackers; Jovetic, Rooney and Higuain. The former duo can play his role.
Should Arsenal let go of these two first team players, they will be saving 150k Pounds in weekly wages and in the light of bringing in a replacement for Vermaelen, the replacement (Williams or Chico) cannot earn 90k Pounds. Hence, the excess will be channeled towards meeting the wages of marquee signings.