It is common knowledge that Arsenal are in dire need of reinforcements in many departments this summer. In fact, some fans are already urging Arsene Wenger to make a complete overhaul of the current Arsenal squad, something that I find completely unreasonable and indeed impossible. Arsenal are a very good side with very good players and because of this, no total surgery of the team is required. The truth of the matter is that Arsenal needs to make quality additions without having to alter the whole team.
First, there are many players at Arsenal that must be jettisoned, because their presence does not help the team in anyway – Andrey Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci, Park Chu-Young, Nicklas Bendtner, Johan Djourou, Denilson, Marouane Chamakh, Abou Diaby and Andre Santos must all go. It is notably because of these players that Wenger refuses to sign enough players because he thinks either what he already has can improve and help the team at different stages of the season, or the wage bill is too huge to accommodate new players. As a result, our club starts the season with a seemingly deep squad, but one that is actually very thin due to the presence of such players with absolute impotence! While Diaby is a quality player, he is too glass-legged to stay fit for a whole three weeks. He’s too fragile and therefore a liability to the team. Sadly, he should not be offered a new deal. As for others, Squillaci and Arshavin for instance, will have no deals with the club in the summer, so they will inevitably go, while the rest should be sold at all costs. We don’t need them, do we?
Back to the main topic, it is true the team does not require an overhaul, but quality additions must be made. First, we need a prolific finisher, one better than what we already have at the club. Any of Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao or perhaps Robert Lewandowski would be strikers of top quality that would add real class to our firing line. But let’s be realistic, they are all beyond our reach. Cavani and Falcao would cost us something like £50 million each, while Lewandowski would be between £35-38 million thanks to his display against Real Madrid last week in Germany. These are figures the club are able to pay, but realistically it won’t happen.
We need four or five players, and paying the kind of money Napoli think Cavani is worth would be stupid for Wenger to do. Yes, they are the kind of players every manager would want to have, but they are out of our reach. There are cheaper options out there that could do an even better job than the much sought-after Uruguayan and Colombian superstars – Burak Yilmaz of Galatasaray for example would be an astute signing this summer.
We need a defensive midfielder worthy of the name. Mikel Arteta has done admirably well but has struggled at times. Truth be told, the Spaniard does not have the defensive instincts to play that role. Against Spurs for example, he was twice got caught out of position and we got punished twice in the 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane this season. Etienne Capoue, Maxime Gonalons or Celtic’s Kenyan powerhouse, Victor Wanyama would do a much better job than our vice-captain ever would or could. Any of these is within our range, but we may fail to get them if we spend crazy money on a single player like Falcao, who many fans would love to see in the red and white of Arsenal.
We need another centre-back to provide adequate cover at the back, now that we only have three of note. In my opinion, Ashley Williams, Federico Fazio, Mehdi Benatia, Cheikou Kouyatte, Toby Alderweireld are good candidates for the slot.
We also need another attacking midfielder/playmaker to complement the ones we have already, as Arshavin is sure to leave. While Tomas Rosicky is class, the Czech midfielder is too injury-prone to be entrusted with full responsibility. Besides, as the trend is, who knows, Santi Cazorla may fall prey to the second-season syndrome that has affected most players who have had good first seasons in England. We therefore need insurance.
As for goalkeepers, I don’t believe we need to sign a first-choice keeper as Wojciech Szczesny is good enough to be one. Yes, he has made individual errors that have cost us points this season, but who doesn’t do that? No one! I’ve seen many players – even the best in the world – make silly mistakes. Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon, Oliver Khan, Dino Zoff, Peter Schmeichel etc, have all made errors, just like any human. But believe me, Szczesny is a top-class keeper, capable of winning matches with his individual brilliance, just like he did against Sunderland this season. He’s had a relatively bad season, as have many Arsenal players. But buying someone new will not provide competition, it will just destroy him completely, since goalkeeping is not a position that can be shared week in, week out.
What do we do then? We need to be realistic and expect the expectable. Stevan Jovetic, Christian Eriksen, Julian Draxler, Younes Belhanda and all the others mentioned apart from Cavani, Falcao and Lewandowski are all very good players that can make us competitive once again without breaking the bank. After all, United have won the title with a squad of mediocre players with just a few of real quality. Come on guys! Let’s not make wishes that can never come true!
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