So as I predicted a month ago Cesc and Nasri are to be sold imminently. This is the best news I’ve heard in a while as it gets rid of two unhappy players who are damaging morale and team spirit, brings in a reported £55m and hopefully will lift the air of gloom and uncertainty from the club.
The big question now is what will Wenger do with the money?
Reports are suggesting it will all be reinvested in new players, which I hope is the case. The trouble is, will they be new players like Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jenkinson, or new players with Premiership or equivalent experience which we desperately need?
We have spent £24m on three players so far – Jenkinson, Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain. That’s quite a lot for Wenger, but what have we got for our money? Two teenagers from League One and another signing from the French league. While they all seem decent players (and I’m loving Gervinho’s pre-season performances) it’s not the Premiership experience we need to ensure we keep hold of our top four spot. I’m all for buying youngsters and developing them, especially as Wenger is so good at it, but please, please, please take the millions now at your disposal Arsene and buy a few big-name, proven players to bring these youngsters along and give us more of a backbone so we don’t crumble like we did last season.
Miyachi, Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain can all play in Nasri’s position so I don’t see us signing a replacement for him. However, a creative midfielder in the Fabregas mould is a must. We just don’t look the same without him pulling the strings. A few weeks ago I was sure Ramsey would be given Fabregas’ role, but given the Welshman’s mediocre performances in pre-season he is evidently not yet up to the job. In the future he will be, but those are enormous boots to fill for a young man who has only made 41 appearances for us and is only recently back from such a horrendous injury.
Goodbye Fabregas, hello Mata?
Hopefully Wenger has come to the same conclusion and Juan Mata is on his way. He is very experienced even though he’s only 23, having made 129 top flight appearances for Valencia and been capped 10 times by Spain, earning a place in their World Cup winning squad last summer.
The other matter of urgency is at centre back, which has been talked about at length this summer. Everyone knows we’ve needed a decent one since Gallas left 12 months ago. Last year Wenger gambled with an unknown youngster from the French league, and while Koscielny is a good back up and will develop over time, he is not yet of a sufficient calibre to slot straight in. As for Squillaci – well, that’s the perfect example of Wenger trying to do things on the cheap. If you spend peanuts, you get monkeys as they say.
We need one of Cahill, Jagielka or Samba. They all have plenty of experience in the Premiership and are all available. Yes they are expensive, but we’re about to receive top dollar for Fabregas and Nasri, so why not shop in Harrods for once? Especially as it’s the biggest weak link in our team. However, Scott Dann is the name being bandied about as the most likely, probably because he’s much cheaper although nowhere near as good.
Which defender we buy will tell us if Wenger has learnt anything from the last six barren years:
- Spending £15m+ on Cahill, Jagielka or Samba means lesson learned, welcome back to the real world Arsene and let’s fight for that title.
- Buying Dann or an unknown journeyman from the French league means it’s the same old tight-arse in charge and let’s hope we can fight off Liverpool for a top four spot.
- Sticking with what we’ve got and saying how much he believes in Djourou, Koscielny and Squillaci means bye bye Champions League, hello Europa League.
Now is the time for Wenger to deliver. I still believe he is the right man in charge if he amends his transfer policy by signing a few experienced players. Cahill for £17m and Mata for £22m would be a great start, improving the quality and experience of the squad and lifting the sagging morale around Emirates of late. Make it happen Arsene!
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