Former Arsenal XI

9 07 2012

I was sat at home last night wallowing in self pity over the looming prospect of losing our captain and best player for what feels like the millionth season running.  Well maybe it isn’t exactly like that but it is certainly how it feels sometimes!

I decided that the best thing to do would be to play a little game with myself, no nothing like that ;). I decided to try and field the best XI I could dream up based on players that Arsenal have either sold or released in recent years.

The only rules I obeyed were that it had to be a 4-3-3 as that is what we are currently playing and all players have to currently have footballer as their job description.

Below is my attempt, I would be interested to see what others amongst you come up with

football formation

 

Not too shabby really, whilst it might not be a team that would win you the Champions League it would have a good go at competing!





Top replacements for Robin Van Persie

5 07 2012

Well it is official now, Robin Van Persie is a splitter and will be buggering off to some team no-one cares about.

So the first order of business for Arsenal should be making sure that they get the most money possibly for the Dutch mercenary and re-invest it back in the squad in the form of another top quality striker.

Whilst we have already signed the very impressive duo of Podolski and Giroud I still expect Bendtner, Park, Chamakh and Vela to all see the door at the Emirates this summer so at least one more signing up top is needed.

One option which I am going to look at quickly wouldn’t involve spending any money at all on a striker but would be a little bit of a gamble.

Arsene might decide to give Theo Walcott his wish and play him through the middle using Gervinho, Podolski, The Ox and Miyachi on rotation on the wings along with a possible replacement for want away winger Andrei Arshavin.

Might work out well as Theo has an eye for goal and is a relatively good finisher but I feel that you would take away one of his main weapons which is his pace and his ability to run at a defender and worry them/drag them out of position.
So whilst I think it is an option it wouldn’t be my first choice and would rather be something I would try out during odd matches.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

 Who better to replace Van Persie than his international strike partner who a lot of people say is his exact double.

Huntelaar, like Van Persie, is Dutch and is a prolific striker. With 29 league goals last season for Schalke 04, and a total of 38 goals in all competitions, in pure goal scoring terms Huntelaar would be an ideal replacement for Van Persie.

It is arguable that Huntelaar is even more clinical in front of goal than Van Persie, he was very much Johnny on the spot for the Dutch during their qualifying campaign scoring 12 goals for The Oranje against a mere 6 for  Van Persie.

Robert Lewandowski

 Lewandowksi has been a revelation for Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.

Not only was he instrumental in their impressive league defence but he also helped Dortmund to a cup double by scoring a hat-trick against Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final. The big Pole rounded out the 2011/2012 season by picking up the Bundesliga Player of the Season.

At a mere 23 years of age,  he would fit in well with the Gunners existing youth policy whilst already being a finished, world-class product.

Gonzalo Higuain

 Gunners fans are going to want a big name signing to offset the loss of their captain for the second year running. Well personally I reckon that Real Madrid striker Higuain could fit the cap.

A t only 24 years of age Higuain seems to have been around far longer, he is a regular starter and scorer for Argentina with 13 goals in 25 appearances and at a club level has managed to find the net 121 times out of 267. Not too shabby at all.

One plus that I would see with Higuain would be his assist rate which is also pretty good, at an international level he has 6 assists and last season for Real he clocked up 10 in 54 matches. Whilst this obviously isn’t the best around it proves that he isn’t a selfish player and knows when to pass as opposed to maybe wasting a chance himself.

Earlier this year Real were apparently keen to enter into a cash plus Higuain deal for RVP. If this offer were still on the table I would ripping their hands off!

Luuk De Jong

 Arsene Wenger has quite a good record when it comes to snatching up players from the Dutch leagues.

His forays into the Dutch player market have seen him pluck out some of the best players that the Premier League has seen. Most recently of course we have had Robin Van Persie who is currently one of the worlds best players, but you might remember a certain  flying winger  by the name of Marc Overmars who played the best football of his career for the Gunners. Throw in Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax and that record starts to look exceptional.

So with more than half an eye on Wenger’s former dalliances with the Dutch maybe he should have a look at 21 year old Luuk De Jong from FC Twente. De Jong is one of the most exciting talents in the Eredivisie at the moment and his  and is currently on fantastic form.

Nine goals in just eleven league games for FC Twente has seen him linked a move to some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Despite his tender years, De Joeng has already made six senior appearances for the Netherlands, scoring once.

With bags of potential and his athleticism, work rate and technical ability De Jong would fit the Arsenal mould perfectly.





My Transfer wishlist 2012

18 06 2012

Well, well, well if it isn’t my old friend the transfer window.

Is it really only 6 months since you last reared your ugly head?

I have decided that maybe, just maybe the problem with the transfer window isn’t the rumour-mongering and ridiculous hype. No, maybe it is actually me.

Maybe I am just missing the spirit of the thing and being an old stick in the mud… As such I have decided to sell my soul to the darkside, embrace the crazy and draw up my very own transfer wishlist 2012.

I have tried to be fairly realistic and not just redesigned the team from top to bottom with clones of Messi. Who knows Arsene might even see this (I know you are a fan AW) and decide to run with it.

So without further ado…

OUTS:

Denilson – fairly obvious… has never lived up to potential and is taking up space in the squad what with the 25 man rule.

Park – Who???

Chamakh –  The Moroccan had a decent spell when he first joined the club but the resurgence of RVP and Chamakh’s apparent lack of confidence has hampered both his playing time and his contribution, might be a useful make weight as part of a swap deal.

Arshavin – As much as I would love to see Arshavin come back to the Emirates and show some of the form he has exhibited for Zenit and Russia recently I just don’t see him having the will to do it.

The little meercat is a luxury player who this squad really can”t afford to carry. His decent Euro showing should mean we recoup a good percentage of what we shelled out for him.

Niklas Bendtner – Well whilst he might not be the greatest striker who has ever lived the not so great Dane has had a decent run in the Euros and was Sunderland’s top scorer last year.

I actually think he might have a decent career, just not with Arsenal.

Squillaci – Never really found his feet and looks like he never will, goodbye and good luck squiddy.

Fabianski –  Szcz is the real deal and has been for a while now. His rapid development has really put the final nail in Fabianski”s Arsenal coffin.

The pole in the goal is not happy to play second fiddle and I can perfectly understand that, time to move on.

Vela – A decent showing whilst on loan should mean it is finally time to say goodbye to Mr Chips.

Mannone – See Fabianski

Johan Djourou –  Djourou wants first team football and lets face it, he is very definetely 4th choice at the Emirates behind, Kos, TV5 and Mertesacker. I say let him go and have his chance elsewhere, especially as we can still get

Bartley, Botelho & Lansbury –  As much as I hate to write anyone off, particularly Lansbury, I just don’t see any of these 3 cutting it. Time to let them move on and ply their wares in pastures new.

Frimpong –  Now before you get all uppity about selling our talented younglings I am not about to advocate selling Frimpong, simply sending him out on loan for the season. I reckon a year long stint under the tutelage of someone like Owen Coyle would do the youngster the power of good.

And now for the fun bit…

IN:

Olivier Giroud – Unlike a lot of people I am not just jumping on the Giroud bandwagon because it looks like it might actually happen!

Now that I have cleared that point up let me explain why I think he would be a great signing…

Giroud is 25 so should hopefully be over some of the adjustment that young footballs seem to go through in terms of being a bit of a dick, he is 6 ft 4 and strong in the air and seems to hold the ball up well so might actually do the job that was asked of Chamakh and Bendtner in terms of giving us a plan b.

He scores goals…. quite a lot on them in fact, he bagged 25 in 43 appearances for Montpellier last season (making him joint top score in Ligue 1)along with 9 assists. I think most people would agree that is impressive enough to warrant some serious interest

Benyaoun –  I don’t think there is any coincidence that 3 of our best midfielders last year were all over 30 (Arteta, Rosicky and Benyaoun) Benyaoun is pretty much the definition of professionalism, even when he wasn’t getting many oppurtunities he trained hard, stayed positive and took his chances when they came.

In my not so humble opinion Benny is exactly the sort of player we have lacked in recent years, level headed, calm, experienced and hard working. Throw in the fact that any fee would be negligible  and I think you would have to agree that Benyaoun would surely be a better option than say Denilson.

Jose Bosingwa –  Two times Champions League winner Bosingwa hasn’t always had the best of times at Chelsea resulting in him being released at the end of last season.

Personally I reckon that should Wenger take a gamble on him it might just be one that pays off…. At 29 Bosingwa has got to be looking at his last big payday, much like a certain Dutchman we all know and love, and might well be convinced to try and prove to his former employees that he can still cut it at the top level.

At the least he would provide a more than capable option which might allow us to rotate a bit more freely than we have in recent years.

Joel Campbell – Yes I know we have already signed him but after a decent season at Lorient I would really like to see Campbell given a chance in the first team for us next term, work permit pending of course.

He is young, quick, has good feet and seems to know where the net is. The sooner we bring him under Wenger’s wing and let him start getting used to the Arsenal way of doing things the sooner he will start to deliver. Particularly as for the first time in years we might just have a decent attacking line meaning that the pressure would be off to some extent.

Junior Hoilett – Junior Hoilett is an elusive dribbler, who is just as good behind the forward as he is out wide. He’ll come for free, he’s only 21  and looked impressive last season so why not sign him?

Julien Féret – 29 year old Feret from Rennes could be just what we need as an attacking midfielder not only is he capable of playing some extraordinary football – he scored four goals and provided four assists in a six-game stretch,but he would provide some competition for Rosicky and is the perfect age to fill the position without hindering the long termof younger options like Ramsey and Wilshere.

With his 6’2″ frame, he has the physicality to shrug off opposing players whilst making pin-point passes. Yoann Gourcuff or Féret? Féret every day of the week.

Yann M’villa – Another deal that looks like it might just happen M’villa could well be the key to Arsenal managing to close the gap on the two Manchester sides this year.

The 21 year old plays with a certainty that belies his young age and has a fearless style and physical presence that could go a long way to adding some steel to Arsenal’s spine.

I have argued for a while now that Alex Song isn’t actually a defensive midfielder, he just happens to be the most defensive of our midfield options. M’villa would give us what Song sometimes doesn’t quite manage to deliver….

Genuine cover for the defense and a tough tackler who is more than happy to sit back and pull the strings without feeling the urge to bomb forward at every chance.

 

Do I think that all of these will happen, nope.

Realistically I can see M’villa and Giroud coming after the Euros and maybe one other midfielder.

If I had to pick I would go with Feret but obviously I don’t have that luxury. I can see Wenger taking a gamble on Miguel as fourth choice centre back which might just pay off but personally I hope he continues to ease him into the role.

 





Eden Hazard to join Chelsea

31 05 2012

Tricky Lille winger and subject of perpetual transfer rumour, Eden Hazard, has this week Tweeted stating that he is joining the Champion’s League winners…

Now it doesn’t require a Mensa membership to work out that this means Chelsea.

Apparently the Belgian has signed a five year deal worth a reported 200k a week with a fee of 32 million pounds… not too shabby.

Obviously I would have loved to see him in an Arsenal shirt but we are just never going to throw that kind of cash around.





Why Arsenal should sell Gervinho

25 05 2012


Despite only moving to the Emriates from Lille last Summer Gervinho hasn’t really set the World a light and I personally don’t think that is going to change any time soon.

Have a quick look at the article from football blogger Michael Cummings of the Bleacher Report as I feel he sums the situation up pretty well…

“Who should Arsenal sell this summer?

Forget about the obvious choices like Marouane Chamakh. I think Gervinho is a good candidate, and here’s why.

Gervinho has scored four goals with six assists this season. Those aren’t awful stats for 21 appearances, but if you’ve watched Arsenal at all this season, you’ve seen how much Gervinho holds back Arsenal in the final third.

Gervinho can work himself into dangerous positions, but he loses his composure in front of goal. Case in point, he’s averaging just over one shot per game this season.

Arsene Wenger bought Gervinho from Lille only last summer, and, admittedly, it takes players some time to adapt to England. But I don’t see Gervinho finding his feet in England until he magically matches the toughness of the Premier League.

Plus, for all his dribbling and passing, he’s almost useless in the air and he’s generally poor defensively.

This is an important summer for Arsenal. Reinforcements are needed, and Wenger might have more money than usual.

By selling Gervinho, Wenger could raise money for new purchases—especially a more dangerous option on the left side—and offload Gervinho while he still has value.”





Mmmmmh M’Vila

9 05 2012

 According to T’internet and the tabloids Arsenal have agreed a club record fee in excess of £16 million for very highly rated French international Yann M’vila.

 Anyone who has stuck their head out from under a rock in recent seasons will have heard the rumours that we were interested in/were going to sign/were trying to tempt with hookers the 21 year old enforcer who currently plys his trade in ligue 1 with Rennes.

 This time though things seem a bit more promising than the usual scuttlebutt. The normally reliable French football specialist Julien Laurens, has claimed both on Twitter and Le Parisien that M’Vila has agreed a four year deal to bring him to the Emirates.

Normally I try not to get excited about possible signings as year in year out we see ourselves linked with everyone and their dog. But this is one signing that I think would show a real statement of intent from the club.

Not only is M’Vila a very “Wengeresque” signing but he would offer genuine competition for Alex Song and coupled with the early capture of Lukas Podolski would show a real statement of intent which may well help swing the decisions of RVP and Walcott when it comes to signing on the dotted line.

Fingers crossed that some serious lessons have been learnt from last Summer’s business dealings and that this Summer will have less of a resemblance to a re-run of Supermarket Sweep.





Mikel Arteta joins Arsenal

1 09 2011

I tend to avoid having the television or radio on during Transfer Deadline Day (henceforth called TDD)  Being an Arsenal fan it is often a little bit of a let down and more to the point it seems to be an excuse for Sky to bring the most annoying twats ever out of the woodwork.

This year was no different, I avoided even peaking during work and then had to drive to collect a new car and due to a number of factors was not through the door until about 11.15.

As such imagine my glee when I discovered that more or less out of the blue Arsene Wenger had pulled off one of the coups of the current window.

Gone was the signing of the usual unknown African child for half the defecit of the third World, instead I was greeted with the news that Mikel Arteta had been signed for a mere £10 mill. Talk about pulling a rabbit from the hat!

Arteta is a proper signing, a genuine midfield talent with years of Premier League experience… added to recent additions Santos and Mertesacker the season is starting to look up a little.

For those of you who have lived under a rock for a while here is a potted history of Arteta’s playing career to date –

“Arteta started out as a trainee with FC Barcelona but could not break his way into the first team and was eventually loaned to Paris Saint-Germain in the French league. He was then signed by Scottish Premier League giants Rangers with whom he would win the domestic treble of the league, Scottish Cup and League Cup in the season of 2002–03. After success in Scotland, Arteta moved to back to Spain to play for Real Sociedad but failed to establish himself within the first team and was loaned to Everton for the remainder of the 2004–05 season. He would then sign a permanent transfer.

Arteta has represented Spain at under-21 level, but he has not played for the senior national team.”








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