Writer: Ozi Gooner
Date:Tuesday August 26 2008
The less said about the Fulham game the better. Actually speaking as little as possible about the last three games would probably be the best option. I'm not gonna add another voice to the increasingly popular beating of the doomsday drum so rather than talk about the performances I figured, before the impending closing of the transfer window, I would talk about what many of my fellow Gooner's believe to be the cause of our recent poor form. Lack of signings, and what I think of how those being touted as possible newcomer's would add to the squad.
I must say that personally I'm slightly worried about our squad this season, not 'Sp*rs could finish above us' worried, but more than I have been at the start of a season for as long as I can remember. What worries me is not so much the quality of players coming in or out - Flamini is replaceable, Nasri looks like Hleb with out the goal-fright and Lehmann was along way past his best - but that the area Arsene identified as being our down-fall last season has not been addressed, that being depth. A decision of Arsene's I can't help but question is that of letting Gilberto Silva go with out an adequate replacement, and if Senderos follows that will sit in my gut with equal unease. Allowing both your first and second string defensive midfielders, two players of undoubtedly high quality, depart in the one summer seems an ill-informed decision to me. Granted Flamini's departure was unavoidable and Gilberto is past his best but it seems at least slightly irresponsible to start a season without a specialist player for such a key position. In my opinion letting Senderos go would be similarly naive. We believed that Mikael was signed for squad depth as well as his experience, letting Senderos depart would erase the depth we gained from Silvestre's signing.
As far as possible incoming transfers go, you really have to question why, when Wenger has spoken so much about the need for a new body in midfield, one has still not arrived. Don't get me wrong I still expect a signing to be made but one can't help but wonder with such obvious deficiencies in that area during our first 3 games, why one hasn't been signed earlier. Some of the names that have been touted about to fill the gap are England International Gareth Barry, Cesc's mate Xabi Alonso and Swiss and Portugese youngsters Gokhan Inler and Miguel Veloso.
Starting with Gareth Barry, I would have to say this is a big 'No'. That is not based on my opinion of the man as a footballer but on the likelihood of Wenger trying to sign Barry now that his Cup tied in European competition. Granted that would've decreased his value somewhat, but I can't see us signing a player we can't use in such an important competition.
As for Xabi Alonso, personally I think that Arsenal fans are being deluded into believing the Spaniard is the signing we need by the players big name, price tag and experience. Alonso is a very good player and would be a quality addition to any squad, but a starting defensive midfielder he most certainly is not. For Spain you may at times see Alonso line up in the defensive hole but you must take into account that he plays this position in the same way Pirlo does for Milan, with two more defensive minded midfielders beside him, in the case of Spain during Euro 08, those being Xavi and Marcos Senna (for Milan, Gattuso and Ambrosini). He and Cesc may have a great friendship and understanding but playing the two beside eachother would be no different to playing Cesc and Denilson/Rosicky in the middle of the park together, brilliant in attack, sadly lacking in defence.
Veloso or Inler on the other hand could be brilliant additions, either capable in time of making the defensive midfield role their own. But being honest, regardless of consistently resurfacing links to Veloso, Inler is the one of these two I see a possibility of Wenger bringing in both for his price tag and relative obscurity.
Who really knows with Wenger though? it is just as possible we could line up the weekend past transfer deadline with Red Bull Salzburg's Niko Kovac in defensive midfield as it is that some 16 year-old unknown from Antigua we fill the slot. After all who expected Mikael Silvestre???
Date:Tuesday August 26 2008
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