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Bye, Bye Bert?

Bye, Bye Bert?

Rumours have surfaced today that Juventus are set to make a summer move for Arsenal`s defensive midfielder - Gilberto Silva.

According to reports Juve are looking to replace Patrick Vieira and Emerson, who both left after Juventus were relegated for their part in a match fixing scandal last season.

Personally I can`t see Wenger letting him go. I know he's 30, getting on in Wenger's books and people are ranting about Denilson but there are a few reasons why Wenger will not let him leave, at least not yet.

We already have one of, if not the youngest squads in the Prem. Letting one of our most experienced players leave would be a huge mistake, expically at such a crucial time in the devolpment of 'the kids'. Wenger knows this.

There are players who could be seen as potential replacements - Diaby, Flamini, Denilson and Song are the most obvious choices.

Diaby shone in the game away to Wigan last season, I think it was in the Carling Cup first leg. In the first half he played as a holding midfielder and did a fantastic job, but he is far more effective in a PV4 role, putting himself about, winning the ball all over the park rather than just in front of the back four.

Flamini certainly has the attitude, the determination and the strength to play in the Gilberto role but he does not have the positional sense or the discipline required for such a role. He is still young and I know that both things I say are lacking will come with experience but can Arsenal really afford to give him the sustained run in the first team required to gain that experience?

Denilson. What a prospect? He has had very little game time for Arsenal to date but I'm sure he'll be a first team regular in the next few years. He has a bit of everything, an eye for a pass, strong in the tackle, a good turn of pace, determination, good upper body strength and a pretty impressive right peg. I fell that his natural flair (note the way he danced past 3 or 4 Sp*rs defenders at the Grove last week!) would be wasted as a holding midfielder.

That leaves us with Alex Song. I'm not his biggest fan but I know that he has the potential to replace Gilberto, but not for a while yet. As with Flamini, he needs a good run in the first team to improve his positional sense and to a lesser extent his discipline.

So, the most logical long-term replacement for Bert is Song, that may surprise you (unless your name is Tim Stillman or Paul Mustchin) but looking at our current options it`s logical.

That my friend is the reason Wenger will not be letting Gilberto go anywhere in the summer. He has at least one more season at Arsenal, probably more.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Nick Simmonett
Date:Thursday February 8 2007
Time: 11:45PM


song must first reap the dividends of his loan speel under the great plum at the valley, then return to Arsenal and forge his career. I agree that he's the most liely replacement for Gilberto, but who's saying wenger is looking to replace like with like? When Fabregas inherited PV4's position, it was not like for like. Copmparisons have already been drawn between the similarities of play and potential ability between denilson and Fabregas - who's to say that Arsene wouldnt be planning to have a twin fulcrum engine room stoked to bursting with creativity, vision and defensive cover, and tackles? We've already seen Fab' readiness to put in a tackle and get stuck in, and he' absolutely excellent at nipping in and snaffling the ball right off the toes of his opponent, Can denislon pack the same prowss in all areas? It's already noted he looks as strong as an ox, his feet seem like they can twinkle when needed, and he has an eye for a pass, the boy can definitely tackle too. Perhaps Arsene's planning to set the prem-a-rumbling with twin creative+defensive midfielders the likes of which the prem's not seen, but will soon come to know all too well??? just a thought... »»Arsene Knows««
09/02/2007 00:10:00
not that I'm saying Gibber WILL be going in the summer, but whenever it should happen, i can see that kind of manouevre coming a mile of from Arsene, it's got his trademark written all over it. Introduce a style of play, the rest copy it, catch up, then you go and bank sharply to the right and leave them all floundering with another 'arsene classic'. »»Arsene Knows««
09/02/2007 00:13:00
I did think of that Wingston but then I thought that a team playing such an attacking game needs a Gilberto/Makalele type player to protect the back 4.
09/02/2007 00:26:00
Although that said, Wenger is cleary shifting the focus of the team from the strikers to the midfielders. Perhaps you're right afterall. Only time will tell!
09/02/2007 00:27:00
I dunno. I HIGHLY doubt Gilberto will go. He's just too vital at this stage for any of those thoughts to enter my mind.
09/02/2007 01:18:00
Hi guys Im relatively new to this site in terms of giving my own opinion but i have have been enjoying the articles that have been contributed by fellow Arsenal supporters for some time, i hope my opinions will help to further the discussions on this site. In regards to this article I don't think Gilberto will leave after the season he is having, hes too important. Another player we have in that position that you guys haven't mentioned is Fabrice Muamba...hes another young one on loan to Birmingham and has featured in over 20 matches he is also highly rated by the Birmingham coach...also he is English!(not that that matters)
09/02/2007 04:14:00
welcome home AB_gooner. I hope we dont sell te wall it seems we havent had time to settle down over the last few seasons, with PV, Edu,Pires and berkamp to name a few leaving. we need to get out of transition mode and even though bert is 30 he seems to be improving with season and contribution wise. i think he is peaking and still growing and is vital for the squad.
09/02/2007 05:34:00
Arsene said that in the last two years of rebuilding the squad, his one regret was letting both Edu and PV leave at the same time (although it was somewhat out of his control). Losing both of their experience at the same time was just too much. Losing one of them he feels we could have handled. So I seriously, seriously doubt that the Boss would let Gilberto go in the summer unless it was a ridiculous offer we couldn't refuse.
09/02/2007 07:01:00
b ah i can't believe you gave this coverage space, it is mere speculation, juve might not even be in Serie A let along europe, Bert knows better then that... what a load of rubbish this rumour is !
09/02/2007 07:55:00
Juventus will get promoted, but that still leaves them a minimum of a year out the champions league & quite possible even more when you consider how many of their best players left. Arsenal have become a bigger club than Juve over the past couple of years so I really dont see any mileage in this story at all. Gilberto still plays like he is 25 so there is no chance of Wenger letting such a vital player leave. One of Gilberto's biggest qualities is his presence at corners & free kicks & the amount of times he heads the ball clear, without him only Diaby offers the height & he just doesn't have enough positional sense at present!!
Ashburton Gooner
09/02/2007 08:24:00
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