Writer: Lewis Wright
Date:Friday May 13 2011
5 Players you won`t see Arsenal buying this Summer (but who could do a job)
We all know the deal this Summer; newspapers will start running headlines about a Wenger spending frenzy, we`ll all get excited about the prospect of Messi wearing the club colours, being supplied by a Zidane who has been through a newly invented time travel device and will now spend the rest of his days permanently 28.
In reality, not much will happen, until a week before deadline day when Wenger will announce the £1.75 signing of a young French man who`s made 7 appearances for his school basketball team, along with a decrepit French man he saw playing football with his grandkids in bare feet on a camp site by the Loire.
Deadline day is the day I almost envy Tottenham fans. They get to watch the BBC website update, feeling like a kid with a lucky dip bag at a party; never quite sure what will come out. Although like the contents of a lucky dip bag, it`s invariably overpriced and after an initial burst loses flavour rapidly.
The usual transfer targets will be linked with Arsenal this Summer and not signed, but it doesn`t make for any less fun speculating. You can read all about Benzema and Jagielka on other less interesting sites. Below are 5 targets I think could really benefit the club, but will not be joining.
1 - Clarence Seedorf
I may have cheated a bit here as I`ve heard his name and Arsenal mentioned in the same sentence before. However, not often so he`ll do for a starter.
Alex Song is slowly developing into a world class holding midfielder, so to buy somebody established would only halt his progression. However, a reserve that isn`t Denilson is no bad thing and they don`t come any more experienced than Seedorf.
Firstly he`s free, always a Wenger winner. He`s also won more medals than a Paraguayan FIFA official with votes to sell, so could teach the younger ones a thing or three about winning.
Patrick Viera has shown at Manchester City the value of having an older head who wants to be a coach. Seedorf will be getting to learn from Wenger, and in return he`ll be happy to pass on knowledge, warm the bench and fill in when Alex Song needs a rest, or so I`m hoping, to give credibility to my argument.
2 - Arjen Robben
Yes he`s a bit of a dick, but aren`t 90% of players until they play for your club?
So often Arsenal can be guilty of overplaying to the degree where the opposition have the chance to regroup and get back in position. For all his faults Robben can never be accused of overcomplicating football; get ball, run with ball, shoot ball. His incisiveness and directness would add another dimension to the team`s play. Plus he`s injured a lot, so he`d fit into a squad rotation system perfectly.
3 - Park Ji Sung
In Korean culture workers do exactly as they`re told, as hard as they can, for as long as they can, until they physically can`t go on. One of the biggest killers of Korean men is fatigue; genuine fact.
For the last few years Park has been used by United as the football equivalent of a limpet, sticking to opponents and not moving away until the whistle sounds; doing no more because he hasn`t been asked to do more.
Over those same years he`s been the playmaker for Korea, bossing the middle and dictating play whilst doing his best to make sure no blade of grass should feel left out by not being stood on; all because he`s been asked to.
In the last few weeks he`s been the stand out player for United, and at Arsenal, given more responsibility, Park would thrive. He can tackle, pass, cross, head, all at speed, and all with the energy of a Ghurka after a barrel full of blue smarties. Played in the centre of midfield he would be up, down, left, right. He`d try to find a way to manipulate the laws of physics and transport himself instantly from one penalty area to the other if you asked him. He can play in any position, and if all that doesn`t convince you, just think of the shirt sales.
4 - Clint Dempsey
Dempsey is what Americans call a 'clutch player.` Others might score more, others might set up more, but few are as able to appear with either, just as the team needs to change gear; clutch. His first goal for the club was the winner against Liverpool that kept them up. His best was a 20 yard chip to beat Juventus with 8 minutes left. The higher the pressure the better he plays.
He`s two footed and an expert at the late run. Like Freddie Ljungberg, but less injury prone. He`s also lethal in the air, which would give a target to all those, so far wasted Sagna whipped crosses.
At Fulham he`s good, but often his runs aren`t spotted, and those high tension moments are fewer and farther between than a player with Dempsey`s class deserves. Given a chance at Arsenal he could be truly great.
5 - Ryan Nelsen
This last selection is more a reaction to the rumour of Christopher Samba joining the club. Whilst Samba is decent, he`s no better than his partner. Nelsen is firmly of the 'if you shoot it, I will block it` mould of defenders, and few block it better.
During the World Cup he was named in the ESPN team of the tournament after leading New Zealand to a 3 game unbeaten run. Their lack of quality in the final third cost them progression, but it was Nelsen`s leadership, organisation and bravery that got them there in the first place; qualities that would have been valuable against Stoke at the weekend, and against Newcastle, and against Tottenham, and against Liverpool, and ... you see where I`m going with this.
Nelsen has not had it easy the last few years. He`s battled through knees held together by masking tape, his family only just escaping the Christchurch earthquake alive and Blackburn deciding he`s not captain anymore, or is, or isn`t, depending on the mood of the manager, or if it`s been raining.
Each time he`s come back stronger and without so much of a murmur of complaint. He could teach the younger ones how to react to adversity. Having seen the team capitulate so spectacularly after losing to Birmingham, that is a skill that cannot be underestimated.
Date:Friday May 13 2011
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