Date:Wednesday May 9 2007
On Saturday morning, following a beer-fuelled Arsenal debate with a couple of buddies the previous night, which was re-visited prior to the Manchester derby kicking off, one's good self posted to the forum a piece regarding a topic that has been a popular topic of conversation for gooners of late, that of signings during the close season.
Do we need any? What position? Who's on their way out? How much do we have to spend?
This of course has become interlinked with the potential takeover by 'Silent' Stan, as he has become christened. The amount we'll have to spend...
I've been a firm believer that we do not require any strengthening in terms of the squad. At least not majorly. We have the required players, the talent is there. For me it was more a case of application of the talent that the team have, which is there for all to see, and that surely with a little more luck on the injury front we would see the team challenge the following season for the premiership title. Take any of the other teams, and remove their top 2 goal-scoring threats and you would see a serious dent in their aspirations to silverware.
But alcohol can be a source of disaster, but also a gateway to the promised land of previously-unforeseen insight.
During several pints of Guinness on the Friday with a group of folks in canary wharf, including my mates Kev (a west ham fan) and Ed (fellow gooner), it slowly dawned on me that there was a blindingly delicious prospect for The Arsenal, which concerned the signing of a striker, one of the popular musings on the Vital Arsenal forums.
There have been callings for Eto'o to be signed from Barça, for all efforts to be made to secure Tevez from West Ham / MSI (whoever really owns the fellow...). But in my beer haze, it dawned on me that taking into account all the factors we face this summer - transfer budget, someone who's be able to adapt to life in the prem, and in England, someone who could deliver the goals we need - one name suddenly shone brighter than all others, and it was a name i hadn't expected, and that i didnt expect fellow gooners to be too warm towards either. The fellow's name is Abdul-Salam Bilal. You may be more familiar with him as Nicolas Anelka.
As we know, Arsene, for the past few seasons, has been none too keen of signing players who you would consider to be one of those 'experienced heads' that some folk say we need. Nicolas Anelka is only just 28 (having turned so in march), so that would be the right side of 30 then. That golden figure that would seem to be part of Le Boss' prerequisite for a signing, of late.
Following the departure of Fat Sam from their club, he would be available i reckon for... hmm, what, let's say £7m? Which i reckon would be a pretty good price... I think that the departure of their gaffer will weaken them as a club, in terms of their resolve and hold on players. Change at the top can breed disruption and disquiet. What with the upheaval at the reebok, their thoughts may be less inclined to hold on to their players, and fat Sam, before his departure, spoke of Anelka being allowed to go for a top fee. I think he could be secured for less than that.
Anelka now speaks of how he thinks highly of arsenal. Having spent a few years playing his way around various clubs, who knows - maybe Anelka now reflects more favourably on what he had, and subsequently gave up, at Arsenal. Quotes attributed to him in recent months speak of him considering Arsenal quite a lot in his thoughts.
On top of that,Wenger speaks of Anelka leaving as his one biggest regret in management. It would seem that Arsene viewed the guy as the one he could mold into the most fearsome striker in the footballing world. We had seen glimpses of what he was posed to offer at Arsenal before various elements turned his head toward Spain. Perhaps this would be the one player so far that Arsene would re-sign for Arsenal.
And could you imagine a forward line of Anelka, rvp and ade? it would have pace power and goals a-plenty. Anelka would be that direct line toward goal. he was always that player that would arrow toward the centre of the penalty area with one thought in mind... but hold up - 'wot no Henry?' i hear you cry! that's because...
(and at this point i accredit Ed for this part, for it were he who dropped this little gem into the mix, which dovetailed beautifully with my thoughts on Anelka... ) TH14 takes up residence out on the left wing.
Think about it.
There's been a fair bit of musings on Titi moving into a more withdrawn Bergkamp style role as his pace (may) diminish, as he certainly has the intelligence to play it. Who's to say he could not move to the wing to adopt a Bobby Pires style role?
Were he to move to play a wide role, it would take him away from the buffetings he would receive centrally, yet still allow him the freedom to cut in, unleash a shot, dribble into the area, send the ball across the middle to a waiting colleague.
He's got the nous to know when to play a ball, when to hold onto it, and the talent to beat a man with nonchalance, what's more, he himself has spoken many times in the past of the merits of setting up a colleague being just as important as scoring himself.
As we all know, when Henry arrived at the club, he was a winger, who Wenger converted into a striker (his original position at Monaco). Could he, in the latter stages of his career, go back to the wing?
With Anelka in the mix, we'd have one of the most lethally direct strikers in football, who we know is acclimatised to the prem. can you imagine what a front 2 of Ade/Rvp/Anelka, with Henry on the left wing, would do to teams? it would tear them to shreds... Plus, with Anelka now being older and wiser means that he would not be 'le sulk' that we all knew before... for me, it's certainly a tantalising prospect.
Article submitted by Wingston75
Date:Wednesday May 9 2007
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