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An Embarrassment of Riches

Reports persisting of Lassana Diarra about to sign for Arsenal, Gunnerblog reports he did not travel with rest of the Chelsea squad to Brondby.

Diarra plays as a defensive midfielder, or as a right back, at least he has under Maureen. We all know how well stocked we are for right backs right now, so it's inconceivable he'd be brought in in with this in mind, so that leaves central midfield.

Is another CM what we need?

As well as our first choice central pairing of Gilberto and Cesc, we are already additionally fortified with the likes of Diaby, Denilson and Alex Song, all vying for a one of the two (maybe three, given Wenger's recent formational tweakings...) central midfield berths in the side, we have allowed Fabrice Muamba to depart for pastures Brummie this summer.

Diaby and Denilson's qualities and potential are there for all to see, and whilst Alex Song has many critics amongst Gooners who do not appreciate him/think he's not good enough, when i had seen him playing whilst on loan for Charlton, he looked more than useful, and seemed to knit their midfield and defence together.

Alongside this, we have Rosicky and Hleb, both central midfield playmakers - indeed, this past weekend's inaugural Emirates Cup saw Alex Hleb plying his trade in his chosen central midfield playmaker berth, and to all intents and purposes, those in attendance and watching the games on tv say that he performed exceedingly well in this role.

I appreciate the fact that, as GilbertoSilver of Gunnerblog points out, he is seen as the reincarnation of Makalele in France, and for the national side, but where would that position him within our setup? Arsene has already made reference to the fact he is unlikely to bring in another striker, as we are not 'collecting them', and said the same sort of thing regarding a wideman, saying why bring in someone like Walcott who you believe has the potential to be world class, only to then block his route by signing a 24yr old winger, thus denying him the opportunity to develop into said beacon of footballing prowess. Well surely the same is even more true regarding central midfield at Arsenal. We can sign all the world-class potential youngsters in the world, but can only offer them so much playing time at once, and in midfield, we truly have a glut of them.

Say Diarra did sign, would one of young CMs go out on loan? Song did last time, would he do so again, and this time be joined by one of Diaby or Denilson? Surely Diarra wouldn't, the supposed reason he's signing is to gain more playing time, after all. And remember Arsene's own comments about ManUre and Fergie only being able to play 11 players at any one time.

Perhaps if this were to happen, it is because Arsene must see in him something he has come to the conclusion we don't have in the squad, a truly defensive midfield shield, which might mean he views Denilson and Diaby and more attacking, creative midfielders, and that we need this option to our game.

The question is, do we have enough options already?

The Journalist

Writer: Wingston Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 31 2007

Time: 10:53AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Midfield looks pretty crowded with 9 players already plus Eduardo and Walcott able to play wide (plus RvP if needed). Even playing 4-5-1 is going to leave us struggling to fit them all in unless we do get an abnormal load of injuries. You would think any more recruits would have to offer something really special.
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31/07/2007 11:13:00

Unless Arsene plans to play Diarra on the flanks. Unlikely I know, but I cant see why we else need to sign Diarra now.
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31/07/2007 11:21:00

My thoughts exactly Wingers ol'boy - but you didn't even mention the under-rated Flamini! The only possible reason I can see for buying this guy is to get him to start taking over from Gilberto in the next couple of years, giving him 8-9 games this season, 15 the next etc.
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31/07/2007 11:33:00

Oh gawd, why do I keep on missing out the Flamster? this is the 2nd time I've done this, and I really rate the contributions he makes... Matty, if yo uare reading this (which I SERIOUSLY doubt...) apologies old bean. Yes, quite right indeed Andy, and yet another reason why the centre of midfield is enjoying such a wealth of talent... »»Arsene Knows««
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31/07/2007 11:46:00

I agree with the fact that we have enough midfielders. But, how many of these surplus midfielders would you rate as defensive as Bert is? The answer is no one. Bert can not only defend, but he can provide support when the defenders are in trouble. Players like Diaby n Flamini can do the central midfield job well and then can make good runs. (Flamini's incredible goal ratio is a fine example to this!). But, they cant do both.. Where as, this guy can..
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31/07/2007 11:53:00

This really confuses me, we don't need him at all. Denilson, Diaby and Cesc are all young and ridiculously good. I can only think that maybe Gilberto will be sold and that is perhaps why there is a delay in naming the new captain? I hope not, that would be a bad move from the manager.
Little Dutch
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31/07/2007 12:00:00

I can't see him selling Bert LD, infact I reckon he will be another player who signs a couple of one year contracts and then leaves for free. In Denilson we have the most exciting central midfield prospect around (that's right even more exciting than Cesc IMO) and we also have Diaby to compliment the rest of the team. This rumour has no legs for me, especially if you consider the fact that Diarra wants to leave to get first team action and he wouldn't be any closer at Arsenal than he is at Chelsea, even further away infact!
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31/07/2007 12:23:00

No using signing the likes of Denilson and Diaby and then buying Diarra. Mind you, not sure if Denilson and Cesc complement each other in the way that Gilberto complements Cesc. As ever, Wenger has the masterplan!
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31/07/2007 12:42:00

Do we really believe Chelski would sell him to you guy's, I doubt it. And as you have all pointed out, where would he play. He wants 1st team football, and in my IMO is good enough.
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31/07/2007 12:52:00

Diarra's a good player but I really don't think we need him. We've got more than enough cover in CM and we could even get rid of Song and still have enough players. The centre of the midfield is looking very crowded and if anything we need another winger, not a CM.
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31/07/2007 12:54:00

top spur1 chelshi would be forced to sell as it seems he has only a year left on his contract and would leave for free next season....having said that seeing that ********* is gona leave chelski he jus mite stay
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31/07/2007 13:23:00

dont know why you want him - he's only an average player
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31/07/2007 13:28:00

karley I'm aware of that, however they are one of the only teams. That IMO could afford to hang onto a player, without worrying about losing a transfer fee. I'm sure their will be other teams in for him, don't forget Chelski sold Duff to Toon for less money than we offered. Because they did not want to do business with us.
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31/07/2007 13:40:00

Diarra is not needed. He may be a good player but Gilberto has 2 more years in him and surely by then Diaby and Denilson will have the defensive capabilities to play there. The Flamster will also be here. I think Diarra will only come if we sold Den or Diaby and that aint gunna happen.
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31/07/2007 13:55:00

Goofle, this is the thing though - i think that with a position like Gilberto's, it is *kinda* specialist, as it's not just about having the technical and physical capabilities to play there, but you also need to have that second-guessing abililty to know where to be positioned the whole time, and wnd when to be positioned there. Remember how people used to undervalue Gibber and he'd get slated before he had theback injury, it wasnt until we were without him that a lot of gooners truly realised his worth. In a long meandering way, what I am trying to say is, would Denilson and Diaby have that abililty to perform the Gilberto role? Or would the midfield need to adapt it's game once he was no longer with us? »»Arsene Knows««
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31/07/2007 14:08:00

That 'second guessing' ability is probably more learned that natural expertise though both Diaby and Denilsons instincts are more of a playmaking role. Djourou played there against Porstmouth to good effect, we know Kolo can do it and supposedly Sagna has that capability too. Whether Song is ultimately good enough I can't say but Diarra doesn't seem a 'must have' to me.
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31/07/2007 14:16:00

The only plausible reason I can see Wenger doing this is that he doesnt see Diaby as the replacement for Bert. And Diarra would be the holding midfielder that he is looking for. Because Diaby is much more attacking than Bert. That is there for all to see. I trust whatever AW does. But if he does come then I am afraid that is the end for Song.
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31/07/2007 15:26:00

well i say gilberto has a season or more left so buying the next makalele for 2mil is worth it. denilson diaby flamini are more attacking midfieldrs. diarra plays as a defensive mid and could do just a good job as gilberto. i don't think adding him would decrease the chances of other players as i reckon squad rotation is vital nowadays if u wanna win all major trophies. song is good but has a lot of time to develop and diarra would b good for now as he has premiership experience and like i said b4 he could b gilbertos replacement. also song could go out on loan for more first team experience. if diarra signs he knows he won't play a lot only 4 certain games like against the lower side teams who we struggle against whereas gilberto will play the crucial games. cesc will also b rested this season as he played over 50 games last season so he'll be having a break sometime this season and denilson, diaby or flamini will deputise. plus we always get injuries so having a big squad is essential. gilberto could retire or play a bit part role in latter seasons so in reality diarra wouldn't b stopping ne of the players development.
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31/07/2007 15:36:00

If we buy Alves, Diarra's chance of first team play will be very very small ( except at the time of the african tournament). He's a very good player.
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31/07/2007 16:35:00

I thought he was a holding mid. Why would the buy of Alves, a right back I believe, affect his playing time?
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31/07/2007 16:50:00

Arsene knows if thinks he needs him he must do!
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31/07/2007 16:56:00

If he signs him its bye bye to Flam and Song...Song should go anyway. He wopuld be awsome at a ***** club. I agree Wingers that its a specialist position but Man U aint got one. Even Chelsea are giving up on Makelele. Most games we dont need Gilberto. We would be better suited to a diaby or Denilson that can do both things (attack and defend) whereas Gilberto seems surplus to requirements in many games with 10 men defending and Kolo/Gallas marking one man.
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31/07/2007 17:51:00

Buying him would suggest to me a solid 4-5-1 will be used a lot next season, possibly more so in European games. I still think we would have an excessive amount of centre mids but 4-5-1 could explain why we arent trying to buy any more forwards or Wingers? In the PSG game I thought Denilson and Fabregas left the defence a bit exposed (I know it was only pre season) and Diaby is an attacking midfielder IMO. Diarra is a VERY good defensive midfielder and as close to makalele as you are going to find (A cynical b@rst@rd!) for £2 million he would be a steal.
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31/07/2007 18:16:00

can diarra play centre back? beacuse with toure going to african nations that leaves just gallas, senderos and djorou. just a point.
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31/07/2007 19:28:00

gunnerkid, Diarra can play right back as well. Which was where he played the majority of his games for chelsea last season. So i'm guessing he CAN play as centre back (although he is really short and would get killed by a big Heskey-ish striker) . Play in the right part of the midfield. And , of course, play dm.
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31/07/2007 19:40:00

Diarra would be as good as my left bollock at CB...thats not good. But as good a my right foot at DM...thats a compliment ;-)
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01/08/2007 00:51:00

Thanks K_chelski didnt know that. But i highly doubt he will play CB. Too short.
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01/08/2007 01:49:00

I think this is just wishful thinking. We are not gonna sign this Diarra player and not in the forseeable future
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01/08/2007 11:21:00

also on the wideman debate what about gibbs he looked preety comfortable on sunday
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01/08/2007 11:38:00

Goofle I don't agree with your assessment of the requirement for a defensive midfield player, I think most teams play with one. The only difference is which type, their is the Makelele type, the Carrick type, or the Sissoko type. Not to mention Gilberto who I see as a cross between Makelele and Carrick. Not as good as either at what they do, but has a bit of both.
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01/08/2007 12:56:00

No successful team in history has ever played without a top class shielding player. Look at the great teams of the past/ present, there is always a top class defensive midfielder. Italy 2006- Gattuso. Brazil 2002- Gilberto. France 1998- Deschamps. Brazil 1994- Dunga. Milan 07- Gattuso. Barca 06- Edmilson/ Xavi/ Motta. Liverpool 05- Alonso. Porto 04- Costinha. Man Utd- Carrick. Chelsea- Makelele. Arsenal's 49ers- Gilberto. Arsenal 98- Petit. What happened to Madrid when Makelele left. England look ten times better with Hargreaves/ King playing that role.
Little Dutch
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01/08/2007 13:12:00

there is no one in the squad in the same mold as the invisible wall so for me he would be a welcome addition
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01/08/2007 13:57:00

Denilson and Diaby can do it. Carrick is hardly a defensive midfielder.
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01/08/2007 14:03:00

LD do you think that Carrick is a top class shielding player???
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01/08/2007 19:21:00

Denilson and DIaby wont be able to play CDM they are to attacking minded,bouf of them,you cant play Berto on the RW thats the difference,Flamster is a bit Defensive but is turnin out Attacking now
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01/08/2007 21:14:00

Hate to say it, but yes Carrick is a top class player. Carrick is very much a defensive midfielder, you don't often see him in the box. He's more creative than a Makelele or a Gilberto, but is not as good as either of those two. He's more of an Alonso type, who is also top class by the way.
Little Dutch
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01/08/2007 21:45:00

we need wingers, unless wenger is planing on converting like 2 ppl to wingers. I could see eboue, but who else? I hope we buy a really good one.
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02/08/2007 00:19:00

Carrick, Maka, Bert, Alonso are all good CDM. But Carrick is more like Essien in the fact that he is defensive but u can often find him getting involved in the attack.
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02/08/2007 02:11:00

No you don't! Can we have him instead? ;)
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02/08/2007 08:40:00

Looks like this may be true after all what with the player refusing to sign a new contract offered to him. Lets wait and see as the Boss turns another leaf of transfer period.
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05/08/2007 09:25:00


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