As usual a promising season crumbles at the business end of the season due to a combination of defeats in vital games & injuries yet again, and when you look at our threadbare squad I can tell you now nothing will change next season either.
There is significantly less deadwood to clear this year than last summer, however there are a lot of players with deals expiring such as Fabianski, Sagna & Bendtner (thank god), Viviano & Kallstrom are unlikely to stay & then you have former fan favourites Vermaelen, Arteta & Diaby with 1 year left. Throw an underused Podolski into the mix & you have a hell of a lot of gaps to plug but don’t expect them to be.
Fabianski & Viviano will be gone, meaning either a top quality goalkeeper will be signed to compete with Szczesny (Julio Cesar) or a new Fabianski will be signed to watch Szczesny continue to collapse in vital games but then turn into Lehmann against the small teams. Considering the amount of signings needed, expect a cheap Goalkeeper to be signed or even loaned in then watch them struggle when thrown into the deep end after some more bad luck like a Szczesny injury next season.
Vermaelen is most likely gone this summer and understandably so, he must be the only captain in the league that gets less respect than a youth player. I like his enthusiasm but the guy just makes everyone around him worse and is constantly bettered by multiple strikers. Seeing as we play 60+ games a season, I’m astounded that we actually thought 3 centre backs would be enough this season. 4 is the absolute minimum, that gives you 2 partnerships and allows for complete rotation occasionally. By having 3 we handicapped ourselves by always having to play 1 of our 1st choice centre backs in every game. 2 centre backs are required if Vermaelen leaves and ideally no one too fancy, a simple defender who understands his role and stays back. Another top defender to challenge our 1st choice partnership would be great and then a dependable young Centre Back who can play in cups and in emergencies.
If Sagna stays than brilliant but if not then I highly doubt we’ll sign anyone worthy of his place, at worst we’ll keep Bellerin as backup and promote Jenkinson. I like Carl but he still has a lot to learn and Bellerin is no where near ready so expect this to happen and then Jenkinson to get an injury meaning Bellerin starts, another suicidal yet probable move Wenger will do.
Now onto midfield, this will be fun. Ramsey starts no questions asked, he needs a partner that is not only going to match his work rate & energy, but a partner that will give him the freedom to use his energy more for attacking than covering Michelle, sorry Mikel. Arteta has 1 year left and in my eyes doesn’t have enough left to take us forward but we paid around £10m for him so I’d be shocked if we let him leave for free next year. Yesterday against Everton showed it was another stupid move moving him to a defensive position, he was literally bullied by Barkley the teenager. We need a powerhouse that is going to shrug off Barkley, or at least match him and offer some fight not just cower down. As well as hopefully Arteta, I can’t see Kallstrom being kept permanently based on 6 games and his training sessions. That leaves Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby & Flamini meaning at least 2 more are needed in the summer but even 1 top quality signing in that position would shock me. Don’t be surprised if we promote Ollson and overplay Ramsey again as Diaby gets injured the day after the transfer window shuts.
Lastly we have our strike ‘force’. Bendtner will be gone on the 1st of June finally so that’s good, Podolski was apparently on the transfer list in the summer and Park Chu Young was just a mistake signing. Giroud despite his atrocious form is always decent from the bench and is okay in spells so I’m okay with him as a backup, but I would definitely be open to a replacement as long as its 1 of 2 strikers signed. Signing 1 striker and selling Giroud is a backwards step and leaves us no better than this season, we must either sign a world class striker and bench Giroud or sell Giroud and replace him with someone like Remy as well as buying a top striker. Surprisingly I can actually see us FINALLY signing a top striker this summer so I am fairly optimistic over this position seeing as Bendtner is leaving too, Wenger literally has no choice but to sign a top striker. Selling Podolski also means a left winger is needed, Cazorla on the left wing doesn’t work against teams above 8th place so we need to stop playing him there and wondering why teams target our left side in big games. A true winger with pace that can go down the outside, dribble and track back has been missing for years and would make us far less predictable.
Another thing I think is important is to completely rule out the Capital One Cup, whether its Yoevil at home or Liverpool away, our squad is too small to play 1st teamers in that competition and you could argue that the extra games leads to fatigue and eventually injury (Ramsey). I would keep Miquel & Miyachi purely to play in the Cups and provide the 1st teamers with complete rest, trying to have a small squad of versatile players this season backfired stupidly but unsurprisingly. There really is no excuse not to address the major holes in our squad but as with the theme of the title, a Tiger never changes its stripes so don’t expect a ground breaking transfer window.
Fabianski, Sagna (please stay), Coquelin, Bendtner – Release
Viviano, Kallstrom – Loan ends
Vermaelen, Arteta, Podolski, Park Chu Young – Sell
The sales above leave us needing:
2 centre backs
1 right back
2 defensive midfielders
1 left winger
Keep your fingers crossed Arsenal fans because I really can’t see even half of this amount of players signed even after multiple departures.
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