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TRANSFERS: Arsene Wenger’s Summer Transfer Plans…

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There are still 2 months to go before the season ends, but Arsene Wenger should have started listing his transfer targets by now. We might certainly have one of the most talented squads in Europe, but what we do not have are experience and an indomitable image. Teams still believe that they can boss us around, or we don’t have the spirit to grind it out, or the experience to hold on to a marginal lead or come from behind. While at various points in the season we have demonstrated that we CAN do the aforementioned, it hasn’t been regular, nor has it been consistent.

So, without much ado, lets dive into what can be Arsenal’s summer prospects. Please keep in mind that this is not a list of players who I think ‘should’ go, but rather, players who ‘might’ leave given the circumstances:

Who might go

Tomas Rosicky

Rosicky is, I confess, one of my favourite players at Arsenal. He is loyal, hard working, and committed. He usually gives his all on the pitch, and has enough experience to captain the side.

However, as hard working and committed Rosicky might be, he has given me and  most Arsenal fans little reason to believe that he still has the skill and technique to make a difference to the side. For all his experience, you can’t rely on Rosicky to come on late and turn the tide for the Gunners. His pace has decreased notably, his soft touches and dribbling have taken a hit and he doesn’t look at ease with the ball at his feet. All characteristics that Arsenal players are known for, are lacking in Tomas at the present.

He might find his pre-injury form, who knows. But currently, Arsene Wenger might be wanting to get good value out of the Czech International while he can.

Gael Clichy

The successor of Ashley Cole, and the only remaining player of the Invincibles side, Clichy is an extremely experienced and reliable fullback, who with Bacary Sagna, forms an indomitable fullback partnership. He has pace to burn, and is excellent at making runs down the left flank. However Clichy isn’t always very keen on getting back to a defensive position, and sometimes irrationally moves out of position to get the ball, leaving a wide space for the opposite winger to exploit. Couple this with Arshavin, who usually plays on the left, and is himself not too keen about covering the ball, makes for a perilous left side during counter attacks.

There have been reports that Madrid and all sorts of European and English clubs are interested in signing Clichy, after reports that the French international ‘got up and walked off from the negotiation table’. It is rumoured that he has put all contract talks on hold, and is eyeing a transfer out of Arsenal this summer. If this is so, with only 2 years left on his contract, Wenger would want to sell Clichy for as much as possible before his contract runs out next year.

Manuel Almunia

Having fallen behind Wojciech Szczesny, Lukas Fabianski and Vito Mannone in the Arsenal Goalkeeping pecking order, the constantly-maligned Spanish Goalkeeper might be looking for a move to La Liga in the summer. Even though he produced a rare MotM performance against Barca, I for one, can still not look at the Team Sheet and feel confident when I see Almunia’s name on it.

Nicklas Bendtner

The high headed, mobile-as-a-tank Dane has been Arsenal’s back up striker for RvP for quite long a long time. There was talk about him leaving in January after he complained about his lack of games post the arrival of Marouane Chamakh. He did produce some moments of magic during this season, and has an imposing physical presence, but there have been far too many moments when he has let his teammates, his manager and the fans down with a clumsy touch or a sliced shot. And also, his pace is not enough to cope with the quick attacking play that characterizes Arsenal (but he has set sprint records in Denmark…mysteriously)

There would be a lot of clubs willing to sign the young striker, and there are far better replacements out there.

Francesc Fabregas and/or Samir Nasri

The Fabregas – Barcelona saga is common enough in football knowledge, so no need emphasizing on that. Samir Nasri too, has held off contract talks, even though he is being offered a lucrative long-term contract by Arsenal.

Last season Wenger talked Fabregas into playing another season for Arsenal, perhaps convincing him that this time it would be different. But if we don’t win anything this year (again), Fabregas might make up his mind and leave for Barcelona. This could be the same for Nasri. What I fail to comprehend is why would Cesc, currently captain of one of Europe’s biggest clubs and almost a legend at the age of 23, and Nasri, possible future captain, and club legend, leave to become Bench warmers in an inevitable two-horse, mundane La Liga?

Who might come in

Eden Hazard

Hailed as the next best Attacking Midfielder in world football, Hazard has been tracked by, and is being heavily linked to, Arsenal. He is probably Wenger’s contingency plan in case Fabregas decides to leave. However, the Lille man has said that the  ‘La Liga more suits my style’ and truthfully, I don’t want Hazard coming to Arsenal.

Most of us have forgotten what a brilliant AM Aaron Ramsey is, and that he was a first choice midfielder for us before that horrific night at Stoke. If we bring in Hazard, we will be benching Aaron, which is not fair, and a disrespect to his talent and skill and loyalty. He for me is a true Arsenal player, and sorry, I would any day go for Ramsey over Hazard.

Should Hazard come in, we would of course have a good replacement for Cesc, as well as a substitute, should Cesc stay. But I would still not want us to splash cash on him, when there are other areas to be strengthened.

Per Mertesacker

Arsenal fans would give anything for the tall German international to come to Arsenal, and so would I. With a commanding presence in the back 4, a good assessment of the game and a very clean tackling ability, Mertesacker would form a rock solid partnership alongside Thomas Vermaelen. He has been linked with several clubs, including Arsenal, and while a move might seem a bit impossible, it has every chance of happening.

However, would it be worth benching Djourou for Mertesacker? That is a question.

Karim Benzema

While according to reports, this deal was about to happen in January, as a rumoured swap deal between Madrid and Arsenal, nothing materialized, and with the French striker firing of late for Madrid, a move to North London can be deemed highly unlikely. However, with Madrid still being linked to Clichy, along with ‘Pool and Juventus, Mourinho might just let him go if Arsenal can spare some cash and a left back. But again, all said, it is highly unlikely.

Romelu Lukaku

There is only one way to describe the Belgian striker: insanely talented. At only 18 years of age, he has attracted immense attention from all big clubs of the world, but is unwilling to move until the summer, as he wishes to complete his studies.

It was reported that Arsenal are favourites to get his signature, given that they are also interested in buying Lukaku’s little brother, who plays as a defender, but there is every chance that he City/Madrid/Barca would swoop in, offer incredulous money, and take off with the striker.

There is a very good chance that none of the above might happen. It is plausible that we will remain with the same squad, with only some teenagers coming in to fill the academy. But Wenger needs to realise the need to build a squad that has enough quality to scare the likes of Barcelona, and to convince people to stop calling us ‘Barcelona Lite’, or questioning our spirit or our experience. And while the transfer market doesn’t bring trophies (Look at Spuds, City and Chelsea at present) but with the right combination of an ingenious manager, an amazing attacking game, and experienced quality players, Arsenal might just go back to the days of the Invincibles.

Well that rounds the article off.

What do you think? Which players do you want to come, or leave? Please comment.

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