First off, I wished all of you a Merry Christmas. Now on to more serious business. In another week, the transfer window opens. As it always is with the silly season, Arsenal will be link with every player on the planet and I’m not joking. With that many names being thrown around, I thought I’d make today’s post on this topic.
The easiest way to go about it would be to assess our performance so far this season and see where we are lacking and will need reinforcement(s). Let’s start with the goalkeeping department. The current incumbent of the Number 1, Manuel Almunia has had a shaky season, no doubt about it. Frozen out of the team initially after the Man City game (I don’t believe a word of the chest infection that he suffered), he was reinstalled back in the team but is still as unreliable as before. However with Fabianski, Mannone and Szczescny waiting in the wings, there is no need to buy any new keepers.
In the fullback positions, I think we are secured at the moment, even if 3 of our left-backs are currently injured. The fourth in line, Silvestre is currently playing as a result of those injuries. As well stocked as we are at left back, the right back position is the opposite. After Sagna, there’s only Eboue. Beyond that, I’m hard pressed to think of another. In reserves, Craig Eastmond has played at right back throughout the 08/09 season but seemed to have move further forward into a midfield spot. That being said, Sagna’s consistency in being fit is unbelievable. So no worries there.
Central defense is a whole different story. William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen have been virtually ever present since the beginning of the season. The thought of either one of them being injured scared the crap out of me. Johan Djourou is currently out injured and will probably miss the rest of the season. For one reason or another, Phillipe Senderos have been frozen out by Wenger.
That leaves us with just Mikael Silvestre. The ageing Frenchman may have done well on the occasional few times that he has won the Arsenal jersey this season but will suffer in some games due to his lack of pace. With so many more games due to come in the Premier League and Champions League, we need more than just Silvestre as the backup.
Havard Nordtveit who is on loan at Nuremberg has consistently played, sometimes in defense and sometimes in midfield, is an option to bring back. If the Norwegian is not good enough in Wenger’s eyes, then money needs to be spend here. Not for a short term but actually someone who is young but also preferably experienced enough considering the fact that even Gallas has probably only 2 good years of top level football left in him.
From the Premier League itself, there are already a whole host of players that fit the profile. Jack Rodwell would be the one with the biggest talent of them all. Comfortable on either foot, he is young and can play either in defense or midfield. Still only 18, but built like a man. Though Everton might not be too willing to sell another 18 year old to another Premier League club. Others like Scott Dann (mightily impressive for Birmingham thus far), Gary Cahill (goal-scoring defender that is almost Vermaelen like), James Tomkins (20 year old ball playing defender) and Micah Richards (built like a bull, may have deteriorate in the past year but still young enough at 21 to recover and improve).
Meanwhile possible signings from outside of England includes 19 year old Mamadou Sakho from PSG who is also captain of the French U-21 squad and 22 year old Fabian Monzon of Boca Juniors who was the star in Argentina’s gold medal winning squad at Beijing Olympics. The former is more of a possibility having been linked previously to Arsenal. With Wenger’s French connection, this might be the one. As for the latter, his Latin American passport will required a work permit which will be tough to get, considering he hasn’t appeared for the full national squad just yet.
Next half of the team will be assessed in future post.