The internet was rife with news/rumours, whatever you want to call it, of Jens Lehmann being resigned using the emergency loan system. It of course brings back memories. Lehmann was one of the Invincibles as well as being a great keeper. But lest we all forget, that was 7 years ago.
He left Arsenal after the end of the 07/08 season. Arsene Wenger thought he was passed it and so do we. So how has it changed 3 seasons after that departure. Can a 41 year old keeper turn back time and suddenly rediscover his agility and ability to prevent the opposition from scoring? Some of you might say that well, Lehmann is only being signed as the back-up to Manuel Almunia and probably would not get any minutes. More importantly, he brings to the club his experience and winning mentality. Something which we all admit are severely lacking in this Arsenal squad.
I can understand that argument and I totally agree with that. The players could use someone in the dressing room who has been there and done that with Arsenal. The lifting of trophies and winning games. My only concern about this signing is if and when Lehmann plays. Let’s face it. We are Arsenal and we get injuries. Who’s to say that between now and the end of the season that Almunia would not get injured. Will Lehmann’s body still be able to cope with today’s game? Will his reflexes still be as good considering he has not played or trained for 10 months now?
I get the emotions of a legend, someone who played a big part in our greatest ever triumph coming back in a playing capacity for the club. It’s great and all that. But, we are still very much in place to win the league title. Can Wenger and Arsenal afford to take such risk?
Standing from my position, it is surely easy to say such things. What do I know about keeper availability and whether at this stage of the season, whether they would still want to loan us a keeper. All things considered, surely there are better options out there. At least those who are still playing competitively, albeit in a reserve capacity. While we’re on that subject of bringing back ex-players, why not consider Alex Manninger? He’s third choice behind Gianluigi Buffon and Marco Storari at Juventus.
Goalkeeping department is not the only place where we are short on resources. Centreback have become an issue after the FA Cup defeat. Johan Djourou will be out for the season and that leaves us with just Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci as the only 2 fit senior centrebacks. Furthermore, the midfielder who can slot in there is out injured as well. Alex Song will not be making the trip to the Hawthorns at the weekend.
What that leaves us with is Ignasi Miquel sitting on the bench. We can all see his abilities and talent in the 2 games against Leyton Orient but it worries me that he does not yet look to be ready for tougher test like the ones he will get in the Premier League. Beyond that, there’s the option of playing Bacary Sagna in the middle and give Emmanuel Eboue a run on the right side of defence. That would be a better option compared to having Aaron Ramsey play there.
All that means, we’ll be playing players out of position. Something which I dislike to see. It hardly helps the player and they hardly do well. Inadvertently, it affects the balance of the team as well. Wenger needs to do a Ferguson and recall Kyle Bartley. Someone who has played in the Europa League is a much better option at centreback than a right back or a midfielder. I’m not saying as a starter though. Squillaci is surely the first choice now and Bartley would be a solid back-up.
Much for the manager to consider. Hopefully there are further news later today. If not, I’ll still see you here tomorrow.