Good day, Gooners of the positive variety.
So we got a new chairman with a funny name but, other than that, there is relatively little news to bring to you fine folk. With that in mind, I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about the team and where additions may be needed. This is not a tabloid newspaper or the blog of a man with an intimate knowledge of crystal balls. There will be no names, there will be no figures.
While the list of players linked with Arsenal grows, the actual squad of players at the club has begin to to shrink. In previous years this meant that we were losing vital team members but this time it’s different. The players who are leaving the club, some loved and some not-so-much, are doing so at the behest of Arsenal and nobody else. The team which was the best one in Britain for the second half of the season will stay together and welcome new players into an already defined system. So what do we need?
Any player joining the team will have to be strong of character and selfless enough to give themselves to our way of defending as a team. They will have to, regardless of price-tag or wages, join the effort to bring The Arsenal back to the top; an effort which is built on hard work and commitment. Most of all, I believe that they will have to bring what we lacked for a big part of last season, and that is confidence. Many times last season, (particularly in the first half) the team looked like it was out of ideas and short of belief. They subsequently went on to prove that they were good enough but as Arséne Wenger says, “If you don’t believe you have no chance at all”. Some new arrivals will be young and will fill out a depleted squad but the ones who join with a view to immediately breaking into the team will have to be the type of player who can be turned to when the new chairman is down.
Goalkeeper – It seems as though the club would like to add a goalkeeper to the party as Fabianski is out of contract this year. Having come back from being dropped, Szczesny proved to most that he’s got the quality to be our number one but there are signs that a new goalkeeper will be added to provide experience and competition.
Defenders – The situation at left-back is about the healthiest one at the club, with two of Europe’s elite battling it out for the spot. At right-back there has been some speculation about Bacary Sagna leaving to return to France. Should he go, Carl Jenkinson will step into the role reasonably seamlessly but there will have to be a player signed to cover. At centre-back, we have the interesting situation of our club captain being unable to break into the side as Mertesacker and Koscielny have forged an awesome partnership. Vermaelen has been linked with a move away but he was very quick to come out and say that he’s happy with us and wants to fight for his place. We currently have three top, top, top quality players in that position and a possible addition would give us a back-eight about which we could all feel extremely secure.
Midfield – Now I don’t know which hip terms we’re using for midfielders this week but with Arteta and Ramsey forming our double-hinge-swivel, we’ve got a partnership that has composure, creativity, industry and guile. This partnership is so strong that one would struggle to find a place for Jack Wilshere. There are a lot of games to be played over the season so a player coming in to make that very impressive three a four would seem to make sense. Last season, on several occasions, Wilshere was played in the most advanced role in the midfield. With Rosicky’s injury record, and Santi’s move to the left, either a creative player must come in to add to our attacking threat or Jack will continue his progression forward and two deeper midfielders would have to come in. It’s a bit of a quandary in the middle but it is one filled with quality players and exciting opportunities.
Wingers (Or whatever you want to call them) – Theo Walcott has had another good season. His new contract and continued progress means that our right side is nailed down for another year. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been mooted as a central player for the future but this season will probably see him play a more active role in deputising for Theo. The left side has been occupied by Santi Cazorla which has pushed Lukas Podolski to the bench. There was talk about the German leaving but after a strong first season, the happiest man in London will most likely stay.
Strikers – Olivier Giroud has had a very impressive first season. There are elements of his game upon which he could improve but his link play, his power in the air, and often his finishing have shown him to be an excellent acquisition. He needs help and help is coming. Walcott and Gervinho have played there with some success but neither look to be the player to ‘lead the line’, as they say. A new forward to share the burden with Giroud is probably where a good chunk of our new-found wealth will go.
The point of this post is to highlight the fact that the team is already very strong. The overhaul had begun long before the budget exploded and the nucleus of a winning machine is already in place. This is not only a huge compliment to the manager who assembled such a fine squad on a limited budget, but it also tells us that, should we achieve success in the coming season, we will do it with a squad with whom we had the chance to fall in love. New additions will be supplementary and we will not have bought a title. We will do it the Arsenal Way.
Thanks for reading,
Up the Arsenal!