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Arsenal Transfer Rumblings

Last week we talked about the movement outwards from Arsenal as the club clear out the “deadwood” to free up salaries and make space for new additions. This week we’re going to focus in all the chatter about who is coming and what is really needed.

Last week we talked about the movement outwards from Arsenal as the club clear out the “deadwood” to free up salaries and make space for new additions. This week we’re going to focus in all the chatter about who is coming and what is really needed.

We’ve tried to stay away from any speculation about transfers. Last season we made one and well, it didn’t happen and as much as I believe (as an editor and writer) that Arsenal were in for M’Vila and had a change of heart, it doesn’t help that we put the blog out there and got it wrong – sort of. So this season we’re just leaving the prognostication to others.

Still though, it’s clear that there is still pressing needs through out all areas of the club. Another keeper is needed to provide competition to Szczesny. With Djourou gone back to Germany and Squillaci cut lose (yeah!!!!) there is need for another CB. As much improvement as Arsenal’s defense showed, they would still benefit from a true DM sitting in front of them, and well the shortage of a true gifted number 1 striker is well known.

The first thing we should discuss what I believe to be the policy Arsenal intend to employ this summer.  Cynics are already snarking about the signing of Yaya Sanogo, the promising young forward from Ligue 1 side Auxerre. At 20 years old and the first signing of the summer he has already become fodder for those who think Arsenal intend to do nothing of significance this winter.

Now, if you’ve been following this blog and others you know that Arsenal not only has culled its first team roster but there was significant reductions in the player personnel in the reserve and youth ranks. Not only will the first team need replenishing but so will the reserve and youth squads.  While Sanogo is likely to be given a shot at first team, I think it’s a long one at the start.

Sanogo’s signing would’ve likely not caused any fuss if Arsenal had already announced more senior signings. But they didn’t and in doing so, created their own PR mess. We talked about stupid individual errors on the pitch hurting us, well so do ones off the pitch.

I think Arsenal have shown over the last two seasons that any additions to the first team are less likely to be promising youngsters and be proven talent. Arteta, Mertesacker, Gervinho, Santos and Benayoun were all noteworthy because they marked a drastic change in transfer strategy for Arsenal – proven talent with loads of experience.

That 2011/2012 transfer window was then followed by last season’s additions of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud – again all proven international talent. With a core of young British Lions safely locked down to contracts, Arsenal have now supported that with proven quality. That proven quality is in my estimation part of the reason why when the club gelled last season it went on the run to close out the season.

So who are the likely additions? You’re guess is as good as mine. Somehow I suspect there is a deal out there no one is expecting. I do think that the ones that are taking up space on websites, twitter, blogosphere and print are true but whether they will get done is another story. But I just get this sinking feeling that there is a deal coming that no one is really expecting, or if they do they are keeping it very quiet – which in this day of the 24 hour media cycle is near impossible.


As we mentioned Szczesny is need of competition for the number 1 spot. No one should misread this as saying Szczesny should not be number 1 but he showed enough inconsistency that he needs to experience some pressure for the spot. Additionally, the arrogance and cockiness he displays while endearing to some to me shows a complacency of not being pushed by someone for his position. That led to some mistakes on his part and likely part of his benching after the loss to Spurs.

But Szczesny still has the promise of his skill and long years ahead of him and it is likely he will mature into a fine keeper. But he needs to be pushed. I don’t think the club has the faith in Lukasz Fabianski to really do it and Vito Mannone is off to Sunderland. That means someone has to come in.

The most talked about candidate is QPR’s Julio Cesar who the newly relegated club are resigned to selling. Cesar has been linked with a return to Italy but recently came out and said his preference is to stay in London. He didn’t mention a club but given that only one club in London seems to be interested in him you can draw from it what you will.

It’s a move I’d really like to see, because I think he still quite good and would force Szczesny to up his game or risk losing his spot to a top caliber player.

Chance of happening 75%


A lot of people were surprised by news this week that Arsenal had a £20 million bid for Lars Bender rejected. It’s one of those players we’ve been linked with but not at the frequency others have been. Bender is a tough box to box type who is extremely disciplined and like his German National teammate Mertesacker rarely picks up a card – in spite of his tackling prowess.

He’s tidy, passes with skill and makes explosive runs that are reminiscent of others who have graced the box to box role and made it theirs for Arsenal.  But with Leverkusen losing Schurrle and Carvajal, it was never going to be easy to get him. As a matter of fact only if Wenger goes all in with a bid over the market rate, I don’t think he’s gone this season.

Chance of happening: 10%

With it being unlikely that Arsenal will go all in for Bender that means the attention for a defensive midfielder turns to Everton’s Marouane Fellaini. Arsenal are widely regarded as leaders in the race to land the highly touted Belgian.

Fellaini hasn’t hidden his desire to play in the champion’s league and play in his preferred position of defensive midfielder:

“My best position is defensive midfield, stopping the opposition and then looking to impose myself on a game. “

With a penchant for being considered “unplayable,” his desire to impose himself on a game makes him a beast in the midfield. Something sorely needed for Arsenal. If they sign him he would slot into a position supporting Cazorla and either Wilshere or Ramsey. Yes, it does mean that playing time for Arteta would likely be reduced but let’s admit it – as much as he has been great for us in this role, its not his preferred position and a true defensive midfielder who can clog up the middle with some grit is necessary to any Arsenal resurgence.

Chance of Happening: 80%


The need for defender is more a need to make sure there are four good, solid CBs in the squad.  Squillacci is gone and so is Djourou. Both never to come back. Vermaelen has question marks and one wonders if he will be sold. At a minimum he has wound up as third choice behind Mertesacker and Koscielny.

Ashley Williams is the most talked about link for Arsenal. The two-time Championship PFA is widely regarded as one of the growing defensive talents in the Premier League he was monumental for Swansea and their continued success for the Swans.

Arsenal reportedly made an initial inquiry for the player this past January only to be turned away. So it is possible that given the need they will likely go back to the well for the player whom Swansea seem resigned to losing.

At 29 years old he doesn’t necessarily become an immediate first choice, especially given how well the other two have done. But his signing could mean that Vermaelen falls further down the pecking order, leaving some to suggest that if he stays at Arsenal Vermaelen could in fact be the answer to the Gunner’s DM problems. We’re not commenting on that.

Chance of Happening: 50%


The big rumours revolve around whom Arsenal are targeting as the heir to Robin Van Persie’s goals. Before the summer even got underway the first name out there was Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic. Jovetic we were told would likely sign for Arsenal had they qualified for Champion’s League.

Arsenal were said to have scouted to Montenegran multiple times and were very interested. But at some point the story changed and Jovetic expressed his desire to stay in Italy. Now, all noise about Jovetic to Arsenal is gone. Typically rumours like this linger throughout the summer until something definitively either way comes out. That hasn’t happened.

Remember I said there might be a deal out there no one is expecting. . . Since this has all gone quiet I’ve got a nagging suspicion. . .

However with Jovetic trail all cold all the focus of the press has been on Arsenal links to both Wayne Rooney and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain.

Either would be a substantial upgrade over what Arsenal have now. No, that is not a slight on Giroud who I think will still be crucial for Arsenal. Especially, as he heads into his second season more acclimated to the demands of the Premier League.

But he doesn’t possess the guile and agilty that the other two do. Either of these players are the type that can change a game for you on a dime. Think back to all those points last season when Arsenal needed someone, anyone to just up and pop up to get a goal out of no where. Rooney or Higuain can do that.

Rooney seems a long shot in my opinion. While Wenger does like him, I just don’t see United if they have to sell, selling to anyone in the Premier League.

As for Higuain this is the saga of the summer it seems as not a week has gone by without some story related to fees agreed, player and club have agreed to terms, you name it the story has likely been written.

Higuain has made his desire to leave Madrid known. Original speculation is that any deal had to wait until the new manager was in. Additionally, Juventus were thought to be contenders for him as well but that has been nixed as they signed Carlos Tevez.

Carlo Ancelotti is in as manager and it is thought that he has signed off on selling the Argentine. The only thing that could be hindering a deal is negotiations between the two clubs.  Sound familiar? However, it’s understandable. Higuain has made his desire to leave known and Madrid have accepted that. By doing so, it makes it hard to probably get what he’d truly be valued at. Arsenal likely came in with their initial offer, lower than Madrid would go. It is a back and forth and this is the one that I think gets done just not as quickly as anyone would like.

Chance of Happening: 99.9%

As for other rumours – not buying into the Cesc back to Arsenal story, just seems to be a lot speculative thought by many hoping one of our brightest talents would come back. And don’t get me started with the whole Gareth Barry rumours.

Either way it’s going to be an interesting summer and not for the usual reasons of departures.

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