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The “GOINGS” on at Arsenal

July 1st is just around the corner. Days away in fact and as per our normal course of action Arsenal supporters are crying about the perceived lack of action by the club in the transfer market. But that lack of movement is kind of misleading because as I see it they’ve been doing something equally as important to bringing players in – getting players out.

July 1st is just around the corner. Days away in fact and as per our normal course of action Arsenal supporters are crying about the perceived lack of action by the club in the transfer market.  But that lack of movement is kind of misleading because as I see it they’ve been doing something equally as important to bringing players in – getting players out.

We’ve been crying over the last few years how there are players who are collectively getting paid for little or no work. The likes of Andrei Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, and others have been classified as deadwood and as such are surplus to requirements.

Well, while there have not been any signings there have been removals that have freed up substantial funds on weekly wages. Arshavin and Bendtner alone free up enough to pay a new striker their going rate.

The fact is that these moves are just as important and people scoffed when in the opening days of summer it was announced that Arsenal had released over 10 youth/reserve prospects. But one thing is never going to change, Arsenal will continue to look for promising young talent.

As much as I believe they are intent on strengthening the first team with proven talent, they still hold hopes of identifying the next Henry or Fabregas in their younger selves. The hope has to be to get that rough stone and turn them into a diamond and get them acclimated to the Arsenal way. And frankly that’s fine as long as the focus on the first team and the right balance of players – i.e. proven and promising talent – are filling out the ranks.

Next week when the window actually opens – we’ll get into the likely comings. A word about that, while the official window does open on July 1, clubs in England are free to do transfers as soon as the last competitive fixture has been played. However, most do not conduct business until after June 30 when most contracts for players end. Essentially if business is done on a player before that time frame then a team essentially pays a player “dead wages” for the time from their signature to the start of the new contract without ever having played a single moment for their team. Contrary to some thoughts, Arsenal are not the only club loathe to do this.

So enough about that, let’s see who has left and their impact on the club:

Nicklas Bendtner:
Nothing has been confirmed yet but Arsenal are said to have actually agreed to terms with 5 teams for the transfer of the Greatest Danish Forward in his own mind.  Nick has spent the last two seasons on loan, the first at Sunderland where he was lackluster and the second at Juventus where he was nonexistent.

The problem with Bendtner hasn’t been his talent but his own over-exaggerated belief in his talents and based on many reports his lack of desire to back it up. Wenger will go a long way to defend players. Even players who don’t deserve defending, but a lack of work ethic in my opinion seems to be the biggest way to get out of Arsenal quickly.

Now, the problem still remains for Bendtner to agree to terms with these clubs. It does seem Frankfurt are the likely destination. Especially as Bendtner has finally shown a sense of maturity (maybe sensing his options are few) and accepting the fact he may have to take a step backwards to go forwards.

His financial impact frees up about £50k per week.

Andrei Arshavin:
I’ve made no secret that I’ve never been a fan of the Russian’s.  And while many hold on to the belief that it was his being played out of position that killed his career at Arsenal – it’s a fallacy. Arshavin never possessed the work ethic that would’ve made him the star many hoped he would be. This work ethic or lack thereof was the primary reason that after a stellar Euro 2008 noone came running for him. Arsenal finally went in for him in January 09 as their CL hopes seemed in danger. But there was still a concern from Wenger on him enough to force the deal to the last day in the last hour.

Still he gave us moments of joy that should never be forgotten like the 4 at Anfield and the winner against Barcelona. Still, when challenged two years ago to fight for his spot, he wouldn’t. At Zenit before Arsenal his work ethic was accepted because he was very talented. At Arsenal, not so much. Talented people have come through Arsenal before. They are a dime a dozen at times. Talent can only go so far. Sometimes you have to work harder to take it further. Andrei didn’t. In the end he was released and has signed back with his former club, Zenit.

Financial impact? £90k per week freed up.

Showing perhaps a bit of ruthlessness that took hold when they benched Vermaelen and Szczesny after the Tottenham loss, Arsenal cut Denilson a year before his contract was up. Denilson was never star quality and the promise he showed in Brazil’s youth set up was never ever realized (the ever was for emphasis).

His positioning can sometimes be suspect, allowing his man to drift away from him, and his passing in the final third is not as incisive as some of his former Arsenal  team-mates’. And at its lowest he seemed merely to be a spectator as Barcelona ran rings around him in April 2010 when Lionel Messi scored four times to knock Arsenal out of the Champions League.

He has resigned with Sao Paulo in Brazil. Financial impact? £50k per week

Sebastien Squillaci:
In fairness not many people complained about Squillaci when he was signed. He was seen as a durable back up with Champion’s League experience, international caps and winning the double with Lyon. He seemed like a viable alternative at the time. But as was proved he was at best inconsistent and while Wenger told us he would be suited to the Premier League he was anything but.

He proved so poor that when Arsenal got thin at CB last season with injuries, it was Bacary Sagna who got the call and not the Frenchman. He has been released and is likely to show up in France once again to finish out his career.

Financial impact? £50k per week.

Johann Djourou:
This is one I wouldn’t mind keeping. I think JD gets some unfair flack for his stint as a RB in that dire time when we had no viable fullbacks healthy. But few seem to remember that three seasons ago, Koscielny and Djourou went an entire stretch of games – a signifcant stretch unbeaten. At one point Arsenal seemed to be more steady with him in the squad than without. It all fell apart though when he injured himself and got thrown down the pecking order.

Djourou spent last season in Germany for Hamburg and will do so again on another season long loan. This time there is an option to buy.

Financial impact? Uknown.

The good news for Gunners is that it doesn’t look like any substantial “goings” will have to be endured. Laurent Koscielny was heavily linked to moves to Barcelona or Bayern but has quashed them both by stating he prefers staying at Arsenal. Bacary Sagna looks at a minimum to stay and see out his contract at Arsenal before deciding to move. The big question mark remains Thomas Vermaelen. I am still not sure the club won’t consider selling him, especially if they land Swansea’s Ashley Williams.

In the end Arsenal will have automatically freed up about £240k per week in salaries. That’s enough to pay very good money to some incoming transfers.

We all want players in and I still hold firm in the belief that this summer will be markedly different than others. But this shifting of the deadweight has been needed for a while and frankly it was just as important it got done and it’s good it has gotten done now.

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