As promised, I will today be talking about the one necessary signing that Arsenal must make to make us truly competitive once more.
Before I move along, let us take a look at last season’s overral performance in the dfferent areas of the pitch.
Goalkeeper: Almunia has been very consistent last season and so there isn’t really a need to improve this area. At 31, (32 come next season) he still has quite a few years left at the top level. The concern is that Fabianski might not be ready. I know he has a lot of stick last season thanks to a few blunders but let’s not forget he is still only 24. Also, when Almunia first played for Arsenal, I’m sure you remember he was pretty crappy. I think Fabianski might come good, but he’s not ready.
Defence: We covered that yesterday.
Midfield: In central midfield, we have seen Denilson, Diaby, Ramsey, Song partner Fabregas at various stages of last season. Denilson played the most games of the lot, but he isn’t truly a natural partner to Fabregas. This is one area that most Gooners, rightly, are concerned about. The saying goes “the battle is often won or lost in midfield”, and I think this is very true.
I’m very concerned about this part of the team as it certainly is the weakest. I’m not even to go into our attacking players because we have simply to many firepower up front but not enough steel in the centre to steer he ball forward to our firepower up front where the bulk of the talent of the team lies.
So, the missing link is the natural ball-winner as the partner to our captain Fabregas. It is no secret that since Flamini the moneybag left, we have lost a lot of bite in midfield.
Diaby is a disaster last season in central midfield. And this is maddening because this was obviously his best position when he first joined the club. I still remember vividly that he was really pretty good before that horrible tackle at Sheffield United. After that, he still to have lost his tackling technique and improve his other offensive skills, which made him ‘not-midfielder, not-stirker’ in Wenger’s own words. Then what the heck is he??? To me, he was a major disappointment since his return from injury after injury. He never had a long enough run to establish his form and I think it’s high time we think about letting him go.
Ramsey has a much higher chance ot succeeding at Arsenal than Diaby would. He’s much younger and is already an estabished international. More importantly, he is a much tougher player. But he is not ready.
Denilson has a great engine, good technique, and would no doubt improve even further next season. But what he has proven so far is that he is a good understudy to Fabregas, and not a partner to him.
That leaves us with Alex Song, who is one of the most improved Arsena players last season. He was really coming into his own in the last lap of the season but I still feel he has much to learn about his positioning. A nautral ball-winner will know where to position himself in the best possibly way whenever possession is conceded and Song has still not gotten to that level yet. Personally I see him more as a central defender.
So then, who should we be signing for this vacancy? Let us first take a look at what the media has linked us with.
Lorik Cana – This man is a beast. If you think you have seen the worst kinda beastly player in the likes of Roy Keane, Mikael Essien or even Javier Mascherano, then you haven’t seen Cana in action. He is a mad man on the pitch and he gives double of what he receive on the pitch. He certainly looks like he can take care of himself on the field and he looks more likely to bully then be bullied. To me, he looks strong enough for the Premier League but his technique seem to be too poor to be an Arsenal player, so it seems more like a fabrication for me on this one.
Yaya Toure – He is eternally linked to Arsenal even since his brother Kolo joined years ago. When Kolo first established himself in the first team, he spoke of a younger brother who is technically and physically stronger than himself and that he would like to see Arsenal sign him. That brother turned out to be Yaya, and his brother turned out to be quite a scout. Perhaps he should be engaged as a scout now since his first team prospects is no longer that bright. One thing Gooners must know is this, Yaya did join Arsenal for a long trial some years back and he even turned out for the academy side as well as the reserves at Underhill. Fact remains, Wenger did not sign him then. A lot of conspiracy theories exists as to why he wasn’t signed. The most famous of which is that Arsene Wenger didn’t agree to a fee with his previous club. Others say Wenger was wrong to judge him not good enough, or that he has visa and work permit problems. All of which are no longer problems. However, whatever the truth behind the scenes, if it didn’t work out the first time round, it sure ain’t going to work now. Yaya will always be linked, but he will never join Arsenal. And you can quote me on that.
Felipe Melo – Strong midfield battler who looks like he is being groomed to take over Gilberto Silva at international level. I have only watched him a couple of times so it isn’t fair for me to pass judgement. However, what I have seen to-date makes me think he might be a suitable Arsenal player because he battles hard, is not afraid of 50/50 challenges and actually possesses good technique (what am I saying? He is Brazilian). I say let’s look pass his 17 yellow cards and 3 red cards in one season in the Serie A. The Premier League has always been a tougher league so I think he will have no problem fitting in, and we have Denilson to guide him around. Personally, I think there is some truth to this rumour, but whether or not we are successful in getting him is another matter altogether.
Manuel Veloso – I have seen him play in the last Euros and I purposely watched out for him and Gohkan Inler at the Euros as Arsenal was heavily linked to both players at the time. However, I must say I wasn’t very impressed with his performances. He was largely invisible, and not in the Gilberto Silva kind of way. But I can see he possesses good technique and is strong enough to defend the ball, qualities which might have brought attention from Wenger. However, I doubt this move will materialise but who knows for sure?
Gokhan Inler – I must say I was disappointed with what I saw. He wasn’t impressive in the least bit and I hear he is massive for Udinese, but I just can’t see it. The interest is genuine and he decided to stay until the end of the season instead of joining Arsenal last time round. Will he change his mind? I’m not sure and to be honest, I’m not sure I want him to.
From the above, who do you think Arsenal should sign to fill the void?
My personal choice is Felipe Melo, it’s high time we have another powerful Brazilian (not Baptista) to man our midfield so I say bring him to Emirates!