As we wave goodbye to another long campaign, we prepare to welcome the 2013 Summer Transfer Window. As it looms nearer, now would be a great time to take stock of the quality, depth and ability of the current Arsenal squad.[quote_right]“Our first step this summer should be to break down the current squad, ask the big questions, and do some spring cleaning…”[/quote_right]
At the same time, we need to analyse the areas where additions need to be made. And trust me, additions need to be made.
For years, Arsenal’s summer transfer windows have been plagued by unhappy players who refuse to stay a minute longer. Flamini, Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie, are some of the key names within the long list.
This year however, the Arsenal camp seems settled, and strong rumours are spreading that Arsene Wenger will have more financial freedom come July 1st.
[title]Spring Cleaning in the Summer[/title]
Before we can suggest and request certain players from around the world who may fit in at Arsenal, our first step this summer should be to break down the current squad, ask the big questions, and do some spring cleaning. My 2012/13 Arsenal season review shed some light on the matter.
So, lets take a look at who cut the mustard, and who should politely close the door on their way out.
Vito Mannone, Lukasz Fabianksi and Wojciech Szczęsny all graced us with their presence in the 2012/13 season. Some were more welcome than others.
Despite enduring some time on the sidelines, Szczesny remains our number one goalkeeper, and I for one don’t see an issue with that. The Pole certainly has his moments, but he has also pulled off numerous match-saving stops throughout the season, especially in important where three points were vital. Wigan’s recent visit to the Emirates is one example.
If a Goalkeeper was to come in, I envisage that it would be somebody to compete with Szczesney, not to replace him entirely. Lukas Fabianksi does a mediocre job, but can probably already see that if he wants regular first team football, he will need to look elsewhere.
The difficulty is convincing a Goalkeeper to sign when first team football is not guaranteed. Balancing quality and patient in Footballers nowadays is almost impossible.
Rumours surrounding the future of Thomas Vermaelen seem rampant. There seems to be little to the story bar his poor performances this season. The Skipper hasn’t expressed his desire to leave, and so this rumour will remain so until further notice.
In the meantime, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have both successfully formed one of - if not the best defensive partnership in the Premier League. Nacho Monreal has also settled well as he challenges the capable Kieran Gibbs. Bacary Sagna’s form dipped and dived all season long, but seemed to steady itself towards the end of the campaign.
Andre Santos and Johan Djourou are soon set to return from their loans, meaning that Arsenal will have to shift a lot of deadwood before they can hope to seal any defensive deals. As it stands however, I don’t seem the immediate need for a new defender.
Arsenal’s midfield is a tricky subject to discuss. Our core midfield, which is made up by Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere, is sound. In fact, two of them made my list of top 5 Arsenal players in the 2012/13 season.
However, players like Aaron Ramsey, Emmanuel Frimpong, Francis Coquelin and Abou Diaby remain points of concern.
Coquelin is an exceptional talent, who must be extremely alienated due to the inconsistent, often poor Aaron Ramsey beating him to the starting line-up every week. Emmanuel Frimpong is struggling to stay fit enough to knock on any doors at all, whilst Abou Diaby is simply a walking, talking injury.
In light of this, it is possible that we may see departures from Frimpong, Diaby and Coquelin. When in reality, at least two of them are better than Ramsey, the reality is that Aaron seems to be favoured by Arsene Wenger.
Signings are needed in midfield, especially defensively. Arsenal have struggled without an out-and-out defensive midfielder since the loss of Gilberto Silva, and the lack of solidity in the centre is exposed in almost every game.
Signing Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and also Theo Walcott this season, have all proved good moves by Wenger. Replacing Robin Van Persie was never going to be easy, but the three of them have combined to do that and more. They make up an excellent foundation to build upon.
They are to be built upon for tw reasons. Firstly, both Podolski and Giroud, despite impressive goalscoring records for their first season in English football, have not set the league alight. Whilst this isn’t a huge issue, a world-class striker is what befits Arsenal, and the acquisition of one will only encourage the Germans and Frenchman to improve their game.
Theo Walcott was our top goalscorer, and he was worth every penny of his new contract.
Gervinho on the other hand, simply must be disposed of. He offers very little going forward, and even less coming back. replacing him with a striker of high, proven quality is what stands between Arsenal and a title challenge.
[title]Current List of Players Linked to Arsenal[/title]
Keeping up with players whom Arsenal appear to be linked with is a tiresome chore. Lazy, unprofessional journalism plays the biggest part. From worldwide superstars to obscure lower league novices, the list of Arsenal links is a long, dishonest one.
So, to make things a little easier, we have begun compiling a list of players who are seriously linked with a move to Arsenal this summer. The list will be updated regularly.
Last updated: June 6th 2013
The list is may be short, but the transfer window is still yet to open.
As the media circulate the rumour that Arsenal do indeed have more money to spend this summer, The Gunner may well be in for a transfer window to remember.