Ivan Gazidis tells us we can compete for the big boys now, stating we can bid for the likes of Rooney, or even aim higher. I am happy he has come out with this clear message, and his comments regarding keeping hold of Wenger for many seasons to come is also very welcome. There is a strong interconnection between signing super quality players and Wenger staying put at Arsenal.
The big transfer targets will want to avoid doing a ‘Van Judas’; they want assurances about the club’s long-term vision and that includes the manager going nowhere. I would be very happy for Wenger to stay so he is able to pick the fruits at the end of the Emirates-stadium-tunnel, but we still have to see whether he will bring in the sort of players who can fit in straightaway and make a real difference.
Simultaneous with Gazidis’ bullish statement, news came out about Arsenal having made an offer for Everton’s Fellaini. The Belgian would definitely be a so called ‘statement of intent’ by the club. Unsurprisingly, things have gone quiet again as per the very nature of the Terror Window. The Dutch have a saying for this: de kat om het spek binden – tying the cat around the bacon – we can smell and sense those quality signings and yet cannot get hold of them.
But let’s do another bit of football transfer indulgence: a good antidote to the poison of the terror window. If we do get Fellaini and one of the other players whose names keep popping up – Cesc and Rooney, where would they play and how would they add value to our team?
As per previous posts, I reckon Arsene needs to invest in our midfield first and for all, if he wants to return to Wengerball. We need steel and added invention in order to get back to sexy and winning football.
There is no doubt that both Cesc and Rooney would add a creative dimension as well as an added goal threat. Both could play in the hole and our team would make an instant step forwards and upwards. We have discussed what the Spaniard and Englishman have to offer in recent posts, so let’s not regurgitate too much of it again in this one.
However, it would be good to discuss who, from a purely technical/tactical point of view (not so much a sentimental one), fellow Gooners would prefer in Arsenal’s nr.10 position: Rooney or Cesc. It would be also interesting to know who believes Rooney should lead our attack rather than play behind the striker, and what you believe is Cesc’s very best position in our 4-3-3 formation.
In order to get the best value out of Cesc or Rooney in the hole, Arsenal need to have a fantastic box-to-box midfielder who is able to find the perfect balance between defensive and attacking duties, as well as a strong, yet footballing, DM.
At this early stage of his career, Jack appears to be the right player for the b2b position (over time I expect him to move into the hole position). Of course, he needs to be fully fit to be effective in this role and fingers crossed he’ll have a great season. We have some alternatives and back up with the likes of Arteta, Coquelin and Ramsey and the D-named player.
If we want to play winning Wengerball football again though, my personal, and many fellow Gooners’, first priority remains the DM position. Every beautiful, fanciful castle needs a solid basement to deal with the laws of gravity and whatever the elements throw at it.
I am not sure whether Fellaini is the player for this position, or whether Arsene would be looking at him to move into that position. No doubt the Belgian could play there, but he could also be our b2b midfielder as well as our nr.10 – with 11 goals in 31 PL matches he is proving to be an all-round midfielder of great quality.
You can see why Arsene would like him to join us: he can play everywhere, is technically and physically very strong, has a winner’s mentality and would fit into the team relatively well. His disciplinary record is also not too bad despite his reputation of being a hot-head at times, with a yellow card in every four league games on average, and just the one red card during his 138 league appearances.
A Wengerball player, no doubt about that. But is he suitable to play the traditional DM role with a bit of added responsibility/ skill requirements?
The more I think about it, the more I believe he would join us not as a dedicated, ‘traditional’, beast of a DM, but as one of the two in the double-DM pivot, in which Arsene likes to put multi-disciplined and skilled midfielders who can defend, pass and create – both are DM and b2b midfielders at the same time.
Fellaini would suit this role perfectly, and the thought of him playing together in the double-DM pivot with Jack, but also Arteta, and to a lesser extent Rambo, is a mouth-watering one. The Belgian would add physical presence – height, power, and ball winning skills, both on the ground and in the air – drive and a strong assist/goal scoring threat.
We can only dream, but the thought of Fellaini and Jack in the DM-pivot and either Cesc or Rooney in front of them, with Cazorla/Pod/Ox/Gnabry operating from the wings and Theo, Giroud or Pod our most advanced attacker, in a Wengerball footballing machine, puts a smile on my face.
Will it happen? Who knows, but Gazidis has made a statement of intent and now it is time to bring home the bacon! 🙂
Written by: TotalArsenal.