How can we get back to sexy football?
17 Highbury Terrace wrote during the previous blog: ‘Unless we change our personnel in MF I just don’t see us able to play anything pretty.’
I fully agree with 17HT’s statement: for pretty, sexy football changes have to be made to the midfield. The key questions are whether we have enough talent in our squad currently to do it and how long it will take to get there.
For me the current first team is a combination of a number of engines – hard workers who motor our team along: Arteta, Ramsey, Koscielny, Giroud, Jenkinson; a number of specialist – quality players who perform their roles really well in most games: Sagna, Rosicky, Szczesny, Mertesacker, Nacho, Podolski; and a number of players who have (the potential for) that little bit extra quality and magic: Santi, Ox, Jack, Gibbs and Theo.
The problem, and simultaneously the exciting thing, is that those who can offer the magic, which is a big – but not the only – part of pretty football, are still mainly young. As fans, we do not have much patience anymore, and with money burning in our pockets, it seems right to now go out and add the sort of quality players who can deliver straightaway.
There is good reason to believe that in two years from now Santi, Ox, Jack, Gibbs and Theo will make us play scintillating winning football. They need to be lucky with injuries so they develop their talents to the max in the next 24 months. If we had been winning silverware in recent years, I would argue more vigorously that we need to be patient, as I strongly believe that these five players will be among the very best in Europe in the next two to five years (and Santi is very, very close to being there right now).
It is really important now to add to the squad in such a way that the development of those five (potentially) extra-quality players is not held back, and yet instant progress is made during this and the following season. I know that many are in agreement that we need to add that extra bit of defensive steel in midfield in order to free up the more creative minded players in midfield. We have discussed this more or less to death, and the links with Fellaini, Wanyama and Capoue are at least good signs that Arsene is looking to recruit for this position this summer.
But the more difficult issue is what to do with the ‘hole’ position. Jack has great potential for this one, and so does Ox, and many will argue that Santi is the right player to hold the biggest role in Wengerball right now. If we get Rooney or Cesc, which remains a half decent possibility, the team would make a big jump forwards, but at what price in terms of development of Ox and Jack, and Santi?
Santi can play in a free role on one of the wings, Jack can play next to the beast of a DM Arsene is going to get us, but what about Ox? He could play again on the wing next season, but this just does not seem to do him much good at Arsenal.
It would be some gamble by Arsene but what if he started him in the hole next season? Just imagine AOC getting the freedom to make things happen in the middle of our midfield, whilst being supported by Jack and Santi behind and next to him! Would that mean the start of the rebirth of pretty, sexy Wengerball? Or is Ox still too young for this, and should Arsene look to add an experienced, quality player right now; and if so, who should it be?
Written by TotalArsenal.