To buy, or not to buy. That is the question?
The big questions over transfers are:
A; What position? i.e. to replace who? in the short/medium/long term, and with that comes B.
B; Do we really need somebody if we have someone in the academy ranks that could do that role in a year or two years time?
We, as intelligent supporters tend to stick with the A, often without the secondary thoughts of how well they might fit in with the team? And then, later to whom it might affect?
I will run through a few names from the academy, who in the near future could develop into our main squad/first 11:
GK – No real problems here, imo. Martinez is out on loan and will be an able deputy long term. Plus Iliev, and the new guy from Bristol, Macey who from reports is big and commanding despite his age, just 19. So unless we are replacing our current Number 1? I doubt we will be buying anyone?
CB – Only one name in the frame here. Isaac Hayden. He must be a very good listener as AW is clearly rating him highly, but not necessarily in this position? But he is versatile. That could leave an opening for Ignasi Miquel, currently out on loan. If that is successful, he could be a useful back up? While Boateng and Fagan’s turn is probably a little way off, should they be of such quality?
So I think new blood here is pretty certain.
LB – Again, one name that has blossomed recently, Brandon Ormonde Ottewill, aka BOO54.
Seriously good prospect in the period beyond Monreal’s tenure.
Position covered in the short and medium term. BOO54 could be such a talent to take us beyond that?
RB – No question, Bellerin is the one. …. (if he stays in this position? – personal note!). Recently injured in the Dortmund junior game, after playing well. He looks like overtaking Jenks especially when/if Jenks goes out on the loan which would give regular games to get more varied experience? That may be harsh on Jenkinson, but the alternative would likely mean a transfer in? We just need Sagna to sign up for another 3 years – I year playing at top level. I year as mentor/rotation. 1 year back up. Not to mention usefulness at CB throughout?
Essential note to management – Do it!
Midfield: sub division; Defensive; Isaac Hayden looks to be the one at the present time to take over or cover for Flamini? He needs to be guided, but as I said earlier, he must be a good student. He is also the marker for the younger ones hoping to make it one day. Not unlike many a young player, prone to try too hard to impress, but he has all the attributes to become a great DM.
Not forgetting Nico Yennaris. Alas his progress has been stalled by injuries at crucial times. If he can secure a decent loan deal where he can play week in week out, and stay out of the treatment room, then you could be looking at Arteta’s natural successor, although he can play RB too. Very few deserve it more, but sadly, it may not happen? Such is the pressure for the here and now? It is likely a new face will be brought in that will change the whole dynamic in this area. We shall see?
Other areas of midfield are so competitively covered it is hard to see who can break through, or where? However, such is the talent brewing, that current players, and those on the fringes may need to improve just to keep their places in a year or two?
The candidates are plentiful, but perhaps not all will make it at Arsenal?
Attacking/creative midfielders: Eisfeld looked nailed on to force his way into the first team squad, yet has hardly made the bench this season? Niggling injuries, some criticism of his ‘team play’, and others breaking through, all seem to have contributed to him slipping out of contention. He probably needs a loan spell to develop his undoubted talent further? His position, or where he performs best, is probably the one that Podolski plays most often: near the main striker, where he can ghost into the box and shoot with either foot. That is strength, and his weakness for a future here?
If ever we do sign a second striker, his potential is at most risk? In the deeper role, Ozil seems to have the only other option, and that position looks secure for some time to come?
Zelalem surprised many on tour pre-season, and showed he lost none of his flair in the recent Dortmund game. Again injury halted his progress so he missed the COC matches, but he looks destined to play, despite his young age, in that all round creative role that Ozil or Cazorla play? In the short term, he will find opportunities, longer term he could be the real reason why Cesc does not return …. as a player at least?
Jon Toral is another who made a comeback from injury in that Dortmund game. Made one goal, scored another, missed two easy chances. Rosicky mark 2 by any other name? I would go so far as to say, he is the only player at the club that is closest to the TR7 in style. When he breaks through into the squad, and with enough mentoring from the same TR7, he will be an absolute star. Not only that, he can play anywhere behind the strikers.
Positions covered – In spite of my tendency to covet another young player in the short term, it will have little effect on young Toral’s advancement into our list of great players.
The deeper lying Kristoffer Olsson has also claims on the box to box role, but has several young players ahead of him already in the squad, and he too, may need to go out on loan to get game time. Then we might see how he fits in at a later stage? Quality player none the less, and should any of the senior player fall by the wayside he could be ready to take on that role seamlessly.
That is all the midfield positions covered. Re-read this list in two years time, and tell me I am wrong?
Striker/Front line? The most talked about roles in terms of transfer in news presently.
Mostly because it is thought the young players are not enough like Giroud to lead the line, or not experienced enough to either support him in the second striker role, if we should ever demand that starting position. Alas, all of this is true, with the exception of Gnabry, who is gaining experience, and adding width to our play. The others have yet to experience this.
I will put Gnabry in this category, because, although untried, he could be a contender for Giroud’s understudy? If anything, he has more claims than Walcott for example, given he can shoot with either foot, he can dribble, has pace, above all has the physical build to bully his way past defenders. But like all of these young players, close support around them in the early stages will be necessary, whilst they fully learn their skill to do it alone? None are at the stage that can take on the Giroud role in the way he does, but Gnabry is just one who could do a job there if called upon?
Akpom heads the queue of those outside of the current squad, and although is different in style to Giroud, I believe he is not far behind Gnabry in skills and build, to command a leading role? It is whether the team can adjust to his style of play? He is a ball player, rather than a hold up guy. You play the final pass to him in and around the box and he will work a shot away almost every time. Expecting him to hold off two or three defenders near the halfway line, take a ball down with a deft headed touch, and you will be disappointed. Play a ball to his feet and watch him twist away for a couple of one-two’s and he’s your man. He is your RVP replacement far more than Giro is, but he needs playing time to get to that level? In the meantime, he would be your Podolsksi deputy ..if only Podolski held a regular spot in the team? Or playing with Podolski would be equally interesting for him and Gnabry?
Sanogo has all the attributes to be a top class striker, except the physical body to match. I believe physically he is a late maturing type, and his injuries have held him back considerably. He is going to be a slow, long term project that I hope the club persevere with. If he follows the Gibbs line and develop his core strength through exercise, whilst gradually getting the confidence to withstand what is the norm in the EPL we could have a real star on our hands. Ignore stories of him going back to France, or out on loan. What he needs is right here, and Gibbs has shown it can pay off in a big way, that what you do off field will bring all you deserve it you want it badly enough. I hope he sticks with it and achieves his goal for himself and the club. It may take another year before he blossoms, so providing that space has not been filled by some big name transfer, we should see the benefits for years to come?
A similar type of player to the above is currently on loan, but may well return next season? He is the slightly in and out Joel Campbell? He would bring a Thierry Henry type flair to the team. Skills to burn without a doubt. Hopefully he is learning all the time how to put it all together. The big problem with these players is they need playing time. I think he might like the regular game at a lesser club rather than irregular games here? No disrespect to him, but for visa issues he has not been able to ‘associate’ himself with the club. That needs to change if we are going to profit from his undoubted talent?
He has got the Walcott position very much in his sights. A striker who can play out wide, and cut in and score goals from the most unlike of angles. Not bad at developing his assists to his repertoire either?
Should Walcott fancy a move to where he got married, then we need look no further than this lad to fill his shoes, as long as he continues on this upward curve?
Austin Lipman has been prolific in his scoring recently, and is the other name that has the potential to develop further, and could be considered down the line, but he has to displace a lot of others to get there?
Sadly, any signing will knock the prospects of all back a little, and in football, timing is everything. Most of these strikers are a year or so behind the club’s need, and need that time to break into the squad to develop? But if nothing happens in the forthcoming windows, next season could change our view of who we need?
I am caught in the middle of my own argument here, as, like many others, I see a young striker of huge potential and think, Yes, he’d be great in an Arsenal shirt … and then I look up this list and think, yes so would these in a year or two? I am hoping that Arsene Wenger will make the right decisions and we get to keep the best from those I have outlined above, and at the same time can secure players that will get over the line in the short term. But quality is essential.
I will not name players, but from the above I think we do need a DM for when the going gets tough, and our current small squad is stretched beyond its limits.
A CB, beyond what we have in the squad at the moment.
Sagna’s signature at RB, a priority.
The luxury of a Rosicky back up, as well as his signature on an extended contract, also a priority.
Main striker, who can also play alongside Giroud, and be a model for those I named above?
The one signing I will name, Dennis Bergkamp as coach to these fine prospects would be the icing on the cake?
Written by: Gerry