The story that is breaking at the moment is that Arsenal are about to scupper Liverpool’s chances of signing Malouda. If it is just press gossip or rumor it is a well thought out one.
From what we have seen of his style of play and taking into account his other stats he indeed possesses those characteristics and is the type of player that might interest Wenger.
The first step in the decision making process is whether of course there is a need for a player in that position, then it’s a matter of the player’s technical and physical ability and then if the player fits these it’s his character.
After all these criteria are satisfied the price plays a major role. And for Wenger if the price does not represent what he thinks is the real value for that player then he may not go for it. He is just as happy to stay with what he has!
We thought this might happen with Ribery when Bayern’s money from the sale of Hargreaves came on stream (Arsenal close to Ribery but not to Bellamy or Reo Coker)
Malouda, who was voted as France’s player of the year, is a left sided wide midfielder and we think possesses enough skill to satisfy Wenger that he can fill that vacancy that has been accepted by many Arsenal supporters and other Arsenal blogs (inclusive of Arsenal Analysis – Arsene. Who to buy?) as waiting to be filled.
He is a strong and pacy winger who also possesses physical strength. This will fit in well with the demands of the Premiership, an area where both Rosicky and especially Hleb have found it difficult to adapt.
And at six foot he is tall enough to provide an aerial threat to opposing defences. However on the negative side he will need a period of adjustment as all foreign players do.
His goalscoring record is good for a wide midfielder when compared to the other so called targets for Arsenal. 10 goals scored in 27 starts. A percentage of 35% or a goal scored every two and a half games. Not as high as Pires’s which was 14 in 33 (42%) during his last season with Arsenal.
However even if Malouda’s eight substitute appearances are factored in he still has a higher goal scoring percentage (28%) than Ribery who has scored 5 in 25 (or 25%) or even Quaresma’s 23% or Babel’s 20% (who reports say has not impressed Wenger).
Comparisons are of course difficult as consideration has to be given to other factors that affect a player’s performance such as the quality of the league he is playing in, of his team mates and of course injuries.
Is he young enough though? We all know that Wenger likes them to be of an impressionable age. Well at 27 he is neither too young nor too old in footballing terms. At this age most footballers can blend relative youthfulness along with maturity and experience. And isn’t this what is sorely missing from an experience depleted squad such as Arsenal’s?
As far as his character is concerned we can only assume that Wenger would have made a few discreet enquiries, especially from his friend Mr. Houlier, the departing Lyon manager.
It appears then, that if the press reports are right, Wenger would be trying to negotiate the last hurdle in his quest to satisfy the criteria mentioned above: the price!
Apparently the 8m that Liverpool were offering will now, with Wenger’s intervention, probably rise to 10m which might be Wenger’s limit. If Lyon want more will Wenger respond or will he walk away?