Tuesday, June 12, 2007
'Waiting for Godot'
Estragon: … Let's go.
Vladimir: We can't.
Estragon: Why not?
Vladimir: We're waiting for Godot.
With all the talk about Henry leaving Arsenal we think it’s about time Wenger began to think about having a ready made replacement or at least someone who will in due course be ready to take up the mantle of a “25 goals a year man”.
Even with Henry in the squad Arsenal still need another top quality forward as the past year has shown that injuries and suspensions can leave the team desperately short of cover. And this somehow tends to happen when you least wanted it i.e at crucial times in the football calendar.
An honours chasing team cannot rely on just one player to provide the most desired commodity in football. It has to have alternatives and we are not convinced, however one tries, to even consider Adebayor, Van Persie, Bendtner or even young Walcott as viable alternatives to Henry in terms of goal scoring ability.
They could get Arsenal to fourth or third place again which will be no mean feat. But, if Henry is out of the picture, do you see them scoring enough goals to win the League? Or go far in the Champion’s League?
Of course there are a lot of other aspects, other than new players, that Arsenal need to get right if it is to seriously challenge for honours next season.
Fortunately they are all correctible as a lot of the changes needed involve a change of attitude or better coaching and organisation on the pitch. These arise from the fact that it is a young team and is only now beginning to gel together (What does Arsenal need to do to challenge for next season?).
But one cannot escape the fact that Arsenal need to recruit for two positions: that of a wide midfielder and a forward. Arsenal Analysis has advocated in previous posts the suitability of Anelka since he can play both as a forward and as a wide midfielder as the need arises (Arsenal need two but may sign only one player).
Taking this route may appeal to Wenger’s policy of preserving Arsenal’s financial resources and allowing his young prodigies room to grow.
Another viable option as a center forward in our opinion is Fredie Kanoute who is not likely to cost silly money due to his age (30) but has a very impressive goal scoring ratio.
His 21 goals in 31 appearances or 68% is only bettered in Spain by Van Nistelroy and surprisingly Cristiano Rigano of bottom club Messina (both 70%) and in Italy only by Totti with his impressive 74%.
And as Wenger has to find a market for unloading Reyes in Spain then a part exchange deal may be possible and ideal from Arsenal’s point of view. This may in fact be the reason for Wenger’s inactivity in the transfer market so far as he waits for the Spanish La Liga to come to a conclusion.
Kanoute also, in our opinion, has three other important characteristics.
Firstly his technical ability and style of play would suit Arsene’s way of playing the beautiful game;
Secondly at 30 years old he will provide experience but will not interfere too much with the progress of the younger guns in the squad;
And thirdly he has premiership experience with Spurs and West Ham and therefore will not require that dreaded “Premier League adjustment time period” of six to twelve months.
There are of course the usual big names that are mentioned as possible signings in the transfer market. Names such as Fernando Torres, David Silva, David Villa, Diego Milito, Giraldino to name but a few.
They are all good players in their own way. But there are two things common to them. They have no experience of the Premier League and are likely to cost big big money.
This is because there are a number of teams likely to be interested in players in this position and there is the strong likelihood of price inflation in a market awash with the monies from the new deal of selling the Premiership abroad.
And just buying one of them is likely to consume Wenger’s entire budget! What if the player does not adapt? Can Arsenal afford to take the gamble at such a high price?
There is of course another alternative for Wenger. In our opinion not a viable one.
Sign no one for this position.
And play the youths in the Carling Cup (up to the final if need be), the reserves in the FA Cup and rotate in a big way first team squad players between the Premiership and the Champions League!
Oh, and pray for no serious injuries, suspensions and loss of form!
And wait for Godot!