By 1970's Gooner
A few months ago Arsenal Holdings Plc announced bumper financial figures for the year ended May 2006. The results include the hugely positive effect of the extra revenues arising from the move to the Emirates.
Arsenal now take in £3.1m per match day as opposed to about half of that during the Highbury days and this extra revenue has generated a lot of cash that are available for transfers.
The financial figures revealed at the time that £74m is cash was sitting in the company’s bank account! It is very interesting to note what the Board had to say about how this cash is to be used:
”The Board believe that the best long term policy is to re-invest the cash back into the development of the team. The objective is to make available to the manager the maximum possible funds for the development of the playing squad.”
Also added to this income is the extra net cash generated by Wenger’s transfer activity during the summer which includes the lucrative transfers of Henry to Barcelona and Ljumberg to West Ham (see my posting: Arsenal’s transfer kitty is still bulging).
There is no doubt that there is a lot of cash available for transfers; if Wenger chooses to spend any that is!
But which are the areas that he may consider strengthening?
The sensible thing to do here is to see if Lehmann will continue until the summer. If so Wenger may resist strengthening for January, giving Almunia the chance to prove himself. He will then know what to go for; a new number one or another number two.
However if Lehmann is to leave in this January window then Wenger needs to recruit a new and experienced goalkeeper that will be able to challenge and provide cover for Almunia; and vice versa.
No need to strengthen. Hoyte, Eboue and Diarra are very adequate back ups for Sagna
There is a need to have an experienced defender to cover for Clichy. But Wenger values Traore and will not want to jeopardize his prospects by buying another left back.
He has cover after all, as the players available for the right back position can fill in, but additionally there is Gallas and Flamini.
The two first team choices of Toure and Gallas are beginning to jell at last but it is in their cover again that reinforcements are needed especially with the African Cup of Nations drawing near.
The current second choice central defenders are Senderos, Djourou, Gilberto and lately Song.
The problem is that of these only Djourou looks capable of rising to the task. Gilberto is experienced but lacks pace and Song is still too young to be trusted.
Senderos has not been convincing this season.
Lack of pace and positional sense being his two major deficiencies.
Wenger may utilise some of that available cash to bring in a new experienced centre back and consider allowing the young lad to move on.
There seems to be an abundance of wide midfielders available for Wenger to choose from. His preferred options are Rosicky and the excellent Hleb. There are of course Eboue and Walcott available who have been coming into form lately.
Wenger may not add to this list in January as he will want to give first team games to both Eboue and especially Walcott in order to allow them the chance to blossom further.
He will probably want to reassess the situation ready for the summer transfer window especially if Eboue does not continue to improve.
There is an abundance of riches for these positions and if anything Wenger may be forced to unload than to recruit.
There is Fabregas and Flamini of course but there is also Gilberto, the captain of Brazil, the excellent prospect that goes by the name of Denilson, Diaby the new Vieira, the newly arrived Diarra who looks promising and Song whom I rate highly as a central midfielder.
The more likely candidate to be sold on is in fact Gilberto. His transfer will create the space for the other players to blossom even further and the transfer income and savings in his wages makes even more financial sense.
Judging by Wenger’s transfer behaviour so far do not be surprised to waive good buy to Gilberto! However this may come next summer as his experience will be very valuable for this young and title chasing team.
The pairing of Robin Van Persie and Adebayor needs time to jell further and Arsene Wenger will want to give it every opportunity of doing so as this combination has the potential to grow into something beautiful.
He has already bought Eduardo and brought young Bendtner back from his loan stint at Birmingham. He will also want to give them the opportunities to show what they can do.
The problem however is that Eduardo has not settled in yet and as such has not been able to offer the outlet that the recent absence of Van Persie cried out for.
Bendtner, although promising, is still young and as such has not been trusted by Wenger to start important games (I disagree of course).
Wenger recognising this lack of cover reverted to the rather conservative 4 5 1 for the two crucial games against Liverpool and Manchester United leaving Adebayor, by his own admittance, isolated. (See my posting on this subject: Arsenal’s Formula One Car Cannot Run With The Handbreak On. A Critique)
He has the Hleb option available of course which is a realistic one; as long as Hleb actually plays that support role behind the front striker.
So it is unlikely that Wenger will buy in any more front players during this window.
Yes there is a large transfer kitty available to Arsene Wenger and if he does use it in January, it will probably be for experienced back ups in the goalkeeper and central defensive positions.
Otherwise he is unlikely to use any substantial amounts in strengthening what is already a strong squad; which is “getting better all the time”!
Remember the Beatles song?
Arsenal’s "Totaalvoetbal" a First in the Premiership. Wenger and Michels, Hleb and Cruyff
Wenger’s midfield options for Wigan limited due to injuries and suspension