By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger has stated that he will not buy in the transfer window.
"We will not go into the transfer market even though we are losing two centre backs”. He admitted there was one circumstance in which he might consider a purchase. "If I was offered the bargain of the century"!
It is of course logical for Arsene Wenger not to go into the market for a centre back. Why splash the cash on a new centre back that may probably be useful just for two months, or even less, until Kolo Toure returns from ANC duty in Ghana.
There is also the future of the existing two young centre backs, Djourou and Senderos to consider. If he doesn’t give them their chance now when will he?
But there are two other positions where Arsene Wenger’s hand may be forced, pushing him to consider going into the market. The first concerns the goalkeeper position and the other the need to reduce the plethora of central midfielders so as to release space for the up coming younger players.
Jens Lehmann is pondering a move back to Germany for his previous club Dortmund. He needs to move away from Arsenal so that he can get regular first team football and therefore keep his place in the Germany team for the on coming Euro 2008.
The ideal for Arsenal of course is to keep him until the end of the season but this doesn’t look very likely. His departure will, I feel, leave Arsenal short in this very important position.
Almunia is getting more experienced and a lot of Gooners are feeling increasingly safer with him between the goal posts. Wenger is, for sure. But what lies behind him?
Yes Fabiansky looked very useful on the few appearances he put in so far for the first team but if Almunia got injured is he really ready and experienced enough in this League to deputise adequately?
And to take matters one step further what if, as happened at Chelsea, the need arises to bring in the third choice goalkeeper, 19 year old Vito Mannone? Is he up to it or will we see our title aspirations evaporate for lack of depth in this position?
If pushed it may be alright to take chances with almost all the other outfield positions (as we will with Kolo going away) but on the goalkeeper position I would argue that it’s not really advisable if not reckless.
That is why I would think that Arsenal should first be looking to keep Lehmann and failing that look to bring in an experienced goalkeeper who will be trusted to deputise adequately should the need arise.
Due to my affiliation to Wolves I make a point of watching all their televised games and also a few others as well. I am extremely impressed with young Wayne Hennessey (20), the Wales goalkeeper.
He is a very assured, brave and confident goalkeeper. He is equally good in the air and on the ground and he reminds me of Bob Wilson on his one to ones- almost faultless! He is ready to step into Premiership football now. He is that good.
The local paper the “Express and Star” has yesterday linked him to Arsenal and so has “The People”. His going price is 4m and I hope it’s not just transfer window speculation.
The speculation here is that Diarra is coveted by a lot of Premiership teams and that is understandable.
He is only 22, a full France international, a really strong and tenacious central midfielder who can also play equally well at right back with fantastic potential. No wonder Wenger wants to keep him.
But to do that he needs to release space among the numerous central midfielders clogging up the football club.
There’s Fabregas, Flamini, Gilberto, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Randall and don’t forget that Djourou can play that position well.
The most obvious candidate to be allowed to go is Gilberto.
Firstly he is reaching the end of his useful life for Arsenal (his performances this season have been testimony to that- no wonder the captain’s arm band has been given to Gallas) and secondly the financial profit for Arsenal will be very handsome.
Juventous and a few other clubs who have shown interest are likely to fork out a few million pounds for his signature but more importantly Arsenal will be saving his substantial salary which runs into a few million pounds a year!
In fact if this happens it may turn out just like the Ljumberg transfer to West Ham. Very lucrative to Arsenal!
This will give the chance to the rest of the midfielders like Diarra and Diaby in particular to have more chances of playing in that position and therefore developing their full potential for Arsenal.
Potential which is very promising indeed.