Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, June 29, 2007

Is Wenger about to abandon his search for a wide midfielder?

Apparently Arsenal have already lodged a £6m bid with Auxerre and are waiting for permission to speak to Bakari Sagna.

The Auxerre president Gerard Bourgoin in his comments to the Daily Mail seems to imply that the transfer is on as the player is interested.

"Sagna has a deep desire to play in England and he genuinely wants to wear the Arsenal shirt. They seem keen to sign him as well. The conditions for him to leave have not all been met — at least for the time being."

Bakari Sagna is a right back and young enough at 24 to appeal to Wenger. They say he can also play at left back but he has appeared in all 38 of Auxerre’s games this season and they were all at right back.

So why would Wenger be interested in signing a right back when he has, in my opinion, two good defenders for that position, in Eboue and Hoyte, as well as a promising youngster in Kerrea Gilbert? And there are also other players that can cover for that position if need be like Djourou, Gallas and indeed Toure.

Is Wenger interested in buying additional cover when Eboue will be away at the Africa Nations Cup? It will be an expensive cover however at 6m and judging by how frugal Wenger is with Arsenal’s cash we just do not see this as being the main reason why Sagna is interesting him.

Alternatively there is a gap in the left back position where Traore although promising is still too raw and inexperienced to cover for Clichy if need be. And Sagna can also play at left back. Granted Arsenal need cover for this position (Arsene. Who to buy?) but surely Wenger’s first choice will be Clichy. He will not buy a 6m player just to have him sit on the bench.

Wenger is concentrating at the wrong end of the pitch. Shouldn’t he be utilizing his energy and available cash in recruiting a couple of forwards and a wide midfield player instead?

There can only be one viable reason for Wenger’s interest in Sagna if indeed he is interested! There is a possibility that Eboue could be pushed forward to the right midfield position as he has been tried by Wenger on a few occasions in the latter stages of last season’s campaign. Notably against Portsmouth, Manchester Utd and Chelsea with good effect.

If this is the case then Wenger may now be abandoning his search for another wide midfielder.

He will then have available for the two wide midfield positions Eboue, Hleb, Rosicky,Walcott and even Robin Van Persie (if and when Wenger chooses to play a 4 3 3 or a 4 5 1 formation).

I am assuming that Ljumberg will be moved on. He has lost his pace which was his most pivotal attribute as it enabled him to get behind defences and score. Additionally at around 4m a year for the next two years he is indeed a very very expensive bench warmer.

Under this scenario it would probably mean that there will be no place at Arsenal for Reyes. And we say this only from the financial point of view.

Indeed a committed Reyes, and I stress the word committed, would be a very attractive addition to this list, providing additional selection options and valuable cover all round (especially if Hleb does not improve the quality of his play significantly).

And a successful season for Reyes may push his price back to the level which Wenger bought him.

By 1970's Gooner


Anonymous said...

If reyes does not want to play for us then forget him

Anonymous said...

top post

Anonymous said...

i am not sure that eboue could be as effective as a genuine wide player would have been. I hope what you say in your post is not proved right.

Anonymous said...

I have always felt that Reyes suffered from Henry's Badgering on the pitch. How often would we see Reyes shoot and then get criticised if he didnt score. It always pissed me off as the rest of the team seemed unwilling to take a shot. God knows that we could have used him last season. All those chances and nobody to convert them. Meanwhile he comes off the bench at Madrid and wins them La liga with two superb finishes under pressure. If he is still at Arsenal after the summer we would be better off encouraging him than demonizing him. He is an Arsenal player and his ability has never been in doubt.

Arsenal Analysis said...

I completely agree with you (last anonymous). Reyes is a quality player.

Players need to be encouraged shoot (or to buy lottery tickets as they say) and praised for their efforts not criticised.

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