Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, December 26, 2008

Arsene’s Xmas wish list

By 1970’s Gooner

If I was Pat Rice or Boro Primorac come to that and had to make an assessment as to where Arsenal’s squad needs strengthening this is what I would have come up with.

Each position is analysed as to its first team player and available replacements. For those positions that a no buy is recommended I have included a “greedy wish”, a player that would be fantastic to have. Its Christmas after all!


Almunia has improved a great deal since taking over from Lehman. I think he is now accepted as a safe first team goalkeeper.

Replacements in case of injury:

Fabiansky is good quality and played well when came on against Manchester United but made an error in judgment against Burnley when he came out for a ball his defender had covered anyway. He has the potential and will certainly improve with more games.

Vito Mannone has impressed every time I have watched him for the reserves. He has the courage and the determination to succeed.

Recommendation: No need to buy.

Greedy wish: Wayne Hennessey (21), Wolves. Fantastic presence, very good on one on ones and excellent shot stopper. Would be ready to step into the first team. Price: Around £7m

Right backs

Sagna has been excellent and there is not a lot more that can be said about him.

Replacements in case of injury: Eboue as well as Gallas, Toure and Djourou.

Recommendation: No need to buy.

Greedy wish: Miguel (28),Valencia. An attacking full back in the Wenger mould. Price: Around £7m

Left backs

Clichy is probably the best in the Premiership. If he could improve his concentration levels he would rise to be one of the world’s best.

Replacements in case of injury:

Silvestre and any other first team defender. Traore should be recalled from his loan at Portsmouth next season as he has shown that he has the ingredients to be the next Clichy/Cole.

Recommendation: No need to buy

Greedy wish: Philipp Lahm (25), Bayern Munich. Runs all day and is a reliable source of goal-saving tackles and pinpoint crosses. Price: around £10m

Centre Backs

With Silvestre’s addition to the squad we have now found a good blend of youth and experience in this very crucial area of defence.

Toure and especially Djourou who has improved a great deal look like a pairing that will be Arsenal’s defensive heart for years to come.

Replacements in case of injury:

Gallas (if he stays) and Silvestre will provide the experience for Toure and especially Djourou to flourish. Take the money, if offered, on Senderos.

Recommendation: No need to buy

Greedy wish: Micah Richards (20). Will bring height and strength and could play at right back too. Price: Around £15m

Wide midfielders

One striking weakness in the team at the moment is the so obvious lack of width. This may be corrected when Walcott comes back and Nasri keeps fit. But beyond this there is a big void.

Replacements in case of injury:

There is therefore a real gap in available personnel whose natural position is wide midfielder.

There is young Vela and Eboue who has been moved to this position. Rosicky has been out injured for the last 12 months and it is doubtful if he will come back as good or at all.

Players whose normal position is not as a wide midfielder like Denilson, Diaby and Ramsey have been filling in but to no surprise without much success.

Recommendation: Buy

Transfer targets: Arshavin, Zenit.

Very much an Arsenal type of player and is at the right age of 27 where he will bring experience, skill and technique.

Price: Around £17m

David Villa (27), Valencia. Quick, tricky and with an eye for goal, he will punish any opponent's error. Price: Around £15m despite the huge buy out clause on his contract.

Central creative midfielders

As with wide midfielders there is not enough depth in the squad to deal with injuries such as Cesc’s.

Replacements in case of injury:

Denilson is still too young to take up Cesc’s role and so are Ramsey and Wilshere. The other midfielders are of the defensive type like Song and Diaby.

Recommendation: Buy

Transfer target: Diego, Werder Bremen.

At 23 he is probably more attractive to the Arsenal model.

I have seen him live and was very impressed. Possesses beautiful skills and creative ability.

Price: Around £17m

Central defensive midfielders

The emergence of Song has alleviated the need to splash the cash in the transfer market. He has been performing very well in this position and will grow further into it with more games.

Replacements in case of injury:

There is Diaby who has the potential to be the number one for this position but can fill in for now until he grows up, learns to win the ball and lay it off to a team mate rather than trying to do everything himself. Others that can fill in include Eboue, Toure and Djourou.

Recommendation: No need to buy as the time needs to be given to the promising Song and Diaby to grow into this position.

Greedy wish: Yaya Toure(25),Barcelona. The one that got away, but he can certainly bring ball winning skills and more importantly experience which is very important for this position. Price: Around £12m

Alonso (27), Liverpool. Is at the right age and experienced enough to take up this significant role. Price: Around £15m


The Adebayor and Van Persie pairing is as good as anybody’s.

Replacements in case of injury:

With Eduardo due to make his long awaited come back there appears to be enough quality forwards around.

There is also Bendtner who has shown in glimpses this season especially against Manchester United that he will be a good understudy for any of the above.

Recommendation: No need to buy

Greedy Wish: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (27), Inter. Creativity and vision like his rarely come in 6ft 5in packages, which makes him one of the most difficult players to defend against in the game. Price: Around £25m


Anonymous said...

david villa isnt a winger!

Anonymous said...

Central Defence is one big problem.
Djourou has been partnering Gallas and your cry that Kolo and Djourou are an effective partnership is largely yet to be proven.

Diaby is an attacking player who doesn't know or can't be bother about defending. Stop thinking he is Vieira's incarnate.

Arshavin is not a winger. He cannot solve the width problem as he plays the 2nd-striker role and often cuts into the middle when played out wide.

David Villa. LOL. winger? Lmao.

Do you actually watch our games?

Anonymous said...

Arsenal need a top class defensive midfielder who can run box to box and a classy winger like Hleb, but slightly better in front of goal.

We concede to much ground in the center of midfield and don't create enough at the other end.

If we could solve those 2 positions we would improve straight away.

Diaby, Song & Eboue are not good enough for Arsenal. Wenger needs to get real fast, or go to Real.

Feet said...

Diaby isn't a defensive midfielder. Never has been, and never will be. Where did you get the impression that he has any of the qualities needed to play in that position? "Looks a bit like Viera" isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean David SILVA as the winger you refer to above.

I agree we need some wingers, Arshavin and David Silva would do nicely but they are slightly out of Wenger's price range. In terms of creative midfielders, I disagree that we need to buy someone due to cescs injury. Diaby, Denilson currently, Ramsey in the near future and Merida can all play in this role effectively.

I agree with the rest of your assessments including goalkeeper, as well as the fact that we have the personnel in central defense - we just have to find the right combination of people and some consistency

Anonymous said...

You're crazy, Zlatan is a head case and centre back is a major problem. Also Adebayor and Van Persie have no understanding

Anonymous said...

your prices are pathetic/VILLA 4 15 million.if that was the case Wenga would b kicking down Valencias door mate.

Anonymous said...

I think someone had a bit 2 much 2 drink!

Anonymous said...

have you actually been watching this season? because anybody who genuinely believes that alex song is developing into a good player has been watching a different arsenal to me. Also, on paper RVP and ade may seem attractive but have we really seen them play as a partnership effectively yet? When you consider a spine of lehmann campbell vieria and henry has become almunia gallas song/denilson (granted cesc is one of the best but he's now out for season) adebayor it surely makes u feel a little bit ill....

wenger needs to make serious changes, and that means BUYING AT LEAST A COUPLE OF QUALITY PLAYERS

Anonymous said...

you sure don't got your valuation right.

Anonymous said...

Key positions to buy: Winger/attacking midfielder defensive midfielder

without fabregas in the squad arsenal need to address getting into the champion's league this season. As much as i'd like to think arsenal are still in the title race, without fabregas i think that champion's league is a reasonable goal. Possible replacements: i think it is reasonable to move nasri into that position which is where he plays for france, but then that leaves us with no wide men and nasri hasn't exactly stayed away from injury. I would recommend Arshavin because he has experience and wants to leave and i personally would rather play with him then against him in the tottenham darby.
Cost: optimistic: 15 million realistic: 19 million

defensive midfielder: as pissed as i am a flamini for going to milan to sit on the bench i would pay him to come back any day, since that isn't happening, i would have recommended diarra, oh wait, we had him and then sold him to portsmouth. so then i am left with my third choice alberto aquillani, although i doubt he'll leave. i like him because of his passing ability and his long shots, which as long as rosicky sits on the bench arsenal have no one who can score outside the eighteen.
Cost: no idea

as for the back i would like to see more of the djourou toure combination, as for gallas, i like gallas a lot more than most people, i feel that what he said was out of line and what happened in birmingham was not uncalled for except for the fact that as captain it was his job not to loose composure. i like gallas as a player but if he won't except a back up position then i say let him go.

up front: i agree that van persie and adebayor don't seem to be on the same page but i think in general adebayor doesn't fit into the team well. last year every time the ball came up front it went to adebayor and he is a good enough finisher to put the ball away most of the time. But i don't think he thrives like that when he has a striking partner. I think adebayor would play well in a 4-5-1 or in a slightly lesser team where all the chances come to him. I would place vela instead of adebayor as van persie's partner. i've been impressed with vela every time i've seen him play, even when he hasn't scored, i think he has the potential to be one of arsenal's great strikers and i really hope he starts in the aston villa game.

as for almunia: i think he is consistent and very very average. He has been playing well but he's not the class of keeper lehmann was, and although i'm happy with him for now, it's because we have bigger issues.

Christmas list:

Greedy Christmas list:
The magical resurrection of Rosicky from the grave

gunnarforlife said...

Where we need a change is at the top a new manager we,ve lost faith and he,s lost the plot. The players my be at fault but remember who brought these under raters in. Not enough true arsenal class players and he can not see whats right in front of his face but we can no what they say a new brush swipes clean and we need a good clean out.

Anonymous said...

I, sincerely, do not think you watch our games. We need new buys in the central defence, defensive midfield, central midfield and in the attack. Who has the patience to wait for your Djourou, Eboue, Denilson, Ramsey and Brendtner to grow up? Meanwhile, you can reccommend Silvester to your village team. Enough of his fumblings. It is time to tell Arsene the truth. He better sits up or ship out. Enough of these heartbreaks

Anonymous said...

You are saying we don't need a Center back and Defense MF??? But buy another player that play the same position as Cesc? And Phillip Lahm as a backup left back? This Blog has lost all CREDIBILITY.

Anonymous said...

I think your article is lame but as its Christmas and it is 58 years to the day that I watched my first match at Highbury I will play along.

In my opinion to turn our squad of very talented players into a trophy winning side for years to come I thionk arsene has to (a) talk to the big players on our staff ie; Bouldie & Chippy. the (b) talk to players who still love the club ie; Dixon & wrighty + Parlour. I have listened to them all on radio & TV and they see what Arsene refuses to see ie;

The worst defensive team at AFC since Adams & co retired. The weakest defensive midfield cover ever, and the most wasteful forwards for years.

My Greedy list would be:- Arshavin, Ribery,Alonso, Upson, Foster, and Sears.Keep Senderos.

My out the club wish list = Gallas asap. Bentner, Song, Eboue, Fabiansky, Sylvestre,Mannone, Gilbert,Toure,

The money we would save on wages for that lot would help and the dressing room would improve no end.

Sadly I expect non of the above and will guarantee we will all be saying the same this time next year.

Anonymous said...

Is this blog some kind of joke

David Villa goal hangs more than Gary Lineaker.

Alex Song has improved lol he couldnt pass wind let alone the ball

? would he get in any of the other big three's squads NO

Yaya Toure - if would could get him would be number one choice

If not I would by Scott Parker on Jan 1st would come straight into the team and need no time bedding down.

Not sure I would spend 20mil on Arsharvin - Would depend on Rosicky if he's finished then maybe if Rosicky gets fits he's a better player.

Chelinni if we can get him is a must.

Eduardo comes back so no need to spend in Jan for a forward - see how things pan out before spending big up front.

Bottom line is we wont win the league - So 4th place is a must - If we get everybody back and few good sensible signings we will manage that anything can happen in the CL and FA CUP

Anonymous said...

What we really need is a player like mathhui flamini who can account for the defensive side in the middle and let the attacking side do the damage. Now we have a few options if we look towards yaya toure or even keita. Any one of those we could do with as they offer some grit in the middle of the park. We have players like denilson song diaby etc but these are not cut out to do a job that we so badly need right now.

We could also do with a central defender but he has to have some height to help our arial mistakes and has got to show some leadership qualities. We need someone in the same frame as vidic. I rate him as one of the best and i know wenger has the abilities to bring out some gems so focus towards a central defender of that ability. This player can link up with toure as i really think gallas should have gone last year.

We have a strikeforce which can match any on their day it is mainly the supply from cesc which can guarantee goals. Diego would be an excellent add in to the squad as he plays in the same mind frame as arsenal neat passing through balls so that is a good thing. Overall a few changes and we can maximise results.