Jun 022007

It is so easy right now to take jealous looks at United, Chelsea and others, and despair that the signings aren’t going to come to the Emirates.

Up at Old Trafford they’ve spent big, but these deals have probably been sorted for a while and will see the end of their summer spending. They’ve pleased the fans by getting it out of the way early, and that’s fine.

As for Chelsea, they may not have spent much, but they’ve brought in Alex and Pizarro on frees, and Sidwell to back them up during the African Nations. Neither side have seen fit to let players go, so both squads are looking a little bloated.

So what about Arsenal? Last year, Wenger announced only the signing of Rosicky before the World Cup, and we had to wait for deadline day in August for anything else, by which time we were already struggling in the league. Some fear a repeat, and while we may sign later than most again this summer, now is not the time to panic.

The focus over the last month has been to sign those players seen to be the future of the club to long term deals. In the demand for new transfers, it is often forgotten that much of our problem for the last couple of years is that every summer a bunch of first teamers have left. It has been true transition. The fact that only unwanted players should leave this summer is the first massive plus we have over the previous two years. Stability is underrated.

So the youngsters are all being signed up on long term contracts. Excellent. What’s next? The Reyes/Baptista situation. Wenger is busy sorting that out, trying to offload Reyes for cash, while declining the offer of Baptista for silly money. Once that’s done, he’ll have a clear budget for the summer, equally clear holes in the squad, and I have no doubt he already has his targets in mind.

It is looking increasingly like Franck Ribery is not one of those targets. I have to say I’m not in the slightest bit disappointed by this, because having seen him play, I’m not sure how much he’d add. He’s another tricky winger (albeit with pace) who cuts in more often than he surges down the line. And although he’ll chip in the odd goal, he isn’t a goalscorer. Not what we need.

But back to the point – Wenger is busy sorting out the current squad, and he knows who he wants to strengthen it with. He won’t ever tell us who those targets are for fear of being trumped again. So let’s just be patient and see what happens. He knows the squad needs bolstering, and he’s got three months to do it. Give the man a chance.

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