Okay, so its now official, Mikael Silvestre is an Arsenal player.
Seriously, where did that one come from? We’ve had rumours all summer that we would be signing an experienced player, but if you’d asked a fan which one hundred players were most likely, Silvestre’s name would not have been mentioned.
Earlier, I doubted the story and the value of the signing, but it turns out I was wrong about the accuracy of the reports. Let’s hope I’m wrong about the whole lot. Because, quite frankly, it seems like an odd one.
We have a weakness in central defence, certainly. The Toure-Gallas partnership is a combination that for some reason doesn’t appear to work. Individually, they are excellent (and both better than Silvestre is at 31, in my opinion), but as a pairing, they don’t click. So Wenger had two options. Sign a new centre back to be first choice, or promote from within.
Does this mean Silvestre is now first choice? And if so, is he really good enough at 31 to be ousting either of the pair from the side? And if he isn’t first choice, then where does this leave Senderos, and particularly Djourou, who is highly rated by the manager and supposedly ready to step up.
We actually have quite a few centre backs, but the problem is that many don’t rate some or all of them. By signing Silvestre, it would seem that Wenger is, for once, also not showing faith in the set we currently have.
As for the left back position, Clichy, Gallas and Traore pretty much have the spot locked up, so Silvestre is unlikely to see much action there.
So the only conclusion I can draw is that he has been signed as a first team player, to partner Gallas at the back (Gallas, as captain, surely has to play). So where does this leave Toure, and does this shed some light as to why he appeared at right wing on Saturday?
As you can see, there are more questions than answers right now. Quite what our first choice backline looks like now is anyone’s guess, and both Senderos and Djourou may be wondering where they now are in the pecking order.
Wenger obviously sees Silvestre as important, as he has given him a two year contract, breaking the one year model for the over 30s. Not for the first time, Wenger and Ferguson are clearly disagreeing – even if Fergie decided he had enough backup, he wouldn’t let one of his players join a rival for a pittance if he thought he’d actually turn out to be useful.
Perhaps I’m being picky by saying if we were to buy a centre back, I would have preferred a higher calibre or younger one. A signing like this is better than no signing at all, I suppose.
Can you tell I’m not yet convinced?