Jan 062009

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posting, I’ve caught one of the many nasty winter bugs going round and consequently have spent a large amount of time doing precisely nothing.

This also meant I was unable to see any more of the 3-1 win over Plymouth on Saturday than the goals, but from what I saw, Van Persie had a good game as captain, and from what I’ve read, Nasri looked sparky too.

The third round hasn’t produced as many shocks as last season, but with the draw for the fourth round pairing some big guns together, the maximum number of Premiership clubs surviving it is twelve, and chances are we’ll be down to single figures.

And we should be one of them, with a trip to Cardiff awaiting, which should be interesting for Aaron Ramsey. A few years ago we knocked them out in the third round, and this one should be equally comfortable. It is a good draw. Liverpool and United have far tougher opponents (although they are at home), while Chelsea have managed to get themselves a replay to contend with before they even reach that stage, which is frankly hilarious.

Without a midweek game, thoughts now inevitably turn to the transfer window, and the best piece I’ve seen written about it so far was by GilbertoSilver over at Gunnerblog, who suggests that we may only replace the attacking force of Cesc this month, and wait until the summer to sort out the equally, if not more, pressing issues of central defence and defensive midfield.

It’s a theory I agree with, because Wenger isn’t a fan of the January window, with its inflated prices compared to the summer and the requirement for a player to quickly settle if he is to have any impact. There is a good chance that Wenger is risking Champions League qualification on the current squad, after a summer in which he tried, but failed, to bring in the players he was after. And he certainly was after a central midfielder, if nothing else – next summer he will surely try again.

In the current climate, where even our chairman is warning that the amount of money we have to spend may be small, we cannot afford to pay over the odds, which means we cannot and should not compete with Man City for anyone. Like Chelsea in the early days of Abramovich, they are splashing huge sums on players who aren’t at the top of the game.

I would be surprised if we got Arshavin – although his agent keeps talking about our interest, and I’m sure there is some, he is one of the most touting agents in the game (and that takes some doing), and with interest going beyond our club, we are likely to lose a bidding war.

Whatever happens, happens, but the major moves are likely to occur towards the end of the month, when City have started the merry go round with their millions. Until then, we wait.

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