(Warning – panic-free post. I’m not getting overexcited by yesterday’s pre-season friendly defeat).
Last week we heard a lot about the imminent completion of Wenger’s summer transfer activity. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it was a lot of talk about nothing – with the best deals to be had on deadline day, and a manager and chief executive already successful in that regard, it was always highly unlikely that we’d be splashing out weeks in advance.
In truth, I doubt we’ll be splashing out much at all, and I’d be very surprised to see more than one player come in, or at least for us to gain more than one player from where we currently are (i.e. if Eboue leaves, we may sign two). But if Chamakh is to be the one, Wenger certainly holds the cards. As he said last week:
“In five months, if he doesn’t prolong his contract, Chamakh will be free to talk to any club and Bordeaux won’t get anything.”
“I like Chamakh, he is a forward that attracts me, but I already have Walcott, Bendtner, Van Persie, Arshavin and Eduardo. I am in no rush.”
Much like the Arshavin deal in January, it is in no-one’s best interest to cave in – we don’t want to pay too much, Bordeaux are hoping that someone else will come in for more. Expect this one to be resolved near midnight on August 31. The player, for his part, is getting worried:
“If it’s Arsenal, so much the better. I hope it’ll be sorted out very quickly. I am not sleeping as well as I normally do.”
“I made my wishes known to the directors at the end of last season. I expressed a wish to join another league. As much for Bordeaux’s sake as for mine, my situation has to be clarified. I thought they would have made things easier for me.”
Without wishing to knock a player who may be one of us in a matter of weeks, does it strike anyone else that Chamakh is a bit of a prat? Every time I’ve seen him quoted he comes across as someone who throws his toys out of his pram if he doesn’t get his own way. Let’s hope it is the twisting of the media and not Wiltord II.
Chamakh, incidentally, played and scored and opening day goal for Bordeaux today.
I’m not convinced this one’s going to happen, to be honest. Unless Wenger feels he can get the player at a great bargain (which he might, with Chamakh’s contract running out), I can see him accepting the forwards already at the club, and moving on.
Defensively, I can’t see anyone coming in – Wenger talks a great deal about the number of players who can play centre back, and with Gallas, Vermaelen, Djourou and Song (he is listed there, after all), we have as many as we normally do going into a new campaign. It worries me every year, but look at the rest of the top four and you won’t see much strength in depth at centre back there either. Perhaps there really is a paucity of quality out there.
No, my gut tells me we’ll get a midfielder on deadline day, perhaps a defensive one who could slot into the back four if required. I’m not going to speculate on who it’ll be, suffice to say I doubt it’ll be any of the names that have cropped up so far.
The issue this season, more than any other I can remember in Wenger’s time in charge, is that by the time the window shuts and we close out our transfer dealings, some very important matches will already be done and dusted.
While that is true every year, it is even more so this – we’ve never had a Champions League qualifier as tough as Celtic, for starters. We shouldn’t be afraid, we will go into the tie as comfortable favourites, but this is certainly the toughest qualifier we’ve ever had at this stage, brought about by the new competition structure. Alongside those two games are away trips to Everton and United, two places anyone rarely comes away from with three points.
Any deadline day signing would miss those games, which is fine as long as everyone else can get us through them successfully. Meaning that in the positions we are shy of numbers, we get no injuries. So it is perhaps fortunate that, despite the unfortunate nature of Nasri and Rosicky’s absences, their positions are those best covered.
As ever, we’ll know where we are on September 1. If we aren’t being written off after series of defeats, we’ll be doing just fine.
Just remember – draws and Goodison and Old Trafford are decent results. If we get them, don’t be down on the side for being points off the top. We’ll get six points from Spurs later in the year.