Apr 282010

Coming into every transfer window, our squad is analysed, and a position on the field is pinpointed as “The Weakness”. From that moment on, every player who can fill that role is tipped as a potential signing, with no attention paid to the player’s current allegiances, squad role, or value. Or even if he is any good.

Over the past couple of years, the focus has been on the midfield holding role. Every defensive midfielder in the world seems to have been linked at some point, with extra column inches afforded if he can also fill in at the back. The emergence of Alex Song has at least silenced those particular voices, with the exception of those still flogging the Yaya Toure angle.

For a while since, it seemed as if strikers would be top of the media list. Van Persie’s injury left us without a recognised target man for long stretches, and with Eduardo’s alarming loss of form, everyone was clamouring to link us with Europe’s top names.

But then Bendtner started scoring, the Chamakh transfer became old news, and people moved on.

Or rather, they moved back, all the way to our number one jersey, previously ignored due to our perceived strength in depth – Mannone and Szczesny showing promise and Fabianski still a much vaunted prospect.  With Almunia dropping clangers left, right and centre, Fabianski came in, contrived to make the Spaniard seem a better option, and suddenly we were in disarray.

Since then, there have been calls to sign pretty much any keeper able to pull on a pair of gloves. The old names of Frey and Buffon have come up, laughably, while closer to home many see better options in the Premiership.

One name has come up time and time again – Lyon’s Hugo Lloris. Tim at 7am Kickoff gave a comprehensive explanation of exactly why the Frenchman won’t be arriving – it is a classic example of wishing a player was ours who never could be. It is a fanciful idea to imagine us paying the ridiculous price Lyon would demand – they don’t need the money.

The same is true of Igor Akinfeev, whose name keeps cropping up largely because he is a monster in Football Manager. He would cost a fortune this summer – CSKA Moscow are heavily bankrolled, and at 23 Akinfeev is already their club captain. His contract runs out in December 2011, making him a more likely mover next summer, if at all.

Then there is Joe Hart. His passport alone hikes up his price, although he is certainly a promising young keeper. Butis he overhyped? Imagine if Vito Mannone was English – would we have heard the last of his Fulham display? I’m not doubting Hart’s potential, but that is what it is – potential. Is he ready to be a number one at a top club? I’m not convinced.

The ball is firmly in Wenger’s court, but the good news is that he is planning to make his moves early, or at least he will for any player featuring in the World Cup. Four years ago he signed Rosicky at a cut price before he single-handedly destroyed USA in the Czech Rep’s opening match – had Wenger waited he would surely have been forced to raise his offer.

The World Cup is a blessing and a curse – on the one hand it stops the papers being filled with ridiculous transfer stories,but on the flip side individuals get massively overhyped based on a performance or two. Remember El Hadji Diouf for Senegal? Or Karel Poborsky? It even happens at junior level – after one Under 21 tournament the whole world was interested in Royston Drenthe. Real Madrid bit the bullet, and he’s barely been heard of since.

In July and August, prepare yourself for a deluge of stories linking us to some Algerian keeper who makes a couple of decent stops against England.

In other news, Sol Campbell seems interested in signing for another year, but hasn’t yet sat down with Wenger to discuss an extension:

“I think the boss will want to sit down and have a chat and we’ll go from there. I’m really enjoying my football.  I’m working hard and the fitness coaches, along with all the staff, have done wonders for me here. “

“Being in an environment of this quality is perfect for me to play football, work hard and keep on going. It’s fantastic to be here.”

I don’t think you’d find too many opposed to another year, but I suspect Wenger is waiting for Gallas to make his move before putting the deal on the table.

And that’s about it for today. This should be the last Wednesday for a while without a podcast, which is still planned for launch next week, so stay tuned for that.

Until tomorrow.

  20 Responses to “Are keepers the new holding midfielders?”

  1. we can always pray for igor akinfeev it does make sense to get him, the worlds best club should have the future world no1 keeper… but there you go, we are obviously not gonna get him… id say we will get sebation frey

    who by the way isnt the standard arsenal need,…

    akinfeev all the way!!

    anyone reckon it will happen?!

    • Frey was never the standard, and what is he now – 86?

      Seriously though, CSKA won’t let Akinfeev go for anything less than a fortune this summer. They are currently trying to tie him down with a long term contract, but as yet he hasn’t signed. With a year and a half to go, the power is balanced, but if Akinfeev decides to leave, the price will fall from January.

      I can’t actually see anyone signing him for less than 15m this summer.

  2. We want new players because the ones we currently got are not up to much

  3. 15MILLION? that is surely an investment, how can wenger not see this?!

    in 3years time when he has surpassed buffon and is no1… when he is playing for manchester united THEN we will regret it…

    im sick of arsenal settling for “2nd best players” its soo gutting to see..

    i mean are we the best club in the world or not?! so why not the BEST players?

    • 15 million isn’t a great deal if he’s a lot cheaper six months later, much as Chamakh wasn’t a great deal for 6m in January when he’s free now.

      It is also a lot of money so someone unproven in a big league – who knows how he’ll be. You have to be absolutely certain to splash that sort of cash.

      • The problem is Arsenal need keeper for next season not the season next.. in Chamakh case Arsenal already have 4 stiker at the start of the season, so not really a priority, who know that RVP going out most of the season, and Eduardo so out of form.

        • Love how you all have jumped on this hypothetical £15m price tag as gospel.

          In relative terms, “£15m” spent on a future world no.1 goalkeeper is a good investment. Pete, you’d rather us wait another year with Manu or Flappyhandski between the pegs before signing, in the same way we’ve waited another year for Lupoli and Larsson to win us the league? Sometimes in business it’s good to be aggressive; to take what you need when you need. Jimmy is quite right, a “fortune” spent this summer on a quality goalkeeper is the difference between a title and a sixth year empty handed. Irrespective of pride, for the sake of attracting world class talent in the future, investing now would be a wise choice.

          • You’ve actually mistaken my point, or I didn’t make it well enough. I said that Akinfeev won’t come this summer because he’s massively overpriced for someone with 18 months on his contract, but that doesn’t mean I think we should wait another year to sign him, it means I think we should sign a different keeper.

            There are plenty of good keepers around at the moment, so Wenger won’t be ripped off for a good one. I agree that we don’t need another young keeper, and was talking about the same thing a few days ago. Ideally we need a repeat of the Jens signing – a keeper with a few great years left in him.

  4. It surprises me when GKs like Lloris, Hart, Adler, Akinfeev, etc are linked with Arsenal. We have 3 young keepers in Fabianski, Mannone and Szczesny. If and when Almunia is offloaded, it would be stupid and unWenger-like to bring in another young keeper as it would simply block the path of our own young keepers who are still developing.

    Where would it leave our brightest young prospect, Szczesny, if someone like Akinfeev is bought in with a hefty price tag to his name. On one hand, it would be stupid not to play a player who’s cost a lot of money. On the other hand, playing him would mean Szczesny would have to either stay out on loan at a smaller club or stay content as back-up.

    The best solution would be to buy a keeper who’s in his mid-to-late 30s and has a maximum of 2 seasons at the top-level left in him. This would give us much needed experience at the back, would give Szczesny(20) and Mannone(22) more time to develop and would give Fabianski(25) a final chance to prove himself worthy of the No. 1 jersey.

  5. You made a lot of sense wit. Ur. Analysis Siddhant.Let’s keep the faith.

  6. I can safely bet that Frey will be our number one next season. Lloris is a great shot stopper, but vulnerable against high balls. Not suitable for English football. Frey is overall a better bet.
    Next willbe a central defender. After that I think the Boss will close his tranfer book.

  7. This is how Arsenal Fans have been duped into the never ending myth of having the best young players in the world. The fans will always have that feeling of we were almost there after another freak result against a big team.
    Wenger is the best manager to have been in the EPL coz he combines entertainment plus finacial prudence but he has reached his peak and is now on a personal mission to prove he knows best. Denilson, Bentner, Fabiaski are not world class but are perfect for a team content with being in the champs league on to fall out without a whimper and start quoting stats of having potential.

    • We have just been unlucky over the years but arsenal can compete. Season in , season out we have shown the world what a great club this is.
      Arsenal is going to dominate Europe over the next years. Wenger is a better tactician than mourinho and he will guide us to be a dominant force in a few years.

  8. soo what you are saying is we should be content with some “average” goalkeeper in goal for the next five years untill Szczesny can step up?

    that doesnt make sense, the bigger clubs wouldnt do it..

    if Szczesny is as good as he is hyped up to be why isnt he playing now?

    • Er, no, that’s not what anyone’s saying. They’re saying Wenger’s not going to spend £18 million on some super duper young talented keeper, he’s more likely to spend £4 million on a proven veteran.

      Which some people would say makes more sense.

  9. okay yeah i guess that does make sence actually…

    up the gunners

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