It was long, it was drawn out, but in the end it was inevitable – Marouane Chamakh has become our first signing of the summer, a year after Wenger originally wanted him, but now costing nothing and providing far more value than the overblown price Bordeaux were demanding this time last year. A player with a year left on their contract does not command the fees that were being asked, so the French club have only themselves to blame for getting nothing twelve months on.
Some point to Chamakh’s less than prolific goalscoring record for Bordeaux (55 in eight years and 227 appearances), but that is deceptive – he has scored 34 times in the last two seasons, and anyone who saw his Champions League exploits will attest to his ability in the big games, and that he offers a completely different option up front, instantly becoming our best aerial option. Bendtner isn’t far behind, but I’ve always felt the Dane is better on the ground that most people of his build.
It is also worth noting that Chamakh’s 27 goals in 55 internationals is a far better return that the likes of Adebayor, and is not far off Drogba’s contributions for a superior Ivory Coast team.
In any case, whatever certain doubters say, you can’t go too wrong with a regular Champions League and international scorer who arrives on a free. A good start to the summer, certainly.
So with one transfer saga done and dusted, attention turns to the other. You’ll notice I haven’t posted anything about the Cesc situation since getting dismayed by the overblown reactionof the first 24 hours after the story broke, and with good reason – nothing has happened, at least not in the public eye.
There has been no quote from Arsenal, Arsene, Cesc or anyone else. The only noises are coming from Barcelona, who have come out with so much tosh over the last few days that frankly it would make anyone question whether they would want to join. Suggestions that they are entitled to our star player at a discount because he is a Barcelona boy are absurd and insulting. We are right to take a stance, demand an astronomical fee, and watch as Barcelona realise they cannot afford it. If they really are struggling to go above £30m, they are not going to get him.
For me, the most important thing is that Cesc is the sort of intelligent character who will not burn his bridges with Arsenal in the way the likes of Adebayor have in the past. If the two clubs cannot agree a fee (a very realistic prospect), he will undoubtedly give his all for us next season, before making the inevitable move at a more suitable time in the future. There will be no pointed badge-kissing followed by a string of lazy performances – he is better than that.
For that reason, we hold the cards – either way we win. A huge transfer sum would allow a complete rebuilding of the squad, a failure to agree the transfer would still leave us with a player giving his all. Whatever happens, I am not filled with dread – I would of course prefer him to stay, but with Barcelona not wielding the power they assumed they automatically had, any deal would favour us.
One way or another, it is likely to be resolved in the early part of the summer – all we can do is wait and see.