GET IN THERE, A SIGNING!!!!!
Glad we’ve got that out of the way, and now, on with today’s post. Ah, to hell with it. YAAAAYYYY! Okay, I’m done. Promise.
Obviously positionally he may not be the signing we all want but this deal doesn’t mean we can’t still sign a centre back, and to be honest I’m pretty darn excited about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. For us to pay around £12 million for a 17-year-old, he must be pretty special. According to We Are The North Bank, Arsene and Steve Rowley rate the England U19 international as “the best attacking player of his generation” – some praise from two men who know talent when they see it.
For now, we’ll probably see Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench and featuring in a handful of games when he’s needed. Carling Cup and FA Cup appearances will probably be it for now, and then I’d think we’ll see how he does from there. From what I’ve seen and heard he seems quick, direct and powerful – so from the sounds of it quite an effective player. My Southampton supporting friend was raving about him before we were first linked with him earlier in the season, and it’s obvious how highly they think of him at St Mary’s.
He seems to revel in a central role but personally I’d play him out wide – our wingers cut inside as it is anyway, and I think his direct style of play would suit a wide position in our system. Furthermore, I’m unsure as to whether our central attacking midfield position would suit him either – if we persist with playing one player in the hole at all times, he’d have to control the tempo of the game and I don’t think that’s a part of his game.
His chances of playing centrally mainly depend on whether we continue with using two midfielders in front of the defence or one. As far as I understand it, playing a double-pivot in front of the defence (usually Song and Wilshere) allows Fabregas the space to control the game and have a generally free role. However, without Cesc there’s a need to have two central ‘playmakers’, seeing as nobody is close to Cesc in ability to control the game. Those two players would usually be Ramsey and Wilshere, but I suppose a few combinations of our attacking midfielders would work, which is where Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in.
He’d probably work well in that two-pronged midfield going forward alongside Ramsey or Wilshere, or possibly even Tomas Rosicky. Samir Nasri might also line up there; if he stays. Which brings me onto the next topic of this post – sorry, Alex, but it can’t all be about you. Score the winner against Spurs, then we’ll talk.
Reports around the football world are suggesting we’re ready to sell Samir Nasri to Manchester City for some £22 million – whether we’d replace him is another story but I’d imagine Juan Mata would probably come in if that move for Nasri materialised. In fact, I’d probably say if either Cesc or Nasri did leave, Mata would replace whichever one did leave. I really can’t see both of them leaving – I’d imagine whichever deal can be concluded earliest and to our satisfaction would be the one to go through out of the two.
For me, £22 million for a player with only one year to go on his contract is a good deal, regardless of his undoubted talent. After all, he only showed three months of it last season, and went missing consistently when we desperately needed him to come up with the goods. He’d be a loss but let’s get some players in who want to play for us (like Alex O-C) and move on.
It also looks like we might be closing in on Gary Cahill from Bolton, with Thomas Vermaelen’s apparent injury speeding things up. Apparently we’re close to agreeing a fee for Cahill with Bolton between £15 and £17 million. It looks like £17 million is what it would take to bring him to the Emirates, and if we’re willing to pay £15 million (and it seems like we are) then why not shell out an extra £2 million and be done with it? We all know we don’t want another situation like with Alonso.
Ivan Gazidis went before the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association less than an hour after the Oxlade-Chamberlain deal was announced to be grilled by the fans in an intense Q&A. Of course, the focus was on our defence, and when asked “why we haven’t gone after a couple of centre halves”, Gazidis replied: “How do you know we aren’t?”. I’d be surprised if we signed more than one, but pleasantly surprised. Unless one of them was Ryan Shawcross.
Ivan was keen to stress how difficult the current market is; not “like a supermarket, where you can go in and pick good players off the shelf”. He also used the Wenger line of “we don’t have the kind of money to go out and spend £50m on a player” – luckily he saved it by continuing by saying “I don’t think that is what our fans are asking for”. And of course he’s right, that’s not what we want. All we want is/are the signing/s that will improve our squad enough to be able to win some silverware. Hopefully that’s what we’ll get.
Firstly I’d just like to stress that the following letter was not written by me. I’m posting it on here as a favour to a friend on Twitter, @jonnyth14, who asked me to do so. Make sure you follow him if you’re on Twitter, he’s a top guy.
Stan Kroenke c/o Arsenal Football Club/Ivan Gazidis
Arsenal Football Club
Dear Mr Kroenke
I have been an Arsenal fan for many years, and am a platinum/gold/silver/red member. I feel the club have made great strides over the past ten years but is presently failing to capitalise on the infrastructure that it has. I respect all that the manager of this great club has achieved in his period of management but feel that now is the time for the club to push on under your new ownership and a new Board that takes a more dynamic approach to achieving football success. For instance the Board should be encouraging Arsene Wenger to spend the money we have tied up in the transfer proceeds account and to review the coaching and support network that is built around the football team.
Season Ticket holders have had to put up with the most expensive tickets for this stadium and we now expect that club, via its new ownership structure to make decisions that will allow the manager to be able to compete for the best players on the best wages in Europe. The fans deserve a team befitting of the high ticket prices they pay. We are close to winning trophies but feel the same problems have persisted in the last 3 seasons and still have not been addressed. A few experienced signings are needed.
It also seems obvious that to stop punitive rises in ticket prices the club needs to start to be ruthless with those marketing deals that make no economic sense in the current climate, and/or find a reason as to why the ”very” highly paid marketing executives have failed to be able to sell the brand to any new partners.
The wage bill is also in danger of spiraling out of control, with many players getting a pay rise and long term contract seemingly for underachievement on the pitch. Many players are also still on the books but are not contributing to the club and will not in the future. We feel this needs to be more sensibly managed as this will lead to more pressure on the club to penalise the fans with the price rises.
Winning our group and then going through to the quarter finals of the Champions League would have earned us more than the season ticket price rise. Success on the pitch is vital for the long term future of the club.
The per game price of our season tickets are in line with our London rivals but we are forced to pay for cup games which the club would perhaps struggle to sell out otherwise. Removing these would be a start.
We are fans, we are Arsenal fans, and we expect those running the club to be on the same wavelength in wanting the best for the manager, the team, the club and the support, and at present there seems to be a huge divide between us. If action is not taken soon, divides will become larger and larger. There have already been fights in the ground.
We hope you feel the same way and will take the necessary action. Your actions will speak louder than your words.
Finally, I am concerned with the recent news that our players are prohibited from signing autographs now. The divide between fans and players is getting ever wider.
Mr A Arsenal
The letter was taken from this thread on the Arsenal forums. Again, these aren’t necessarily my opinions, nor do they in any way represent the opinion of Arsenal Football Club.