Welcome to Arsenal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
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.