Early signings look good but Van Persie holds the key

The signings of Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud, plus the possible arrival of Yann M’Vila, are encouraging signs, but are they really the type of players Arsenal needs to challenge for the title next season?

Podolski appears to be a direct replacement for Andrey Arshavin, while Giroud, at 6ft 3in, is the obvious choice to replace Nicklas Bendtner and/or Marouane Chamakh as back-up for Robin van Persie.

With just 6 international caps to his name, however, the 25 year old French striker represents something of a gamble, although his scoring record suggests he could be another shrewd investment by Arsene Wenger.

But M’Vila could prove to be the best signing of all, a defensive midfielder capable of protecting the defence. His presence would allow Alex Song more freedom to get forward, which he loves to do, and with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere set to return from injury, we should have a very strong midfield this season.

Behind them, however, there still appears to be problems. It has been this area of the team which has let us down in recent years, conceding at least 10 goals a season more than our title rivals, and we still do not appear to have enough strength in depth.

The first choice back four of Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen and either Kieran Gibbs or Andre Santos, looks decent enough but the back-up still appears weak. Carl Jenkinson has potential at right-back but we are not going to win major honours with him playing regularly, while Francis Coquelin seems more suited to midfield role.

In the centre of defence, Per Mertesaker recovered from a slow start to finally look like the international centre-half he is before injury ended his season in February, but the jury is still out on Johan Djourou and Sebastian Squiallaci. Therefore the signing of another centre-half this summer is essential, someone like German Matt Hummels for example, appears to be the perfect fit for us.

There is also concern over the goalkeeping situation.

Wojciech Szczesny had a decent season and is going to be a very good goalkeeper, but he showed his inexperience for Poland in the opening match of Euro 2012 and his replacement, Lukas Fabianski, is never going to good enough. Perhaps third choice Vito Mannone will come good after going out on loan last season, but we need a more experienced goalkeeper to give them some solid cover.

But of course the biggest signing of all would be to tie Van Persie in to a long term deal. It does not appear to be simply a matter of money for the skipper, but ambition of the club. The signings made so far are a positive step but will they be enough to convince the Dutchman he can fulfil his own ambitions in North London?

He clearly looked like a player with a lot on his mind during the Euros, but Holland’s early exit has at least given him more time to think about his future.

While we do not have to sell as he still has a year left on his contract, the club are unlikely to risk losing him on a free next summer. However, if a trophy arrives at The Emirates this season there is a very real possibility Van Persie would be happy to commit his long term future then.

Having sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last summer, the last thing we need is to lose another of our star players now, so it may be worth the gamble of keeping the Dutchman for another year. We have recouped enough in sales over the last few years, and made a healthy profit once again, so it could be a risk worth taking if it means we are celebrating a Premier League or Champions League success next May.

Optimistic? Perhaps, but with another 2-3 good signings in defensive areas it could be possible. Just remember where you read it first…

Ricky Butler

Twitter @rikybutler

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One Response to Early signings look good but Van Persie holds the key

  1. Ronald K Uganda July 5, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    you are not fair with Woijctech.. It was a mistake most goal keepers hav commited

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