A goalkeeper, a defensive midfielder, and a striker for Arsenal this transfer window

Here was me
thinking back in May, how can I possibly do a weekly column throughout the
summer but here we are two weeks before the season and I’m still standing.

Now, given the fact we are 15 days from the
beginning of yet another Premier League season, you’d think it would have been
nigh on impossible for us to have not signed a first team player, yet here we
are (Yaya Sanogo can’t be counted) but my real fear is that judging by the
players we are bidding for that we’ve lost a sense of direction in our transfer
targets. 

Think about which positions need massive
upgrades, is striker really our weakest position? I don’t think it is. In a
list of priorities, here are my top three areas of improvement

1.
Defensive Midfielder 

We
need a truly disciplined and solid defensive midfielder, we always have done,
never more so than when we had Alex Song there. However, it seems to have
become acceptable and fashionable to think Mikel Arteta is the man for this
role. He did perform well at times and his passing stats are as phenomenal as
Denilson’s were but do you prefer Arteta the defensive midfielder or the box-to-box
version of two seasons ago. He was a massive miss in the middle of that
midfield trio and we would be able to rotate him more often to keep him fresh.
Why this position has been neglected is beyond me but it doesn’t look like we
are close to anyone in this department and even if he is the short term future
at DM, where is the back up? Aaron Ramsey did well against West Ham United when
he played there but it risks becoming a square peg round hole mentality.

2.
Goalkeeper 

For
far too long we have been crying out for an experienced keeper. Arsene Wenger
went away from experience in David Seaman and Jens Lehmann, we ended up with Manuel
Almunia and then all hell broke loose. Then along came Wojciech Szczesny and to
be fair he was better but was he still at a level that is befitting of an
Arsenal goalkeeper? Not at all. Sadly, he looked that much better than Almunia
and it took a while for this to sink in and it culminated in a horror show
for him in his native Poland at the Euros. Lukasz Fabianski did well when he
came in for a couple of games but that was all it was, a couple of games. When
you see players like Mark Schwarzer on a free or Julio Cesar available for
approximately £2m, what the heck are we playing at? We are now in a position of
gross negligence. The mind really does boggle. 
 
Now,
before I move on I appreciate some of you may well point to our improved
defensive record but remember we just sealed fourth and we didn’t win
a single game against those that finished above us and that’s where we need to
aim to be competing, although I’m not convinced our goal has changed from
getting a top four spot. All of which is completely baffling, I just don’t
get or understand what we are doing.

3.
Attackers

This isn’t just striker orientated we need more options in all attacking positions. Here’s our current depth chart:

Having
said all of that you do get the feeling that trying to make any sense of our
lack of transfer activity is a waste of oxygen or to put it bluntly, you’re
pissing into the wind. One thing that does annoy me is when you see our manager
and chief executives taking time out of the hectic schedules to do Google+
hangouts, address businesses in Japanese hotels and spending time with fans in
open forums. Don’t get me wrong the latter is appreciated but there’d be no
questions if we were competing. There was no need for AST or BSM back in the
days when we were invincible or winning doubles. It’s just supporters get the
feeling that the club aren’t doing all they can to strive to improve our
playing personnel. This is a summer where we are supposed to be dining at
the top table once more, which thus far is just proving to be nothing other
than a pipedream. I will more than happily eat humble pie on this matter but
I’m not expecting any major signings from now until the end of the transfer
window. It wouldn’t however surprise me if we didn’t buy a player until we had
actually qualified for the Champions League proper. The club is just far too
cautious and as if the spending in the summer of 2011, it will come across as
desperate. They always say the best guide to the future is the past and this
leopard hasn’t changed its spots just yet. 
 
To
finish this week’s blog I’d just like to say I can’t believe the club have had
the audacity to ask Galatasaray to attend our Emirates Cup event this week. I’m
not even interested in the fact that sponsors play a part in the invitation
process, this selection disgusts me. The events in 1999 were disgraceful and
Copenhagen was a warzone. Bar’s getting closed with punters still inside,
violence and also the scene of Piers Morgan’s getting his own clubs supporters
banned from attending Arsenal games and some even lost their jobs as a result.
It’s okay though the new generation are excited to see Emmanuel Eboue because
he’s quite the character isn’t he. Let’s just forget the booing, the
cheating, the anti-Eboue songs and the general lack of ability. I have to
say I’m glad I’m not attending this weekend but to those of you that are going
enjoy your ‘festival’ of football. 
 
See
you all next Friday.

Michael Jeffares


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