Gunner be Honest – No room for Sentimentality Ospina Sorry
After securing a second consecutive FA Cup triumph on May 30th, the foundations are undoubtedly in place to mount a serious title challenge next season, provided of course, a few additions are made in key areas, an all too familiar story in recent seasons.
The noticeable difference this summer however, is that we are now a team that has begun to demonstrate a new found ability to consistently win trophies in conjunction with offering regular Champions League football, boasting an attractive style of play and having sufficient financial resources that enable us to attract recognised world class players such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez from the two biggest clubs in football, Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, which make us a very attractive proposition for potential signings despite the greater wealth on offer elsewhere at home and abroad.
A lot of debate has taken place amongst supporters regarding what areas of the squad should be the focus of our summer transfer activity but to me, it is relatively straightforward what business needs to be done. The biggest story doing the rounds is that Petr Cech is on his way and it’s not the rumour that I’m finding difficult to believe but the fact some Arsenal supporters are saying they don’t want him and that he’s a Chelsea cast off, he may be their second choice but that’s more to do with them having two world class goalkeepers and unsurprisingly siding with the man ten years Cech’s junior.
Current first choice David Ospina may have made few mistakes that have led directly to goals, although I personally felt he should have done better with Kane’s first at White Hart Lane, Swansea’s winner at the Emirates and West Brom’s consolation in our final home game where another tame effort almost ended up in the net following some very poor handling, but it is his inability to command his area to take the pressure of the team that has caused me frequent concern and I’m of the opinion that we’ve been fortunate that his weak punches haven’t cost us further.
There have been numerous occasions during the season where I have felt we are crying out for a taller and more physically imposing goalkeeper, at 6ft 5in Cech would certainly give us a far greater presence, who is able to claim aerial balls into the box with ease instead of replicating Ospina’s attempts that resemble some form of mid-air doggy paddle crossed with a bizarre aerobics routine, sadly he is a steady number two and not a top class number one.
A few Arsenal supporters have offered to drive Ospina to his new club if we land Cech, however, I’d be happy to go one step further and personally carry him to his next destination such is my desire to see a considerable improvement between the posts.
With goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts having departed for Swansea, it would seem that Cech, who will bring with him a wealth of experience, natural leadership and perhaps most crucially, a winning mentality, will be joined by his personal coach Christophe Lollichon in North London which could be a double coup if he is able to help the development of the clubs younger goalkeepers.
As far as Szczesny is concerned, I have always had faith in his ability but believe he needs to spend a season out on loan at another top flight English club, Southampton being the obvious solution with Fraser Forster out with a long term injury, in order to demonstrate that he’s finally able to overcome his concentration issues that have caused his career to stagnate.
In the defensive positions I’d like to see Chambers and Jenkinson loaned out for the season both on the understanding that they play regular first team football at centre back due to Chambers lacking the pace to play as a full back and Jenkinson potentially having the attributes to be developed into a useful option in the role.
Whilst Chambers showed promise in his early performances but once he was played out of position at right back his form deteriorated and I think a season of regular first team football would assist his progression more than a few games here and there or substitute appearances for us would.
This would of course leave us a player light so I’d like to see a versatile defender such as Toby Alderweireld or Benedikt Howedes to be brought in.
Along with the goalkeeping position the one I consider to be an equal priority is the defensive midfield one, whilst Coquelin performed brilliantly there last season and gave the side a far better shape, he’s only played a handful of games and we can’t be entirely sure of how effective he will be in his second season or know whether he will suffer a long term injury which would put us back to where we were at the start of last season so adding another option for this role is vital.
The stand out solution for me based on having monitored his development since his early Sevilla days, was Geoffrey Kondogbia who has now sadly completed a move to Inter Milan for a rumoured £22m, who despite a lack of Premier League experience would have been my preferred choice to Schneiderlin at a similar cost due to him being the more powerful and aggressive Player, two attributes that I feel we would benefit from should he be added to our squad so to see him end up elsewhere is a huge disappointment.
Alternative options worth consideration are Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, very impressive against England’s under 21 side recently, and Southampton’s Victor Wanyama despite his likely participation in the Africa Cup of Nations every two years causing disruption to his club commitments.
Despite the improvement shown in the finishing and movement of Walcott at the end of last season, I’d like another forward brought in despite us now having a number of players in the side who are able to score ten or more goals a season, Sanchez, Giroud, Welbeck, Chamberlain and Walcott, a truly world class forward would of compliment them.
I appreciate that a player on the same level of Aguero or Suarez is very difficult if not impossible to find, however, I’d be happy to see us to take a gamble on Edison Cavani who has the potential to be a superb addition if we could get him showing the form he displayed during his time at Napoli….
Nick Birch – Gunner Be Honest
A 31 year old lifelong Arsenal fan who prides himself on his honesty, some supporters may call him negative but he prefers the term realistic. A newcomer to the blogging scene after penning numerous ‘Dear Arsene Wenger’ letters on his Facebook account which were met with both praise and the encouragement to write his own blog from fellow Arsenal supporters who felt his words summed up their own feelings perfectly.
Let us know if Nick should become a regular and we will try and persuade him!!