Well, it’s started, hasn’t it?! Mathieu Debuchy…Alexis Sanchez…who else will arrive at N5 this summer? What a pair of signings.
It struck me, last week, whilst I was contemplating life from the horizontal position of a dentist’s chair (for an hour) just how much the Arsenal transfer windows were like visiting the dentist’s.
Firstly, it isn’t a situation that is to be enjoyed (at least by Gooners in recent years). The trepidation, the nervousness, the hope it will all be okay and over soon…yep, all too familiar in both instances.
It costs a hell of a lot of money. Arsenal certainly aren’t throwing about loose change this summer and dental bills are enough to drive you to a life without sugar. These are expensive times.
You really don’t want major repair work being done. Arsenal, by most estimates, needs four to five players…if no-one else leaves. Should Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Vermaelen depart, you’d have to say Arsenal would need a couple more players as well – something many believe Arsene Wenger would be loath to do (he has said that buying in more than three first team players is bad) – to keep the squad large enough to compete against the ever-expanding squads at The Etihad and Stamford Bridge.
And you crave the loving embrace of the Novocaine (or a flash Chilean forward who has just glittered on the world’s biggest stage) to take the pain away. Quite possibly why the departures of Patrick Vieira, Robin van Persie, Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas still ache like they do (for me, at least) is because they weren’t really replaced. Ozil’s amazing arrival certainly eased the pain, and if the signing of Sanchez and maybe even Lars Bender happen, I imagine Gooners worldwide would feel almost anesthetised; the hope and potential that those two players would give Arsenal’s outlook, especially being added to a squad that has just lifted King Kong off of their backs, would be footballing Novocaine.
So, as I lay there, regretting my penchant for chocolate biscuits washed down with a nice fruit juice, I will admit that I was startled just how this biannual event – with the similarities raised above – reminded me so much of these infernal transfer windows.
But enough about me and my expensive oral torture, what is happening this week with The Arsenal?
Well, Bacary Sagna does indeed appear to have been replaced by the man keeping him out of the starting right-back berth at Newcastle United; Mathieu Debuchy. I can certainly live with that, although I think Carl Jenkinson should definitely be retained to provide hearty competition.
If the (admittedly worryingly similar to Gonzalo Higuain) transfer of Alexis Sanchez is pulled off, Arsenal will have signed the most exciting Chilean since Marcelo Salas (oh my gosh, what a player, what a man…). My goodness how he’ll lift the Arsenal crowd with his skills, his feints and his unerring eye for a goal. Comfortable on either wing or through the middle, Sanchez could be the closest player Arsenal have had to Henry. Is it greedy that I’d like Gary Medel to join his fellow Chilean to help beef-up our midfield/defence as well?
Who else is needed? Well, this partly depends on the futures of Podolski, Vermaelen, Campbell and Cazorla, one imagines. If all stay at the club – which is surely much more preferable than Arsenal buying two or more first team replacements – then I think Arsenal need a second choice goalkeeper, a centre-back, a defensive midfielder and a back-up striker, in addition to Debuchy and Sanchez, to complete their squad. With the departures from Arsenal already, significant money is already being saved on the wage bill. And we all know that the cash is there, Chilean superstar signing included.
Who would I buy?
I’d be tempted to get Victor Valdes in on a free from Barcelona; his apparent move to AS Monaco has fallen through and whilst he may not like the idea of being second goalie, he could, in theory, displace our young Pole should his form drop at any point. He would command a large signing on fee as well as a generous wage, but the lack of transfer fee would sweeten that pill (sugar-free, naturally).
For centre-back, I’d like to see Arsenal go for Stefan De Vrij…who’d also offer competition/cover at right back as well as being relatively affordable…we shall see just who Louis van Gaal will take with him to Manchester.
If Arsenal needed a second centre-back, then maybe Winston Reid would be worth a gamble. One suspects that West Ham would like a considerable fee for their Kiwi defender…but he too would offer an option for right-back.
As for the defensive midfielder, I always say ‘Lars Bender’ and I’ll stick to that. Although, the World Cup performances of pint-sized Chilean destroyer Gary Medel at centre-back, as well as in midfield, makes me think that he’d be able to do a job as well, and he’d be now familiar with the league…which could assist with the settling in period that Sanchez would go through…and would he be that expensive? Bender could easily be sold for north of £25m.
To keep Sanogo and Giroud on their toes, and assuming Campbell is sold (I hope he’s given a chance if I am honest) I think Wenger should give (Dave’s tip) Danny Ings a run at the big time (although maybe make a move in January after seeing how well he copes in the league at Burnley first).
I guess we shall see. With this vintage World Cup coming to its (inevitable) conclusion this weekend, the wheeler-dealing will explode soon after.
What would Arsenal’s best XI look like, on the assumption that Debuchy and Sanchez have signed?
Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez
Subs: Martinez, Vermaelen, Monreal, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski.
And that still leaves Jenkinson, Flamini, Rosicky, Diaby, Gnabry, Campbell and Sanogo to consider as well. Quite a squad of 25 right there already, without another goalie, centre-back, midfielder and striker.
As for the World Cup, my word, just how brutal were Germany? It was like watching that buffalo get hacked apart at the end of ‘Apocalypse Now’. The wife went to the salon the next day and asked for a Brazilian; came back with a fuzzy backline that was all over the place and had nothing at all upfront.
I’m pained – which final would’ve been better? The chance to see Argentina banter all of Brazil off by winning the fabled trophy in their rival’s homeland, or the chance to see the two old enemies; Germany and The Netherlands duke it out (sadly minus Voller and Rijkaard, or Muller and Cruyff this time around).
And will Thomas Muller win his second successive Golden Boot?
It has been a glorious carnival of football, full of thrills, spills and shocks. I’ve loved it immensely.
As for Arsenal? It’ll all erupt after the final, hopefully with more pleasing results than a rogue wisdom tooth.