Zaha, Fraser or is it Malcom in the Middle? – Arsenal Transfer Window Overview
The Arsenal first team have flown out to American with a squad featuring only one new face, which given the claim from Raul Sanllehi that he intended to do business early in the window is disappointing.
In reality, the only aspect of pre-season that is exciting for Arsenal fans is the promotion to the first team of four of their own. Of course the concern for the majority is that Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Willock and Nketia are, barring the single signing, Martinelli, the only new faces in a tired, aging squad.
I think most true Gunners are excited to see how the five youngsters adapt both in the coming weeks and when the league campaign commences but the truth is the squad is still weak and unbalanced.
We have an aging popular left back and a younger alternative in Kolasinac, who most feel is a better wing back. Tierney has agreed terms and is happy to come but Celtic are unhappy with Arsenal’s offer and if we will not raise the bid the player will not agitate to leave his home. If Arsenal are not prepared to get closer to the Glasgow team’s asking price, I suggest we move on quickly to a new target.
It appears that Saliba, a promising young central defender from St Etienne, was close to being secured, but may very well have been snatched by Tottenham. Given our obvious weaknesses at the back, this is frustrating to say the least. Particularly give the disturbing news on our skipper downing tools and the open leak from the hierarchy that Mustafi is not wanted by Emery, or indeed most of the fan base. It does give a huge opening for Calum Chambers and I for one hope he takes it. The young Englishman has surely served his time with 2 loans in four years, both of which were successful for Cambers personally, if not for Boro and Fulham.
Indeed, the likelihood of Chambers starting the season alongside Sokratis look good as Rob Holding, although progressing well, will be a month behind his peers, at best. The knock on effect here might disappoint some because in my view Chambers is the only player who would possibly be acceptable to Crystal Palace as a make weight in any deal for Wilfred Zaha. Most bookies and bookies and soccer betting tips would have Arsenal as nailed on to sign the exciting Ivorian but the truth is Steve Parish, whilst not likely to stand in the player’s way will not sell on the cheap. Even if Zaha indicates he will not return to Selhurst, post AFCON and however much he wants to move to the club he supported as a lad, it still relies on Arsenal finding the extra £20/30 million. That I am afraid relies on more than Sky Sports imagination about our board begging Stan for extra funds.
Arsenal do require pace and trickery from the flanks and it is likely that Emery will not feel the additions of Martinelli and Nelson are sufficient, give their lack of top-flight experience. Will this mean that Fraser is back on the menu? Alternatively, will the Edu arrival enable Arsenal to rival Everton for Malcom from Barcelona? or even Soares from Gremio. This move is arguably more glamorous and might appease the fans more than Fraser might. For what it is worth, I hear the interest is real and the Brazilian, who is now surplus to requirements at the Camp Nou, is real so watch this space.
The other area that concerns is the club’s lack of progress in replacing Ramsey. Is Willock the man or can Smith- Rowe stake a claim. Mario Lemina from Southampton has been rather forward in linking himself but I strongly believe this is agent tactics. He was close to arriving a few years back but Wenger vetoed the deal and I have heard or read nothing that convinced me there is any interest from our club in the want away Saint. Indeed, the player ahead of others in the queue for a more central box-to-box role might be Alex Iwobi. The Nigerian has not convinced out wide but when he burst on the scene 4 years ago, it was as a cup understudy to Ozil and I am sure he still covets a more central role, where he thrives for his country.
Enough rambling for today but my predictions are that Chambers emerges with credit on tour and the youngsters will push their claims in the USA as well. Meanwhile back at the Emirates ranch the disorganised transfer committee will continue to muddle along and we will be facing a 2011 style supermarket trolley dash at the end of the window.