Monday, 8 August 2011

Finally, a signing! But is it what we want or need?

Morning all and welcome to a some what delayed addition of the Goonerverse blog.

The delay is in part to my laziness but more because I was waiting for us to make a signing as I just had a feeling we would today. In truth, it turns out my feeling was about as nonsensical as our transfer policy.

However there is some positive (If you do call it that) news regarding incoming transfers. It appears as though the transfer of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to FINALLY be nearing its completion. It is one that has long been mentioned and one that was supposed to be announced back in July but for whatever reason has stalled until now. He is apparently undergoing his medical and will be announced in the next 24 hours. A fee of £12m has been mentioned but I believe the fee to be far closer to the £6m mark with the rest of it in add-ons which may never come.

My thoughts on the transfer are fairly mixed. Whilst he looks a good prospect and one that may certainly have a major impact at some point in the not so far future it is clear that he will only at best be a squad player with some responsibilities in the domestic cups. It is for that reason that I do not really see this as a transfer to alleviate any of the pressure on the club right now. The club are in dire need of defensive reinforcements as well as ready made replacements for the departing players. So while he may be a good player I don’t feel he strengthens our first XI for the coming season and as such our chances of winning the league are no better with his arrival. Of course I understand the importance of improving the squad but without improving the starting XI we will get nowhere, and besides another teenage winger is not really what the team is crying out for.

We had quite a large squad so I do not mind when Denilson leaves and there is no replacement, but to allow the transfers of Cesc and Nasri to drag out this long without replacing them is infuriating. The longer we leave it the harder it will be for us, especially with such a crucial and congested fixture list for August.

If we look at the amount of money spent this window we are looking at an estimated total of £12m, made up from Gervinho for about £10m-£11m and Jenkinson for £1m. Including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain we can take that total to a generous £19m (I’d imagine that is around £2m higher than the actual amount). Now if we take a look at the incomings so far this season we are looking at around £8m in total for the sales of Clichy and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. So our net spend so far is around £11m at the highest.

Is it really not possible to buy a player that may replace one of our outgoing players, NOW, so that they can integrate with the team and have some time to settle in preparation for some vital games? If we had between £30-£40m to spend this transfer window why are we seemingly reliant on selling players before we act. I know Fabregas is someone have tried to keep but with one year left on Nasri’s contract, wouldn’t it be safe to buy a replacement and then sell him to the highest bidder. At least with a replacement in place there will be less negativity surrounding the exit.

Even if we weren’t buying replacements there is still plenty of money in the budget to buy one or two defensive reinforcements that we clearly need. This does not even include the likely transfers of Bendtnar and Eboue which would bring in over £10m between them at the very least. That would mean that if/when we sell Fabregas and/or Nasri for around £50-60m we will have had close to £100m to spend in this transfer window. Of course there are a lot of if’s and maybe’s but it is very apparent that we are not giving ourselves the best chance to start the league well by refusing to act now.

All those numbers have got me a little bored so lets move on to some transfer gossip. It seems like we are being re-linked with a bid to land Werder Bremen defender Mertesacker for £5M. Gary Cahill and Samba have been mentioned again in what is now becoming a boring rendition of filling up newspaper columns. Nothing new on the Mata rumours which may mean things are finally moving forward. Finally we come to the transfer of Joel Campbell which now seems imminent, so I would not be surprised with an announcement in the next few days (taking our net spend to a whopping £12m).

Many newspapers are continuing to report on the apparent bust up between Nasri and Wenger. There may be more truth in it then I initially thought when looking at Wenger’s denial more carefully. Wenger said in the Daily Express: "I cannot speak about it but there is no major problem between Samir and myself." This clearly suggests that something happened and that he (rightfully) will not discuss it. Also the fact that he states there is no “major” problem suggests that all is not right and there is some level of problem there. This could indeed mean that a Nasri transfer becomes more likely but at the same time we know that Wenger hasn’t ruled out him staying either.

Aside from that the only other news worth mentioning is the fact that Jack Wilshire has been released from the England squad as he is unfit to play. One would hope that he will be fit for the trip up north but I find that less and less likely.

The season hasn’t started yet but with 5 days to go, an injury crisis already surfacing and our best players under constant transfer speculation it seems as though normal business has resumed. Despite all this I can’t help but feel excited that in 5 days time the emotional rollercoaster of Arsenal’s season will begin and the nightmare summer will have finally ended.

Until tomorrow!


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