Monday, 30 July 2012

What do Arsenal need?

I've got voices in my head. They're telling me it's been a week and a half since I last wrote a blog article on here and that I should 'put my arse on that chair and write another one'. So here I am, writing another one.

This article is about what sort of players I think Arsenal need to mount a serious title challenge this season. Obviously I could speculate for hours on what we need if player X leaves or if player Y does, so I'm just going to say who I think we need 'as it stands'. So that means I'll be saying who I think we need, based on the fact that Van Persie, Walcott and Song are all still at Arsenal.

OK, shut up and get on with it you say? OK, the first sort of player I think we need is another centre half. Defence has been Arsenal's problem for a fair few years now, however I do think we've got a top class centre hald pairing in Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. But the issue is, what about if one or both of those players gets injured? Our back up defenders ain't great. Mertesacker's decent, so he's fine back up, but Djourou and Squillaci are about as useful as Mario Balotelli working for the 'Football bib Association' as a demonstrator of putting on bibs.

And a good player for this is John Heitinga. His contract is up in a year and he plays for a club that hasn't qualified for Europe, therefore we'd be an attractive proposition for him. He could apparently be available for about £5.5 million, which would be quite a steal. The only problem is convincing him to come as 'back up' but we could encourage him to work his way into the team. Plus, he can play defensive midfield so we can offer him a fair amount of games if he works hard in training and in games to prove himself as a worthy starter so he can play in the Champions League again and compete for trophies.

It's hard finding a player that's OK with being back up, but players like him are worth going for. Another position I think we need to improve is attacking midfield.By this I mean an offensive midfield player either out wide or in centre midfield. I think we're pretty well equipped in centre midfield, but we do have a few sicknotes in there. I just think we could do with an extra bit of class, perhaps someone playing left wing who has experience and class and that extra bit of quality that I think we often lack in the final third. A world class player for other teams to fear. When we had Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin on top form and the likes of Wilshere and Van Persie also playing, we had top quality threats from all angles and we created more chances and didn't fade in games, like we occasionally did last season. So just that extra bit of class, it's a lot easier said than done of course, but a Cazorla or a Reus type player. Or Arshavin could find his motivation again and become the player he was a couple of years ago... but that's unlikely.

A player like Santi Cazorla would be great, because he's experienced, Spanish, can play left, right and central and is a creative, Arsenal- like player. He'd also bring much needed excitement to the club, lifting the spirits of the players and fans so we start the season with as good a feel around the club as possible.

Elsewhere, I don't think there's a particular position where we 'need' a player for now. With club not being a club that has a limitless pit of money, I think it'd be wise to stop the spending there and save money for future transfer windows. If we bought these players and kept the ones we have now, the squad would be this (if we sold the deadwood that we should as well):

GK's: Szczesny, Fabianski, Martinez

Defenders: Sagna, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Heitinga, Gibbs, Santos, Bartley

Midfielders: Song, Wilshere, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Diaby, Coquelin, Frimpong

Wingers: Cazorla, Gervinho, Walcott, Chamberlain, Arshavin

Strikers: Van Persie, Giroud, Podolski

That's a squad of 28 players and I wouldn't be aversed to us signing M'Vila if the money is available to make that transaction. He'd be the midfield general and powerhouse that we've been missing since to glory days of Patrick Vieira.

Therefore I'd get shut of Bendtner, Chamakh, Park, Miquel, Djourou, Squillaci and get rid of Diaby later on this season if he can't regain his fitness and only keep him now because Wilshere's going to be out for at least another 3 months.

So there you have it, my Arsenal squad for 2012/13 season, ideally and realistically. But of course a lot depends on whether Van Persie stays or goes... and unfortunately it looks like he's going to go. But if the club can show the ambition they should be and went for these players, I'm sure Van Persie would at least consider staying.

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