Saturday, 18 August 2012

Arsenal need a more trophy driven manager

Yes, Wenger lovers, you might want to turn away now and hide behind your chair because I am saying that Arsenal need to get shut of Arsene Wenger. I think he's basically dismantling the team and not putting up a big enough fight to keep our best players. He lets them get down to the final year of their contract and then just sell them, often without properly replacing them. It's getting tiring, and it will be unbelievably ridiculous if he doesn't buy a top class striker to replace Robin Van Persie and a top defensive midfielder to replace Alex Song.

Last year Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy, this year Van Persie and Song (and possibly Walcott yet). It's becoming an impossible task to achieve success as we keep losing our best players and not properly replacing them. We need a manager to stand up to player power and keep his best players, but what he can do to make this a much easier task is by finally being serious in the transfer market and showing players that he has the ambition to try to sign players that will help the club win the Premier League and the Champions League. That's what Man Utd do.

Man Utd have just gone a season (ONE season) without a trophy, so Alex Ferguson has gone out and bought Shinki Kagawa, a highly thought of midfielder from German champions Dortmund, and Robin Van Persie, one of the world's best players. That's proper ambition, take note Arsene. Arsenal wouldn't do that, they should, they have a decent amount of money, Gazidis bangs on about it quite frequently. Maybe not as much as Man Utd, but the point is that at Man Utd, a trophyless season is disaster and there is an immediate urgency to put that right the next season and win at least something. Whereas at Arsenal, there is more acceptance of it and less of a determination to put it right. We're too contented and happy with simply qualifying for the Champions League and having a healthy bank balance. What us fans and players want are trophies and success on the pitch. We don't sign big name players usually, we usually buy players who take a year to settle in and we buy young most of the time. We need to buy world class players, who can hit the ground running, to win trophies and we just don't do that. Arsene Wenger is too content with finishing 4th and qualifying for the Champions League, whilst keeping hold of the delusion that the players he has such as Diaby, Ramsey, Djourou and the strikers are good enough to win the league, or at least challenge for it.

It's not on. We need to be more ambitious and get a manager with an Alex Ferguson/ Jose Mourinho like attitude of 'winning trophies is imperative and not winning them is not an option'. What winds me up is that we've lost Van Persie and Wenger comes out and says he's already replaced him with Podolski and Giroud. Two 'good' strikers. That's not enough, you need at least one 'very good' to 'top class' striker to achieve proper success. Podolski got relegated with Cologne in the Bundesliga last year and failed miserably at Bayern, whereas Giroud is only proven in the French League and will probably need a few months to properly settle in and find his feet. Therefore we need at least one top striker. We never seem to excite the fans and players with big signings and big signs of ambition. Cazorla is perhaps the first exception for a long time.

I'm not saying we should spend £35 million on Andy Carroll before you start quoting transfers like that to me, but I would like to have seen us sign players like Mata, Tevez, Van Der Vaart, Suarez and Kagawa. We've become a 'stepping stone club' and I'm fed up of seeing Wenger take us fourther away from success each year whilst I watch Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and others winning trophies and bragging to us about it.

Now, we should be going for the likes of Fellaini, De Jong, Heitinga, Llorente and Lewandowski. Obviously I know it's not realistic to get all of them but we should try to sign some of them. Players like De Jong and Llorente would be big indications of where this club is going and would give us a much better chance of success, whilst also sending a big message of intent to our rivals and other players.

However, I can't see this happening with Wenger. He seems to be dismantling the squad and is too keen on making financial profit rather than really, I mean really, going for titles, trophies and top players. The league is getting harder what with Man City and Chelsea throwing their weight around now, with teams like Tottenham and Newcastle even getting better. We need to spend well and big to compete with the likes of Man Utd and City, and Wenger needs to accept this and act on it, or go.

Overall, I still think Wenger's time at Arsenal should come to end and we should replace him with a more ambitious, trophy driven manager. Whether that's Pep Guardiola or even an ex- player like Patrick Vieira or someone else, it'd at least be worth trying. We need to start moving forward and finally win trophies and we look highly unlikely to do that with '4th place is a trophy' man in charge. He's tactically inept, deluded about some of his players and ridiculously stubborn, as he refuses to adapt to the current ways and demands of top level football.

It's either sign some top players Wenger, or go.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Cazorla's a brilliant signing... but what next?

That's the permanant question in football: 'what next?' Arsenal have made 3 very good signings this summer in my opinion, and are so far keeping hold of Van Persie and Walcott. Last season, our attack was excellent, this season we've still got that attack... plus Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla. That's pretty darn exciting if you ask me!

So, as for the attack, I think we're pretty much sorted now. The only thing remaining is to try strengthening at the back, which is generally Arsenal's problem area of course. But how many good defenders are out there who would be willing to come to Arsenal to just play second fiddle to Koscielny and Vermaelen?

The answer is 'not many'. I think Heitinga and Jagielka would be good signings for Arsenal, but I'm sure they'd rather be playing first team football somewhere. I think Arsenal's best bet is to go for an up and coming centre half, a younger player that has time and the determination to try to work his way into the team over time, and eventually become an Arsenal regular.

To be honest, I'm not sure who fits that bill. Maybe Mahamadou Sakho, or is he too old now to be described as 'young and up and coming'? I think Arsenal should do the sort of thing Man Utd did last summer with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, that sort of signing. Then we'd have 4 good or very good ecentre halves and wouldn't have to worry as much about them getting injured and the likes of Djourou and Miquel getting into the side.

As for Cazorla, I'm very pleased. Pleased and surprised. The reason for that is that Arsenal have spent around £15 million on a 27 year old, established player. Not only is he that, but he's also a reasonably big name. A player that has made a number of appearances for the Spain side that has dominated Europe over the last few years. I'm genuinely excited about seeing him play in an Arsenal shirt.

The other positive thing about him is that he's the sort of signing that makes players like Van Persie and Walcott want to stay more and other players want to join Arsenal more, we're all of a sudden a more attractive club with more potential to win trophies in the near future.

The other thing about him is that he's such an Arsenal-ly player. He's technically gifted, creative and versatile. He can play right, centrally and on the left (though I'm assuming not all at the same time) and scores a few goals and sets a few up while he's at it. He's a passer and mover, a typical Spanish player and I'm very excited about seeing him at Arsenal, especially if he plays centrally in the Fabregas/ Rosicky role of recent times.

It's beginning to (look a lot like Christmas, toys in every store) feel exciting at Arsenal and I hope that continues, because with the squad we're building at the moment, we could genuinely win trophies again.