Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arsenal Transfer Window Preview Part 1- January 2009

What's up everybody? As there is only one day left in 2008 and we move to 2009, I figured I'd take the time today to put together a little bit of a transfer window preview, looking at some options that could come in. Obviously Arsene is one who normally surprises everyone and buys players that nobody expects and/or have never been heard of before, so this could be way off but like I said, it's just possibilities and will hopefully start some good discussion.

So to start off, we have to figure out which areas of the squad need to be addressed. I think the two glaring holes are in the center of defense and in midfield. Some people say we need a keeper but I think Almunia has shown that he is a quality keeper worthy of his spot in the team.

So for the defender, we have to look at what we have and what we need in turn. William Gallas is a 31 year old smaller center back who has shown a penchant for scoring goals and also allowing goals on set pieces. Sometimes he looks great and others he looks like the worst player on the pitch. He's not getting any younger, and his leadership has certainly been questionable. Kolo Toure used to be a very stable defender for us and is in the same mold as Gallas in terms of size and style. He seems to have lost some of what he had before in terms of quality in the past year. Mikael Silvestre is pretty bloody awful and shouldn't really ever play in a team that has title ambitions every year. Johann Djourou looks quite good and is still young. He's bigger than Kolo and Gallas and should only get better with time. Fairly good on the headers and pretty good at marking.

I think what we need in defense is another player in the style of Djourou who can win the long balls that have become a staple of the Premiership. An experienced player who maybe wouldn't command a huge fee. Sol Campbell's departure, while he was getting old, really did take a lot of experience and physicality out of our defense. We need somebody who can rough up opposing strikers. Now who that is I don't know. In the summer we were linked with Raul Albiol, who plays for Valencia. He's got good size and speed and can play in defense or as a defensive midfielder. Valencia have also had some finanacial troubles so they would probably sell if the right offer came in. Steven Taylor is a young player with Premiership experience that has good size and strength and looks to have a bright future as well. Hard to tell how much he would cost but it could be an option. Cristian Zapata is another player we have been linked with in the past year and could still be an option. I think any of those three could be real possibilities due to the fact that they are all currently playing at top level clubs in top leagues which gives them the experience to play for a club like ours in a league like the Premiership. They all have size and strength and will probably all get better over time.

If you have any others you can think of feel free to leave them in the comments.

The other main area we need to address as soon as possible is in midfield. We've been sorely lacking in the holding role since the departure of Mathieu Flamini AND Gilberto Silva left in the summer. Looking back, that was not the best idea to let Gilberto leave after Flamini left, but now we have a hole there that needs to be filled. I have seen mention of Scott Parker, since he can play in that role and he is used to the Premiership since he plays for West Ham. He's 28 years old so that might reduce the fee for him some, but I don't know how he would fit into the Arsenal style of play. Of course we had all the talk of Xabi Alonso in the summer, but it never worked out, reportedly because of a 2 million pound difference in what they wanted for him and what we offered. Let me tell you, it's not going to happen. Liverpool are fighting for the title and he's been playing quite a lot for them this season. I doubt they'd sell him and even if they wanted to then the fee would be higher now than it was and I don't know if he'd want to come and battle for 4th instead of a title. Marcos Senna of Villareal has also been linked with us, and he could be an affordable option because of his age. He wouldn't be a long term solution by any means but he could be at the top of his game for another two years or so.

That's about it for part 1 of the transfer preview. I'll get to part 2 tomorrow. If you have any ideas of who YOU would like to sign, feel free to leave it in the comments or any other thoughts you want to put out there. One more day in 2008, enjoy it!


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you about Silvestre. Will he be considered Player of the Year and command some 6 figures a week paycheck? Hardly. But you cannot deny his winning seasons with Man Utd along side Rio Ferdinand. He's the kind of player Arsenal needed which I call "solid players", they're the average player who is not going to get some boot sponsorship or TV ad but can do what it is you need them to do. Top four clubs are littered by too many superstars trying to make a name for themselves which makes clubs miss out on solid players who are virtually never in the spotlight. Look at the likes of Joseph Yobo or Phil Jagielka for Everton - extremely good defensive covers who I'd put in Arsenal's defender positions but I don't see them appearing in a Nike Ad anytime soon. For the money we spent on Silvstre, he's a good buy for pocket change. Pompey played horribly against us but Silvestre was also solid and covering just about every long ball going to Crouch. What we really lack as you said is an enforcer - A Hangeland, Vidic, Agger to call our own. Almunia is a competent back up but a world class team needs a world class goalkeeper. The other top four clubs all have goalkeepers who are also top internationals. Mind you Reina faces stiff competition in who I consider the best keeper in the world - Casillas. But Almunia can't even get a call up to sit on Spain's bench - that's the quality he is. He's not terrible, in fact he's improved the most since I've first seen him, but at the same time he's not the best choice between the sticks.

Mike said...

I wish we could get Alonso, but you are probably right in saying that it won't happen. It would be awfully weird for us to lose Cesc for 4 months and then sign the guy that injured him anyway LOL

Also, I thought you might be interested in this video, a guy in the UK is a big fan of the FSU Warchant and made a video of Arsenal highlights set to the Warchant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnDhcXMHAy0

So I guess there are at least 3 FSU Gooners out there!

ArseNole said...

Nice Video Mike, good stuff. Would be killer at Arsenal matches. I'd like Alonso too but it just doesn't seem likely with the current circumstances.

GPS Justin said...

Hey guys- try Toulalan, from Lyon- pretty young, a defensive midfielder. It says on Wikipedia that he's a 'attacking player'- pretty useful, too. Yeah, we can't get Xabi...

A defensive winger- Castro, from Bayer Leverusken. But he's pretty young- born on 1987, and just made into the German National team in 2007.

Another back, Taye Taiwo, from Marseille. Born on 1985, another young defensive option.

Oh, and I found this- who is the best Def. Mid. of the EPL?


Check the German or French Leagues for some good players that Wenger can buy...