Arsene Wenger: My two pennies worth
Arsene Wenger must be a worried man these days, the creases on his forehead amplified by a transfer window that has so far had doom written all over it for the Gunners boss. Yes, on paper, the Arsenal squad that gave Barcelona a real fight remains largely unchanged, in fact stronger with the signing of Gervinho. But fact of the matter is, Wenger is waging a long, hard battle to hold on to two of his most creative players in Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.
The case of Cesc Fabregas is an intriguing one. Torn between the love for his current and former clubs, the Spanish prodigy is now in a real catch 22 situation. His undeniable talents and influence notwithstanding, can an Arsenal side short on silverware afford to have a captain whose heart isn’t fully at the Emirates? And in Nasri’s case, do Arsenal really want to run the risk of losing a proven matchwinner on the free at the end of this season, not unlike the way they lost Mathieu Flamini some years ago?
Considering the fact that Fabregas is definitely worth 35 million pounds and Nasri should also fetch 25 million pounds from the Sheikhs running Man City, can Wenger actually use these 60 million pounds to do some serious business?
One of the biggest problems with this Arsenal side in the Premier League is that they lack a quality centre forward who can hold up the ball well. For all of Van Persie’s influence, he is at his best playing alongside another striker who can slot in the goals and hold up the ball well. Here, I am talking about Romelu Lukacu. At 18, the Belgian will not be a safe bet, but we all know Mr. Wenger doesn’t mind throwing the kids in the deep end. Besides, in Chamakh, Arshavin and Bendtner, Arsenal do have some quality in backup. So, a 15 million swoop for Lukacu, I think, will both be money very well spent as well as just what the doctor ordered.
Another worrying department for Arsenal has been the ball winner in midfield. Denilson, Song and Diaby are all decent players, some more than others, but none of them are really the solution to the problem at hand. Considering the abundance of talent that seems to be available to Mourinho, I think another 15 million will be more than enough for Wenger to land Lassana Diarra. Not the player Wenger usually signs for that money, but here is a powerful midfield man who has played in one of the biggest clubs in the world and also will not be new to the Premier League. Alongside Jack Wilshere in that central midfield, expect Arsenal to win most midfield battles even in the big games.
Exeunt Gale Clichy, and Arsenal have a real chance to expose David Moyes’ meagre finances. Splash 10 million and Arsenal can have the league’s best left back last season. Not an overtly brilliant defender, Leighton Baines will still fit into an Arsenal system well. He should also be considered money well spent.
Of Christopher Samba and Gary Cahill, the latter might be a more accomplished central defender but I would still fancy a punt on the big Samba. He would bring in the added steel to the Arsenal lineup, and with good support and some more consistency, can really flourish at a big club. Again, a fee around 10 million should bring home the bacon. Money well spent, considering Arsenal already have a decent centre back pairing when Vermaelen is fit.
Finally, who else does Wenger buy to replace the big losses? If Wenger can retain the rest of his squad, he has options for most positions. However, he probably still needs that one creative midfielder who can operate in the final third. Assuming getting Kaka from Madrid is impossible, Wenger should probably move in for Juan Mata. He may take some time to settle into the Premier league, but he could be a useful signing at 18-20 million pounds.
With all these resources, and greater balance, maybe Arsene Wenger can then finally field a hungry and powerful side that play beautiful football and also win beautiful trophies to boot.