Thursday, 14 July 2011

Seven Midfielders Arsene Wenger Could Consider Signing For Arsenal.

With the future of Arsenal's star midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri still far from certain Arsene Wenger has to consider what players might replace them if they leave. In my opinion there are very few players in the world capable of matching Cesc at his best, but if he leaves Arsenal will need a playmaker. Nasri is a different matter, as he is a good player, but he still has a lot to prove before he can be considered Cesc's equal.

The best case for Arsenal is if both players stay at the club, but it is conceiveable that Arsenal will lose the services of both of them. If that were to happen I'm sure Arsenal could command joint transfer fees of at least €60 million, and that should give them the funds they need to attempt to replace both players. I'll attempt to name a few of the players who could help to fill that huge void, but I hope it doesn't come to both players leaving.

Juan Mata:
Valencia have already stated that Juan Mata is not for sale, but their financial problems continue and the right bid could possibly secure his services. He plays most of his football on the left wing and that's where Nasri played on numerous occasions last season for Arsenal. Mata is quite versatile and he could just as easily play off a central striker which would make him a very valuable purchase for any team.

He's only 23 years old which means he won't reach his peak for a few more years, but he has already shown enough to suggest he will be a real star of he game over the next five years at least. He has a real eye for goal, he can pick a pass, and he is very comfortable in possession. He has managed to make over 10 appearances for World and European champions Spain despite the huge array of talent available to them.

Arsenal would have to break their transfer record to capture Mata, but if either Cesc or Nasri leave he should be one of the first priorities to replace them. 

Diego Ribas da Cunha:
Diego Ribas da Cunha is commonly known as Diego, and he is a 26 year old central midfielder who plays for Wolfsburg and has played for Brazil too. He plays in a very similar position to Cesc, and when he puts his mind to his game he is a very good player. He has had disciplinary problems with various clubs, and his spell at Juventus prior to Wolfsburg didn't work out.

When Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal first he made some very good purchases of players who had loads of potential, but were failing to live up to it at their clubs. Both Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry had their careers resurrected at Arsenal, and it could be the move Diego needs to get his career back on track. I was a huge admirer of him when he was a Werder Bremen player a couple of years ago, and with the right stage to perform on he could possibly do it again.

Diego had problems at Wolfsburg last season, and as a result he could possibly be captured for a fee of approximately €15 million. It would be a risk for Arsenal to sign him, but it's a risk they might have to take if Cesc leaves. Diego is one of the few players with the ability to replace Cesc, and desperate times can sometimes call for desperate measures.

Eden Hazard:
Eden Hazard is a 20 year old attacking midfielder who won the double with Lille in France last season. Arsenal have already signed Gervinho from that Lille team, but Hazard is seen as probably the better prospect in the long term. Gervinho had better statistics for Lille last season, but Hazard seems to have that little bit extra in my opinion.

Hazard can play in a wide left role and he could replace Nasri if he were to leave. At only 20 years of age he has already played over 150 games between his club and his country, and he is far from inexperienced. He has an eye for goal, he can pick a pass, and he can take players on and beat them.

If Arsenal need to replace Nasri they could do a lot worse than Hazard, and he would probably be available for around €20 million if Lille could be talked into selling him. They have qualified for next season's Champions League though, and he still has much to learn which probably means he will stay with them for one more season at least.

Wesley Sneijder:
Wesley Sneijder is a play who could step straight into the Arsenal team and replace Cesc if Arsenal's captain was to join Barcelona. He turned 27 last month and he is at his footballing peak, with an eye for a pass and the ability to score too. He likes to play in an advanced midfield role or just behind the main striker, and he is perfectly suited to both roles.

He would probably cost a little less than Cesc will cost Barcelona if they ever manage to persuade Arsenal to sell him. If that were the case Arsenal could certainly afford the transfer fee, but they would probably have to break their wage structure to afford him. Even if Arsenal were to decide to offer Sneijder the wages he would expect the chances are that Inter Milan would be more than unwilling to sell him.

In an ideal world Arsenal would put in an offer for Sneijder that Inter could not refuse if Cesc were to leave, but I just can't see that happening. I cannot see Arsenal paying wages which would probably be twice those of their highest earner, and breaking the club record transfer fee as well. 

Willian Borges da Silva:
Willian Borges da Silva is better known as Willian, and he's a 22 year old winger currently playing for Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. He would certainly fit the bill as a replacement for Nasri if the Frenchman were to leave Arsenal, but he doesn't score as many goals as Nasri. He has plenty of potential and a lot of skill to go with it too, but his transfer fee might be a hindrance for Arsenal.

The chances are Arsenal would have to spend in excess of €20 million for Willian if they were to have any chance of persuading Shakhtar to sell. It's an awful lot of money, but if Nasri leaves he has to be replaced by a player who is at least his equal, and Willian could possibly be that man.  I would be surprised to see him sign for Arsenal, but it's certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha (Nani):
When Manchester United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid a couple of seasons ago Nani was seen as the man to fill his boots. He's still only 24 years old and it would appear his face may no longer fit in at Old Trafford. He fell out of favour towards the end of last season on many occasions despite being the player most responsible for keeping them in the title hunt earlier in the season.

His style is similar to that of Ronaldo, but he doesn't have the same goalscoring prowess as his his countryman. However he does set his team mates up far more often than Ronaldo ever did, and he is more than capable of scoring from distance too. He can be a very tricky wide player, but he is criticised for his lack of work at times which is why he is possibly seen as surplus to requirements at United.

I would imagine Nani would cost an awful lot more than Arsenal would be willing to pay, but if United are anxious to offload him they might have a chance of capturing him. His wages would also be prohibitive, but he would certainly add a creative element to Arsenal's wing play as well as the ability to score from distance. 

Scott Parker:
Scott Parker will be 31 years old later this year, and he is available for purchase after West Ham United were relegated last season. He was voted the best player in the Premier League last season, but his efforts weren't enough to help West Ham survive the dreaded drop. His experience would certainly be an advantage to Arsenal, but he has never  actually played regularly at the very top level in football.

At the very least he would offer a genuine alternative to Alex Song in a defensive midfield role for Arsenal, and he could play alongside Song in certain games as well. The major hindrance to signing Parker for me would be his stature, as I think Arsenal need a player with the height and strength of their former captain Patrick Vieira. Parker would certainly be an asset to the squad, but at his age he would probably want to join a team where he would be guaranteed to play.

He has made his way into the England team recently and he needs to keep playing weekly for a club to ensure he keeps his place. He might not get that chance too often at Arsenal, and that would probably be the biggest factor in him not joining Arsenal.

The majority of the players I have profiled are probably beyond the limit of Arsenal's budget in terms of transfer fees and wages too, but the possible sales of Cesc and Nasri might change that. It would make a pleasant change for Arsenal supporters to see their club chasing some of the best players in the world rather than foraging through the bargain basements of France. I doubt very much if Arsene Wenger or Arsenal will spend anywhere in excess of €20 million on any player, but if club policy does change these players are all possibilities.

I hope Cesc stays at the club for another couple of seasons at least, but the draw of his hometown club is a very big one. Nasri should be sold if he refuses to sign a new contract, but it appears that Wenger is determined to keep him even if it means he leaves on a free transfer next summer. That may not be in the best interest of the club in the long term, but in the short term it suits their needs.

That's it for today.

Here's the goals from Arsenal's first pre season friendly with thanks as always to 101great goals.

See You Tomorrow.

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