Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Strikers, Strikers, Strikers For Arsenal

Arsenal signed their second striker of the summer last week with the capture of Oliver Giroud from Montpellier. He has been added to the earlier signing of Lukasz Podolski from Cologne.

It means Arsenal have a glut of strikers at the moment, but the transfer window is far from closed. There is no doubt the club will be looking to offload at least a couple of the strikers currently on the books. It has to be assumed that both Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela will both be on their way in the next few weeks.

Besides both of those players it's also possible and quite likely that both Marouane Chamakh and Park Ju Young will be on their way also. With all of those departures I don't really see any weakening of the squad, as long as the most important player of all stays.

It's anybody's guess where Robin van Persie will be playing his football next season. He has three options available to him in my opinion, and the decision is his and his alone.

He can sign a new contract with Arsenal which could well see him ending his career in North London. It's the option I would love him to choose, and I'm sure the vast majority of Arsenal fans feel the same way too.

He can decide to see out the last year of his contract at Arsenal, and leave on a free transfer next summer. Whether the club would be happy with that or not is another matter altogether. Surely any fee they could get for him this summer would be better than allowing him to leave on a free transfer next summer.

His final option is to tell the club he has decided to leave, and for him to head off to pastures new. It's not my preferred option, but at least it would give Arsene Wenger time to use the proceeds to find a replacement for him.

The arrival of both Podolski and Giroud will have many thinking RVP's departure is imminent. I'm not so sure though, as Arsenal had no genuine striking alternative to him last season. They desperately needed to sign some quality players who could play with or instead of RVP, and they did just that.

Arsenal's striking options will be far better next season with all three of those players available. If RVP wanted to see that Arsenal are serious in the transfer market this summer he has certainly seen some positive signs already. They have spent roughly €25 million on improving the players who would play with RVP, and hopefully that will convince him to stay.

With the attacking options now addressed the next step is surely for Arsenal strengthen in defensive positions. They let in far too many goals last season for a team hoping to challenge at the right end of the table.

The defensive problems haven't only stemmed from poor defending, as the contribution of the players in front of the defence has been insufficient at times too. The only options available to Wenger in the defensive role besides Alex Song are the inexperienced Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong. If Arsenal are to challenge on all fronts next season they will need adequate cover for Song, and a player to defend with him when the need arises.

On the face of it Arsenal have got some very good defenders, but there is no denying the fact they let in too many goals. Even when the preferred first choice defence played together Arsenal looked far too vulnerable at times. I think the defensive coaching has to improve so the whole of the defence is equal to the sum of it's parts.

Maybe Steve Bould's appointment as assistant to Wenger will make a difference in this department. He was an integral part of the Arsenal team which was so tight at the back under George Graham, but which was also so lacking in entertainment value. Hopefully Bould can help the team to reach the right balance between defence and attack which can help them to make a real challenge to the mega-wealthy clubs which finished above them last season.

There is no doubt that there is a long summer ahead of Arsenal fans, and if the manager can get the balance just right he might be able to put together a squad worthy of his earlier years at the club. When comparisons are made between the current crop and "The Invincibles" it's very difficult to see what players in the current squad would have got a game eight years ago. There are some very bright young prospects, and hopefully this season they can also help the team to reach the levels which haven't been seen on a consistent basis in far too long.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment