Arsenal: Who Should Stay/Go. An Honest Assessment

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Arsenal FC
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GK –

Szczesny – Our #1 GK is young, talented and confident, perhaps overconfident. The young Pole should perhaps learn a little humility as it would serve him to get better after having an honest assessment of himself. Keep.

Fabianski – Our #2 GK is unhappy about being just that. The problem is, every time he plays, he doesn’t justify being anything but. Time to ship him out and get competition for Szczesny. Sell.

Almunia – Why is he still here? Do I really need to say why we should sell or realistically, release? Sell.

Manone – The young Italian really hasn’t had a run of matches at any given point, although he did play briefly a couple of years ago and wasn’t half bad. Seems he has one foot out the door already, let’s make that loan a sale. Sell.

Defenders –

Gibbs – Gibbs has pace but is simply not reliable enough injury-wise to be counted on. He has loads of potential, but I don’t see him staying fit long enough to achieve it. Sell.

Santos – The Brazilian is a lot better than most thought. He is strong, great going forward and needs to be tweaked defensively. I think we have our first option LB in Santos. Keep.

Vermaelen – TV5 is a keeper, but he needs help, enough of these frail players in defense, we need real steel to help him out. Keep.

Koscielny – Kos, like TV5 is a keeper, really no more needs to be said as the Frenchman has improved and surprised everyone. Keep.

Mertesacker – Merts is not the typical big man that we all thought was bound for the Emirates this summer, but has steadily acclimated himself to the EPL after early struggles. Keep.

Djourou – After a fine campaign last year, where did Djourou go? He is woeful at the moment. He just signed a new deal so little chance of a move. Sell(voided by recent contract extension).

Squillaci – He’s been disappointing from the start, laughable even. He is in the same boat as Almunia. Why is he still here? Sell.

Miquel – The young Spaniard will be one to watch for the future.  He needs a loan where he gets more experience and regular first team football in a competitive league. Keep.

Sagna – The most reliable member of the defense, but it pains me to say, looks to be lacking confidence and is putting out more bad performances then we are accustomed to. Get him help and fast. Keep.

Jenkinson – Jenkinson has a non-stop motor but is not ready for the EPL, full stop. Needs a loan to get a run of matches and get acclimated to this sort of competition. Keep.

Yennaris – After a couple of performances, it troubles me why we didn’t see him earlier. He seems to be a good little player, capable of backing up Bac. Keep.

Bartley – Big, strong player, looks ready to contribute. With the likes of Djourou not playing well, Merts hurt and Miquel not ready, you have to wonder why Bartley is not getting recalled. Keep.

Botelho – We have been waiting for Pedro for years to qualify for a permit, simply hasn’t happened. Have watched him play in Spain and he’s more MF than LB, that being said not up to snuff. Sell.

Midfielders –

Diaby – I love Diaby, he has a wealth of untapped talent. unfortunately he resembles Elijah Price from the movie Unbreakable. Time to move on. Sell.

Arshavin – I was a staunch AA supporter till December. He’s never gotten a chance to play his natural position. He has not lost his talent, he just seems disinterested in the project and could care less. Do you blame him? Sell.

Arteta – Best panic signing in a long time. That said, too slow and methodical to be paired with certain players on our team. Great for experience, but def a backup. Keep.

Benayoun – Yossi has hardly been given a chance and you have to wonder why we brought him in. He is not the type of player we need. Send back to Chelsea.

Coquelin – Impressive. That’s all I can say about this young player. He delivers no matter where you put him. Keep(and play him more often).

Eastmond – He was the Coquelin of yesteryear, but has since disappeared. Sell.

Eisfeld – This young player looks the real deal, may get a run of matches as we simply don’t have any creativity in our midfield at the moment. Keep.

Frimmpong – Frimmers is young, strong, but very raw. He will be a good solid player but needs an extended loan spell to round out the edges. Keep.

Henderson – Not good enough for our bench. Good young player, time to cash in. Sell.

Meade – Simply not up to the standard we need as a top european side. Sell.

AOC – Ox is one of the bright spots in our future. He should get a chance at Jack’s position as that’s his natural role anyway. Keep.

Ozyakup – Bright young player, needs an extended loan spell at a Championship side to really see what he can bring on a week in week out basis. Keep.

Ramsey – At 18 he looked the business. He was up and coming, but he has since plateaued. He needs to be sent out on loan as he’s simply not good enough at the moment. Costing us at every turn. Keep.

Rosicky – TR7 is getting back to playing good football, I sincerely hope and honestly think he will be back to his best soon. He has been much better than some that being said, if there is a clearout, he may have to go. Sell.

Song – Our enforcer in the middle and savior at times, it’s clear he is bing asked to do too much and decision-making on what to do when is clearly having an effect on his play. The kid has a lot of talent but needs to mature, has a superb touch for a defensive midfielder. Keep.

Wilshere – The young stud in the middle. We miss his temperament, creativity and motor in midfield. Hurry back Jack. Keep.

Lansbury – He has had enough loans and enough time elsewhere to show he’s deserving of a chance. Keep.

Denilson – His loan to Sao Paolo is a clear line to a permanent sale. Sell.

Aneke – A blossoming talent, needs a Jack type loan to fully mature, one for the future in my opinion. Keep.

Forwards

Walcott – He has been with the club for 6 years, hasn’t progressed much since early days and still thinks his pace will save him. The problem is, he doesn’t even go all out 100% of the time anymore. Plus he’s unhappy with contract. If he can refine his crossing and finishing Keep, if he continues to plateau Sell.

Chamakh – After a bright start, he has fallen sharply. To me it’s down to our style of play, it simply doesn’t mesh with what he is good at. We got him on a free and others want him. Would be great for both for him to move on. Sell.

Park Chu-Young – Why is he here? This move made no sense except to sell shirts in Asia. Bad all around, as the player seems to have some spark and a gift for goal. Do him a favor and let him go. Sell.

Gervinho – Well worth what we paid for him. My only complaint is his finishing, some refining and he should be fine. Keep.

RvP – The world’s best striker at the moment. He should be rewarded by better players being brought in to help him. Wouldn’t blame him if he decided to leave. Keep.

Ryo – Great pace, tremendous young talent. I could well see him as a valuable member of the team. How he develops from here will determine his contribution, a full year loan may serve him well. Keep.

Bendtner – We don’t need or want him, he doesn’t want us, simple. Sell.

Vela – The little Mexican is not happy at the Emirates and seems to be enjoying Spain. He has made little to no contribution and all parties must now think it’s time to part ways. Sell.

Campbell – By all accounts, the Costa Rican is doing well at Lorient. Let’s hope this loan gets him his permit for next year and see what the lad has got. Keep.

Watt – We’ve been waiting for this player to show that something special, but he’s just not quite up to par with what we need on the first team. Sell.

Wellington – We all have been wondering why Wenger signed this player. He’s immature, lacks real technical skill and has been at how many different clubs now? Time to cut our losses. Sell.

Afobe – Great young talent, needs time to mature, a loan spell at an EPL team will do him some good. Keep.

Manager

Wenger – El Prof has been fantastic for us. He has won us all but the CL, he led us to an unbeaten season, and assembled what is to me, one of the best teams ever in 2003/2004. He has an uncanny ability to spot talent and a mind for business. He has led this team to 15 years straight of CL football and with his great managerial skill has kept us in the top four and competed for honors when by all rights we should have dropped out. All this while helping the club build a new stadium, through his shrewd buys and selling on talent we acquired on the cheap for massive profits.

Ok now that that’s out fo the way, let’s get down to the reality of today.

Wenger’s tactics are stale, his decision-making questionable at best and his faith in some players misplaced. He falls in love with a players talent and overlooks their glaring faults. I believe he needs to change his mentality entirely or move to the boardroom or even just move on. The choice is for him to make, he deserves that much, but as a club and as supporters, we deserve more than what we are getting at present.

The Board

The lot need to resign. Full stop. They are more concerned with profits than with the football on display. That was fine when we played pretty and lost, now we just lose and ugly at that. To make money you need to spend money, it’s that simple. In this age, to make a good team you need to spend money. We need to get into debt, for us to get back to where we should be, and this board won’t do it. Time to go.

Who can help?

GK & Defenders

GK’s are a rare breed, as they must have short memories, but constant concentration. We need someone to push Szczesny to not get complacent. I would enquire about Adler currently at Leverkusen or Akinfeev at CSKA.

At left back I believe we have a solid starter in Santos, but he needs a solid backup and Aly Cissokho could be the man there. He is constantly linked to our club and could be the guy to give some nice versatility at that position. At center back I would go after two men, Chris Samba and Jan Vertonghen. Both will go relatively cheaply compared to their attributes and both could definitely add some much-needed depth and competition. One is a former partner to TV5 at Ajax and the other a proven EPL performer, not signing one would be a complete mistake. At right back I think we have our first and second options in Bac and Yennaris/Jenkinson and we know Coquelin can play there, so we should concentrate on other more pressing needs.

Midfielders

Ok, for the sake of argument, let’s say we stick with the antiquated 4-3-3. I know, I don’t want it either. That means we need solid backups for Song and Jack and some more creativity. I would first address a good backup for Jack, someone with an ability to make a run, defend, stick the ball in the back of the net, create for another player and have a non-stop motor. I can think of the perfect signing in Clint Dempsey. I wanted him in the summer, I wanted him in January and I think it’s obvious we could have used him yesterday. He would be a perfect off the bench impact player. Next I would get the obvious choices for creation in midfield, Marvin Martin and Mario Goetze. Both are viable options and both are younger players that will mesh well with our core team, needless to say they both have the skill necessary to make a positive impact on our squad. That brings me to a backup/challenger for Song and to me that would mean Yann M’Villa. I think Song is really good, I think that competing week in and week out with M’Villa would make them both great. You can deploy them one at a time or together in those tough matches. He would be an ideal signing.

Apart from those players you have a host of players currently in the Spanish league that would do: P. Hernandez VAL, J. Martinez ATB, S. Canales VAL, E. Granero RM, P. Leon GET, J. Navas SEV, etc.

Forwards

RvP needs help up front, someone to pair him with when necessary or sub for him when he needs a rest. There are several players that could be available this summer. Demba Ba is explosive, strong, and creates havoc when he plays, would be perfect to pair with RvP and give him space to do what RvP does. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is a name RvP is very familiar with and a player he plays alongside on the Dutch national team. Huntelaar scores and scores, and isn’t afraid to try to make things happen, perfect. Finally reports of late have signaled that Daniel Sturridge may be available and interested, if either of those are true, sign him and sign him now, he would be a refreshing addition of pace, power and creativity.

In addition to those mentioned there are several names that could be available: L. Podolski COL, G. Higuain RM, E. Cavani NAP, S. Kalou CHE, etc.

In conclusion Gooners, we have many young talented players in our squad, with a sprinkling of others that could be cast as world-class, but they are mostly surrounded by over-hyped mediocre, fringe players. It’s time to step up and make four or five quality player signings and save this sinking ship. We are so close and have managed so much with, in reality, so very little, how can the board and Wenger not see that a few additions has us challenging for everything rather quickly.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, to make money you have to spend money. To turn around this struggling team we need these signings, if not, I’m afraid to think of where we’ll be next year.

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