Adding height and bite / Milk Cup preview

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So Wenger, normally pretty cagey when it comes to issues of the chequebook, came out yesterday and admitted that he was in the market for a striker in January.

This can only, of course, be good news. It’ll boost (and in some cases, spur on) his players, and it will come as welcome news to those Arsenal fans who consider us light in a few departments.

As I mentioned on Arseblogger’s round-table yesterday, given that Wenger’s not in a position to blunderbuss away £100m, and nor would he have the inclination to anyway, he’ll be looking for one or two players at most.

Clearly, a striker is the priority. Bendtner cannot come back soon enough at the moment, just to add a bit of bite, height and variation to the frontline. Some might think it unfair to put add too much responsibility onto the shoulders of a 21-year-old, but if anyone’s got the self-belief to take the challenge on, he has.

Nevertheless, with all the will in the world it will take Bendtner a few more years to gain the experience and guile that Chelsea so patently have in abundance up front. He’s ten years younger than Drogba, a player at the absolute top of his game. So with that in mind, I think Wenger will plump for a striker around the 25-years-old mark.

That might be where the shopping starts and ends. There are of course other areas where strengthening would make sense – keeper, centre-back and defensive midfield – but nothing quite so urgent as a striker.

It’ll be interesting to see what he does about the centre-back position though, as I’d be amazed if Senderos didn’t depart to newer climes in the transfer window. Couple that with the fact that a) the only backup to our main partnership would be Silvestre and b) Gallas appears to be holding out for a summer Bosman, then Wenger’s hand might be forced there too.

Beyond that, I can’t see any movement. I don’t think at this stage we’ll look to reinforce central midfield. Song’s away for a month but there’s still Ramsey, Denilson, Diaby there. Which leads me nicely, if a little loosely, onto Craig Eastmond and tonight’s game.

To those, like me, who don’t pay enough attention to youth and reserve level, Eastmond came from nowhere. He did really well against Liverpool in the last round and he’ll get his chance again tonight – alongside other young players like Wilshere. The full squad gets released on this morning, so it’s hard to second-guess Wenger before that time. He has said it will be a “team that has a chance to win” – so he’ll want to get the mix between the Eastmonds and the Eduardos of this world right.

“I believe we have a good mixture of experienced players and young players but we will play young players that is for sure. It will be a typical Carling Cup side” he said.

Looking forward to it now – it’s going to be a tough game indeed. Hughes appears to be under a little pressure (ludicrous if true) and will play his big guns, including our old Togolese chum.

So it’s all hands to the pump.

Come on you reds!


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.