Arsenal’s strangely enjoyable close season

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“For the first time in a while, I will be very active”

With these dozen words, spoken at the tail end of May, Wenger has kicked off a fascinating close season. I didn’t think I’d be enjoying it one bit, but I appear to be doing just that.

How so? Given that as much of the current transfer eddy is whirling around players who might depart as it is around players who might join, you’d have thought the whole rumour mill would be too hair-tearing for words.

I think the difference this summer is that the perception of change is in the air. Wenger’s mentioned it, Gazidis followed that up in his AST Q&A (“It is very clear we had some shortcomings and in this close season we are going to see some turnover of players”). I’ll eat my Kenny Sansom flat hat if we tread as cautiously as we have done in the last few summers. It feels like there’s stuff happening. Real, actual stuff. (No disrespect meant, Carl. You’re welcome too).

From a PR perspective as well as a team perspective, it’s like a waft of fresh air. Even if most of it is hot air, it feels pleasant enough on the face.

Does it matter if the speed of incomings is faster elsewhere? Not really; these things can take time. So long as the business is done then it would be churlish to moan. Sure, it would be better to have the squad trimmed and tidied soon rather than frantically sending faxes (they still send faxes!) at 11.55pm on 31st August, particularly if we’re talking of a squad that could see four or five go and four or five come in.

What about those linked with going? Cesc would be a mammoth loss so that needs sorting sooner rather than later, if only to size up a replacement. I’m glad he’s happy at Arsenal but there’s a clear ‘but’ in there. If there was a magic potion to make this particular story not drag on all summer, I’d have a swig.

Nasri, well we shall see. As I said before, it’d not surprise me if he got what he wants from Arsenal – or most of it. Whether he deserves it or has earned it, well that’s open to debate. But I think keeping him, right now, is the easier option than selling and replacing him. So we shall see.

Clichy looks gone. He’s a good left-back but is he the best? I guess the proof would come six months after he’d gone once we’d had the chance to measure up his replacement. He’s certainly not as good a left-back as his predecessor.

As for signings, central defence – tick. Striker/winger – tick. Both areas have players linked.

Goalie? I doubt it. I think Szczesny is number one and Fabianski his back-up.

The other area that needs some old heads is central midfield. We’ve not been linked with that many players there. Larsson? Hmm. That doesn’t feel like an upgrade, it feels like a sidegrade.

Anyway, excuse me while I get back to NewsNow and Arseblog News.


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

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Cesc. The man is a class act. He must feel so, so let down by his teammates/manager the last few seasons but yet he refuses to slag off the club in an attempt to get his own way. Whether he stays or goes I will always have nothing but huge respect & affection for him.

    A defensive central midfielder is without question imho the no.1 priority this summer. Absolutely has to be. If we go into another season with only Song who can do the job properly (and even then I’m still not convinced he’s quite good enough to be a guaranteed starter) then it’s ‘Wenger out’ for me.
    Just as important for my own personal sanity is that Diaby/Denilson have to be moved on. I honestly don’t think I can face ever seeing either of them wearing the shirt again !

  2. East Lower

    I wonder if he feels let down by Barcelona, too? All that eyelash fluttering last summer but they were not prepared to pay the market price. Just a thought.

  3. Anonymous

    Yeah,you’re right. He must do a bit. They can’t afford his market price, everyone knows it. They’ve pinned all their hopes on Cesc throwing his toys out of the pram & backing Arsenal into a corner. It is to his immense credit that he’s not doing it. 

  4. Anonymous

    Good straightforward article. However re Clichy, cannot agree. He’s a poor defender and the sooner he goes the better. I don’t care what we get for him as long as we sign a strong replacement.
    Agree re big Szczesny, even as a youngster he’s a class act and deserves to be no.1. If we bring in someone else he’ll be off because another big club will snap him up. We don’t need a new GK!!

  5. Arsenal fc

    No denying Cesc is class but maybe it is time for him to go. The man with the saddest eyes in football yurns for Barca and I for one am fed up with the media

  6. Jeff

    The link to Juan Mata has had me watching Spain’s U21 matches.  Sign him.  And several others from that team: Herrera, Martinez, Thiago. Thiago, I now know, is one of the players Guardiola was talking about when he said he has players like Wilshere in the reserves.  Overall, Mata might be the pick of the bunch, although we could start to be overloaded with short players.  His close control is as good as I’ve seen.

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