Gibbs Return & New Signings Need Sales To Fit Them In
Arsenal’s injury woes eased slightly as Kieran Gibbs comeback has been pencilled in for the Boxing Day clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Emirates. Of course this unofficial at the moment and The Sun is about as a reliable a source as The Mirror knowing that Robin van Persie is definitely going to sign a new contract.
Still it is positive news nonetheless although with Arsenal’s record of niggling injuries following anything more than a couple of weeks lay-off, Arsène may yet have to get his chequebook out in January, if only to cover a loan fee.
We lose players like Chamakh and Gervinho to the Africa Cup of Nations, so hopefully touch wood we do not get any injuries to our strikers. But if an opportunity turns up in that department then we will buy.
The situation, I must say, is a bit special. Economically the whole environment has changed and people suffer more. The clubs will suffer more financially and it’s much more difficult.
Maybe we will have some opportunities because we are in a good financial situation.
It is key that we recognise he has not confirmed he is buying a forward, simply that if a good deal can be made, the club will act. It is that definitive wording from a man so adept at being positively non-commital that is fuelling the drama.
The departure of Gervinho is not so much of a concern in that there are players who can fill that role. It is the rotation for van Persie. Chamakh might reasonably have expected to start against Leeds in the FA Cup, those duties will now presumably fall on Park’s shoulders.
The Korean is proving to be a strange buy. Wenger has repeatedly stated that Park has taken time to settle in England but recently that changed to he is settled and will feature more in the second half of the season. The cynical suggest that he is proof of the panic which had beset the club in the time of the Old Trafford debacle and Nasri’s departure. The generous go with the manager; most of us land somewhere between the two.
It seems improbable that a new signing would have featured so infrequently for the club. Yet that is the case and it is hard to criticise those who have written him off already; there is little evidence to suggest that he will be another one of Wenger’s Gems. It is this which provides the uncertainty.
Yet signing another player is not so simple, unless they are a player who is English or ‘naturalised’ via football’s ludicrously lax rules. We are told that Podolski is a target, Karim Benzema also. In order to fit them, Arsenal need to either omit someone such as Almunia from the Premier League squad or offload unwanted foreign players. It is not quite so simple as it seems as last Summer proved. I cannot see Squillaci for example, being delisted if he remains at the club, the risk of needing an experienced centre back is too high for that to happen.
Neither sale or delisting scenario is unbelievable although the latter seems less plausible for a club so financially frugal; it is after all, paying a player who can never play as opposed to one you chose not to pick. We shall see what transpires but with Arshavin capable of playing centrally if required and Walcott desirous of a central role, there are options. Yet none of them fill me with much confidence.
The other side of the coin is whether a world-class striker would want to join Arsenal knowing that they will not displace Robin van Persie. Not one of the names mentioned in the media is better than the Dutchman so it would mean either versatility to be able to play on the wing or a change in tactics to a more orthodox 4-4-2, which seems highly unlikely. And to be honest, if someone is relying on van Persie’s legendary injury problems to get a place in the team, that just smacks of a lack of ambition and self-belief. Do you want that sort of player at the club?