Arsène’s A Bit Short-Sighted At The Moment
With various journalists attending the Junior Gunners Christmas Party yesterday, the source of transfer speculation is revealed. As many have suspected, these stories are the figment of an eight year John Guidetti (I mean, c’mon, the initials are the same!) whilst Wayne Bridge has nudged a pile of used notes in the direction of The Daily Heil who are determined to get him to The Emirates, despite the gratefully received denials. I have no issue with that provided he is playing for the opposition each week. A modern day Jon Stark, if you like, although Arsenal may have to pay his wages to make that happen; Paul Robinson in goal would be a bit of a bonus.
It is defensive issues which are occupying Arsenal minds immediately, the reliance on Robin – £5 in the swear box for me for using that cliché – being pushed to the backs of the collective mind for the moment. Speaking yesterday, Arsène was eager to play up the longer term prospects for Kieran Gibbs,
Long term, I am sticking to Santos and Gibbs. I love both of them because they have a quality I like, which is to attack
It seems particularly pointed that he does not mention that either is a defender or that defending is a quality that he likes more in a defender. Talk of the long term seems the most optimistic way for Gibbs. With Arsenal’s injury record, Wenger is nothing if not experienced in dealing with players who are absent for a considerable period of time and must surely be able to pass on the wisdom of previous – and other current – injury victims. Certainly the voice of experience came through,
[Injury] builds them up as well, mentally. When you start, you think life is easy, then this kind of injury is very difficult to cope with. The guy who doesn’t play feels useless, especially when he he is injured. He cannot even fight for his place so it is a difficult period. But it makes him tough.
Being an Arsenal defender makes anyone tough, more so at a time when they were being lambasted. This morning’s Guardian notes that Arsenal have conceded the fewest headed goals this season – in percentage terms – which shows that something is improving. That said, percentages are relative, dependent upon the absolute for their relevance. After all the 8% of goals conceded aerially is worthless if the net has bulged 100 times compared to the 20 of your opponents.
For Gibbs, I hope he recovers. It is a delicate time with the overall appearance being that his fitness cannot be relied upon, that he is a defensive Diaby. In both cases, the sustained absences prevent their youthful potential from being realised and certainly in the midfielder’s case, derision is easy to come by as a result.
Whatever the answer is, Wenger seemed to rule out a move for permanent solution which means that the fantasy managers will be disappointed. No Gary Cahill, no Jan Vertonghen; a lot more questioning of whether Wenger knows what he is doing, no doubt. A loan deal seems to be the ideal answer in the short-term. It makes sense that all of his immediate problems can be solved relatively quickly this January with a more cohesive long-term answer this summer, once he knows what the plans of players such as van Persie are.
Obviously a transfer out of the club changes plans. Arshavin is the current favourite for that but talk is easy, putting the cash on the table is the tricky part. Signing Henry on loan, for me, is a mixed bag. We are all aware of his record and sentimentality suggests that it would be good to see him once more in an Arsenal shirt. Yet there is no guarantee of success, as much a danger is that his contribution gets diminshed; He was brilliant in his prime but my God, that loan spell was a disaster. It is a double-edged sword for club and player. Little wonder Arsène has taken his time on the decision although I suspect it has already been taken, in his head at least.
If that does not work, Arsenal are apparently going to try to sign Bobby Zamora, with Marouane Chamakh going the other way as part of a loan deal. Which solves our forward line problems immediately, getting rid of a goal-shy striker and replacing him with, oh, errm, aaah. ARSÈNE!!! There’s the flaw in this plan…