The transfer market for Arsenal fans is usually filled with lots of hype and not much else. With the exception, of course, being last summer’s transfer window coupe of German wonder-kid Mesut Ozil. However, let’s not forget this winter’s only signing of Kim Kalstrom. A 31 year old center midfielder with back problems so bad, he hasn’t even been able to play. Not exactly what I would call “good business.”
Long story short, under Arsene Wenger, the transfer window has been hit and miss. The last few seasons it’s felt like we’ve missed out on many opportunities because of what has been described as a “lack of financial fire power”. Having built a brand new state of the art stadium and having paid it off in 5 years, Wenger took the hit in the media as we brilliantly set ourselves up in a positive financial situation. With the new Financial Fair Play rules meaning no team can spend more than they earn, we are sitting pretty. Having just signed new deals with Emirates ($150 Million) and Puma ($170 Million), we have a nice transfer kitty that any team would be envious of. You can now say with confidence, Arsenal have the money to buy.
Arsenal are a few purchases and sales away from having one of the top squads in the world. Here are the positions in which Arsenal need to buy, and some players we need to sell.
Striker: It’s clear to everyone and their blind grandmother’s that Arsenal need another striker. After our embarrassing $40,000,001 failed offer for Suarez, at least we know Wenger feels the same way. Olivier Giroud has been carrying the load and needs some support or competition in this position. Niklas Bendtner has been a waste of money over the last 4 years, maybe longer. Yaya Sanogo has looked promising, but raw. He is one for the future but not for right now.
- Diego Costa: Strong, Ferocious, and most importantly, a natural goal scorer. As seen in the Spain vs Italy friendly, he still needs some work on his link-up play and passing, but, as proven this season, he needs no help with his finishing, as he has 21 goals in 26 La Liga games this season. (stats vis espn.com)
- Mario Balotelli: As reported in February by Metro, the links with Puma that are now shared with Arsenal and Balotelli make the rumor of him signing even more delicious to fathom. A big, strong, proven EPL striker with a bit of an attitude is just what we need. With is AC Milan team sliding into the mid-table abyss of Seria A, and with the persistent racial abuse he has endured in Italy, one could see why he would consider a return to the Premier League.
- Robin Van Persie: While this one may be far-fetched, and more of my hopes and dreams than reality, there still is a sliver of hope that the prodigal son could return. He has publicly shared his frustrations about his time under David Moyes at Manchester United and clearly, as he stated when he left, at this point in his career he wants to win trophies. While he would need to re-win over most of the fans, it would be an easy fit and transition for him on the pitch if he made the switch.
Holding Midfielder: With Flamini and Arteta our only true holding midfield players, we are short in this position as well as just…well…SHORT! Both these players are little more than half way to a 10 ft basketball hoop. We need a strong, burley, big bodies who can break up the other teams’ midfield play and be useful in the air. Abu Diaby has gone missing for the last few years, and no, Kim Kalstrom is not going to fill the void.
- Lars Bender: A German International, which is now a requirement for Wenger to even look at you, he would be a perfect fit and would bring the qualities we are missing at that position. He is a big, strong, aggressive center midfielder who also is very responsible with the ball. He can pick out a pass and break one up from the opposition just as well. He won’t come cheap, but hey, no one with class will.
- Nicklas Bendtner: As previously stated, a waste of space and money over the last few years. He has been loaned to Sunderland, and Juventus over the previous two seasons and has been nothing short of an embarrassment on and off the field at both clubs. His flawed self-perspective isn’t helping anyone either. He somehow believes he’s one of the best strikers in the world. Long story short, bye bye Bendtner.
- Mikel Arteta: Once a center attacking midfielder, somehow turned into a holding midfielder, Arteta is someone I think we can rid ourselves of and use the money elsewhere. Standing 5ft nothing and lacking the tactical awareness of Mathieu Flamini, he isn’t your stereotypical holding midfielder. Sure he’s the “king of the 5 yard pass”, but we have enough players who can keep possession. All of the positive qualities he brings to the pitch can be replaced by others in the squad, but he is not getting any bigger, or any younger turning 32 this month.
- Park Chu-Young: Park Chu Who? Exactly. The last of the “panic buy” class of 2011 he is, for some reason, still on our books. This one doesn’t need explaining. Just say goodbye and move along.
Let’s hope this summer the sometimes popular phrase “In Wenger We Trust” rings true and we make some real positive changes to the squad. Arsene Wenger has spent years getting this crop ready to compete and with a few sales/additions, he will have one of the best squads in the world ready to compete for trophies in all competitions.