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Comparing Arsenal’s Transfer Window Assessment with their EPL Rivals

Arsenal’s biggest buy this summer

With the transfer window finally shut and the international break setting in, it’s time to sit back and review Arsenal’s business on both ends as well as taking a close peek on what the Gunners title rivals did as well.

Using the order at which the teams finished in the Premier League last season, Gooner Daily will start the transfer assessment of the defending champions, Manchester City.

MANCHESTER CITY

Departures

Joleon Lescott (West Brom, free); Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland, free), Gareth Barry (Everton, £1m), Bruno Zuculini (Valencia, loan), Javi Garcia (Zenit St Petersburg, £13m), Marcos Lopes (Lille, loan), Jack Rodwell (Sunderland, undisclosed), Micah Richards (Fiorentina, loan), Emyr Huws (Wigan, undisclosed), Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, loan)

Familiar face, new allegiance

Arrivals

Fernando (Porto, £12m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free), Willy Caballero (Malaga, undisclosed), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, undisclosed), Frank Lampard (New York City, loan), Bruno Zuculini (Racing Club, undisclosed)

Winning the title for the second time in three season must have been a magnificent feat (despite spending xxxx-llions) but this time, Manchester City made some astute signings, while complying with the strict FFP restrictions imposed on them. In Fernando, they have gotten one of the most tenacious midfielders in the game and it’s no surprise that he’s keeping Fernandinho out of the side. Eliaquim Mangala is another player with a point to prove and with the media making so much fuss about Vincent Kompany not getting a decent defensive partner last season, Mangala might be the real deal.

The club also managed to get rid of some deadwood to free up a considerable amount of wages.

Transfer Window Assessment: 7.5/10

LIVERPOOL

Having Luis Suarez and Danny Sturridge fit for the entirety of last season (Sturridge had a brief spell out injured) was beneficial to Liverpool’s title challenge last season but with the club set to face the rigors of the Champions League, Brendan Rodgers went on one hell of a spending spree.

Departures

Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £75 million), Iago Aspas (Sevilla, loan), Divock Origi (Lille, loan), Jack Robinson (QPR, undisclosed), Daniel Agger (Brondby, undisclosed), Andre Wisdom (West Brom, loan), Jose Reina (Bayern Munich, undisclosed), Martin Kelly (Crystal Palace, undisclosed), Jordan Ibe (Derby, loan), Tiago Ilori (Bordeaux, loan), Sebastian Coates (Sunderland, loan), Oussama Assaidi (Stoke, loan)

A worthy replacement for Suarez?

Arrivals

Rickie Lambert (Southampton, £4 million), Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen, £9.75 million), Adam Lallana (Southampton, £25 million), Lazar Markovic (Benfica, undisclosed), Dejan Lovren (Southampton, undisclosed), Divock Origi (Lille, £10 million), Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, loan), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla, undisclosed), Mario Balotelli (AC Milan, undisclosed)

With Suarez basking in the sunshine of Catalonia, Sturridge has risen to the status of being the team’s main man in attack but in Mario Balotelli, Liverpool has gotten themselves a talented individual that can come up with the goods when the chips are down. Adam Lallana is another exciting prospect but he has to get his injury problems behind him before he can make his mark, bearing in mind that Raheem Sterling is a star on the ascendancy.

Losing Suarez was a bitter spill to swallow but he carried all his baggage with him but the English Press would be hoping that he left some leftover baggage for Super Mario. The quality acquired should at least be enough to fill the Uruguayan’s boots. The loss of Daniel Agger would be softened by the acquisition of Dejan Lovren but with Martin Skrtel injured, they look bereft of options in center back.

Transfer Window Assessment: 7/10

CHELSEA

Any time I think of Cesc Fabregas’ sumptuous passes in the Blue of Chelsea, I still get that awkward feeling but then again, that’s football.

Departures

David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain, 40 million pounds), Ashley Cole (Roma, free), Samuel Eto’o (Everton, free), Frank Lampard (New York City, free), Henrique Hilario, Sam Hutchinson (both released), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach, loan), Demba Ba (Besiktas, 4.7 million pounds), Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland, undisclosed), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton, loan), Romelu Lukaku (Everton,28 million pounds), Gael Kakuta (Rayo Vallecano, loan), Mario Pasalic (Elche, loan), Tomas Kalas (Cologne, loan), Victor Moses (Stoke, loan), Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough, loan), Josh McEachran (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Marko Marin (Fiorentina, loan), Marco Van Ginkel (AC Milan, loan), Nathaniel Chalobah (Burnley, loan)

After a striker-starved 2013-14 season, Chelsea have found their man in Diego Costa.

He has began his Chelsea career with a bang

Arrivals

Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona, 27 million pounds), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, 32 million pounds), Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split, 2.4 million pounds), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid, undisclosed), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Loic Remy (QPR, undisclosed)

With Chelsea renowned for having a relatively large squad, Jose Mourinho decided to fix the parts of his team that struggled badly throughout last season – attack. In came Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and a long-term Arsenal target, Loic Remy. There was also an opportunistic signing in the form of former Gunner, Cesc Fabregas, that has settled to life in West London as if it was North London.

The club also managed to sell the erratic David Luiz for an astronomical amount of money, which still bewilders and perplexes me till today.

Transfer Window Assessment: 10/10

ARSENAL

Winning the FA Cup was to serve as a platform for the Gunners to push on for greater things and with the big-money deals taking center stage, the club could finally flex its financial muscles.

Departures

Bacary Sagna (Manchester City, free), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City, free), Nicklas Bendtner (released), Park Chu-young (released), Thomas Eisfeld (Fulham, undisclosed), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, £15m), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan), Chuks Aneke (Zulte-Waregem, free), Ryo Miyaichi (FC Twente, loan), Ignasi Miquel (Norwich, undisclosed)

Danny Welbeck

Not the marquee striker everybody wanted

Arrivals

Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £30m), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle, £12m), David Ospina (Nice, undisclosed), Calum Chambers (Southampton, £16m), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United, undisclosed)

The Gunners continued their “replacement policy” in some positions but in Alexis Sanchez, they signed a player that gave a lift to the squad. However, while the failure to get a younger and more energetic holding midfielder was disheartening, not getting a replacement center back after the captain was sold was ludicrous. The Gunners have just six recognized defenders going into the new campaign and they are meant to challenge for four fronts. They are a defensive injury or suspension away from disaster.

Transfer Window Assessment: 6/10

EVERTON

Roberto Martinez was a few games away from qualifying for the Champions League in Arsenal’s stead and that would have been a shocker. However, his team buckled when the going was tough but finishing in fifth place with such a squad in his disposal was amazing.

Departures

Apostolos Vellios, Mason Springthorpe (both released), Shane Duffy (Blackburn, undisclosed)

Eto’o scoring Chelsea… stuff written in the stars

Arrivals

Gareth Barry (Manchester City, 1 million pounds), Romelu Lukaku (28 million pounds), Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros, undisclosed), Brendan Galloway (MK Dons, undisclosed), Christian Atsu (Chelsea, loan), Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea, free), David Henen (Olympiakos, loan)

Romelu Lukaku was a player that stood out for the Merseysiders last season and they went beyond their means to seal a permanent deal for the Belgian powerhouse, that has strived to pick up where he left off last season. They also secured a permanent deal fro Gareth Barry as well as snapping the experienced Cameroonian, Samuel Eto’o on a free transfer.

Their decision not to cash in on Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman have also proved to be stroke of genius and as expected, the fullbacks have been directly involved in Everton’s attacking play with Baines providing an assist while Coleman scored the Gunners and created an assist too.

Transfer Window Assessment: 8/10

TOTTENHAM

St. Tottenringham’s Day will be a lasting memory and it’s odds on to continue this season but under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham has changed for the better, even though they had a setback against Liverpool last weekend.

Departures

Jake Livermore (Hull, £8m), Heurelho Gomes (Watford, free), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea, undisclosed), Iago Falque (Genoa, undisclosed), Michael Dawson (Hull, undisclosed), Lewis Holtby (Hamburg, loan), Zeki Fryers (Crystal Palace, £3m), Sandro (QPR, undisclosed)

Dier has been a superb addition to Spurs

Arrivals

Ben Davies and Michel Vorm (Swansea, undisclosed), Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon, undisclosed), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders, undisclosed), Federico Fazio (Sevilla), undisclosed), Benjamin Stambouli (Montpellier, undisclosed)

Pochettino tried his best to snap some players from his former club but it proved to be futile attempt. However, he made some good signings with Eric Dier coming into the spotlight following his goals against West Ham and QPR. He unfortunately conceded a penalty in the recent defeat to Liverpool. Tottenham also managed to flush away some of their fringe players to free up wages.

Transfer Window Assessment: 7/10

MANCHESTER UNITED

After going through such a tumultuous campaign last season, Manchester United employed the experienced Louis van Gaal in their bid to return to the glory days. They also gave the manager the license to spend large wads of cash and boy, did he spend it!

Departures

Rio Ferdinand (QPR, free), Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan, free), Ryan Giggs (retired), Alexander Buttner (Dynamo Moscow, £4.4m), Federico Macheda (Cardiff, free), Vanja Milinkovic (FK Vojvodina, loan), Patrice Evra (Juventus, initial £1.2m), Bebe (Benfica, £2.4million), Nani (Sporting Lisbon, loan), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, loan), Jack Barmby (Leicester, free), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund, undisclosed), Javier Hernandez (Real Madrid, loan), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal, undisclosed), Tom Lawrence (Leicester, undisclosed), Nick Powell (Leicester, loan), Michael Keane (Burnley, loan)

Di Maria has gotten a hang of life in the Premier League

Arrivals

Luke Shaw (Southampton, £30m), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao, £28.8m), Vanja Milinkovic (FK Vojvodina, undisclosed), Angel di Maria (Real Madrid, £59.7m), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon, £16m), Daley Blind (Ajax, £14m), Radamel Falcao (Monaco, loan).

Manchester United are still struggling to find their feet this season (probably due to the spirit of David Moyes lingering in Old Trafford) but with the signings they’ve made this summer coupled with the fact that they don’t have any European campaign, I see the Red Devils challenging for the title. In Falcao, they have one of the most predatory forwards in the business and I’m sure that he’d turn out to be a great piece of business.

Transfer Window Assessment: 9.5/10

CONCLUSION

The table below shows the transfer window assessment for the teams

PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM TRANSFER WINDOW ASSESSMENT
Chelsea 10
Manchester United 9.5
Everton 8
Manchester City 7.5
Liverpool 7
Tottenham 7
Arsenal 6

Do you agree with these ratings?

Feel free to share them with your comments.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal, You Have Laid Your Bed, Get Ready to Lie on it

 

View image on Twitter

Arsenal’s decision not to sign a new center back is suicidal

May 21, 2005.

Arsenal’s skipper, Patrick Vieira, scores the penalty that hands the Gunners the FA Cup trophy after a pulsating encounter against fierce rivals, Manchester United. The next season is really special for everyone connected with the club – the club are finally going to wave their goodbyes to their eternal home ground, Highbury, and will be looking to the future as they play at their new ground, Ashburton Grove, or Emirates Stadium, as we know it.

The Premier League campaign in the 2005/06 season was dominated by Chelsea with Arsenal battling hard with Tottenham for the final Champions League slot. The highlight of the season was undoubtedly the Gunners’ European campaign that ended up in heartache as they lose out to Barcelona in Paris. As the seasons progressed, there were near misses like the 2007 Carling Cup final loss to Chelsea, the unfortunate 2007/08 Premier League title challenge, the 2009 FA and Champions League semifinal stints and then of course, the excruciatingly painful Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham City in 2011.

Nine years without a trophy. The opposition fans taunted, abused and did everything they could to any Arsenal fan they could get their hands on. We persevered. But after a long wait, the Gunners had a date with destiny on May 17, 2014, as they played Hull City to get a great chance of winning that elusive trophy that would get the monkeys off their backs. They did it in grand style – coming from two goals down to win in extra time. The stuffs dreams were made of.

Belief was restored. The players gained some confidence as some went to represent their nations in the World Cup while others went for long holidays with loved ones. With the World Cup serving as a good distraction, it was glaring that Arsenal needed to do some business in the transfer window,

  • Lukasz Fabianski had joined Swansea in search of regular game time so a new replacement goalie was needed.
  • Bacary Sagna left for the petro-greens of Manchester City so a new right back was needed, except the manager had plans for Carl Jenkinson.
  • It was glaring that a “specialist DM” was needed bearing in mind that the Gunners struggled in that position all season long.
  • The club needed a new attacking alternative to Olivier Giroud, as the burden was too much for the handsome Frenchman to bear.
  • Thomas Vermaelen’s future was in doubt so a replacement center back was needed as the Gunners rode their luck with Per Mertesacker (52 apps, three goals) and Laurent Koscielny (46 apps, three goals) throughout the campaign.

From the listed points above, Arsenal needed at least five players that were to add to improve the squad but the fans hoped for qulaity as well as quantity.

Bam! In rather shocking fashion, Alexis Sanchez arrived from FC Barcelona. This got the players and fans alike buzzing alike buzzing at the prospect of such a wonderful marquee signing. His attacking instinct would come in handy, bearing in mind that he just came of a 21-goal campaign in La Liga.

Sanchez has scored twice for his new team

Shortly afterwards, Sagna’s replacement arrives in the form of Matt Debuchy that was the real deal while whispers about Serge Aurier and Seamus Coleman served as good smokescreens. With the Gunners linked with a move for Calum Chambers, one wondered what the future held for Carl Jenkinson and the fans got that answer when Chambers was signed and Jenkinson was booted to Sam Allardyce’s camp. Arsenal really meant business.

But hey, what about the goalkeeper, center back and DM we are clamoring for? Arsene Wenger answered the first part of the question by swiftly swooping for Colombian shot stopper, David Ospina, from OGC Nice. Young, energetic and ready to fight Wojciech Szczesny to be No. 1, not some Matt Poom-esque fella that would be content seating on the bench and earning a fat paycheck.

Then the defensive midfielder links started hitting the back pages with full force – Sami Khedira, William Carvalho, Adrien Rabiot, Morgan Schneiderlein, just to name a few. The fans waited and kept on clicking the F5 button on Arsenal’s official site hoping to see articles like ‘Arsenal signs Mr. X‘ but all they saw were stuff like ‘Wenger – Chambers can handle pressure’, ”Wenger – Giroud is getting better every year’, Szczesny – I’m relishing Ospina’s competition’ and the whole nine yards.

The preseason campaign started with full flow and with the World Cup stars given extended breaks from their exertions, the fans witnessed some hot and cold performances – a sign of things to come. Then out of the blue, the captain leaves for the sunshine of Spain, so signing a center back was paramount. However, Nacho Monreal played a couple of games in that position – little did we know that it was probably an audition for the position when injuries or suspension strike.

Following the fantastic Community Shield victory over Manchester City, the Gunners struggled to assert themselves against Crystal Palace. The dounle-legged tie with Besiktas was sandwiched in between an away clash with Everton but on the day the Gunners battled hard to earn a creditable draw, disaster struck – Giroud fractured his tibia and following a successful surgery, he was diagnosed to be out for at least four to five months.

Crocked: Olivier Giroud went down against Everton and he will have a second scan on his injured ankle

This meant that in addition to finding a replacement for the Verminator, the Gunners needed to also signing a new striker to deputize in Giroud’s stead and on the back of Yaya Sanogo’s performance against Leicester City, it became glaring that the Gunners needed a new man to line the line, as Wenger clearly lost faith in Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell.

The transfer deadline day came upon us yesterday and Arsenal fans watched as players move to and fro with the biggest transfer news being Manchester United’s pursuit of Colombian goalscoring sensation, Radamel Falcao. The minutes turned to hours as the Gooners kept waiting. Would we do another Ozil? Which center back is coming in? Any slight hopes of that DM? Who’s Giroud’s replacement?

With speculation rising that the Gunners were keen on signing Danny Welbeck from Manchester United, the fans took to social networking platforms to air their mixed opinions and when I listened to Sky Sports report that the Gunners requested for an extension to finalize the deal for Welbeck, I was stunned. Seriously, with the club in dire need of a center back and a center forward could take the team to the next level, the best we could muster was a Manchester United reject?

But as we would have it, Welbeck is now an Arsenal player and as long as he’s now wearing the sacred Red and White, I’d give him my full support. He had his breakthrough in the 2008/09 campaign and he has scored 20 goals in 90 appearances for the Red Devils with 10 of them coming last season. He has also won 25 caps for the England national team, scoring eight goals.

With Welbeck now serving as the new attacking option in place of Giroud, one would wonder why the Gunners failed to secure a new center back with the departure of Vermaelen and Ignasi Miquel. Yes, the attacking options are ‘great’ but when things are still shaky at the back personnel wise, all the good works of the attackers would count for nothing. The first goal Arsenal conceded this season was a headed effort from Brede Hangeland and when you watch the goals conceded against Everton, you may want to rip off some parts of your hair from your head with your hands. The kind of space Coleman was allowed was bewildering and the way the defense imploded to that Romelu Lukaku-led counter attack raised a few eyebrows.

The defense did well in the double-legged tie against Besiktas but there were moments, especially in Turkey, when hosts carved the Gunners defense open but their finishing let them down. Just last weekend at the King Power Stadium, Koscielny suffered a gashed head and going for an aerial ball with Schlupp and if there was a “Vermaelen” on the bench, he would have replaced the injured Frenchman almost immediately but looking at only Chambers as his alternative, Wenger chose to allow Koscielny to stay on the pitch and play a role in the goal conceded before he took him out for Chambers eventually.

Leonardo Ulloa heads in Leicester's equaliser against Arsenal

Chambers has done really great since he joined but there have been moments when his inexperience has been exploited but as a young lad on a steep learning curve, things can only get better for him. But with the Gunners failing to sign Vermaelen’s replacement, it seems more than likely that Mertesacker and Koscielny are going to play a lot of games this season and we as fans can only hope that they would stay fit.

While I’d laud Arsenal’s transfer dealings early in the summer, I’d regard the club’s exploits on transfer deadline day as a failure as they failed to secure players in the positions that were obviously required to be filled. Bearing in mind with the way Arsenal’s rivals strengthened their own teams, one must wonder if the Gunners really have the squad that would challenge on all fronts this season.

Arsenal, you have laid your bed, get ready to lie on it.

Sayonara.

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Szczesny vs. Ospina: A Competition that Would Benefit Arsenal

That was some shot tho

Those fervent followers of Arsenal would know that the team is currently in New York, as they are bracing themselves up for a friendly against the Red Bulls. Arseblog shared a couple of enlightening stuff about the American Gooners and it’s worth a read. While the manager and the players will be strutting their stuff on the field, there’s still some business to be done in the transfer market and according to the Guardian, the Arsenal hierarchy has reached an agreement with OGC Nice over the services of Colombian goalie, Davide Ospina.

With Lukasz Fabianski leaving on a Bosman to Swansea in search of first-team football, Arsenal are desperately light in goal and one wouldn’t expect Wojciech Szczesny to keep in every game this season. This World Cup showcased a good number of goalies that starred for their respective nations and Ospina wasn’t left out, as he performed admirably for Colombia before their quarterfinal elimination at the hands of the hosts, Brazil.

Colombia's goalkeeper David Ospina

Ospina in action in the game against Uruguay

At 25, Ospina would arrive with the mindset of making the No. 1 jersey his own, rather than an old hag that would have just been content with a place on the substitute bench. Judging from their performances in their respective leagues last season, stats king, WhoScored, published an infographic juxtaposing between Szczesny and Ospina.

image

While some may argue that Ospina probably edged over Szczesny due to the nature of the Ligue 1 compared to the Premier League, some would tend to forget that Szczesny had a better defensive rearguard in front of him, unlike Ospina, that didn’t have any household names protecting him from the attacking predators of the league. However, both keepers were highly influential for their clubs and Szczesny even notched up the Golden Glove award alongside Petr Cech.

There was a mind blowing stat I read about Ospina – OGC Nice lost all 9 games that Ospina didn’t start in Ligue 1 last season, conceding 2 goals per game compared to 0.86 with him. He was heavily impressive with his performances last season, and he took that form into the World Cup which was witnessed by many.

Having a quality goalie like Ospina would definitely put Szczesny on his toes and should the gods of injuries strike the Pole for reasons best known to some aliens in outer space, Ospina can serve as a dependable backup and I must confess that I’m looking forward to watch the stiff competition between both goalies.

In Szczesny, the Gunners have a goalie that can be the custodian between the sticks for many years to come but Ospina would offer a stiff challenge for the No. 1 spot. To wet your appetites a bit, here’s a YouTube compilation showing some excellent saves from Ospina.

Sayonara.

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Why Signing a Holding Midfielder Should be a Top Priority this Summer

A new DM like Lars Bender would be a welcome addition

Anytime I think about the Invincibles, I reminisce on how strong Arsenal was in every playing position – Mad Jens Lehmann was a commanding presence in the box, the defensive pairing of Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure was a match made in the stars, the attacking wing play of Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg was a frightening prospect for the opposition and of course, the goals from Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp did the damage. However, I deliberate forgot to add the influence from the heart of the midfield with Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva pulling all the strings.

As the years went by, the key components of the Invincibles squad were shipped away and the era of the Fantastic Four in midfield began. In the 2007/08 season, Arsenal came really close to winning the Premier League and many would be quick to point out that it was the season Emmanuel Adebayor scored 30 goals and had a boatload of misses, but the collective performances of Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Aliaksandr Hleb and Tomas Rosicky was vital to the team’s surge for a title that season.

After Flamini departed on a Bosman to AC Milan, a void was created in holding midfield and albeit temporarily, Alexandre Song, seemed to be the man to tick all the boxes and served as the solution to Arsenal’s holding midfield problems. He had the imposing physical presence and his overall play was quite impressive, as he was an expert in breaking up play and handing the ball over to the folks that knew what to do with it.

Surprisingly, Alex Song had a different tactical style of play (maybe he was instructed by Wenger) with the arrival of Mikel Arteta in the 2011/12 season transfer deadline day. With the Spaniard having the football intelligence to cover admirably in midfield, Song started making forays forward, and there were two sides to his newly-found attacking verve – on the good side, he started raking up the assists and his overall play in the final third improved. On the bad side, he was always caught out of position and counter attacking teams punished Arsenal as they exploited the space vacated by Song.

With Song departing for the warm sunny bench in Catalonia, Arsene Wenger had the option of replacing him with a holding midfielder of equal or better quality and the media vultures reported that a deal for Rennes’ Yann M’Vila was 99.99999999999999999% done. There was no M’Vila at the start of the 2012/13 campaign and Wenger chose to play Arteta predominantly as his holding midfielder.

In fairness to the Spaniard, he has given the club the best of his abilities in the past two seasons as a holding midfielder and many Arsenal fans can attest to the fact that a new holding midfielder was needed. With no quality replacement (no disrespect to Francis Coquelin and co.), Arteta played far too many games (43) and at the start of the 2013/14 campaign, he suffered a thigh injury that sidelined him for some weeks, but Wenger opted to re-sign Flamini on a free transfer.

Having Flamini around was good for squad depth and all, but his carefree attitude earned him some suspensions as the season progressed. He added steel to the midfield but his lack of agility was exploited at times, and as I stated earlier, he had far too many bookings for my liking.

When I remember those horrific drubbings in the hands of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, I vividly remember how the midfield was open and the opposition got into Arsenal’s defensive positions way too easily. The lessons ought to have been learned but apparently, the games proved that they weren’t. Arsenal needs a holding midfielder that would instill fear in the eyes of the opposition when they see him. We may never have another Vieira (please don’t give me that Abou Diaby can be his replacement bullcrap) but there are some holding midfielders out there that would improve the team.

The most recent midfielders to be linked with the Gunners are Morgan Schneiderlein, Lars Bender and Sami Khedira. Without blinking twice, Bender would be my most obvious choice. His age (25) is perfect and his performances were bright sparks in a relatively dark Leverkusen campaign. Bender made 3.7 tackles per game in the Bundesliga last season with 1.8 interceptions but there has to be some improvement in his passing range as he managed a meager 77.7% while Arteta averaged 92.1%.

With Arteta turning 32 and having just one year left on his deal to run, one might be feeling that he’s living on borrowed time.

There’s money in the bank.

Arsenal has to make signing a holding midfielder a priority.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Updates on Alexis Sanchez

Barca 'accept £32m Arsenal bid for Sanchez'

North London, here I come. lol

After another exhilarating round of World Cup football, it’s time for another break and as expected, transfer news has been the order of the day.

Since Luis Enrique took over from Tata Martino this summer, he has been very active on the transfer market, bringing in Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo to replace the departed Victor Valdes while Gerard Deulofeu, Rafinha and Bojan Krkic have returned from their loan spells. He also delved into the market to sign Croatian maestro, Ivan Rakitic, from Sevilla.

On the other end of the scale, Barcelona offloaded stalwart, Jose Pinto, while the legendary Carles Puyol announced his retirement from the beautiful game. Ex-Gunner, Cesc Fabregas, was also shipped out to Chelsea and with Arsenal having the first option to sign the chap, the Gunners chose not to act.

With FC Barcelona reportedly gunning for the bitey one, Luis Suarez, it is believed that they would want to get their hands on all the funds they can get, and with that in view, Chilean hotshot, Alexis Sanchez, is up for grabs to the highest bidder.

Sanchez joined Barcelona in 2011 for a €26 million fee (plus €11.5m in certain bonuses). He had just come off a great campaign in Udinese and a lot was expected from the forward. Scoring 15 goals and supplying six assists in his first season was a good return but his second season with the club was marred by injuries. Last season, Sanchez was on fire for the Catalonians, blasting in 21 goals with 19 of them scored in the Liga BBVA.

Sanchez unbelievable strike for Barca against Atletico Madrid

He also had a good World Cup by his standards, scoring two goals against Australia and the host nation, Brazil, but there was heart ache for the lad as he was among the Chileans that missed their crucial spot kicks.

The Telegraph, the Metro, the Express and Goal.com have reported that the Arsenal hierarchy has placed a €40 million bid for the forward (they forgot to add one Euro) and to add some fuel to an already raging inferno, Sanchez’s agent, Fernando Felicevich, has started following Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta on Twitter. Lest I forget, his agent also followed Arsenal’s official Twitter account.

Barca’s director Andoni Zubizarreta has also confirmed several bids for the Chilean star,

“Regarding the future of Alexis Sánchez, there have been offers for the player,” he said.

“But I do not know how it will all end – we are looking for a solution which will be best for everyone.”

Apparently, Liverpool and Juventus are also on the prowl for the forward.

The fans wanted that big-name forward that can play with / for Olivier Giroud and Sanchez clearly fits the ball. I also love the fact that he’s versatile so he can be used on the wings when the need arises. I’m pretty sure that the players and fans alike would be happy to have such a quality addition to the squad. Let’s also bear in mind that other rivals are strengthening as well, so the Gunners shouldn’t be left behind.

The prospect of seeing Alexis and Theo Walcott on the same pitch just sent chills down my spine. I’m wondering how opposition defenders would feel.

I’ll keep you posted as things unfold.

To wet your appetite a bit, here’s a YouTube compilation on his performances last season

Sayonara.

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