Daily Archives: August 26, 2012

Sayonara Sahin, Midfield Options and Contract Talks for Walcott

Photo via Goal.com

The sale of Alex Song to Barcelona was a real bone of contention from an Arsenal perspective. On one corner stood a faction of the Arsenal faithful that believed that Alex Song’s sale was highly welcome because of his poor positional play, bad “attitude”, sloppy passes, not doing his primary job well and of course, declaring his intentions to play for Barca. On the other corner stood the faction of the Arsenal faithful that condemned his sale because of his consistency, assists and most of all, his quality.

Irrespective of what every Arsenal fan thought, they were all in unison with a unanimous decision – for the club to purchase a replacement with the same, if not better quality. The media Vultures did their bit to link Arsenal with a host of holding midfielders in the business, but after many weeks of speculation, Arsenal declared its intentions to secure a loan deal for Real Madrid’s deep-lying playmaker, Nuri Sahin.

Sahin’s style of play is not too different from the Alex Song we witnessed last season, but it was a move that was widely accepted by many Gooners out there. Arsenal would have secured the deal ages ago, but the Gunners wanted to add a buyout clause in the contract, much to the dissatisfaction of Sahin’s parent club club, Real Madrid. Up stepped Liverpool with a mega lucrative loan offer and Sahin was theirs for the taking.

Like the yesteryear, it has always been about money, and Arsenal has missed out yet again. Wenger has arrogantly played the “If I wanted Sahin, I would have signed him” card but tales of missing out on another quality player will be gone with the wind if Arsenal goes out there to get a new midfielder.

However, it seems as if Arsene Wenger is very content with his current squad, and he stated that he’ll only sign players with something special,

“We are still in the market in some positions. We have experienced players in midfield like Arteta, Cazorla and Rosicky plus some young very promising players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Coquelin and one or two in between age-wise like Diaby, who is coming back.

“We will only take players who have something special. We believe we have a very strong team and if we find the special player, we will do it.

“There’s always a lot going on in the last week – in and out. We have some players who can go out, but overall there is always something happening in the last week. I have a clear idea of what I want to do, if it happens, it happens.”

Wenger also weighed his options for a midfielder that would man Song’s role for the rest of the season,

“If you look at the numbers you will see that Song was more of an offensive player than a defensive midfielder, Arteta can play deeper – the kind of Pirlo role – and we have Diaby who is a very strong defensive player. 

“We have Coquelin who is also doing very well. I’ve played many games with Diaby and Wilshere [in midfield] and they were very efficient.”

This certainly means that Wenger might stick with this current lot without any potential additions.

Mikel Arteta is an offensively-minded player that has a good passing range but he was made to work on his defensive side when Song made his forays forward last season. Despite balancing play admirably last season, there were moments when Arteta was shoved off by stronger midfielders in the middle of the park. He also doesn’t possess a lot of speed when tracking back and in my honest opinion, Arteta can’t play in Song’s role for the rest of the season. He’s better suited in his box-to-box role.

Abou Diaby on the other hand, has the frame of good holding midfielder but his abilities as a footballer show that he’s not suited for that role as well. He has a penchant for dwelling on the ball far too long and let’s not forget that Diaby cannot be trusted to remain fit all season long. When I watched him play in Song’s role against Sunderland, I must say that I wasn’t really impressed and a few Gooners out there might share the same sentiment.

Funnily enough, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has declared his intentions to play in Song’s holding midfield role. Be the judge of that.

To team news, the Ox has said some sweet words about Santi Cazorla, and Olivier Giroud has ran out of superlatives for the diminutive midfielder, labeling him as Arsenal’s Zinedine Zidane. Giroud has also urged Arsenal fans to be patient with him, indicating that he’s here to bring something different to the team, not to replace Judas Iscariot the player that left.

Finally, Arsenal has reopened negotiations with Usain Bolt Theo Walcott over a possible five-year deal. Like van Persie, Walcott had only one year left on his current contract but the Flying Dutchman dominated the proceedings this summer before his flames were doused after he secured his £24m move to Manure United.

Like van Persie and Song, Arsenal won’t break sweat if Walcott announces his intentions to leave the club but we’ll prefer the Englishman to stay because his speed, finesse and technical ability are great assets to Arsenal football club. He needs to work on his decision making and dribbling though.


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