Daily Archives: August 20, 2013
Throughout the summer, Arsenal has been linked with a lot of talented players with strikers and holding midfielders dominating the headlines with potential moves to the club.
Forwards like Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Christian Benteke and Luiz Suarez were strongly linked with moves to Arsenal but the first two names on the aforementioned list have found new employers while the latter two are staying put with their respective clubs.
While Higuain didn’t light any fireworks in his outing against Arsenal, Benteke gave the Gunners a glimpse of what they missed with two well-taken goals at the Emirates that put Arsene Wenger’s side to the sword. As expected in the wake of the nadir, the fans have gone berserk and are currently requesting for the manager’s head on a plate while Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith took to Twitter to express her regrets in selling her shares to Silent Stan Kroenke.
While attacking players filled the back pages with links to Arsenal, the Gunners were also linked with prominent holding midfielders in the forms of Lars Bender, Luiz Gustavo, Asier Illarramendi and a more familiar face, Marouane Fellaini. The Gunners had a £19m bid rejected for Bender, Gustavo opted to join VFL Wolfsburg, Illarramendi joined Real Madrid and ESPN among other sources, stated that the club had activated the Belgian’s release clause but a move never came to fruition.
Despite the fact that the referee, Anthony Taylor, was atrocious in every sense of the word, the Gunners must take some blame for an appalling display against Aston Villa in front of their own fans. Just like the 2011 shopping spree that occurred after the 8-2 mauling in the hands of Manchester United, it seems as if Arsenal is taking a hasty approach to sign some players and BBC Sport has reported that the Gunners have made a £10m bid for Newcastle’s midfield maestro, Yohan Cabaye.
After all Arsene Wenger’s quotes about how there was not much top talent to buy, he wants to quickly delve into the market to swoop for another Frenchling just to appease the fans.
No disrespect to Cabaye, but I believe that we currently have his “kind” in the team in the form of Mikel Arteta.
He’s a good technician that has an eye for a pass and his set piece taking ability is up there with the very best. His stunning 30-yard free kick against Manchester United in his debut campaign gets better with each passing replay. Recuperation from a groin surgery halted his progress for a considerable chunk of last season but he still managed to score six goals, create 53 chances, won 47 percent of his aerial duels and amassed a pass completion percentage of 80 percent. (Stats culled from Squakwa)
According to the Guardian, the Newcastle hierarchy looks set to reject the meager bid as their evaluation of the player is above the £20m mark. With Arteta and Abou Diaby on the sidelines, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere’s collective performance against Aston Villa showed that they lacked the positional awareness and tactical discipline to sit deep in midfield, which ultimately means that Arsenal is in dire need of an enforcer.
Even if I’m a big fan of Arteta, I’m still in the opinion that Arsenal needs a Patrick Vieira-esque tenacious holding midfielder that would be a stellar job protecting that shaky back four. There used to be a time when Arsene Wenger was all about hardcore rugged enforcers in the middle of the park with names like Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Lassana Diarra, Mathieu Flamini and Alex Song stamping their authority week-in week-out.
The manager then mysteriously allows Song to go to Barcelona and replaces him with a player that excelled in the box-to-box role in the previous campaign, forcing him to curb his attacking instincts for the good of the team. Arteta was a success story last season but age and fatigue are taking their toll on the Spaniard, and the sooner he’s replaced by a real enforcer (not a pseudo-holding midfielder like Cabaye), the better for everyone.
As I’ve stated earlier, Cabaye is similar to Arteta and Ramsey and he’d certainly not a holding midfielder but a deep lying playmaker, that plays alongside a beast in the form of Cheick Tiote, that does all the dirty work. Cabaye would have been better suited for a club like Manchester United- not Arsenal as they already have that type of player.
They need someone who can protect the back four. How hard is that for Wenger and co. to understand?
Maybe Wenger doesn’t see the need to have a midfield general anymore. Maybe players like Arteta and Cabaye, accomplished passers of the ball that dictate tempo have become the manager’s preferred way of running things in midfield. Cabaye would certainly fit into Arsenal free-flowing passing game and he would offer the Gunners a good outlet with set pieces, thereby relieving the likes of Theo Walcott from taking dead balls.
Notwithstanding, Newcastle are odds on to reject this bid and if the Gunners are really interested in Cabaye, they would have to up their bid to £20,000,001 or something.
The million pound question will be…is Cabaye worth it?
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