With the possibility looking that there’s a paltry budget for Unai and the transfer team to play with, I thought I’d have a little think about who we could potentially get for the little amount of cash we’re willing to part with this summer.
That transfer kitty won’t stretch very far as we all know, so for me it’s about trying to work out how we allocate our resources, in terms of the positions that need filling.
For that we have to look at what we’ve already got and where we’ve been poorest this season. I think we kind of already know that straight away. Our issue has been how easy it has been for teams to cut through us and that, to my mind, is down to both organisation as much as technical ability. When Kasper Schmeichel lobbed a ball straight down the middle for Jamie Vardy to run on to, neither Sokratis nor Koscielny could deal with it and that is a classic example of what has happened all season.
Koscielny May have the armband but he’s not an organiser. He’s built his successful Arsenal career on recovering from situations. Sokratis likes a ‘blood and thunder‘ tackle, or the physical side of the game, but he too has been guilty of many examples of lapses of judgement this season and he’s not an organiser of the defence. Not as we’ve been used to over the years.
Mertesacker was a slow defender, he wasn’t the greatest tackler, but he was an organiser and next to him Koscielny flourished for a few years. That is the type of player we need and that is who I hope the club are scouring the planet for. We don’t need another tackler. We don’t need somebody who is going to be overly physical. We need somebody who read situations and takes appropriate action. Within the first few minutes of the Southampton game at home Nathan Redmond was put through on goal from an Arsenal attack that broke down. A defender with better reading of the game will be able to anticipate this kind of situation and take appropriate action.
So for me, if we only had £40million to spend, I’d be working on finding an organiser who can slot in to the defence, probably spending at least two thirds of that budget.
With what is left we then need to look at another wide forward, but the cash is low and so what if he doing is making moves for a good player who could potentially be signed on a ‘loan-to-perm’ move. If you look at Barcelona they have a player in Malcom who hasn’t featured much this season. If Raul and his connections could go to Barcelona and get them to agree a loan-to-perm agreement for the following summer, it would benefit us financially, benefit Barcelona because Griezmann’s arrival is imminent, plus they could have a player on their hands they could sell for more if he has a good season at Arsenal.
By the sounds of it Reiss Nelson is also being touted as a player who will be given the chance this summer. Given our pathetic budget one has to hope that he excels because let’s face it, we need as many young players stepping up as possible, because I suspect we’ll have one decent signing and a few young prospects coming in this summer.
The next option is a right back. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has started to look good in that wing back role but less so as a full back. We can’t afford to have him injured though because come the summer it’s likely that both Jenkinson and Lichtsteiner will be moved on. That leaves us with essentially nobody and whilst Mustafi can play there if needed, it’s unlikely that the club won’t want to move him on this summer given his age profile and relatively good reputation in mainland Europe.
If we get a decent few for him I suspect that will be made available for transfers and so perhaps Arsenal’s transfer kitty is a moving target, but as it stands we have to assume that we won’t find buyers for players, because we’ve got a recent history of some really shocking selling strategies so I’m hardly hopeful that this summer will be different.
Who knows, maybe one of the benefit of Raul and his ‘connections’ are that he can move players on for better prices, but after January and the Suarez debacle it has hardly given us Arsenal fans a happy start.
We’re still in ‘wait and see’ mode but as soon as the European Cups are decided we’ll start to see lots of movement and if Arsenal watch their rivals heavily improving, then there’ll be plenty of us nervously looking around at what happens next at our club, and probably some meltdowns too.
Catch you all tomorrow.