Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arsenal Transfer Prospects: Analyzing the Pros and Cons of Signing Ricky Alvarez

Arsene Wenger has been quoted as saying that he will be travelling to South America for the summer and it is likely that he will watch some players there. Arsenal were linked with the signing of Ricky Alvarez a few weeks back and it was reported in some websites that he was available on a free transfer. However, it has emerged recently that he still has a contract with Velez and the club are demanding a sizeable fee for the signing of the midfielder.

Arsenal's scouts have been active in scouting various players around the world in the past and a number of talented players have been signed at a cheap price due to this. Arsene Wenger is a manager who has helped develop many youngsters into quality players and though not many South American players have played for the club, it is of little surprise that the Gunners have been scouting players in the continent.

Though the leagues in Brazil and Argentina are not well followed over the world, a number of world class players including the likes of Ricardo Kaka, Angel di Maria and Robinho have come through the leagues in their native country before having success in Europe. Some of the footballers in the continent are gifted technically and possess a lot of flair in their style of play. Arsenal’s neat passing game will suit these players better than most other teams in the EPL and the Gunners should target players who can make a difference to the side.

Arsenal have been linked with a number of wingers including the likes of Gervinho and Eden Hazard in the last few weeks. If Samir Nasri signs a new contract and Cesc Fabregas stays at the club for the next season, it is likely that Nasri and Theo Walcott, who had a good 2010-11 season, are the most probable players to start on the flanks. With Arshavin likely to stay at the club after his recent comments, there is decent depth in this department.

Though Arshavin is one of the most creative players at the club as his statistics prove, he is no longer the world class player that he was when he signed for the club in 2009. He has been benched in a number of games this season but retains the ability to create and score goals when he is on the pitch. However, it is important to have a quality wide player who can take over from the Russian captain in the next season.

Though one cannot depend on youtube videos to make judgements on a player, not many would have seen his games for Velez in Argentina. It is important that Wenger signs a young wide player this summer who can bring in quality and also, be an integral player of the first team in the future.


The youngster has been impressive for Velez this season and has been an important player for the club in the recent past. He can play in the role of a left winger or a attacking midfielder and Alvarez has excellent technique and has good crossing ability. He is 6’ 2” and looks strong and could cope with the physicality of the Premiership.

Though Alvarez has not been prolific for Velez, he has an excellent shooting range and some of his goals have been absolute screamers. He looks to be comfortable on the ball with either foot though he is stronger with his left foot which is an advantage considering Arsenal do not have a left-footed winger in their squad.

If a player of the quality of Eden Hazard is available for the Gunners at a price which is affordable for the Gunners, then Arsene Wenger is likely to sign the Belgian winger. However, it is unlikely that French champions Lille will sell their star winger for a cheap price and the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid will further inflate player prices in the market. Though the signing  of a winger like Stewart Downing provides a relatively safe option, Ricky Alvarez has shown a lot of flair and could turn out to be an excellent player for the Gunners should he be able to adjust in the Premiership.


The obvious disadvantage of signing a player like Alvarez is the price tag which has been set quite high by Velez. It would be a huge gamble if Wenger paid around £10 million to sign the tricky winger. Also, the manager and the player would come under scrutiny if Alvarez has an indifferent start to the season if he is signed by Arsenal which is possible considering that he has never played in Europe.

He suffered a cruciate ligament injury which kept him out for quite some time in 2008 and though he has recovered completely, there is a probability that he could sustain more injuries due to the physicality of the Premiership. Also, Alvarez might be frustrated by the lack of opportunities at the club in his first year because he will be behind the likes of Arshavin, Nasri and Walcott and could get his opportunities only in the cups.

If Alvarez is signed by the Gunners, it would almost certainly mean the end of Vela's Arsenal career. Carlos Vela is one of the players who has huge potential but has failed to be consistent when given the opportunity. He had a great chance to go to Bolton on loan and under Owen Coyle, it is fair to say that he would have got more opportunities than he did get at West Bromwich Albion.

If Carlos Vela decides to leave the club having not realised his potential at the club, it could mean that Wenger could opt to sign Ricky Alvarez with the money obtained from his transfer. Though Alvarez could turn out to be an intelligent signing, there is every chance that he could turn out to be like Bebe, who is still very raw though Manchester United paid a sizeable fee for the winger. However, Ricky Alvarez seems to be a more complete player and it could be a gamble which could pay large dividends for Arsene Wenger.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arsenal FC: Why Manchester United's defeat against Barcelona Proves That Arsenal are in the Right Path

With a disastrous end to the 2010-11 season, Arsenal fans were hugely disappointed with their club's performance and there has been a lot of negative reactions in the summer from the fans who desperately want to see the club lifting a trophy. Though there are a number of areas on which the Gunners should improve in order to win trophies successfully, they did show that they had the quality to match the top sides in this season unlike recent seasons.

Arsenal's season crumbled after the loss to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final in the closing stages of the game due to a error in communication between the inexperienced duo of Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny. They had to face Barcelona and Manchester United within two weeks from their defeat and before they could recover, they were knocked out of three competitions and their low confidence meant that they could never really produce their best form which saw them challenge the leaders Manchester United till February.

This current Arsenal team clearly lack the leadership on the pitch and it is important in this regard that Thomas Vermaelen has returned to full fitness for the next season. Though the Gunners had a wretched end to the season after the Birmingham game, their performances just before the Final showed that the Gunners are on the right track to win the title.

Last season, they were comprehensively beaten by Chelsea and Manchester United twice and it was fortunate that they managed to draw the game against Barcelona at home despite being outplayed by the Catalans. It has been different this season with the Gunners winning against both Chelsea and United at home as well as beating Barcelona at the Emirates though it required a late fightback by the Gunners.

The EPL title winners Manchester United were dismantled by Barcelona at Wembley and it was a thoroughly deserved win for the Spanish Champions. Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were rampant as United's midfield could not create much impact against the midfield of Barcelona. Though Rooney managed to find the equalizer at 1-1, Lionel Messi and David Villa ensured that they were victorious for the second time in three years.

It is fair to say that only Arsenal out of all the other teams that played Barcelona in this Champions league gave the Catalan club a run for their money and despite being much better than Arsenal at the Nou Camp, they could have been eliminated but for a poor attempt by Nicklas Bendtner. Despite the season being a failure, the performance against Barcelona at the Emirates shows that the team is moving in the right direction to win trophies.

It was the only game out of the four games in the last two years that Arsenal had a relatively fit squad with only Thomas Vermaelen missing. In the return leg at the Nou Camp, Theo Walcott and Alex Song were two important players missing in the squad and though one cannot moan about injuries, it is undeniable that Walcott's absence gave the license for Barcelona to push forward both their fullbacks.

Arsenal's young prodigy Jack Wilshere was brilliant in the game and was clearly up for the challenge. He did not look out of place playing against stalwarts like Xavi and Iniesta and even managed to create a bigger
impact than captain Fabregas who was not at his best. Wilshere was clearly fatigued towards the end of the season and the decision to not play in the U-21 tournament is important for him and Arsenal.

Wojciech Szczesny is arguably Arsenal's most talented keeper since Jens Lehmann made way for the inconsistent Almunia. Though Szczesny made a crucial error against Birmingham, he showed he has the quality to be a great keeper and his performance against Barca proved that he was not overawed by the situation and made some great saves throughout the game.

Van Persie, who was harshly sent off in the second leg with the game poised on a knife edge, proved again that if he is fit, he has the quality to provide the goals for the Gunners. Though it was poor goalkeeping from Valdes, the Dutchman's accuracy and technique on the volley was integral to the goal being scored from such a tight angle.

Cesc Fabregas was troubled by recurring hamstring injuries throughout the season and he was not at his best in both the Barcelona games. But as most would admit, he is one of the world's best midfielders and should he recover completely from his injuries and stay at Arsenal, he is certainly one of the most important players for the Gunners.

The most important positive from the Barcelona game was the defending by Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny. Though poor concentration from Gael Clichy allowed David Villa to break the offside trap, Koscielny was brilliant in shackling Messi for most of the game. He used his speed to great effect and his tackling was immaculate. With a player of Thomas Vermaelen's experience missing in the heart of the defence, it was great commitment shown by both Djourou and Koscielny.

Though Koscielny has struggled in some games in his first season of the Premiership, he is a player who promises a lot in the future. He is good in the air and though he sometimes makes rash challenges, he is quite good in tackling and will only get better with experience. His biggest asset is his reading of the game and that allows him to make crucial interceptions and he seems to perform better against European oppositions.

Though Djourou looked vulnerable towards the end of season, he had performed quite well since his return to the first team and showed why Arsene Wenger believes in his talent. An injury to the best defender of the club is always likely to be a huge problem for them and Vermaelen's absence for almost the entire season was a huge blow.

There were a number of Arsenal players who emerged with a lot of credit for their performance against Barcelona at the Emirates and while they were ultimately eliminated by the Blaugrana, they showed a lot of fight and were the only team to beat Barcelona in the Champions league. With a number of youngsters performing under pressure for the Gunners this season, it is imperative that Wenger signs some experienced players to provide leadership and direction to the team.

If England's champions can be beaten comprehensively by Barcelona, the Gunners can be proud of their efforts and they were very close to knocking out Barcelona. Though there are many supporters who have branded the youth policy as a total failure, the emergence of many youngsters like Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny has meant that Arsenal have built a strong squad capable of beating the best at a extremely low price.

Wenger has not made the right signings in the recent past when he has refused to invest money to sign quality players needed to win titles. With the title drought extending to six years this season, he will have to bring in some new players to bolster the squad. Though there are a number of supporters who believe that there should be many changes in the Arsenal team, the Gunners have a strong set of players who can be the future of Arsenal.

Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie form the current core of the Arsenal team and it does look strong if the players show the fighting attitude required to win titles. Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Alex Song, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott have the potential to be integral to the team and with a few intelligent signings, Arsenal could have the strongest team in the Premiership.

There has been considerable progress this season from the Gunners and though it has not translated into titles, there has been positives for Arsenal. Though the manager has made mistakes and the team has not shown enough desire this season, it is evident that the Gunners are getting stronger with the youngsters pulling their weight in the team and it is important for the team to translate it to trophies.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Arsenal Transfer News: Five Possible Upgrades That Could Bring a Title in 2012

It is that time of the year when almost every club is linked with all sorts of players, most of whom are unlikely to sign for the club in the transfer window. However, these transfer rumours interests most football fans as to whom or which sort of players their clubs are targeting in the summer and though some of them are ridiculous, there are some rumours which actually mean that their club are likely to bid for the player.

The supporters like to think of what they would do if they were the manager of the club they support and like to think of the potential new signings which could strengthen their team. Being an Arsenal supporter, I am going to do the same with my article on five possible players who could help the Gunners end their trophy drought.

With the Gunners going six years without a trophy, the fans have been frustrated and would like the manager to spend some money in the transfer market which could strengthen their team. It has come to a point where any excuse for not winning trophies by the manager will not be accepted and the team should have enough depth to compete till the end of the season.

Injuries have played an important part in Arsenal's trophy drought but Arsene Wenger should do his best to ensure quality depth in every position. The medical team at Arsenal are trying to reduce injuries to the player and using the GPS tracking system helps identify which players are more likely to get injured and the French tactician should rotate his players to ensure they can finally end their trophy drought in 2012.

1. Scott Parker

It is unfortunate for any club to be relegated to the lower division after fighting hard to keep their place in the top flight but failing to avoid the drop means that their best players are very likely to move to other clubs. West Ham's Scott Parker was named the Football Writers Player of the season for his outstanding efforts but since they were relegated, he could move to another club.

Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been linked with the former Chelsea midfielder and Wenger could have to pay quite a steep price for a 30-year old. However, Parker brings with him a lot of experience and leadership which has been missing for Arsenal and the England International could be the ideal foil for Jack Wilshere who has played alongside Parker in the England team.

Though Alex Song has grown into an effective holding midfielder for the Gunners, he does make mistakes and it is better for him to learn from an experienced player like Parker. Also, if Cameroon do qualify for the African Nations Cup, Song could be unavailable for Arsenal for a month or so and Arsenal have no experienced replacement for Song.

Emmanuel Frimpong is a promising talent at Arsenal but he needs more experience to be a regular in the squad. Though Diaby can play as the holding midfielder, he is not suited to the role and excels when he is allowed the freedom to attack from a deep role. There are many reasons for Arsenal to sign Scott Parker and it would be a great addition for the Gunners.


Arsenal will need to sign a defensive midfielder this season and if Wenger does miss out on signing Scott Parker, he must look for other alternatives. Blaise Matuidi is an excellent defensive midfielder who plays for St. Etienne in France and Alou Diarra would bring in a lot of experience in midfield. Udinese midfielder Gokhan Inler is also a good defensive midfielder who would be a good addition for the Gunners.

2. Leighton Baines

Gael Clichy has been one of the longest serving players for the Gunners but he has been inconsistent this season and has always been prone to a lapse in concentration. He has only one year on his contract and has been linked with an exit after reports that he is likely to reject a new contract. If Clichy does depart, the Gunners will have only Kieran Gibbs and the inexperienced Armand Traore as the left backs left in the squad.

Everton's Leighton Baines has been linked with Arsenal and could be targeted by Arsene Wenger if Clichy does not sign a new contract. Baines is experienced in the Premiership and has good crossing ability in addition to being solid in defence. Though he has not had much experience in Europe, he is a quality player and one who could be important especially if Marouane Chamakh plays for the Gunners.

Though Kieran Gibbs has a lot of talent, he is quite prone to injuries and has also not been impressive when he has played this season. It would be a risk to depend on him for the entire 2011-12 season and Wenger should sign another player who can play at Left Back to provide enough depth in the team.


There are not enough quality left backs in the world and it would be difficult to find a good left back at a reasonable price. Jose Enrique of Newcastle has attracted the interest of Liverpool and could be targeted by Wenger if Everton do not intend to sell Baines and Emilio Izaguirre of Celtic has been linked with many top clubs and could move on for the right price though the Scottish club are keen to hold on to him. Also, Wenger could sign a versatile Centre Back who can play as left back if needed.

3. Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard is one of the most promising players in the world and was awarded the Player of the season in the French league. He has been tracked by a number of clubs and Arsenal are one of the clubs interested in securing his services. The tricky winger could be one of the best players in some years and the Lille player has already made appearances for the Belgium team.

Though Samir Nasri has had an excellent season for the Gunners, he has not yet signed a new contract with Arsenal which is a problem for Arsene Wenger. Also, Andrei Arshavin has not shown consistency this season and though he is capable of changing the game with a moment of his brilliance, his work rate and attitude has been questioned by a number of supporters.

Hazard, who has performed superbly for Lille, will not be available on a bargain but he could be a player who could be extremely important in the future. It is uncertain if he will leave Lille in the summer and having signed a new contract recently, he could stay with the Ligue 1 Champions.


Arsenal have been linked with some wingers including the likes of Gervinho and Stewart Downing and are likely to sign a winger if one of Nasri or Arshavin leaves the club. Gunners have also been linked with Velez winger Ricky Alvarez and Mario Goetze has also been reportedly targeted by Arsenal. It will be interesting to see which winger Arsenal can buy in the summer if any of Nasri or Arshavin leaves. Another option is to sign a versatile forward like Karim Benzema who is comfortable on the wings.

4. Per Mertesacker

Arsenal were linked with Per Mertesacker last year when they were searching for replacements for William Gallas and Sol Campbell who left on free transfers. The Germany International could be an intelligent addition for the Gunners who struggled to deal with set-pieces. Mertesacker is good in the air at 6' 6" and is also a clean defender and commits less fouls.

Though he has been accused of being slow, he has immense experience and his positioning is excellent. He has been a very consistent defender in the Bundesliga and has already made 75 appearances for Germany at the age of 26. He is a defender who can tackle well and also make crucial interceptions and has played at the highest level in Europe and has represented Germany in two world cups.

It was reported that Mertesacker's contract runs till the end of 2011-12 season and a bid for the right price would interest Werder Bremen to sell their defender. His experience could be vital for the Gunners and though he is not as physical as Christopher Samba or Gary Cahill, he shown enough quality and toughness to cope with the Premiership.


Blackburn's Christopher Samba has been linked with the Gunners while Gary Cahill is another player who has been linked with Arsenal for quite a long time. Arsene Wenger might prefer to go for a player who is experienced in the Premiership and could move for one of the aforementioned duo. Jan Vertonghen, who could provide depth in many positions, could also be targeted by Wenger while Mamadou Sakho is another french defender who has excelled for PSG this season. Squillaci has been distinctly mediocre this season and could be sold by Wenger to make way for any new defender. 

5. Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has been linked with Arsenal and almost all Arsenal supporters would like to see the talented Frenchman representing the Gunners in the next season. However, he has performed impressively for Real Madrid this season and could stay with the Los Blancos if he is assured of enough playing time by Jose Mourinho.

Though Robin van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world, he has missed a number of games for the Gunners due to injuries since he joined Arsenal from Feyenoord. Marouane Chamakh is a good player who can score important goals but he is not clinical with his finishing with his feet and has not been prolific throughout his career.

Nicklas Bendtner has clearly stated that he wants to move on to gain more playing time after making only three starts in the Premiership and he has also been used on the wing on a number of occasions. The future of the talented Carlos Vela is still uncertain but he has not been able to produce consistent performances when given opportunities.

If Benzema is signed, it will prove to be a great addition for the Gunners but it is likely that Arsene Wenger will be lining up other targets as well because the Gunners need a quality striker in order to win the Premiership next season.


The usually frugal Wenger has claimed that a deal for Benzema would not be impossible indicating that he is ready to spend the money to acquire some quality players. If Real Madrid do not sell Benzema, it is likely that Arsenal will target Porto's Radamel Falcao who has been in sensational form in the last two seasons since he joined Porto. If Real Madrid do sign Sergio Aguero and hold on to Benzema, Arsenal could tempt Gonzalo Higuain with a move to the Emirates though it sounds far-fetched. Since the departure of Thierry Henry, the Gunners have not had a player who can consistently score more than 25 goals a season and that is exactly what Wenger would look for in a striker.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Arsenal FC: Gunners' Position Analysis and Transfers That Wenger Should Target

Arsene Wenger has come under immense pressure in recent weeks for his club's failure to win any trophy for the last six years and his youth policy has come under huge criticism. However, the Frenchman has already signed young Charlton defender Carl Jenkinson and according to Sky Sports News, the Gunners have tied up deals for Barcelona youth players Hector Bellerin and Jon Miquel Toral. Wenger is a manager who believes in developing youth players with the potential to become an excellent player in the future and all the three players must be viewed as signings for the future.

However, time is running out for Arsene Wenger to prove that he can bring trophies and sustained success to the club in the future and with fans frustrated by the Frenchman's transfer policies in the recent past, it is expected that Wenger will strengthen the squad in the summer. With Manchester United ( who are close to signing Atletico's David De Gea), Chelsea and Manchester City set to strengthen in the summer, Arsenal will have to bolster their squad in order to win the Premiership in the 2011-12 season.

There are indications that Wenger might finally be prepared to change his transfer policy this summer and with the Frenchman claiming that a bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is not impossible, the supporters will have high hopes regarding the Frenchman's deals in the summer. It is important that the Gunners sign the players who can make the difference and though the Gunners cannot compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in a bidding war, it is possible for Arsenal to get good players if they spend the right amount of money.

With Wenger targeting various players around the world playing in different positions, it is important that he gets players who can provide quality depth to the squad. Injuries have played an important role in the trophy drought at Arsenal though it was not the reason for the Gunners' meek collapse towards the end of the 2010-11 season. Signings who can be versatile are important for Arsenal and it is important each position has enough depth to challenge for all trophies.


Arsenal supporters were disappointed to see Manuel Almunia starting in goal for the start of the season and with no transfer materializing before the end of the transfer window, supporters were disappointed with Wenger's decision. After Almunia's clangers against West Brom, he was injured and Fabianski took over the starting spot from him.

The Polish International had been heavily criticized for his errors in the past but in the 2010-11 season, he showed why he is highly rated by Wenger with some good consistent performances till he was injured in January before taking part in the game against Manchester City. Wojciech Szczesny, who had an excellent spell at Brentford in the Championship, was given the opportunity to start games regularly and has shown that he can be a future no.1 for the years to come.

Though Szczesny has made errors including the high profile blunder against Birmingham, he has enough mental strength and quality to be regarded as one of the finest young keepers in the world. Fabianski has also shown that he has the quality to be a good keeper and with two young promising keepers in the squad, a new goalkeeper should not be at the top of the agenda for the Gunners.


Bacary Sagna was Arsenal's most consistent performer in the defence and he is one of the best right backs in the world. He is certain to be the first choice right back and if Eboue is not sold, he will be the second choice in the position. Carl Jenkinson is likely to be signed in the next few days and he can also play in the position though Arsene Wenger is more likely to use him in the League Cup if he does not loan him out.

Gael Clichy has been inconsistent throughout the season and with reports emerging that he will not sign a new contract, he could be sold by the Gunners in the summer. Kieran Gibbs is a promising player for the future but has been injury-prone this season and has also not been impressive at Left Back this season. Armand Traoare on loan at Juventus has not had a good spell with the club and is not yet good enough to play in the first team on a regular basis.

Thomas Vermaelen is arguably Arsenal's best centre back and after missing out on almost the entire season due to injuries, it is important that he is fit for most of the 2011-12 season. Laurent Koscielny who was signed last year from Lorient has shown that he can be an excellent defender in the future and will also have an important role to play in the next season.

Johan Djourou, who came back from his long term injury in the 2010-11 season, has also been impressive in a number of games and should hopefully improve on it in the next season. Though Djourou and Koscielny have shown a lot of promise, they do tend to make some mistakes due to their inexperience and it is important that Wenger brings in a defender who has experience and can be the no-nonsense defender that Arsenal require at the heart of the defence.

Also, youngster Kyle Bartley who was on loan at Sheffield United first and then Rangers has shown immense quality and promises to be an exciting talent for the future. Though he will not be very important for the 2011-12 season, he could be retained by Wenger to add to depth of the squad as he can also play in defensive midfield.

There is no need for mentioning Squillaci's role for the 2011-12 season because he is a mediocre defender and Wenger should sell the French defender despite signing him only in 2010. If Clichy also goes, then Wenger would have to bring in an established Left Back like Everton's Leighton Baines though there is also a possibility that he could sign a versatile centre back like Jan Vertonghen who can play at Left Back as well.

Central Midfield

Arsenal's most consistent players over the course of the season has been Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna and the former Arsenal youth player has been immense in midfield for the Gunners this season. He was impressive for Bolton on loan last season but has further improved and has formed an excellent partnership with Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas in midfield. Though his shooting and his final ball can be better, he is a player who is bound to develop into a world class midfielder if he can steer clear of controversies and injuries.

Cesc Fabregas suffered from recurring hamstring injuries throughout the season and it might be due to the number of games he has played in the last few years. With two months of holidays, Fabregas can improve his fitness and can be important to the Gunners next season. Though it is expected that Barcelona will make efforts to sign the Arsenal captain in the summer, Arsene Wenger would want to retain the services of the midfielder considering the fact that he is amongst the best midfielders in the world and he has the ability to unlock solid defences with his vision and creativity.

Alex Song has played in a more advanced role compared to the 2009-10 season and though he has contributed more in attack this season, he has to improve in order to be solid for the Gunners. He concedes a number of cheap free-kicks and should also avoid his rash tackles that could get him sent off. He is only 23 and can further improve in the 2011-12 season.

Denilson has made it clear that he wants to leave Arsenal and he has been poor this season. Though Abou Diaby has got a lot of potential, he spends a lot of time on the treatment room and also, it has hampered his progress at the Emirates. Diaby is not an orthodox holding midfielder and is effective with his powerful bursts in the midfield.

Though Diaby can play in the DM role, Arsenal need another defensive midfielder who can be effective for Arsenal. Song will also be absent in January because of the African Nations Cup and it is important the Gunners sign another holding midfielder. The Gunners have been linked with a move to sign Scott Parker and it will certainly be a good signing for the Gunners.

Aaron Ramsey has recovered completely from his horrendous injury and has shown no signs of any impact of the injury which is great for the Gunners. He is a player who is rated very highly by Wenger and can play an important role for Arsenal in the next season. He can play alongside the holding midfielder in the role currently occupied by Wilshere as well as in the attacking midfielder role.

Emmanuel Frimpong is an exciting youngster who can develop into an excellent defensive midfielder but his recent injury means he has still got a long way to go before being a regular and if there is an opportunity, he should be loaned out to a Premier League team. Henri Lansbury has had a good loan spell with Norwich who are in the Premiership next season and it is better for the Gunners that he continues his loan spell with the club.

Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri can also play in the attacking midfield role though the Czech International is not as effective as he used to be when he was signed by Arsene Wenger. There is enough depth for the places occupied by Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas in the 4-2-3-1 formation but Wenger will need to bring in a defensive midfielder in order to have good depth in that position.

Also, if Cesc Fabregas does leave the club, it is imperative that Arsenal sign an established attacking midfielder and not rely on the British duo of Ramsey and Wilshere. Another way to deal with the departure of the influential Spaniard would be to sign a versatile winger which would allow Samir Nasri to play behind the striker.


Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri were dropped by their respective National teams for the World Cup in South Africa and they have both had creditable seasons for the Gunners. Walcott who has been accused in the past by some critics and journalists for having no football brain has improved on his final product and has scored 13 goals along with making 13 assists in the 2010-11 season.

Nasri had a sensational first half of the season but could not sustain the same kind of form in the latter half of the campaign but was still amongst Arsenal's best performers in the season. He scored some scintillating goals and had his best season with the Gunners but there is only one year on his contract and it could be a problem if he does not renew his contract with the Gunners.

Andrei Arshavin is a player who tends to polarize fans on his importance to the team but it is undeniable that he is one of the quality players at Arsenal. Despite performing well below his potential, the Russian managed to be one of the most effective players at Arsenal with regard to statistics. Though Wenger expects the Russian winger to stay at Arsenal, there are reports linking him with an exit.

Tomas Rosicky who has never recovered his best form since recovering from the long term injury, has also been used on the wings but he has mostly been on the bench if the players ahead of him are fit. The versatile Czech International is useful as a squad player but he has not had a good season and could move on at the end of the season.

Though Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner have been used as wingers, they are more suited to the central role and while the Danish International has made it clear that he intends to leave, it is still uncertain if Vela will follow him out of the Emirates.

Wenger's only January signing this year made an instant impact for Dutch club Feyenoord and the Japanese winger could have a bright future ahead of him. Ryo Miyaichi has still not been called up for the senior Japan team and hence, securing a work permit might be a problem.  He has started a number of games since he joined Feyenoord on loan and could extend his loan with the club in order to gain more experience.

Arsenal have been linked with both Lille wingers Gervinho and Eden Hazard and are also eyeing some players other than the duo to replace any potential departures. If Arshavin does leave the club, then Wenger must bring in a new winger so that the Gunners have a strong replacement if any of their first choice wingers are injured.

The other way for Arsene Wenger to ensure that there is depth is to sign a forward who is capable of playing on the wings like Karim Benzema who is comfortable on the left as well. But the manager should consider this option only if it is certain that Cesc Fabregas is staying at the club.

The worst situation that can happen for Arsenal is the departure of Samir Nasri due to unsuccessful contract negotiations and Wenger would have to replace him with a quality winger who can replace the talented Frenchman. As discussed in my earlier article, signing his French team mate Karim Benzema could also help in tying down Nasri to a longer deal at the club.


Robin van Persie has been nothing short of sensational since the turn of the year and has scored a career best of 22 goals in a season despite being injured for around three months. The Dutch forward is one of the best strikers in the world but his unfortunate injuries has meant that he has not started as many games for the Gunners as he would have liked to. He is clearly Arsenal's best striker and without him, the Gunners lack  a striker who is clinical in front of goal.

Marouane Chamakh was signed in the last summer transfer window and proved to be an astute signing for Wenger as he notched many important goals for the Gunners. Though he is not clinical with his feet, he is a player who wears down defenders with his immense work rate and has good awareness. He is also excellent in the air and has scored many goals due to his aerial prowess. He was fatigued by the end of the first half and he is expected to adjust better to the demands of the league in his second season with the Gunners.

Nicklas Bendtner has frustrated the Arsenal supporters on a number of occasions with his profligacy but it is undeniable that he has the potential to be a good striker in the future. The Dane has been played out of position this season and has been frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the first team. He has declared his intention to leave the club and could be on his way if any club meets the valuation of Arsenal.

Carlos Vela is a very talented striker who has not been able to showcase his potential with consistent performances on the pitch. He was loaned out to West Bromwich to get more playing time but with Roy Hodgson taking over just after the Mexican signed for the Baggies, he was on the bench in a number of games and was not able to gain much playing time. It remains to be seen whether he will remain at Arsenal for one more year but if he does not make an impact this season, his time at the club would be definitely over.

Arsenal have been linked with a number of strikers including the talented duo of Radamel Falcao and Karim Benzema and if Bendtner does leave the club, the Arsenal will have to replace him with a new striker. Wenger has already confirmed that he is ready to spend if the right player is available and signing a quality striker will be important for the Gunners in the summer.

If Arsenal do sign a striker, it is still uncertain as to whether Wenger will revert to the 4-4-2 formation or stick with the current 4-2-3-1 formation which would mean Robin van Persie or the new striker will have to play on the wings. Van Persie could also fit in easily in the role behind the striker if Fabregas is not available and his versatility could be utilized by the manager to accommodate the new striker.

Thursday, May 26, 2011