Saturday, July 9, 2011

Arsenal FC Transfer Opinions: Why Ryo Miyaichi and Others Mean Arsene Wenger Should Not Sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

According to the Telegraph, Lille winger Gervinho has completed a medical ahead of his move to Arsenal and is expected to be confirmed as an Arsenal player in the upcoming days though delay in finishing the deal could cause him to miss the pre-season tour to Asia. It will be an important signing for the Gunners, who are still uncertain regarding the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who has been stalling in signing a new contract at the Emirates.

The winger has had a positive impact in France where he is regarded as one of the most efficient players in the league and he could be a player who could provide some much needed unpredictability to the Gunners considering he is capable of dribbling past players and uses his trickery to good effect. It seems like Gervinho could be a signing who could turn out to be one of our better signings in the long term.

Arsenal have many important priorities in the summer and with Tomas Rosicky and Andrei Arshavin not performing to expected levels, signing a talented and experienced winger was a need and signing Gervinho is a step in the right direction for the Gunners. However, with both Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas still not sure of staying with the Gunners, it is important that Arsene Wenger uses his transfer budget intelligently especially as they seek depth in a number of positions.

This summer transfer window is probably Arsene Wenger's most important one in his Arsenal career considering that his senior players could leave while the fans are desperate for the club to win trophies in the next season. Many of the supporters are calling for the manager to spend money and at the Q&A session attended by Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis, he was confronted by a number of questions regarding the manager and his transfer policies by members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST).

Though the youth policy has produced a number of talented youngsters like Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere, it is trophies which is going to bring long term stability to the club. Many supporters are calling for the manager to spend money on experienced players and abandon this youth policy. However, it is important to have talented youngsters in the team but the manager needs to bring in some experienced players who can guide the players to perform well under pressure.

However, according to the Daily Star, Arsenal have had a bid of around £6 million + add-ons rejected by Southampton, who reportedly want £12 million for midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is only 17 years old. Though the winger is extremely talented and is arguably more advanced than Theo Walcott, when he was at the same stage in his career, it must be questioned whether Arsenal should be interested in the Saints' starlet.

It is undeniable that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of the most exciting prospects in English football but still only 17 years of age, it is unlikely that he will make a big impact in his first season in the Premiership if he is signed by Arsenal. While signing long term prospects are a part of the strategy of Wenger, this summer should be about signing quality players who could help the Gunners win the Premiership.

There is a good chance that Arsenal could miss out on the youngster if they fail to seal a deal for the winger in this summer but the Gunners cannot afford to spend a chunk of their transfer budget on an unproven 17-year-old when their best players could leave due to lack of ambition. If they do miss the Southampton winger, it will be hard for Arsenal having scouted him for a long time but the Gunners already have a wealth of youth talent.

In the long term, both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are certain to play regularly considering they are already established at Arsenal though Ramsey is currently a squad player following his horrific injury following a lunge by Ryan Shawcross. With Alex Song still very young and Emmanuel Frimpong developing at Arsenal, the Gunners will have an excellent midfield.

Theo Walcott is a player who has the faith of the Arsenal manager and despite the criticism he has had regarding his decision making, it is undeniable that he is a player who has progressed immensely in the last season. The England International scored 13 goals and made eight assists including performing well in important games like Chelsea and Tottenham. He is certain to be one of the most important players in the future.

On the Arsenal official website, it was stated that the signing of Gervinho was imminent and it does seem like the Gunners have added the winger to their squad for the next season. He is another player who is very talented and though he can develop further at Arsenal, he is a player with a lot of potential and at the age of 24, he can also be an important player for the Gunners.

If Wenger has belief in the abilities of Gervinho and especially Walcott, then these two can be part of the team in the long term. Also, even if Nasri does leave the club, it is highly likely that Wenger will bring in another winger to supplement the team because he will know that an untested 17-year-old will be a huge gamble.

Also, it must be remembered that Arsenal have talented youngsters, Ryo Miyaichi and Wellington Silva in the squad who are exciting prospects as well. Though Wellington has not had a good spell at Levante on loan due to disciplinary issues, he is very talented and with proper guidance, he could be successful in the future.

Ryo Miyaichi is a youngster who needs no introduction for most Arsenal fans as they eagerly wait to see him in the Arsenal's tour of Asia and Wenger confirmed that the Japanese youngster will make the trip. He has undoubted potential and with his successful loan spell with Feyenoord, he has already taken a step closer to the first team though he is unlikely to get a work permit to play in this season.

The Japanese winger still has a long way to go but with talent and the right attitude, Miyaichi is a player who could be destined for the Arsenal first team in the future. He is capable of trickery but needs to work on his end product and with time, his decision making will improve as well.

Also, Arsenal have signed two Barcelona youngsters Jon Miquel Toral and Hector Bellerin, who are also interesting prospects. Bellerin, in particular, is a player who is very exciting with the winger boasting of excellent pace and good end product. With the team so strong in this area especially with a number of versatile youngsters, the question is whether Arsenal need to spend another £6 million on a youngster.

Wenger should understand their priorities in this season and should plan accordingly to strengthen it. It is clear that Arsenal need another strong Centre Back, preferably experienced in the Premiership and also, if Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri or both of them leave, Arsenal will need to make high quality signings like bringing in Juan Mata of Valencia.

It is clear that the Gunners have good depth regarding youngsters in midfield and though Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is an excellent young prospect, the Gunners should not spend the money on him especially in this transfer window when they have more pressing concerns.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Arsenal FC Opinion: Why Arsenal Will Not Win Trophies Unless Arsene Wenger Spends in the Transfer Window

The Arsenal supporters have been treated to another week of transfer rumors regarding the uncertain futures of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy, three important players for the Gunners. Gael Clichy signed for Manchester City yesterday after passing a medical earlier and the "Invincibles" of 2003-04 have officially been dismantled and it is important for the Arsenal manager to build a strong team capable of winning trophies.

Samir Nasri has only one year left on his contract and it is uncertain whether he will sign a new contract to stay at the club, next year. However, if he does not sign a new contract, it is expected that Arsenal will sell the midfielder in the summer and hopefully, use them to sign the replacement for the midfielder. According to the Telegraph, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United are interested in the French midfielder and there is a good possibility that Arsenal will probably get a sizable fee despite him having only one year on his contract because of his impressive performances in the first half of the season.

Also, it seems like Cesc Fabregas could finally complete his move to FC Barcelona as he is set to hold important talks with Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis regarding his move to the Spanish clubs, according to the Mirror. The Spanish International is arguably Arsenal's most important player and it will be extremely hard to replace the midfielder considering that the team has been built around him and him leaving the club couldn't have come at a worse time with Arsenal still looking to end their six year trophy drought.

Also according to the Metro, it seems like Arsenal have missed out on their target Ricky Alvarez, who will apparently sign for Inter Milan, due to their inability to reach an agreement with Velez Sarsfield due to their unwillingness to pay the £11 million they demanded. Though a number of supporters are decided on whether Ricky Alvarez will be a good signing or not, the fact remains that Arsene Wenger will have missed out on yet another transfer target due to their stubbornness to pay the ideal price for the player.

The transfer market has been undeniably inflated due to some clubs willing to pay over the odds to get their player and it has come to a situation where clubs are willing to wait till they extract the maximum possible money from another club. Wenger will understand that the resentment from Arsenal fans are at an all-time high and he will understand that his job will be on the line if Arsenal fail to end their trophy drought.

The summer couldn't have got to a worse start with some important players wanting to leave the club while the club yet to find buyers for players, who are not important to the club. There is still a little less than two months left to go in the transfer market but with the Gunners having a tough fixture list in August, it is imperative that the players who come in have established a relationship with their team mates.

Arsenal have been linked with a number of centre backs in the summer after failing to be solid in defence in the last few seasons. However, the Gunners are yet to reach an agreement regarding their transfer targets and as a result, there have been no new additions to the first team despite the team starting its training for the next season yesterday.

According to the Telegraph, Arsenal are interested in signing Bolton defender Gary Cahill but apparently, Chelsea have joined in the race after appointing Andre Villas Boas as the new manager of the club. The reason why fans are getting frustrated in the summer is that the clubs cannot close a deal quickly which shows their lack of ruthlessness in the summer window, especially when the Champions Manchester United have already signed three talented players - Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea - for the future.

The Bolton defender has only a year left on his contract and has a release clause of £17 million on his contract. The club knows that it is highly unlikely that he will extend his contract with Bolton and that is why they are prepared to sell him if the clubs can meet the release clause. Arsenal have been tracking the deal for sometime now but their inability to complete the deal within a few weeks has given Chelsea a good chance of landing the centre back though the Blues have strong defenders in John Terry, Brainslav Ivanovic, David Luiz and Alex.

If Arsenal do miss out on the defender, it will be because they failed to pay the required amount to get the player and Wenger and Gazidis will understand that Bolton would not have been prepared to sell the defender for anything less than £15 million. It is understandable that Arsenal do not want to pay over the odds for a player but a more pragmatic approach needs to be taken by Wenger and the board.

The Gunners are playing in the same league as Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United and though it is admirable that they can compete with them without spending much, they have not been able to win trophies, which is one of the reasons that their quality players might depart. The point is that if Arsenal do not show intent in the summer and sign quality players for the Gunners, the sad fact is that the quality players at the club are bound to get disillusioned with the direction of the club.

Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie are quality players, who are bound to attract the interests of many successful clubs but the problem is that they have not won trophies to show and at the end of the day, it is trophies which determine how successful a player has been in his career. Arsene Wenger's policies in the transfer market in the last few years have been questionable and it is inevitable that fans will protest again it in the future.

Another reason why Arsenal need to be faster than other clubs regarding their transfer targets is that they will not be able to compete with Manchester City or Chelsea on transfer targets with regard to wages or transfer fee and the selling club will always look to sell to the highest bidder. In other words, Chelsea and City can afford to play the waiting game and move in to steal targets if they wish to, not that it will be preferred by either club.

The last home game of the season against Aston Villa had one of the worst atmospheres at the Emirates due to the fans being unsatisfied with the team's commitment and performances and also, chanting to express their displeasure at the rise in ticket prices, which has caused some groups of supporters to protest against it.

Also, Stan Kroenke, who is nicknamed "Silent Stan" by some, has taken control of Arsenal and has been ratified by the Premier League as the Arsenal owner though Alisher Usmanov is refusing to give in without a fight as he is unwilling to sell his shares. However, being the main owner, Kroenke's deafening silence is not going down too well with the supporters, who want to be certain of the direction in which he wants the club to move in.

After their sensational collapse towards the end of the season, it was expected that they would seal the signings of a few established players early in the summer, especially to create more positive and optimistic thoughts going into the new season. However, it has not been the case and it could be another summer of Déjà vu for the Gunners as they fight to hold on to Fabregas while they continue to be parsimonious when it comes to sealing new signings.

Last summer, the Gunners were linked with a number of defenders, who were experienced in the Premiership but Wenger dithered in the market and it led them to finally sign Sebastien Squillaci, who has been unimpressive to say the least. Arsene Wenger knew that it was a key area to strengthen and yet only brought in Laurent Koscielny, who he later admitted that he was intended to play only around 20 games this season, and Sebastien Squillaci, who was never good enough.

In the summer of 2009, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure were both sold by the Gunners to Manchester City for a healthy transfer fee but failed to reinvest in the squad with only Thomas Vermaelen signed by Wenger. Though Vermaelen is one of Wenger's best acquisitions, the failure to replace Adebayor was crucial as Robin van Persie was injured for a long time while Eduardo never really recovered from his horrific ankle injury.

Though fans are the only ones who are faithful to the club at all times, the recent statements from Samir Nasri will not go down well with them though they understand that lack of trophies is always bound to influence players. According to Skysports News, Nasri told the News of the World: "Money has never been my motivation. I have always taken decisions from a football point of view.

"With no titles under your belt, you can't be in the list for the Ballon D'Or. I came to England to get trophies because I haven't won anything in my career, apart from an U17 European Championship in 2004. We all need to get out of our comfort zone, to grow up and test ourselves." added the French winger.

Nasri managed only a solitary goal since February and was as culpable as anyone else for Arsenal's slump towards the end of the season. It is not only the manager's responsibility to win things; players also should shoulder the responsibility and it is not likely to go down well with Arsenal fans. If there are players who are not satisfied with the team, it is better to sell them rather than keeping unsatisfied players at the club.

However, it is not the players who will be going that are going to help Arsenal win trophies and the players who stay and the new signings should step up and help Wenger and the club to win trophies once again. Though it may sound far-fetched, Arsenal need a fresh start after their sufferings in the last few seasons and with some players coming in to replace some outgoing players, however experienced or important they might be, it could be a fresh start for the Gunners and they must show the fighting spirit in order to help the Gunners have a successful season next year.

I am also a featured columnist on Bleacher Report  and also, you can follow me on Twitter.