Jury still out on Babel

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Babel celebrates the win over EnglandYoung hopefuls play their part in epic semi-final showdown

Arsenal’s Justin Hoyte and Ajax’s Ryan Babel played their part in an amazing game overnight that saw the Dutch win 13-12 on penalties to progress to the final of the UEFA U21 Championships. I made some comments yesterday about the opportunity the game gave both players to impress Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger but somewhat predictably, neither player really took their chance.

Babel showed us what we already know; that he is a skilfull and direct player with a tendency to be wasteful in front of goal – despite confidently slotting his penalty in the shootout. The jury is still out on the Dutchman but Babel has one more opportunity in the final against Serbia & Montenegro to show Arsenal supporters what they will be missing out on if Wenger does not bring the Ajax forward to the club.

Hoyte kept mostly to his script as well, staying solid at the back but rarely getting forward to support the attack. The Arsenal man did show some metal to slot his second spot-kick after missing earlier in the shootout, but there’s not much else to read into his performance so I’ll leave it there.

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Will Real Madrid sign Jose Antonio Reyes after his match-winning performance?Reyes’ value set to increase while Ljungberg pledges future

In other real news of note is that three Spanish clubs are wanting to sign Jose Antonio Reyes. With Reyes previously stating that he does not want to return to England the best that Arsenal’s supporters can hope for is that the improved interest in the Spaniard will raise his transfer fee. I’ve already spoken about the probability of selling Reyes for a bigger price after his performance against Mallorca and if they can offload Reyes for anything more than the £10.5 million they paid for him it would be an excellent result.

From one player leaving the club to another player staying, Fredrik Ljungberg says he is prepared to stay with the club next season and fight for his place in the starting team. The news hasn’t exactly thrilled Arseblogger but Ljungberg’s comments are music to my ears. Without a doubt my favourite player in his prime, I still think Ljungberg has a lot to offer Arsenal on and off the field. Thankfully, there are some others that also agree.

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Arsenal Season ReviewBack to the future

Finally, I thought I’d mention that earlier today I came across a good article from Goal.com. It focuses on last season’s big talking points and looks at the task ahead of Arsenal as they try to improve in 2007/08. It’s a nice, balanced read and puts some much needed perspective on the challenges facing the club in the near future. If you’re in the mood you can also check out the Arsenal FC Blog Season Review as well. As always, I encourage you to voice your opinions by leaving a comment.

Let us know what you think about Hoyte, Babel, Reyes or anything else by leaving a comment.


17 thoughts on “Jury still out on Babel

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. SF

    I’ve personally discounted Babel, we need an LW and from the way he plays, we have similsr types of players in the team already. i tell you that DRENTHE can do that job for us. Chelsea is in just because they want to block us to move for him. You know, fans are not seeing it but Chelsea has been working towards our downfall since their big spender PETER KENYON took over.To move up, they think they have to cut down Arsenal. First outmanouvering us for SWP, then tapping Cole, then trying to buy Henry and later taking away one of our youth coaches DRUMMEL(can’t remember the full name). So even if they don’t need the player ‘cos AFC wants him they will try and upstage us. It’s a complex they have about us and they’ll do this untill they finally fall into the LEEDS trap, which is obviuos looking at their expenditure and the losses they’re incurring year on year. i don’t think ABRAMOVICH will continue to pre-finance their over-spending indefinitely. And sometimes it saddens me that AW don’t see this and restructure the team into a title winning team,even though he’s been given 40+ to do this. We need to correct PS problem by getting a supporting CB, an LW and another striker in case of injury or TH14 is unable to get 22-25 goals we expect from him. DRENTHE is the guy we need let’s do everything and get him for LW. HOYTE will only improve, he needs to work on his going-forward and crossing, that’s it. I’m getting worried as the days get by for pre-season. CAN WE COMPETE EVEN AGAINST SPURS WITH THE PLAYERS WE HAVE?

  3. I’m also of the opinion that freddie has a lot to offer, his hard work and dedication on the field when fit is admirable. However, Freddie’s wages I’m told is about 70k a week, so with low work rate, injuries and loss of pace, should we keep him and continue to pay 70k per week? He won’t go anywhere ‘cos he can’t get paid that much and sit on the bench that’s why he wants to stay. I think we should give him one more season; I have a feeling that he will contribute immensely next season.

  4. Chelsea has got three free tranfers this season of quality squad players (what with depth in their squad being all they needed) so to say they are going to go bankrupt is silly. They have bought their squad now, Shev and Ballack will have settled in and they scare me a lot more than Man Utd next season.

    If rumours are to be believed, Trezegeut and Babel will be our next signings. With Trez getting older, he will fit in will competing with TH/VP/Ade – serious competetion in positions has always proved to encourage our players to fight for their position and Trez, Wenger and Henry have a history, he should settle better than Shev last year.
    Ditto Babel, as we already have Rosicky, Ljungberg, Hleb and Walcott(?), hopefully it would make FL and AH work harder to prove themselves worthy. Next season I don’t see us playing all season with a set 11, players will have to prove that they are worth picking every match day and with this set of players having mostly settled together, they should be able to all work together.
    The back 4 is different, Clichy;Gallas;Toure;Eboue should start to gel and stability is needed there more than anything until the ANC.
    Lehmann, Alumnia and Fab will all challange each other to be the best.
    It seems scary now because we haven’t really purchased any one yet but bar the same injury problems of the past two seasons, next season is looking pretty good now the fixture list shows we could start better than anyone.

    Still loving the blog by the way.

  5. Samuel

    I wasn’t being silly, just being factual. For the past three years Chelsea, lost 145+, 140+ and 80+. Their wage bill is 75% of thier revenue, ours 55% and will reduce further due to the revenue coming from the new stadium.Theirs will continue to rise as they keep on paying higher wages. Their manager, chief executive and other positions receive higher remunerations than their counterparts in other clubs. Their top players, Lampard, Terry currently at 100k wants to be paid at least 120K and on and on. So they are actually haemorraging money and they are not learning to put their finances in order. Do you know that they were on the verge of bankrupcy, owing 90+ before ABRAMOVICH took over?
    Again, you never talked about chelsea’s diabolical plans against us. I was also expecting you to talk about the weekness of our CB position as Swiss Tony as a buck-up is very shaky for me in particular considering that he lacks pace and that Arsenal defends upfield. I know Djourou can be relied upon there but in case we suffer injuries? supporting CB to me is crucial. You also didn’t comment about my choice of DRENTHE instead of BABEL at LW. I want to hear from you.

  6. Harlan – Thanks again for your comments. They are always interesting to read. I’ll give you my thoughts on some of your questions:
    Chelsea – I don’t think they have anything against Arsenal personally, we are just one of their competitors and in this business clubs like Chelsea do whatever they can to beat us. If that means signing our coaches then it means they think we’re doing something right and want in, not that they are trying to “sabotage” us.
    Centre-Back worries – I personally feel we may be weak again at the back next season. I think you’re right in saying that Senderos has some weaknesses that cannot be fixed but he also has some wonderful strengths that are an asset to our defence – namely his strength, height and direct approach to defending. I said at the start of the transfer that I thought we needed another player of his type but with better foot skills (such as Woodgate) but the truth is there aren’t too many around and we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got.
    Drenthe – You already know my thoughts on Drenthe. It’s hard to judge a player based on four performances in an U21 competition and I am not prepared to make a call on him until I see him turn out for his club. I would welcome him to Arsenal as he is still young but I would also prefer Florent Malouda in the LM role above all else. As for Babel, I think he is a decent signing because of his age but if he did sign I would prefer us to still get another left- or right-sided midfielder as well. Maybe we could sign both Babel and Drenthe?
    Curious comment – There is one comment you made that I don’t quite understand. You said: “We need to correct PS problem by getting a supporting CB, an LW and another striker in case of injury or TH14 is unable to get 22-25 goals we expect from him.”
    If you think we need another striker then why are you so opposed to signing Babel? He can play up front or out wide and his versatility would mean he will prove useful over the course of a season. Any thoughts or clarification on my comments?
    Samuel – Nice to hear from you again. I think having decent competition in all positions is a very important part of a football club. As such, getting in the likes of Babel or Malouda will create the necessary competition to get the likes of Hleb and Rosicky really firing next year. What do you think?

  7. It has widely been discussed around the blogs but the only real trouble with our defence is a lack of real defence coach like keown who got us to the champions league with barely 3 defenders in their own positions two seasons ago. Next season it is very unlikely we will have to rely on Senderos in the first team against the likes of Drogba and if rumours of Sagna are true, we won’t be seeing him at right back again with 3 (+ Djorou) in front of him. Personally I like Senderos as a back up and with Toure and Gallas, he isn’t going to be much more until seasons away he notices he can get first team football at a lesser club or a slower league.

    With regards to Chelsea, I’m not saying they haven’t been splashing it around. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the club was sold to the russian to pay off the debts. They have bought their main squad now and are only dealing on the cheap now when needed; not giving in to their whole squad asking for pay rises and getting rid of dead weight (swp). I hate to say it, but they aren’t going to do a leeds, in fact I see the opposite happening now mourino has learnt that money doesn’t mean trophys.

    All i’ve seen of Malouda is the world cup and Babel in the past couple days so I don’t feel I’m the person to ask but comparing their performances i’ve seen, babel seems as good and ten million cheaper. He seems like Walcott, a rough diamond who could become a Henry in the future. But we already have enough potential greats in our team, I’d like to see Wenger either let them prove their worth or buy something that is closer to the greatness Arsenal expect.

    It’s been a while since wenger picked a stunner out of obscurity on the cheap though, i wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen this summer. Just who seems to be the question though

  8. Samuel“we already have enough potential greats in our team, I’d like to see Wenger either let them prove their worth or buy something that is closer to the greatness Arsenal expect.”

    I agree. We have a team capable of challenging if they stay fit. We just need something new like a new winger to freshen things up. The article from Goal.com suggests the same thing. By the way, where are you from Samuel?

  9. Samuel and SF

    I can’t complain, you’re spot on everything you’ve said. while Malouda can be a good buy, his price will make it impossible for us to go for him. There is a Mexican called Andres Guadardo who on Youtube looks great as LM, direct and very strong and keeps on line, rarely cutting in and score great goals. He will come very cheap, however, sometimes the clips can be deceiving. Well trust AW, he says we should trust him and I know he can do a job for us.

  10. At the moment I am a student at Kingston back home in Thatcham Berkshire. I’m quite tempted to spunk my next loan on tickets for the grove but i’ll guess i’ll have to stick with itv’s new rubbish version of match of the day next season.

  11. SF

    Sure you can seach for Andres Guardardo on the net. I viewed his clip when a fan brought it onto BBC 606; can’t remember when but you can search for him, he looked very good and believed to be one of the top players in Mexico. He is the kind of unknown guys signable by AW, you know he prefers the unsung heroes. Let’s all become his unofficial scouts, just for Arsenal.

  12. SF

    Have you heard? Henry is gone,I really feel betrayed. He’s collected Judas money, unsettled the club and gone. But why only 16+ when he’s left with three years on his contract? I;m afraid we’re going to struggle’ unless we replace him as quickly as possible with someone equally good. Well, clearing my heard, it won’t be bad for Arsenal, his attack on the Board because of Dein became obvious to me that he can’t be retained. His absence will help us to reduce our wage bill by about 6+ and perhaps manage to keep a wage cap. Let’s pray and be hopeful, no one is bigger than Arsenal. We are really entering a new era.

  13. Personally it hurts much more personally, our legend may be gone to Barca, forever 🙁
    I believe that we can without him, we have great players but if Henry is really off to Barca we need world-class player, no mather what position we need one.
    New striker?
    For me Berbatov, Torres or Eto’, none else

  14. Gooner4ever

    Anelka can hold the forth for a while. We can also buy Huntelaar, a proven goal scorer who scored 34 out of 43 appearances for Ajax last season. Ya, we need a lot of prayers in times like these.

  15. I have heard about the Thierry Henry report and posted accordingly. Just refresh the homepage for the latest post. I’m in shock to be honest. What do you guys think about it all? Leave your comments on the other post.

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