AFCB round-up: Squillaci medical confirmed, thoughts on Theo’s development

AFCB editor Andrew Weber rounds up the day’s news…

Squillaci to sign

Spanish club Sevilla have confirmed that Sebastien Squillaci is heading to London today to complete a medical and sign for Arsenal.

“Defender Sebastien Squillaci is tonight travelling to London to have a medical at Arsenal, the club he will be transferred to after an agreement was reached by the two clubs pending the results of the medical.”

It’s obviously exciting and positive news: for all of my personal question marks that surrounds Squillaci’s quality as a player we are in desperate need of a fourth central defender and he certainly ticks that box.

Squillaci’s arrival should ensure a healthy level of cover and competition is maintained at the back, the importance of which will become more apparent as the season wears on.

Theo’s development

After Theo Walcott’s excellent hat-trick against Blackpool over the weekend, both Arsene Wenger and Walcott have commented on his future as a player and the likelihood of him finishing his career as a striker.

The manager said:

“I believe that Theo can score goals because when he was young he scored goals. I know it goes a bit away between 18 and 21, when players mature and adapt to the top level. But I think Theo can score goals again now, and I am convinced he will finish in the middle. First of all he has good timing of his runs, and he senses when you have to go behind the defenders. And then he has electric pace – once he is a yard behind a central defender, nobody in the world can catch him.”

“He is developing still and maybe what happened to him is part of his development. He was too nervous in front of goal, he rushed his movements. Now he is composed, and once a player feels and understands how to be composed and calm in front of goal, it opens their mind. We forget at what pace he does things, like when het cuts the ball back. When he goes forward he can only cut the ball back because no-one can keep up with him!”

While Walcott said:

“The boss signed me as a striker but I’ll happily play anywhere for Arsenal. There’s a lot of competition up front now with Marouane and Robin, so as long as I provide goals and pop up with one now and then I’m happy with that. But if the boss wants me to play up front I’m buzzing from that. I’m working in training up front so I’ll go from there.”

They are interesting comments, particularly the one from Wenger about players losing their goalscoring touch between the ages of 18 and 21.

I think sometimes we forget how young these players are and fail to appreciate that their development happens more gradually than perhaps we would prefer.

Walcott is a perfect case in point: after bursting onto the scene with his raw pace his tendency to make poor decisions have frustrated fans enough to believe that he may never develop into the player that Wenger believes he can be.

Carlos Vela, Denilson and Abou Diaby are three other players that perhaps appear to be developing more slowly than supporters would like and often go from thrilling one week to frustrating the next.

But perhaps we need to stand back a little bit from the situation, understand the inconsistency that youth brings and give the young players the time and support they need to fulfill their potential, even if it means less trophies in the short-term.

It’s just a thought.

Have your say on the AFCB news round-up by leaving a comment.



  1. Fair point about giving the young players time to develop, and I do agree that we Arsenal fans expect a bit too much from them is because of the example set by the captain himself, Fabregas. Many people forget he is only 23 and we expect him to deliver week in week out, although undoubtedly Cesc is on another level in terms of class.The other young players, namely, Vela, Wilshere,Ramsey, Diaby, Song and Walcott have shown potential and when we as a team are on-song, the famous saying of ‘we can beat anyone’ pops up, thus the weight of expectation on their shoulders to develop. Their performance against Blackpool was magnificent without the World Cup stars and Nasri, I really hope this potential and mental strength that Wenger never seems to stop mentioning shows over the next few games and we can have gain an early foothold on the league table, our next few games provide potential bananaskins but are winnable fixutres till Chelsea come October 3rd..come on Gunners!

    Also, the signing of Squillaci is one more jigsaw to our incomplete squad, I seriously hope that Wenger signs a couple more players by the end of the week. Schwarzer I don’t think he will sign with Fulham’s insistence on a higher price but it is imperative we sign a Keeper. I hope it’s Stekelenburg and even though a long shot, Given. A DM would be welcome but I doubt this will happen.Wenger has too much faith on Denilson, Song and Diaby…one can only wish…

  2. Still not convinced by Theo. First touch too often lets him down and against stronger teams he just seems to be lacking something. Be happy to be proved wrong but I doubt he will be a regular first XI – more likely to be the impact sub in last 20-30 minutes. I am hapy that finally Arsene has actually bought someone and he is a defender! With TV, Koscielny, Djorou and Song as back up we should have plenty of cover unless the injury curse strikes again. Still it was nice to join the 6-0 club but our defence and keeper will need to be focused against Longball Rovers next weekend. Great to see Rosicky in form and fit – he’s better than Nasri I reckon. And how good was it to see Cesc and RVP back in action together. If we get that new keeper my optimism will be soaring!

  3. we need a new DM, blah blah blah. Er, have you not seen Alex Song play? Why buy a DM when we already have one? Only requirement now is a new ‘keeper and a little bit more work defensively. Hopefully one of our new defenders will have worked out how to mark Drogba.

  4. Good news if we do indeed sign Squillaci, as to a ‘keeper, it should be noted that Schwarzer was not in Fulham’s squad for the game against Man.U. The Reason Being that he is injured! At his age he is only likely to play for one season if we sign him. Then the whole process starts again.

    Given is also injured he’s receiving treatment for a serious shoulder injury sustained last season.

    Do we need anymore bed blockers in the Emirates casualty department?

  5. @ Jay – Yep, the statement “my personal question marks” implies that I know very little about him.

    @ GR-D – Agreed, we are completely covered in the defensive midfield area. If Squillaci signs a new goalkeeper would complete our squad.

  6. Theo was immense. It was like that old feeling when TH14 used to go haring forward and you’d find yourself rising out of your seat. Congrats to the kid for showing all the suckers. He gets better with every game. And what about when a certain number 4 ambled nonchalantly on to the pitch? So now I’m just wondering where our old friend Ice Hammer is – who wrote on this blog back in May, regarding Cesc, ‘the man has gone, it has already been confirmed.’ Funny how we don’t seem to hear from these guys unless there’s something negative in the air… You know what, Ice, if you do read this, maybe you shouldn’t listen to so much ‘Talk-Shit’ radio? Up the Gunners!

  7. Arsenal still needs a good defense line up.Both Sagna & Clichy are not reliable players.Their cross-balls are not effective. Will the Gunners allow easy goals from counter attacks & set-pieces for the opponent teams in this new season? Will the strikers have to score a goal from many attempts at the opponent’s goal area as usual?

  8. If we have players that need development, why aren’t they sent on loan? Why do we have to suffer for their development needs? Our title rivals aren’t developing players on a large scale, they throw one or two maximum, we have many development projects.

    As for Theo, this is just 1 game, I’m sure if we go back to his performance vs Rovers 2 years ago (, and then after that, became crap again. When the pressure is on, he hasn’t risen up unless he has started on the bench. I hope he succeeds, but why even speak about him doing well in 1 game against a defence that allowed him? The test is against the teams that lock him down, can he rise up above that?

    I say, players that need development, send them to learn on loan somewhere else, we need trophies yesterday!

  9. Must say this is one of the better post, I’ve read recently. I don’t usually post comments but must, over all the negativity!

    My god, you people must have a very unfulfilling life! It’s always, we need this player, we need that player. When we do have a couple of new faces, they are never good enough.
    Didn’t people question what the hell is a 16 year old starting over our mighty PV4?
    Didn’t people question why would we buy a player no one went in for in the name of Eduardo de Silva?
    Didn’t people question the quality of someone named Thomas Vermaelen, that he’s not Premier league material?
    Didn’t people call Song an absolutely waste of time just a couple of seasons ago?
    The list goes on……….

    I know Eduardo didn’t exactly become an Arsenal legend, but was it his fault? You would be blind or lying, if you tell me he wasn’t becoming one of the deadliest striker in the premier league / world, until that terrible tackle.

    What we need isn’t more players, what we need is to get the right balance between attack and defense. We put too much emphasizes on attack just like the 2003 season and end up shipping too many goals at the other end. We used the same set of players and organized better and end up loosing only 16 goals for the entire season and went on 49 games unbeaten run. Our problem is that the defense is not being protected enough and not playing as a unit. Almunia has his weakness but so did a lot of other goalkeepers and including Lehman. Almunia was one of the best keepers in the season before last. He had his problem last season. What he needs is support not constant whining. If he is as arrogant as Lehman, I’m sure the voice for a new keeper would not be as loud. I agree Almunia does look shaky, but he only ever gets negative reaction, no one ever gave him any credit. That’s truly unfair!
    Be a fan and get behind the team!

  10. We definitely need a DM just in case Alex Song out. Almunia is really not bad, we can carry on with him. Bravo Theo, keep it up.

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