Arsenal’s Ghost Signings – Part Two

The latest musings of Spanish Fry

Casper the Friendly GhostLooking solely at the results and performances from this season it would be easy to conclude that it is essential for Arsenal to dip into the transfer market and make a number of big signings. What this conclusion doesn’t incorporate is the fact that – without spending a cent – Arsenal will be making a significant number of ghost signings in the summer. I of course refer to the players who have spent large amounts of the season injured and – should they return to fitness – will seem like new signings for the club. I thought it would be good to take a look at the players whose seasons have been severely hampered by injury and investigate the effect that their prospective returns could have on Arsenal’s 2007-2008 season.

Robin van Persie (and Thierry Henry) was badly missed this seasonGhost Signing #2 – Robin van Persie

The statistics speak volumes about Robin van Persie. Despite being out of action since injuring his foot against Manchester United on the 17th of January and playing just 21 out of a possible 38 games this season van Persie finished as Arsenal’s top scorer with 11 goals in the Premiership. Add to this another seven assists and throw in the consistent unavailability of striker-partner and club captain Thierry Henry you can understand why Arsenal has struggled so badly for goals in the latter part of the season.

Until his injury van Persie had been – in most supporters eyes – Arsenal’s best player this season. When he was on form van Persie was an irreplaceable figure and consistently dominated -particularly in games against the smaller clubs in the league. It is no coincidence that Arsenal’s results were so indifferent against the lower-placed sides following van Persie’s injury – they lacked an authoritative striker with the ability to finish the multitude of chances that the midfield were creating. Whilst Emmanuel Adebayor and Julio Baptista got into the right positions they consistently wasted chances to score.

Next season will be a big one for van Persie. He will return to action after an extended physical and mental rest and has spoken of his desire to get back on the pitch and score goals for Arsenal. Getting van Persie fit will be one of the biggest priorities for Arsene Wenger and his medical staff and will go a long way to lifting the club’s inconsistent performances in the English Premier League this season.

Despite what some supporters say, Emmanuel Eboue’s signing is a good thing for ArsenalEboue signs new contract. Good news for Arsenal?

In the only news of note today, Arsenal right-back Emmanuel Eboue has signed a new long-term contract to keep him at the club for an undisclosed time. Arsene Wenger is reportedly delighted with the new deal and I must say, so am I. Eboue has received a lot of criticism this season for his attitude and performances – most of which has been justified – but even the harshest of Arsenal supporters must understand that his technical ability cannot be questioned. Whilst Eboue has been put largely to shame by opposite wing-back Gael Clichy this season, Arsene Wenger will understand that he has the ability and dedication required to lift his game for the next campaign. Anyone who questions this need only look at his performances during Arsenal’s run to the UEFA Champions League final and his games for the Ivory Coast at the World Cup in Germany.

Read Part One of ‘Arsenal’s Ghost Signings’

Read previous columns by Spanish Fry here



  1. Did you notice that a BBC columnist placed Eboue as one of his players of the season – the only arsenal player worthy of inclusion! I’m not so sure I’d agree with that. My vote would have probably been for Clichy.

  2. Yeah, the columnist was Garth Crooks. He obviously hasn’t watched enough football to know what he is talking about. There is absolutely no way that Eboue can be placed in the Premiership team of the season. As for Clichy, I’d have to say that Evra at Manchester has had a better year than our boy.

  3. Quoted from Garth Crooks:

    “EMMANUEL EBOUE (Arsenal)

    Emmanuel is a prodigious talent, one of the best right-backs I have seen for some considerable time. He is audacious in attack and uncompromising in defence. There are not many full-backs who can defend and attack with the same intensity and he has displayed that time and time again. The Ivorian displays the style of a Brazillian player and we are not used to seeing someone like this in the Premiership.”

    I’ve highlighted the important points:

    (1) Yes, he is a prodigious talent.
    (2) No, he isn’t the best right back I’ve seen for some considerable time – not yet anyway
    (3) Not this season he wasn’t.
    (4) Not this season he hasn’t.

    Poor choice Garth, you should be ashamed.

  4. we will be out of it by october 15th both Henry and Van Persie have not had a full year since 04, Robin not even being on the side yet haha, it will be the same lackluster preformances and lame excuses by Wenger capped off high rollers winning everything and the money the supporters spent on the club going to the boards bank accounts

  5. I am expecting a massive season for RVP next year. Along with Drogba, Ronaldo, and Jimmy Bullard, this was looking to be RVP’s year. I am a chelsea fan, but I am hoping that RVP gets back to the form he was showing at the start of the season just gone, and hope that Arsenal challenge Man Utd and Chelsea for the title so it can be an exciting premiership race.

  6. Some nice, fair, balanced comments there diddy. Appreciate this from someone who supports a club other than Arsenal. I also am expecting a big year from van Persie but we will have to wait and see how things pan out.

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