With just two games left in the Premier League season and third place all but secured, I’m going to follow Arsene Wenger’s example and talk about transfer today.
I’m going to keep it short and simple. I am going to name the positions that I feel we need new players and also a realistic example of the type of players who could fill those positions.
To get straight to the point I feel we need to make three or four signings this off-season: a goalkeeper, one or two central defenders (depending on who leaves in the break) and a striker.
Word from the manager is that he is going to conclude whatever deals he is working on before the World Cup starts, just like Tomas Rosicky’s signing in 2006. Let’s hope it all works out.
In goals I feel both Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski have lost the faith of the manager and the supporters with their error-strewn performances this year. Fabianski has time on his side and the raw ability to recover from the horrendous start to his Arsenal career, but for Almunia there really is no going back. I believe Wenger needs to bring in a good-quality goalkeeper of decent size, with reasonable amount of experience, to come in with intention of playing the entire season as No 1.
Realistic Target: Manuel Neuer (Schalke)
With Alex Song’s ability to play at centre-back in emergency situations, we need to start next season with four reliable central-defenders (not including Mikael Silvestre). Thomas Vermaelen is a shoe-in while Johan Djourou will be back from injury, but question-marks remain over both William Gallas’ and Sol Campbell’s participation next season. Personally I think Campbell will stay and Gallas will go and if that is the case, I would like to see Djourou promoted to the first-choice position and a new signing come in to fill the fourth spot.
Realistic Target: Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart)
At the start of this season our 4-3-3 formation contained a frontline of Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner, an ideal balance of physical power, pace and trickery. When van Persie and Bendtner both suffered serious injuries and Arshavin played alone up front that balance was lost, the high-pressure game disappeared and we struggled to score nearly as many goals. The manager knew this and immediately went about recruiting Marouane Chamakh from Bordeaux to provide the physical outlet we so desperately needed, however the Moroccan was under contract and the French club would not let him go.
Signing Chamakh this summer is imperative to our ability to score goals next season, not because he will get bucket-loads by himself, but because it will ensure that we will never go without a strong player capable of leading the line. The 4-3-3 formation that we started the season with relies on hard-work from the front line to push up high and pressure the opposing defenders and allowing Chamakh to rotate with Bendtner and van Persie will mean we stay fresh during the injury-free periods and cope well when we’re under the strain.
Realistic Target: Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux)
Have your say on potential transfer targets in the comments (and please, please, please try and stay on the topic!).