Things at Arsenal are about to get mental + World Cup, here I come!

Vermaelen has come in, but there will be more.

We’re just 10 days away from the first game of the season now and things have gone eerily quiet in the world of Arsenal. Suspiciously quiet even. Extremely suspiciously quiet. Sure, there’s been murmurs about Arsene Wenger putting in a bid for Chelsea’s Salamon Kalou after the declaration that he has given up on Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh but in the positions that matter, central defence and central midfield, very little has been going on.

Personally I think it’s all going to change this week in a big, big way. In fact transfer-wise, I think this could well be one of the biggest weeks in Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal manager. ‘Why?’, you ask. Because if Arsenal want to win the league – and make no mistake, we are a very, very good chance – then two new players need to be brought in.

There is no way that Wenger will go into next season with an attacking unit that has the potential to win the title and make a really strong mark on Europe, without improving his defensive quality. At the end of last season he identified the defence as the one area of the team that required improvement and with Thomas Vermaelen in and Kolo Toure out, numbers-wise and quality-wise we’re very much in the same position as we were last season.

I believe that if Philippe Senderos had stayed at the club (official confirmation or not he has gone) then Wenger may have viewed his defensive unit as being strong enough to do the job. But right now it’s clear to me – and it will be just as clear to Wenger – despite the obvious quality of William Gallas and the extreme potential of Vermaelen and Johan Djourou we’re still one quality centre-back short of making the improvement that the manager would have wanted.

He’s obviously not a stupid man, Wenger, but it would be bordering on ignorance to refrain from bringing in another centre-back and it is for that very reason that I am so confident that he will. 

Similarly, I see it as hugely unlikely that he will not bring in a defensive-minded midfielder given the change of formation and the numbers and quality we currently have in the squad in that position. And while there have been a lot of articles written in the papers and on the blogs about Wenger’s choice to go with 4-3-3, I’ve been surprised that no-one has pointed out the fact that by switching to only three midfielders it doesn’t actually decrease our need to sign a defensive midfielder.

Indeed, while a 4-4-2 under Wenger has usually accommodated two central midfielders, two attacking wingers/midfielders and two strikers, a 4-3-3 requires three central midfielders (one defensive, two slightly more attacking), two wingers and a striker. So while the switch undoubtedly utilises the strength of our passing and movement more effectively, it does not decrease the need for Wenger to bring in another player to do the holding job that he has surely earmarked for Alex Song.

In the past Wenger has suggested that Samir Nasri might be able to do that job and while he is obviously hoping to decrease the responsibility and pressure off the midfield anchor role, I still find it unthinkable that Wenger would not sign cover for (or someone to go in ahead of ) Song. The Cameroonian is a fine prospect and may well kick on from his excellent performances last season, but he will go missing during the African Cup of Nations and looking around our team there is no-one who quite does the job the way he does.

It is for these reasons that I know – not even hope – that signings will be announced throughout this week and the next. I’m not one to get on the bandwagon and big up speculation when it’s undeserved but mark my words: things at Arsenal are about to get mental.

* * *

Just an aside today I just want to share the excellent news that I have booked my flights to next year’s World Cup in South Africa. Yeaaaaaaaahhh!

I’m going to be flying into London from Brisbane the day before the World Cup starts and spending 10 days there before flying down to Johannesburg to spend a week soaking up the atmosphere. I’ll then be flying back to London before traveling around Europe before flying back home the day after the tournament. I’ll be documenting the whole thing as part of the Football Nomad project and I’ll undoubtedly be looking to catch up with as many Arsenal FC Bloggers as I can while I’m over there!

Anyway, that’s it. Have a lovely Wednesday and get ready for things to explode.

Have your say on any Arsenal transfer speculation or my World Cup news by leaving a comment.



  1. Wenger WILL NOT get both players. If he gets a defensive mid he will assume Song is good cover for defense and leave it at that. If he gets a defender he will leave the midfield position for Song. Surprisingly.. or Not surprisingly… he is after another striker.

  2. Man trip sounds awesome, have fun i know u will and im with u things are gonna start to get very MENTAL. so would u want kalou AW

  3. “Unlikely he will not” means likely he will. History tells us he won’t unless they’re 16 and French speaking. Watch for some minor activity on the last day and the sale of Cesc next summer.

  4. @ YON – I’m beginning to think, much as he liked Chamakh and possibly likes Kalou, that he’s using all the speculation surrounding signing a forward to sneak in and get players in the positions he needs. The evidence is there from our bid for Melo that he wants a defensive midfielder and I think he’ll get one. Plus, losing both Senderos and Toure means not bringing in a defender would be downright irresponsible.

  5. South African Gooner here. We’ll ignore the rugby and welcome you to SA. what games do you have tickets for?

  6. I could do with a bit of mental Arsene right now. I agree…he’s gonna shock the Premiership with transfer movement in the next 10 days or so (eventhough he said he’d be done by the Valencia match).

  7. If he would’ve just included vincent kompany in the deal for toure, we would’ve had cover for defensive midfield as well as central defense.
    Still hope he would go for it though.

  8. im hoping that you will come to cape town too while in south africa. that way you have a chance to meet the biggest gunner fans. wich is me and my son. lol!!!

  9. @ ray – I’ve eyed off some tickets but I think I’m going to wait until they become available again in November. It seems reasonably easy to get particular game tickets so I’m in no rush.

  10. Yon’s right about Song, we shouldn’t forget that Wenger has said that he sees him as a centre back. He may not even just be cover.

    Also, we shouldn’t think of Vermaelen as just someone with potential. Sure, he needs to get used to the Premiership and the way we play, but he’s no rookie and as Ajax skipper he brings leadership experience we’ve been lacking.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Song and Vermaelen end up as our first choice pairing.

    Add Gallas, Djourou, and Silvestre to that, and Wenger may well be thinking we have enough CBs.

  11. If you’re stopping in Singapore on the way to London, do let me know and I’ll try and meet up with you.

  12. to save most of us visiting the psychatrists, Wenger must annouce before the week runs out the signings of a CB & DM. new striker is outright nonsense judging from the new formation of 4-3-3 and agianst the bacdrop of noticeable deficiencies in our defence during last season campaign.

  13. Hope you’ve not jinxed the possiblity of new signings – we really need them.

    And I’m not quite as optimistic as your are. We’ll have no difficulty finishing in the top 4, maybe even third, but I don’t really see us compete for the title without any new players. And even then it’s not very likely.

  14. Just back from the Emirates Cup, long drive (someone crashed into me too) but well worth it. Does anyone have any pictures of the dug-out from the second day? I was in the row behind the players and staff with my son who would love to see himself there.

    Against Rangers we played Song in DM for the first half and Denilson in DM for the second. This suggests that Wenger is still undecided on who to give the position to. It may also suggest that we do not need to buy anyone for that position as we have two players who can do it (in Wenger’s opinion).

    Do you really think there will be signings to come?

  15. From the look of things he [AW] will bring in a DM and a striker. He knows that even with Edu, we need depth. I say Hunterlaar and Bliase.

  16. Nice post i agree dat new players are coming in , i think it should be a dm & cb and probably a new striker . I wish u best of luck when u arrive Africa(land of nature) and a oice stay in SA

  17. As a Manu fan, I want Manu to do well, but I’m not scared to admit that I like Arsenal. People might think I am a gloryhunter but I am not.I am a Manu fan, not an Arsenal fan. Anyway, I think Wenger should buy Servet Cetin for about £7million and Moussa Sissoko for £5million. I don’t think that Arsenal need a striker because they have Eduardo, Van Persie, Bendtner, Vela and Walcott and Arshavin can both play up front.

  18. I’m also flying to South Africa for world cup. I’ll be there from beginning to end.. 🙂 Tell you what.. it’s very hard waiting 1 year..!

  19. I think we atleast need two more players may be a quality central defence midfielder and a center back at least.We have so many options in the front,but if we get chamakh it will be good ,because if quality players are there if someone get injured don’t need to panic at that time.

  20. Hope youre right Andy, we desparately need reinforcements in CM and CD. We are just 2 signings away from being a very strong team, Arsene knows it and its up to him to make it happen.

    The trip sounds great mate, have fun. Im also flying to London in December for my first visit at the Emirates. 🙂

  21. To be honest, it has been the same thing all Arsenal fans ahve been talking about.
    We scored the same amount of goals as Man Utd last year but they finish 18 points ahead of us??
    It does not take a rocket scientist to work out where we need strengthening, and i am very surprised no one has netioned the need for another goal keeper, yes Alumunia is good, but what cover have we got??? Very poor cover in my eyes!!!
    We needed to strengthen our defence but instead he has removed our most consistent defender and replaced him with a 1st timer in English football, we need an accomplished centre back, a leaader, a TONY ADAMS, someone that when the balls are flying in the box in the final moments that we are all confident they will be dealt with, rather than when corners and high balls come in all Arsenal fans are whincing and praying. Simple we have the best attacking 5 in the Premiership, the best fullbacks in the league. Quite simple we need a big bastard at the back, and a holding player with a great touch that holds his position and lets the players play – Claude Makelele is a prime example – got no credit, wasnt plastered all over the papers but was the most important part of Chelseas success – I hope Wenger buys, and if he can just buy 2 more high quality players i can see us walking the league as Utd are weakened, and Chelsea are old and not as dangerous anymore, and Liverpool I think will be our main title contenders this year, but only if we get them 2 players in.

    Every day i openthe paper and see Arsenal are selling another player or a club has come in for one of our players – i am looking forward to seeing Wenger makes Sensational double Signing

  22. I agree! I think he’s been blowing a lot of smoke and is searching for the players you’ve just mentioned. He did try to get Felipe Melo, so why would he give up of getting a midfielder? And he is clearly after a defender.

    I have to say, i am very optimistic this year. It reminds me of 2007/2008 — the team is good, but everybody is writing us off. Injuries to Rosicky, Van Persie and Eduardo killed us then. With a bit more depth, we can win now.

  23. @ Ronaldo7 – not too fond of Owen7 eh? 🙂
    Anyway, is Servet Cetin that Turkish bloke Drogba is afraid of? what club does he play for?

  24. we’re 25m pounds of spending from possibly winning the title…i hope wenger realizes that and spend in these two positions. im also going to south africa next summer but only stopping in Johannesburg for two weeks. we need to have a plan for all traveling gooners to meet up n go clubbing!

  25. Do you reall have to this? Scaring me to death. You know damn well that we have been pussy-footng about Hangeland who actually wants to come even if he cant play CL with us. Then you know that DM is a gaping manhole councils would be sued for and you say what you said above? Do you mind? Just let it be!

  26. @ Goonerbeall – Heh heh. I’ve kept quite quiet about this throughout the transfer window but I’m now expecting fireworks. I can only say what I feel. 🙂

  27. That trip sounds amazing. I’m jealous.

    Personally I’d prefer Kalou over Chamakh. I rate him, plus the rumors I hear have Kalou rated at 9 million.

    More than anything though I want a defensive midfielder and a defender.

  28. @ C-Bass – I agree with everything you’ve just said. Absolutely everything. Particularly the first bit. 🙂

  29. There’s a rumour that we put in a bid for federico fazio of sevilla.. He’s a CB.. Even though it says it was rejected, I guess it ought to be seen as a good sign that wenger’s looking to bring in another centre back..

    However I’m not too sure its going to happen. Hopefully a midfielder will come in though.

  30. AWs £5.5m bid for Federico Fazio was rejected by Sevilla according to Bummer, but at least this proves that AW is trying to sign some defenders.


    i heared somewhere that arsenal invited ATLETICO, RANGERS and PSG to the emirates cup to get bougherra, agüero and sakho.

    could that be true???

    eboue to knock down 8mil for agÜero

    wilshere to go on loan to rangers

    silvestre to knock down 500k for sakho

  32. I see the ever hilarious Chairman of Bourdeaax has invited Arsene to “bid again” for Chamkah, our illustrious manager having marched out of his shop after a few monutes of fruitless haggling, and currently making his way to the gate of the Casbah

    “Effeindi, effendi – Wemaikapraiz – no? “

  33. @rocknrolljesus1: I doubt it. But, they were invited to build up relations with them to assist in the process of transfers/loans/marketing etc

  34. Shambo, ref Aug 5th 7:22AM blog.
    You can have Scotty Parker providing you give us Jay Emmaneul Thomas, Sanchez Watt, Rhys Murphy, Triore and Emmaneul Frimpong.

  35. Arsene’s bids for players have been rejected because he is not offering enough money. To be honnest he knows it, he is just trying to form the impression that he is in there pitching and because of that we will all be satisfied.

  36. Rocknroll, credible until the Wilshere Rangers bit. They would kick im to death up there. And any way he would drown in all that rain. By the way, has anyone read 2days Sun magizine. There is a major article on a Mi…lan 31m bid for Fabregas. Silvio Berlusconi seems quite confident about getting his man. Also according to the Sun the Arsenal team are shrinking. There is a whole 2 pages dedicated to the fact that the squads current players are 3ins shorter than the INVINCIBLES. Is any of it true. Patrick Vieira 6ft 3 Gilberto 6’3 Ray Palour 6f, Edu 6’1, Sol, Lauren, Thierry, Bobby Pires, Den Berghamp, Keown, need i go on.

  37. Latest news from Talk Sport Radio, Celtic through to final round of CL, because they are unseeded they could be in same group as Arsenal. Also Rosicky has developed a hamstring problem. Ian Wright said it could take 6 wks to heal. Can any elaborate.

  38. Sorry to keep going on about talk sport, its not a plug…but did any1 just hear the comment from George Grayham about the current Arsenal squad and on AW. Pls listen if you can. Danny Kelly is the presenter at the moment. G Grayham is basically saying AW has had his day. He also can not understand why Wenger does not seem to recognise that the team needs more powerful players to combat the prem style of play. Remember its the great George Grayham who is saying this. He does not understand the transfer policy.

  39. Mr Kalou is the best player in the Chelsea sout , so if Wanger could be able to go for the big straggle then we shall be much from Manu next seasons. Yes man go for Kalou right now.

  40. it is very suprising to me that wenger hasnt gotten lucas neill on a free transfer.he is a perfect player for us becuz he is an experienced and big center back.we are goin to need height to defend set pieces against teams like stoke, fulham, and liverpool

  41. NOOOOOO we lost the hunter.

    Huntelar is in Milan and will sign for just 15mill…

    I hate u Wanger!!!!

  42. hope your right about the possible transfers andy as the lack of activity really bothers me,hopefully we can have a beer when your over in london on route to the worldcup? great blog, keep up the goodwork.

  43. @ MexicanGunner – I realise you said the last bit in jest but just why do you think we need Huntelaar? We don’t need strikers and even if he only cost 15 million, that would be 15 million less in other areas of the park.

  44. @ georgetown – I would love to catch up with a few Arsenal boys and watch England play. It’s going to be awesome.

    I’ll be talking heaps more about it in the future and once Football Nomad is off the ground. Very excited.

  45. Andy I really think we need a “top scorer” up front. Maybe your thinking that because last season we were the second team with more goals (Im not sure in this) u think we´re fine but if u see the statics last season was one of the worst seasons about goals in many years in the Premier League.

    If Im not wrong the top scorer was Anelka with just 18 goals when in other seasons the top scores handle more than 20 goals.

    Also take note that Drogba and Torres were injured for some months so if this season everythink back to normality I think we will be the 5th team with more goals.

    When the seasons begins Im pretty sure that we will be talking about how many chances we have and not scoring. I think Van Persie will have so much pressure to be the man who score all our goals because I dont think Eduardo, Vela and the other guy are capable to handle many goals.

    I see Van Persie, Eduardo, Vela and Arshavin more like the strikers who creates many chances but needs another guy to reveive and score everything.

  46. @ MexicanGunner – I see what you’re saying, definitely. But I think with Eduardo back and Arshavin from the start of the season we’re going to score more goals. I understand that you believe we need a target man but I believe in van Persie, Bendtner and Eduardo we have those sorts of players already and bringing in another would be silly unless they were top, top class like David Villa.

  47. @ tina – Basically because we don’t need them. We need a defensive midfielder and a centre-back and anything else is unnecessary or a bonus.

  48. @ MexicanGunner – Eduardo is a target man. He played that position for his last club and scored 80 goals in 100 games or something crazy like that. He also does it for Croatia, so i dont see why he wouldnt be able to do it for us.

  49. Don’t think we need an ST. Eduardo,RVP,Vela,Bendy. Are good enough option. We now also have quality Support person in TR7,Arsha,Nasri,Walcott. We need an midfielder for sure. Possibly we will bring one more CB. This would complete for transfer.

  50. @ Gibbs

    Yes maybe I need to see Eduardo.

    Honestly until now he didnt impress me at all.

  51. Eduardo to me is a player who is able to fit in the mould of samual eto’o. His finish is phenomenal… and he is a real goal poacher. But we do need to address the problems which are displayed by our midfield, or lack of. Lets get a good palyer able and capable to fit in to our way and really provide a strong partner for cesc. If we are going to use this 4 3 3 formation then we will need a stronger defender in the midfield.

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