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Written by Squid Boy on Monday, 18 June 2012 22:42

While there had been growing whispers on the Interweb over the last few weeks regarding a move for Olivier Giroud, yesterday’s report in FranceFootball gave the strongest indication yet that it is a done deal. And I can’t contain my delight at snapping up France’s no.9.

Some will say it’s an indication that RvP is offski. Which may or may not be true. But it isn’t it nice to be proactive for once?

Instead of selling v.Persie and fishing around the transfer market like Desperate Dans afterwards, we are either replacing him early (worst-case scenario) or supplementing him (best-case scenario). Whilst the latter is obviously more palatable, the former is at least acceptable.

If signing a striker to combine with Robin and share his goalscoring burden isn’t enough to show ambition to the captain, then not much will. And if Giroud does end up as a replacement, at least we avoid a repeat of last summer’s Cesc/Mata situation. Huge credit to the Club for acting quickly and decisively.

And that’s without mentioning Podolski, another player I am hugely excited about. I’ve watched his performances in the group stages very and reckon he’ll fit like a dream into our current system.

I kept a keen eye on his performances for Koln during the back-end of last season and listened to a lot of expert opinion on him. His talent was never in doubt, but some felt his temperament left a lot to be desired. The harshest critics likened his laziness on the pitch to Adebayor’s.

Thankfully my fears that he was a primadonna have been allayed by a high work-rate up and down Germany’s left-flank, especially in their first two games versus Portugal and Holland. Lest we forget their respective right-wingers are Nani and Robben. He may not have scored or created any goals but I was delighted with Poldi’s work ethic – as were many in the German camp, included Herr Schweinstieger and our very own BFG Per Mertesacker.

The naysayers claimed he should have been more effective in the final third. Lo and behold when the shackles came off against Denmark, his attacking talent shone and he delivered a goal on his auspicious 100th cap. A hard worker who obeys teams orders AND shows cutting edge AND scores on the big occasion? Yes please.

After the end of the season, I spoke about how we needed to maximise our resources to reach the next level. Since the stadium move, it is fair to say we’ve been financially hamstrung. However it now seems the purse-strings have been loosened and we can reap what we sowed when deciding to relocate.

Guaranteed Champions League football for next season has given us the opportunity to maximise our resources instead of saving them for a rainy day. After years of being unable to reach for the brass ring, we finally have the footballistic and financial capacity to do so.

Sometimes a match takes on greater importance not just because of the positives that winning it would bring, but also because of the potential repercussions of failure.

An example of this was the 2011 Carling Cup final. Whilst winning it would have got the trophyless monkey off our back, it was the ramifications of not grabbing such a golden opportunity which I was worried about. And sadly, my fears came true as we folded in all competitions and that monkey grew ever larger. Stupid monkey.

It was a similar scenario with the final game of the season at West Brom. Win and we would have a platform to build on. Lose and the implications would be unbearable – especially in light of Chelsea’s CL victory. Take a look at Spurs’ current situation: it ain’t pretty.

Now compare it to ours, where things are relatively rosy.

RvP and/or Theo Walcott may well leave, but it won’t be the end of the world. In Podolski and Giroud we already have positional replacements for them. And if we enter the campaign with all four, we’d have frontline full of options and depth. Throw in a defensive-midfielder (Yann M’Vila, anyone?) and perhaps a creative one if we’re being greedy. What do you have? A group of players primed to launch an assault on the title.

Au contraire, missing out on the CL would have almost guaranteed that Robin was off and Theo’s future would be similarly uncertain. We might not have been able to flex our financial muscles to significantly increase their wages or convince them of our ambition via new signings. Nor would we have the attraction of CL football to recruit adequate replacements. That rainy day I mentioned above? It would be occurring right now.

Whatever the makeup of the squad come August, this chance has only arrived because we finished 3rd.  And I’m happy the Club is trying to make the most of it. It feels like something has changed for the better this summer. Long may the good feeling continue.

In a few years time we may look back on that victory at the Hawthorns as this generation’s 1987 League Cup semi-final win at White Hart Lane. David Rocastle’s winning goal that day sparked the good times. Could Kieran Gibbs’ last-ditch match-saving tackle do the same?

Squid Boy (https://twitter.com/#!/TheSquidBoyLike)

Comments (9)

  • GoonerB
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    I think it is safer to say that I am happy with the rumours of Arsenal's supposed pro-activeness rather than being happy with our actual pro-activeness. I will only be fully happy with how proactive we have been when the players are in the bag. More than any other club we are always in for big players that don't materialise. Giroud does however seem to be a bit more of the Podolski situation than the Mata, whereby the reports are so strong that it would seem unusual if he is not with us next year, but until I see a picture of him with an Arsenal shirt on the official website_ _ _. I agree if we get him and M'Villa and one experienced back up keeper, and then get Theo, RVP and Song to resign then we are good to go and should be considered serious title challengers next year.
  • Andy Mack
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    AW knows that RvP cannot possibly have another injury free season after playing this summer as well. Maybe not as bad as some years but he'll definately be out for a few months.
    Plus we'll lose some players to that silly ACN again.
  • MeanLean
    avatar
    Good stuff SB.

    It certainly is good to see the club working hard behind the scenes to get us ready for the league season.

    I wonder how much of this has to do with our league position last season. We haven't finished 3rd for a while now and have had to deal with the CL qualifiers every season.

    This year, the CL cash is in the bag and we do not have to wait to see if we get through before spending. It would be interesting to see a comparison of summer spending for clubs, especially us during the years when we have finished 3rd or 4th.

    I am sure blame can be levelled all around last summer because it worked out really badly but I wonder if things would have been better (although still losing Cesc & Nasri probably) if we had just gained one more victory and finished above Man City in 3rd.

    I am very content with Podolski and Giroud but the whole RVP and Walcott situations are bugging me. I hope we get some good news on their front soon.

    I am secretly (not anymore) hoping that the delays are purposefully held just prior to our pre season touring, where we announce new deals for Walcott, RVP and Song as well as the unveiling of M'Vila, Giroud and Podolski. A great way to maximise the hype ahead of our touring.

    But that is all wishful thinking. But as you say, SB. Whatever happens, at least we are prepared and not waiting until the last day of the window before we can start our season.
  • Squid Boy
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    Thanks ML.

    Totally agree that 3rd place has a huge impact on it. Removes any grey area or uncertainty regarding CL football/revenues.

    Think we've discussed this before, but I believe Mata would have been ours had we sealed 3rd place in 2010/11. Sounds like we dithered over money, at which stage Chelsea pounced.

    Nice to see that not happening this year with Giroud. And hopefully M'Vila!
  • angelic beardy
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    The Montpelier president has practically confirmed the deal is more or less sorted today for Olivier Giroud. I am actually excited about this as he is the kind of tall powerful forward we have needed to change our system of play. Imagine a front three of Podolski (who I rate very highly) Van Persie (if he stays) and Giroud, that is a very good strike force. I don't believe Giroud is a direct replacement for Van Persie, i think that Wenger will push VP slightly deeper where he will play off the striker. I also hope we go for M'Vila but i believe he will be too expensive for us.
  • dkgooner  - New signings
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    Most of the news around M'Vila seems to be wishful thinking from him/his camp whereas the Giroud reports seem more substantial. Like many others, I'll wait until I see it on arsenal.com before celebrating.
    I would also like to see M'Vila signed but I suspect Arsene will be happy with Song, backed up by Coquelin and Frimpong. Especially if Jack eventually gets himself match-fit. Let's not forget either how much defensive covering Arteta did last season - an unexpected bonus from a player with so much vision. I think this made our midfield more flexible, giving Song the licence to go forward and make those wonderful chipped assists for Robin and Theo. What I'm trying to say is that if M'Vila doesn't come, it's not an area of concern imo. Whereas we were desperately in need of someone to take on some of the scoring responsibility. I can't quite see though how Podolski, Giroud and RVP are all going to fit into the current formation at the same time. I think we'll probably see more rotation and give Robin a break now and then.
    Yes, I am assuming he stays :D
  • Prasan Kumar
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    Good article!!I just can see this season being better because we've done our signings early and they actually can gel with the team during the pre season unlike last year where the signings took a few matches to gel with the team!!Rvp or no Rvp,this year hopefully will be ours!!
  • Waterboy
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    Really good article SB! Agree totally that securing Champions League football next season would allow a more financially conservative club like Arsenal to be more proactive in the transfer market. Hopefully all the rumours surrounding Giroud prove correct but like dkgooner commented I cant see how van Persie and Giroud are going to fit into our current formation as both of them are central strikers? Maybe it does mean a change in formation with Podolski and Giroud playing as two central strikers and Van Persie pulling the string from a little deeper (ala Bergkamp). Obviously thou this would have implications for Walcott, Gervinho and Ox thou Walcott and Gervinho could play as backup central strikers and the Ox could play back up to Van Persie.
  • craig
    avatar
    Confirmation from RVP that he's not signing a contract extension. Man city move looks likely. IAWR !!!
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