Written by Mean Lean on Friday, 01 February 2013 13:31
Whoop there it is, the transfer window has been locked and bolted until the summer, angry supporters around the world are squeezed behind the window banging away furiously, red faced and snot dripping down mouths. No longer throwing money for tickets to see Arsenal live.
Arsenal have signed a new left back which coincides with the news that Kieran Gibbs is facing 6 weeks out due to bruck up thigh syndrome or something. I will restrain from doing Nacho jokes, they have been done to death already and it is worse when you turn up late with a blog only to repeat them over again. Mr Monreal sounds a little like the Santi Cazorla of left backs, same club, in the Spanish squad but just beneath the first team and has all the qualities to combine Spanish flair and English grit. I haven't seen anything of the fella mind you, just going on those who have watched him or at least some who claim to have watched him.
This is an interesting type of signing I must say, a player of this supposed caliber would be perhaps better spent on another area but injury has sort of forced this upon the manager. Kieran Gibbs has been our most consistent player of the season to date, he has been wonderful for us but once again injury has struck him down, it is even more of a shame given that the England squads have been announced. Would have been great for him to have been included alongside Wilshere, Chamberlain and Walcott.
While I hope Monreal can do all the defensive fundamentals which should be standard procedure for erm a defender, I am more interested and hopeful of his attacking play. The way we set up and attack, our full backs are often left unmarked in good positions, absolutely perfect for hitting the ball into the first defender or crossing high over everyone's head.
I am hoping that our new boy has more Lukas Podolski than Gael Clichy about his delivery.
I had remembered writing something post January window last season called 'The Facts And Opinions Of Arsenal's January Business' and the symmetry from last season to this is quite striking. We were 7th in the table, in need of improvement, but yet there was only the arrival of Thomas Eisfeld from the Dortmund youth academy. What was also very similar was the lack of movement from those around us and once again I ask myself why?
As Arsenal supporters it is easy to focus and concentrate on our own struggles and concerns but without trying to sound like last years broken record why didn't Tottenham buy another striker when they were rejected for their first target? Why did Manchester City sell Mario Balotelli and not replace with a Falcao or Cavani? Given that mega rich Chelsea are way off the pace why haven't they bought world class additions?
I am sure all of these clubs including our own will have wanted to be stronger at this stage, I mean that has got to be obvious surely. 'Arsene, given that you are 6th in the table and chasing at least a top 4 finish, would you like to be stronger for the next few months?' In what strange warped world, would you expect the manager to say 'No thanks, I would rather be not as good, cheers for asking.'
Oh goodness, I can hear the responses. 'You're just making excuses for the manager and the board' can I answer that before you say so. I am trying to remove all the nonsense and look at it objectively.
Many managers have said that buying in January is a nightmare, that clubs do not want to sell their best players, that you have to pay way over the odds for players who are cheaper and more readily available in the summer.
What I will say is that Arsene and/or indeed the club remind me of my late nan bless her. She would send me to go to the shop for her ask me to buy bread, butter, milk and orange juice and then give me a £1 coin to do so. Her valuation of things was a little different to most. So given that is the way we usually operate, it is unlikely that we are going to force a club to sell a player that they need midway through the season.
We are the typical bargain hunters, looking for the buy one get one free offers. Another point I have mentioned recently about Arsene's way of business is that he is never in a hurry to build a squad. You look at someone like good ol 'arry and he cannot wait to cobble together a team, even if it means paying Chris Samba £100k a week, WTF?! So whatever is on the market, Harry will turn up at the doorstep wheeling and dealing. Yes Harry, I called you a wheeler dealer. Arsene doesn't work that way.
When the competition was nowhere near as fierce as it is today and it was us and United in the top two, we were called the bridesmaids for years of finishing second. But Arsene would take his time waiting for the right character, the right price and the right ability before adding to his squad. It took from 1997/98 to 2001/2002 to rebuild the team in much different circumstances to today. In hindsight I am sure we would have wanted Arsene to go out the next summer and make all the deals required to win the league the following season, it just doesn't work that way. Well not unless you are Manchester City, PSG or Chelsea.
Personally I think we are lacking in some key areas of the squad, those are obvious. The manager is certainly not blind to those weak areas. After my made up recent blogging PHD on our manager, my guess is that he only wants the players who he has targeted and not necessarily what is on the market at the time. We could say 'what about player x, he would have strengthened us or he is better than player y that we have' in your opinion or perhaps even mine, you could be right but it is a little like someone telling you to try this sandwich that they think is lovely but you think it is disgusting. They offer and you say 'No thanks, don't really like that' but they insist and say 'No, no it's lovely, just have a taste of it, you'd like it'
You: 'Erm.. seriously, I hate it'
Them: 'But no, this is really yummy'
I really hate when people do that, as if we all have the exact same taste buds. Maybe just maybe the manager isn't so keen on Loric Cana as our holding player, maybe the manager views the player differently or perhaps his attitude is poor, or perhaps his breath is seriously hanging. So much so that Mikel Arteta begged Arsene not to sign him because there are no windows in the dressing room.
The reality is this, we are going through some insane amounts of changes in the space of two years.
Are two Arsenal years old at the most, that is a lot of change. QPR aside, can you think of many teams undergoing so much change? Previously Arsene Wenger has made that amount of change gradually over a number of years and it has enabled better continuity.
But it's been 8 years without a trophy, how can you ask for more patience? Well because that is what is takes for most teams to form a team rather than just acting like a team.
Unfortunately our previous squad (Cesc, Nasri, van Persie, Clichy etc) did not stick it out, from being way off the pace in 2009 (after yet another squad fell apart) we had to build another side that came bloody close. The Theo van Nasrigas team would have been up there today had they stuck it out. Losing players has been our Kryptonite, hopefully today in 2013 new sponsorship deals along with new contracts may mean that the Kryptonite has been slung into the sea and we can pull our shirt off revealing super Arsenal once more.
Maybe this is all fanciful and wishful thinking but I honestly believe we have a plan in place here and this is not the finished article that you are seeing just yet. While we have spent the season pulling out our hair for either not creating chances or later conceding comedy goals, my hope is that we are seeing the teething problems.
My hope is for us to finish fourth and then build in the summer without losing our best players and captain for once. I cannot remember the last time that happened. Yes, Bacary Sagna could be heading towards the end of his Arsenal career but I get the impression that his upward curve has changed shape and as good as he is, I think his position isn't as key as previous departures. Needless to say, I would love to remain at the club but given his comments since the summer, it looks unlikely me thinks.
I wanted a striker to join the club and we were going for David Villa but Barcelona being Barcelona made us unhappy which they tend to do. We have to make do until the summer regardless of where we finish in the table.
Disagree away, I expect many to do so which is just swell but just don't be John Terry about it. John Terry will get deleted. I would much rather just experience football live.
Anyhoo, enough of that for today.