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The Highbury Library animted promo v5 350x350


Cesc Fabregas looks very strange in blue, sitting there with his blue chavy shirt and his fake grin on his face. He has unfinished business in the Premier League? That is a rather creative way of saying I was turfed out of Barcelona and Arsenal didn't want me. I guess it was a little like how he didn't want to play for us back in 2011.

I'm glad it is over now, hopefully conversation could divert back to actual Arsenal players rather than Chelsea ones. I'm a little old fashioned in that regard. The only way this impacts us should be on the pitch but that would also be the case if they had bought Toni Kroos for example. We need to make sure we can do our business and do it well.

Personally I'm not as fussed as to when we get our business done. There is an obvious advantage in getting deals done early with the whole integration and pre season thing done before the season kicks off, but even if you sign a player towards the end it shouldn't affect your season finish too much if at all.

Santi Cazorla, Andrey Arshavin and of course Mesut Özil are examples of players who joined late in windows and yet had an instant impact for Arsenal.

I think much of the hoo har from supporters is more of an emotional reaction. The fear of not buying players is very strong. A little bit of the 'if we sign players then I don't have to fret' type thing.

But by far the most important part of the summer business is to buy the players that we have identified over a long period of time (usually for months or years)

The manager and coaching staff would have assessed that players strengths and whether it fits in with our direction as a football team.

So if player x is ideal for our striking position it makes sense to put the feelers out for Mr x. If it works out that Mr x's club need to buy player y first and club y will only sell after the world cup then it makes sense to wait instead of buying player z who doesn't do any of the things we need but has been great for club w.

You with me so far? If you are then well done because these letters are confusing the hell out of me.

Basically I'd much rather wait until the end of the window and buy Özil, Mertesacker and players that we have on our short list than buy Fellaini, Bramble and Soldado.

I think football fans quite often have a set way of thinking and it is hard to shift away from those views.

Player price is another one that little bit gets my goat.

'We need to buy a £26.4m striker this summer and spend a further £12m on a beast of a DM who will eat the opposition for breakfast. We need a hard bastard who will not be messed with and just let the others do the whole passing thing'

I'd have to respectfully disagree if that is your opinion, I mean why not just buy Ryan Shawcross and stick him in midfield. He is ideal. He is good at kicking people, runs around a lot and is probably good at snarling and the bonus is he is a shite footballer.

Our game is a little more sophisticated than that I'd say but I digress from my main point which was price. I don't understand how you can price a position before even knowing the player, his age and his circumstances at his current club.

Bayern Munich are not getting a rubbish striker in Lewandowski because he arrived on a free transfer. Tottenham do not have a world class striker because they forked out £26m *giggles* on Soldado (watch him hit the ground running now that I've said that)

I understand the clamour for a big money signing, it gives the supporter a sense of satisfaction, a chance to gloat at that Tottenham supporting mate of yours who still goes through the Spurs squad and Arsenal squad and comes to the conclusion that man for man they are stronger than us. But I do understand that a big price often means that the player is a prized asset, probably at a wealthy club but if you are looking at one club as an example of finding quality for good money then you won't have to look very far.

Which brings me to Carlos Vela. The divide of opinion has been quite remarkable over the last few weeks. The argument for him is his apparent £3.5m buy back clause, his performance last season and this versatility. The argument against is that to some he is not good enough or cannot handle the rigors of English football.

I happen to fall very much into the former opinion. And I am not sure that the arguments against in terms of his suitability holds enough water. Let me explain.

Firstly as a few people have rightly pointed out, the Premier League is not the kick and rush, don't like it up em league of a few years back when teams were encouraged to kick Arsenal players but the style and quality has very much improved with the rise of Swansea, Southampton, Everton and co. Without McLeish, Hughes and other old timers who were part of the clicky football management circles in this country we have seen a shift.

When was the last time you saw a team brutally continuously hack down another team? If it was an issue then I'm not sure hard men such as Santi Cazorla and Eden Hazard would have been able to shine.

As for the not suited to English football thing, well this implies that a) he hasn't improved since leaving us and b) players who do not show top level form straight away never become good enough or can ever adapt to a league.

It took Robert Pires the best part of 6 months to acclimatise to the league during a time where the technical differences were far more apparent and also he played every week. Which smoothly takes me onto the other rather huge elephant in the room, game time.

During Vela's stay at Arsenal as a young player can you tell me one time where he had 3-5 first team games in a row? I am too lazy to do the leg work but if he has had a run of 3-5 games in a row then it can't be more than once. He had the odd cup match and maybe a sub appearance here and there but a young player who was still developing his game has never had the chance to show what he can do.

You may say that is down to his ability but all young Arsenal players apart from Cesc went through the phasing in period until they were ready for some week in, week out Arsenal action. I know this is always my go to example but Ramsey is a case in point. Rambo did not progress by playing here and there, he developed at the end of two seasons back when he had a long consistent run in the team.

If you are saying that Vela is not built for the league then my response is simply you don't know that until he plays regular football at 25 rather than the 22 year old bit part promising player. He could equally not make the step up I do not deny that, the same can be said for all players who do not ply their trade in this league at the moment.

In Walcott's absence last season we replaced him with a list of players who liked to come short and receive the ball to feet. Even Serge Gnabry who has pace to burn very, very rarely ran in behind to prompt the player on the ball to search him out. It's the same with Podolski and Ox. These are all players who want to help develop the game as Arsène would say. A quick glimpse of the worlds best scouting tool YouTube shows you that Carlos Vela has excellent off the ball movement and latched onto and dispatched many a probing pass. We need that.

As a replacement for Bendtner and Park? Come come, surely we'd be loony not to take that chance, unless Carlos was kicking and screaming that he did not want to play for the shirt. That would be different. There were questions about his attitude and party boy lifestyle when he was back at Arsenal and if that is the concern today then I fully understand that but I think like his football, he has developed and matured.

But I think this is all rather moot as it appears that Arsenal are playing a game with Real Sociedad and our aim is to force the Spaniards to buy out the clause in his contract giving us some extra cash in our coffers and send the Mexican back to his new home.

We'll see how it unfolds but I'd be more than happy to see Carlos as one of our attacking options. Racing onto another Özil defence splitting pass, sitting the keeper down and scooping the ball over their head before running off grinning in that grinny Vela way. How could you not want that image? Perhaps folk are worried that he will be the only option, I can't see that in fact there have already been a number of hints that indicate that something is already stirring.

At this stage this is only an uneducated speculative guess but hear me out while I go all Columbo on you.

So when Arsène spoke about his new contract for the first time he was asked about the summer and he went off on one a little about the importance of adding to the squad in June - July. Ok maybe not going off on one but for Arsène to give that much away without much prompting it made me think he has a plan. But that is not it, Ivan Gazidis was recently talking to fans at one of those fans cosy chit chatting sessions and he spoke about Arsenal being in deep conversations with clubs at the moment and I'm pretty sure he said something off record about 'a big one'  I don't think he was talking about Oliver Giroud in the showers either.

Speaking of Giroud, his recent words about a new striker coming sounded rather definitive rather than speculative like the rest of us. “I can tell you Arsenal will add a striker to the team. We need another striker. Great clubs have several good strikers, who compete with each other.”

Oh yeah? you can tell us can you. Maybe it's lost in translation maybe he just means we are looking for a striker but I get the feeling that Arsène, Ivan and Giroud's comments sound like irons are in the fire and I am guessing that it is a striker of some sort. I say some sort but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this striker was super dupa quality and all that. What was Arsène's quote again? 'We have an advantage, players want to join us'

Who wants to join us? Cavani? Balotelli? Mandzukic? I don't really know and I am guessing that chips will need to fall in a few other places first. But like I say, don't listen to me I'm just emptying what I have in my head on this here screen.

Oh and do I have to say goodbye to Sagna again? I've done so already. Then again when he is holding up his City shirt? Nah I'm fine thanks. I loved the guy for his service but I'm not wishing a Manchester City player all the best for the future and I'm certainly not wishing a Chelsea player all the best either. I hope you guys decline super quick, thanks for the memories. Nothing personal, it's just Arsenal.

'till the next time.


  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more