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By Jamie Wright (http://betting.betfair.com)
With only 2 games left in the 08/09 Premiership calendar, Arsenal are left playing for nothing but pride. The vast majority of Arsenal fans, myself included, dreamt of challenging for the title at this stage of the season, but it is not to be. They also came close to booking another trip to Wembley and jetting off to Rome in the FA Cup and Champions League respectively. Again, it was not to be.
With so much negativity surrounding the club at present, it is time to draw upon the positives of the season and start structuring the squad to challenge for honours again next time around.
Many pundits have exaggerated the fact that Arsenal have had a ‘bad season’. Looking back though, it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been and there are a few positives that can be built upon.
The Gunners easily consolidated 4th spot to bring Champions League football to the Emirates again next season and this was looking unlikely a few months back. They reached the quarter finals of the Carling Cup fielding a team scattered with youth, dismantling two good sides in Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic along the way.
Their most notable positive though, was reaching the semi-finals of both the Champions League and the FA Cup which is no mean feat. Here, they found their squad stretched to its limit and therefore failed to overcome two of the strongest teams in the world - Manchester United and Chelsea.
Without a cup final or a final day title challenge to look forward to it has created an anti-climax close to the season. A win at Old Trafford on aturday will only delay their title celebrations another week. All is not lost though. There has been some very interesting debate amongst fans and pundits on whether Arsenal will develop their squad by dabbling in the transfer market this summer.
I’ve generated a small list of transfer targets that could potentially be on Wenger’s list if he decides to strengthen his squad in time for kick-off in August.
The Spanish striker has been in un-stoppable form this season. He has bagged 29 goals in 42 matches in all competitions and would be a great addition to the Arsenal ranks. He would come with a hefty price tag though and competition from a whole host of top European clubs. Unlikely signing but would be a major coup for Wenger.
Yaya has been linked with Arsenal over the past few seasons to join his brother at Arsenal. The defensive midfielder has been an integral part of Barcelona’s first team this season acting as a platform for the creative players to build on. He can also double up as a centre half so gives added over in this sense. Maybe he is the player Arsenal have been missing this year? Mamadou Sakho The 19 year old, France Under-21 international has been linked with Arsenal on more than one occasion. This transfer is highly likely, given Wenger’s past desires to sign players at a young age and nurture them into the squad. The strong centre-half would add more competition amongst the central defence and valuable cover at left back also.
Wenger knew this lad had potential having signed him from Luton for £2million as a teenager. He never really got a chance to shine at Arsenal with some unfortunate injuries and top defenders in front of him. He has developed into a strong centre half which has been recognised by Mr. Capello.
Has been linked with Arsenal in previous seasons and no doubt will be linked again this summer. With his natural passing abilities and creativity in midfield he would fit into Arsenal’s style of football with considerable ease. But is he the type of player Arsenal need? I believe they need a Mascherano or dare I say it, Flamini type player alongside Fabregas. This is just a brief selection of players who have been linked in the past and would add depth and quality to their squad. Who would you like to see gracing the Emirates next season, if anyone?