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By TL Gooner
In my opinion, I think we need less than the pundits believe. William "money grows on trees" Gallas is 99.9% likely to be leaving, along with Silvestre and possibly Campbell. Lets say that these players will all leave, that leaves us with just Vermaelen and Djourou at centre half. Then there is Song as back-up if needed but whenever he is available we want him in the holding midfield role and nowhere else. Sagna is another possibility there, especially with the emergence of Emmanuel Eboue last season providing huge competition at right back, but I think that should just be a back-up option. Therefore, I think we need 2 centre backs, and the ones we have been linked with I know zilch about (Kjaer and Koscielny) but to be honest I'd trust Wenger with whatever centre half he signs. The centre halves of my preference would be on back up and one first choice to partner Vermaelen who has experience, is a good talker and leader and right footed. Then we could have Djourou and Mr X as centre halves 3 and 4 with Song and Sagna there incase of emergency as 5 and 6.
We also need a goalkeeper as so many would agree. I have seen today that we have appraoched for Mark Schwarzer which is good in a way because he's better than the ones we have now and it means Wenger also thinks we need a keeper, however I would like someone a little younger and perhaps a little better than him. On the other hand, I understand why he's gone for Schwarzer because he isn't going to be a long term option and should be hanging up his gloves just in time for, dare I say it, Fabianski to step in, aswell as Mannone and Szczesny.
In terms of midfield, I don't think we need anything here. Defensive midfield is fine for the first summer in a while as Song is coming on a bundle and I think we have decent enough cover. The offensive midfield is also fine as there's the Barcelona stalked captain and Diaby backed up by Denilson, Nasri, Ramsey when he's back and Rosicky. I'm not too sure on Eastmond yet, I'd like to see him out on loan as he doesn't look quite ready yet.
On the wings, we have numbers here too with Arshavin and Nasri as my first choice two and then Walcott, Rosicky, Eboue, Eduardo and Bendtner. Despite this I wouldn't say no to Joe Cole as he has experience, can play on either flank, is free and is a real threat who can do the defensive duties too. I think he would be a good player to have in the bigger games too, however he fits into the Arsenal bill of being injury prone, and what would this signing do to the likes of Walcott and players coming through like Wilshere in the future? Overall, this is a position that doesn't need any attention, but there's always room for improvement and Cole would add something but I'd just consider him a bonus as I think we're already fine in this position.
Up front, we are also fine as there's van Persie backed up by Bendtner, Chamakh and Eduardo which shows it is a position that lacks nothing in quality or strength in depth.
So in conclusion, I am of the opinion that we NEED a goalkeeper and two centre halves. What we also need is to bring back the defensive approach we had early in the season where we pressed up front and in midfield and didn't allow the defense to be exposed or the other team to dictate. That good tactic seemed to disappear more as the season went on. As for "players out" I would sell Traore unless he is content with being 3rd choice left back - which I doubt he is, plus he could make the price lower if we did an exchange with Lorient for Koscielny if that is actually a possibility (I've lost what little trust I had in newspapers etc in the last month). I'd additionally loan out Vela, Eastmond and Fabianski and try to keep Almunia as our number two goalkeeper. I don't know much about Szczesny but I'd probably loan him out too along with Coquelin.
That would conclude my summer dealings! Your opinions would be appreciated.
Mean Lean's Response
I pretty much agree with everything you have written TL Gooner. The central defensive area is certainly my biggest worry right now. I have no doubt that Wenger will strengthen that area especially as it looks very likely that William Gallas will be seeking pastures new but that is only part of the problem for me. We could potentially lose four central defenders this summer. That is four first team players in the same area of the pitch and that for me is a massive concern. Philippe Senderos has already departed, William Gallas is probably next along with Mikel Silvestre and we are yet to tie down Sol Campbell who has been flirting with Neil Lennon's and Celtic.
Even if we bring in quality players in their place it would still be a worry for me and perhaps even Wenger. Players need to develop partnerships they need understanding with the player next to them, even more so in such an important position as the center of the defence.
Johan Djourou is a player I admire very much, I think he will be the real deal once he gets a long run together and gains more first team experience under his belt but he has never played a competitive match alongside Tomas Vermaelen and it is feasible that he will be first choice next season.
On the flip side we saw how the Verminator took to the red and white shirt like a duck to water (or is it fish?) in his first season. I just hope that whichever player(s) are brought in can follow suit.
I am also of the opinion that we need another player to challenge for the number one shirt. If Almunia was willing to fight for his place and take a place on the bench as number two then I would be all for that idea with Lukasz Fabianski going on loan to iron out his flaws and show everyone why the Arsenal coaching staff think so highly of him.
With the potential signing of Joe Cole and the free transfer of Chamakh, I feel the squad is well equipped in other areas of the pitch. We need the players we already have to continue to improve and play consistently.
I cannot wait for the new season to start.