Have Arsenal actually got weaker this summer?

So far Arsenal have just the addition of young French under 20 international striker Yaya Sanogo to their name in terms of incoming players this summer. We are desperate for some more additions however as the club continues to struggle to answer our pleas because of being outbid, slow or inflated prices, or whatever other excuses Wenger can think of, we are quite simply starting to get very concerned that with the Premier League season being under 3 weeks away that we won’t be ready in time.

At this current moment we are no better than last year and it looks set to be a battle for 3rd and 4th place alongside the usual suspects of Spurs, Chelsea and even possibly Liverpool and Everton. It’s not going to be easy, especially as all of our rivals have been strengthening, but has it ever crossed your mind that technically we are worse than last year?

Arsenal have let a whole host of players go this summer, some of which will make little to absolutely no difference to the squad, but also some that had a chance of being a fringe player that could have stepped in when we needed them. We let a load of youth and reserve players go this summer, 14 if I am correct and this included the likes of Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond who were never going to make it, so these players haven’t really changed anything in the squad, except free up some small wages and some possibly squad places, depending on their age.

We have also released Arshavin, Denilson and Squillaci. All three never really had a chance of playing for Arsenal again, although I know a lot of people still liked Arshavin. I certainly did and felt he was an option if we needed him, however on £75k per week he wasn’t worth it. So these players too haven’t made a difference to our squad.

But now we come onto some players who have actually made our overall team weaker by leaving. Santos, Mannone, Djourou and Coquelin have all left this summer. The first two have left on a permanent deal and I felt Mannone especially was a disappointment to leave. I felt Don Vito could have provided cover for Szczesny, especially as I thought Fabianski was on his way out. But it is with Djourou and Coquelin that I am particularly disappointed about losing. At the moment we have just two fit centre backs and even then Koscielny is on alert with a possible injury problem. Although Djourou wasn’t the best defender he would have provided admirable cover in situations like this. Coquelin too could have actually got a lot of games this season, as Arteta becomes older and so probably will lose a lot of his stamina and fitness.

With all these exits and possibly still 4 players to go in Gervinho, Bendtner, Chamakh and Park, it technically makes our squad worse than last season. Not because of the players that have left because the majority never played, but we are worse in the sense that our backup players have been reduced and so if a mass injury list does occur we are basically screwed at the moment. Wenger has got a hell of a lot of spending to do in this last remaining month, not just to strengthen the first team but also the backup squad players, unless he plans on promoting half of the reserves squad, which in itself isn’t something I wouldn’t be overly surprised by.

With Santos going Arsenal must now replace deadwood

You have absolutely no idea how happy I am with the fact Arsenal are managing to sell their ‘deadwood’ players this summer and I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling. It was vital we had a right clear out of the club this summer, in order to reinvest effectively, efficiently and where it was most necessary in order to make sure the team was strengthened to such an extent that we could become a major force in England once more.

We had a list of players at the end of last season that needed to go and around 2 months down the line we have managed to successfully get rid of all but a few of those players. The likes of Arshavin, Squillaci and Denilson were released, as were a lot of youth and reserve players. Whilst Djourou has gone on loan and we have also seen Mannone sold. The next player out the door is Andre Santos who is reportedly close to joining Brazilian side Flamengo according to Sky Sports News. Leaving us with just the three strikers in Maroune Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu Young.

These last three players may be the most difficult to get rid of because quite simply nobody wants to buy a misfiring striker, especially when they are all probably on over £50,000 a week. Many have suggested that we cancel their contracts just like we did with Denilson, however I feel that we should be able to move these players on by the end of the window.

The only problem is that although Arsenal have basically completed the first stage of selling the players, we are yet to see any real developments in reinvesting money into transfers that will majorly boost and strengthen this Arsenal team. The likes of Cesar, Higuain, Fellaini and Fabregas have all been mentioned but at the current moment we seem to have lost out on all of them and so on what is a negative point to end an originally positive article, could we be set to experience the same old Arsenal yet again?

Getting rid of Arsenal deadwood is only good IF they are replaced

It’s all well and good getting rid of a team’s deadwood players, as it allows a club to lose some player wages, gain a few squad places and in the meantime gather a little bit of income, but ultimately if you don’t then go and replace these players then the club goes into a period of further regression.

Arsenal have so far seen many players leave the club this summer and fortunately they have all been ‘deadwood’ players rather than the usual quality players we see leave the club. The players that have left so far this summer are the likes of Arshavin, Denilson, and Squillaci have all been released from their contracts, whilst Djourou has left on loan and Mannone has made the permanent move to Sunderland. And although some will argue that we needed to sell before we can buy, this period of inactivity in the transfer window has actually weakened the team!

On paper the team is now weakened. To many it won’t make a difference because none of the players above were first team players and it’s true that at the moment the actually starting XI isn’t weaker at all, in fact it’s exactly the same, just a year older. But what is weaker is our overall squad. A simple look at the announced team for the club’s pre-season tour of Asia will show you that this team would probably struggle for 3rd or 4th place and I know a lot of people would agree with that after reading the comments on some of the other articles.

The fact is, if this period of stagnation doesn’t end soon at the club, we will experience what happens every summer and Arsenal will lose out on their targets and then we will complain that we were too stingy on the price or too slow in our dealings. According to some people we had Higuain, Cesar and Fellaini in the bag, but now I’m sure you’ll see why you should not trust any of the Internet ‘in the knows’. With Bendtner, Gervinho, Park, Chamakh and Santos all also set to leave this summer, if we don’t act upon all this gathered income through fees and wages with high quality players then we really must start to doubt Wenger, Gazidis and the board’s mentality on transfer dealings.

Hamburg win race for Arsenal centre-back – Good luck Johan!

Johan Djourou is set to complete his move away from Arsenal in the coming days having passed a medical with German Bundesliga side Hamburger SV. The Swiss international also spent last year in Germany with rivals Hannover 96, who were also in for his signature this summer, however Hamburg have beaten them to the 26 year old.

It has been reported in the last few days that Arsenal had agreed deals with both mentioned German clubs and it was up to Djourou to choose the offer he wanted, with Arsenal no longer willing to step in his way. And the final result is that he agreed a 1 year loan deal with Hamburg for the 2013/14 Bundesliga, with the option to buy at the end of the season for a speculated £3 million.

Djourou has been in and out of the Arsenal set up for a number of years, originally joining the club in Arsenal’s invincible season of 2004. He made his debut the same year age 16 but despite his 10 years service to the Gunner’s he never really became an important player in North London. Although not degrading him off his worth, it’s very noticeable that he was in fact arguably our best defender in 2009 but in recent seasons he has seen himself fall back down the pecking order and ultimately regain a place on the Arsenal bench.

I always liked Djourou and thought he was always a very admirable professional as he never moaned about his role at the club. He was willing to help the club in any way he could and be patient for his opportunities. Often taking advantage of his opportunities in the past, the same results could not be seen in recent years, showing that he probably is nothing more than a 4th choice centre back for Arsenal, but I must say what a wonderful 4th choice option he is. I’m not sure if I’m disappointed with Djourou’s departure or not, but I suppose in the long run its best for both the player and the club, as long as he doesn’t become one of these players that goes out on loan until their contract expires.

Djourou has been officially unveiled by the German outfit on the clubs official website, however Arsenal are delaying the confirmation on their website Arsenal.com, however the reason is unknown why. Perhaps the same reason applies to why no incoming players have been announced on Arsenal.com or is that just wishful thinking?

Arsenal to consider new option for Djourou

Amongst the recent articles about “deadwood” at Arsenal, people seem to have forgotten about Johan Djourou who spent the last half of this past season on loan in Germany at Hannover where he impressed with good performances.

He may not have been mentioned because he just might still have a future at Arsenal. He has never managed to nail down a full time place in the Arsenal squad and he has mainly been used as cover at centre back and right back for the club.

Whether the Arsenal fans want him to stay or not, there is the matter of Hamburg wanting to take him on loan for next season. People who want him to stay will not want Hamburg sniffing around and people who want him to go will probably not want them sniffing around either, unless they are prepared to make us an offer

That may not seem to make sense but if they only take him on loan, the club will have another failure to sell problem which has dragged on with players like Nicklas Bendtner. Why nobody wants to make a proper offer for any of Arsenal’s players is a mystery but Arsenal can’t give in to this again or the club will never be able to sell a player.

Hamburg are keen on taking Djourou because as I said he has played well in Germany this year and is thought of quite highly over there now. Arsene Wenger may be able to negotiate a future transfer fee but there is always the possibility of that never happening if you include a clause like that.

Djourou has been in the Arsenal squad since he was very young but has never been an integral player. He made his debut in 2004 when he was just 17 but didn’t get real game time until he reached 19 and 20. He has 40 caps for Switzerland and is an important player for the national side.

Should Arsenal risk letting another player out on loan or even look to keep him?

Let us know your thoughts below.

Could Djourou still have a career at Arsenal?

It may surprise you that Johan Djourou made his first Arsenal appearance back in the Invincibles year of 2004! He made his professional debut against Manchester City in the League Cup in 2004 and played in the competition several times but didn’t make his Premier League debut till 2006. Almost 10 years on since his first appearance for Arsenal and he has certainly had as inconsistent a career as I have ever known.

There have been times that Djourou has been absolutely hated and slated for everything he does, but there have also been times where he has been the best defender at the club. He has always been a bit part player at the club and featured every now and then over the years of 2006-09 but In 2010 he was one of our better players, performing consistently and being a commanding figure in defence. However since then he has once again dropped back down the pecking order into fourth place and this season he was sent out on loan to Germany, where according to some reports he could stay in a permanent move with Hannover 96.

In some ways I think it’s best for Djourou to leave because it is personally better for him and he deserves to get more playing time, however I don’t feel that it’s possible at Arsenal because once again we need to strengthen across all the main positions ahead of the 2013/14 season.

I like Djourou because he never complains about lack of playing time and is happy to always put in a performance for the team when needed, showing that he is a true professional of the game. This is probably because he has been with Arsenal for so long and has become accustomed to the club, however I think this year he recognised that maybe it was time for him to move on and look for a new club.

Djourou now 26 stated upon arrival in Hannover that he wants to make the move permanent and bring an end to his Arsenal career because he simply wasn’t playing. Like I mentioned it will be a shame to let Djourou leave because with him in the squad we have one of the best back up defenders in the league, however of course a player isn’t necessarily going to be happy with that role and so it’s understandable if he wants to leave.

The latest on Djourou is that he will return to Arsenal for the time being as there was no permanent deal struck with Hannover as of yet. Other clubs are bound to show interest and I think Arsenal could easily command a fee of £5 million for Djourou.

Arsenal in the market for a new centre-back? Fazio who?

Arsenal in for Sevilla defender?

There’s a lot of Arsenal transfer news getting around at the moment and in most cases it’s probably all rumours, however this one particularly interested me because there seems to be some genuine links as well as some important things to consider.

According to various media reports, Arsenal is looking at Argentina and Sevilla defender Fazio. There have been reports in the past about Fazio and interestingly Arsenal were reportedly very close to signing the centre back in 2009, only for the bid to be rebuffed at a later stage. However if the story is true it would seem that once again Wenger is looking back at his former targets.

What interested me about this rumour was that Andrei Arshavin has been linked with Spanish club Sevilla and so originally I thought maybe there would be a possible swap deal on the cards. However then I remember Arshavin wouldn’t be contracted to Arsenal come the summer and so this deal would be irrelevant and impossible unless Arshavin did miraculously agree a new contract with the club. But it’s possible that two clubs may have been in contact and therefore discussed Fazio.

Honestly it’s most likely a rumour and the biggest thing out of this is the fact Fazio is more than likely to be on a list of targets for the summer.

But that’s not the main factor I want to bring up in this article. The main thought is, is Wenger looking to bring in another defender?

We currently have 4 choices in defence in my opinion, and they are Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Djourou. Squillaci is off in the summer and Miquel is still far too inexperienced to be involved at the highest level, so it’s plausible another defender may be on the way to the Emirates.

I think Djourou may leave permanently this summer, whilst the futures of Koscielny and Vermaelen aren’t certain yet. There have been several rumours about those players as well, but if one is to leave then I am sure that not only do they need to be replaced, but to be replaced by someone much better than Fazio. We need someone of an equal playing ability (or higher if we can!) and for me Fazio is a step down.

One incentive is, if there is any truth to this story is that we are on the lookout for another centre back, but hopefully that doesn’t involve one of our main players leaving.

Arsenal defender on his way to Italy

It seems that the Arsenal defender Johan Djourou is listening to the advice given by his national team manager and has instructed his agent to find him a team that will give him regular first team football.

His agent, Flavio Ferraria, responded to rumours that Napoli was a possible destination for the fourth-choice Arsenal centre-back.

Ferraria said: “Can Djourou join Napoli? It’s certainly possible, especially as we will be in Italy next week for a series of appointments,”

“At the moment Napoli are not on the list of appointments, but everything is possible. If he leaves the Premier League, then he will play in Italy or Spain.

“I saw my client the other day and he was enthusiastic about both Napoli and Italy in general. So far we have received an offer worth €10m, but it is up for negotiation.

“He wants to play for one of the top five Italian clubs.”

Arsenal should grab 10m for him as quick as they can and then hijack Tottenham’s move for Vertonghen!

French Star Defender Heading To Arsenal?

If rumours are to be believed Arsenal draws closer and closer to signing Montpellier’s center-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who they have been watching this season as he captained his club to the French Ligue 1 title.

The defender who was recently called-up to the French squad in the 25-man pre-EURO squad has been tracked by Arsene Wenger’s scouts in this successful year at the French club and they have been highly impressed at what they saw.

After being sent home from the National squad when manager Laurent Blanc had to choose the final 23-man-squad for this summer’s tournament, many believed that Arsene Wenger would drop his interest, but it seems that the French manager is still very much interested in the possibility of bringing him to the club.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has admitted that he would love to make a switch this season, and Montpellier have slapped a £13m transfer fee for the Frenchman’s services, but he would have to be persuaded that he would not be an automatic starter in Arsenal’s back line.

Arsenal are still looking for a midfielder, and that will be their most important target despite the fact that they are still looking for reinforcements all around the pitch, but if Johann Djourou gets his wish to leave the Emirates then Mbiwa is a much more talented replacement.

Djourou must leave Arsenal

Johan Djourou is stuck in no-mans land behind Arsenal’s top three centre-backs of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, and if none of them get injured next season (fat chance!) then he will only get the occasional run out in the Carling Cup.

This will put his international career at risk if he’s not playing, so the Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld has urged to him to move to club where he can play first-team football on a regular basis.

“For Djourou, the question arises of a transfer,” Hitzfeld said. “If he wants to be selected, he must have some game time in the club. This is not the case at Arsenal.”

Arsene Wenger obviously thinks that Djourou is simply just a squad player, and gave him a contract extension until 2015 earlier this year, but how many Arsenal fans would be more than happy to see him replaced by someone just a little bit more efficient?