Arsenal transfers! Ryo OUT and Draxler IN is a DREAM DOUBLE

After it looked to Arsenal fans, or to me at least, that Arsene Wenger was dragging his feet about getting something going in the summer transfer market, we could be set to go ballistic and complete the transfer of a player that has been linked with a move to north London in no end of Arsenal transfer rumours over the last two years.

According to a Metro report, the talented 21-year old German international is now keen on the step up, after previously saying that he thought his progress in the game might be better served staying with his current club Schalke.

The player´s own wishes are not the only reason why Arsenal may now complete this fantastic transfer though, as another Metro report has confirmed that the Gunners have parted company with our young Japanese international Ryo Miyaichi. He has signed for the German club St. Pauli and as he plays on the wing has opened up a Draxler sized hole in the Arsenal squad.

The question now is, will Wenger and Arsenal cough up the nearly £30 million that Schalke want for their exciting young star?

In depth preview of Arsenal v Chelsea in league cup clash

Arsenal will welcome Premier League and local rivals Chelsea to the Emirates stadium tonight for the 4th round of the year’s Capital One Cup tournament. Having beaten West Bromwich Albion in the 3rd round, Arsenal were only expecting a tougher opponent from then on and we now seem to be ready to face up to that challenge with a visit from the Blues.

Chelsea, who currently occupy second place in the Premier League, take on first placed Arsenal at the Gunners stadium tomorrow night in what is sure to be a highly contested and exciting match for fans of both teams as well as the neutrals. With both teams doing so well so far this season, it may well be a clash of the titans and whilst it will be interesting to witness Jose’s return to Chelsea vs Arsenal, what is more interesting from an Arsenal fan’s perspective is how well we can play against the toughest opposition.

So far this season we have faced some difficult teams, mainly in the Champions League against Napoli and Dortmund. However so far we haven’t really been tested by any Premier League title challengers, except for Spurs if you want to count them. So with Chelsea being the first real big club from English football to face Arsenal this season, it will be interesting to see how we face up against them, especially as our record against the top 4 clubs is recently pretty poor.

So ahead of the game there aren’t any real concerns regarding injuries except for the news that Flamini won’t be available, whilst the likes of Frimpong and Gnabry will face fitness tests to see if they can be involved. Wenger was also quick to state that Ryo Miyaichi could be involved as well as Jack Wilshere. But Mikel Arteta will miss out with a one match ban.

From the sounds of things Wenger is looking to send out a side mixed of both youth and experience to balance the books against a tough opponent, whilst also keeping his philosophy. Therefore I expect the Arsenal side to line up as follows:

Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen Monreal
Hayden Wilshere
Gnabry Giroud Miyaichi

In my opinion it’s not the kind of team I would put out because I think there are some obvious weaknesses in there. I would say that Ozil would play but bearing in mind he hasn’t been rested since the day he joined I think this may be the game our German superstar misses out on. Ramsey could very well play but he and Cazorla also probably need to be rested.

Overall I’m expecting a very tricky game, depending on the Chelsea line up possibly the toughest game yet however once again it’s a game that we are very much capable of winning, especially with the team on form.

Arsenal must use Youth and Experience to compete in Capital One Cup

Chelsea have beaten Manchester City 2 – 1 at Stamford Bridge thanks to once again another Joe Hart howler. Now they set their sights on the Capital One cup match against Arsenal at the Emirates. And although are going to play the second string, it will not be an easy game for Arsenal.

Even though Chelsea will be playing the game only two days after their previous game, they will still field a very menacing line up. The likes of Willian, Mata and De Bruyne didn’t even start for Chelsea today meaning that we can expect those three behind Eto’o. That’s how ridiculously good their squad depth is at the moment and that’s why I don’t think we can take them lightly. Without starting any of the same players, Chelsea can field a side like this:

Azpilicueta, Luiz, Ake, Bertrand
Essien, Mikel
De Bruyne, Mata, Willian

I personally don’t care much for the Capital One cup this season. It’s the least respected trophy of them all and is only cherished by fans of small clubs like Tottenham. We have bigger fish to fry and we need to capitalise on this good start we’ve had in the Premier league this season. Liverpool on Saturday will be well rested whilst we’ve had to play three games in Europe as well as them not having to play a cup game midweek thanks to being knocked out by Manchester United.

But we also can’t be humiliated by Chelsea under Mourinho. We all despise that club and the manager. We can’t allow our loyal fans to watch us get decimated by a far superior Chelsea team on the day. That’s just not on. I expect us to play a more experienced side (mainly our defence) to cope with Chelsea’s extremely strong attack whilst deploying some younger players like Akpom and Gnabry to ensure that our experienced players aren’t overplayed whilst our top youngsters get a feel for a big competitive game.

I’d be surprised if we managed to beat Chelsea on Tuesday but we can’t just take a beating regardless of our small squad. We need to employ a mixture of experience and youth and hope that we can overcome Chelsea’s superior squad. Something like this:

Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal
Hayden, Frimpong
Gnabry, Rosicky, Miyaichi

That is not a bad side and should make for a good game and avoid a real hammering. If they can get us through to the next round, it will be a nice bonus.

Wenger to promote Arsenal youngsters to cover injury crisis?

Arsene Wenger has suggested in a press conference that he may choose to promote some more youth to the Arsenal first team squad, once the transfer window closes for the summer. Although he didn’t directly say anything about the Arsenal youth, he made it clear that he wanted to bring in quality rather than quantity. Every single year he seems to say this yet we are always left with it the other way round.

Famously two years ago when we were in a similar position over a lack of signings because of the Champions League qualification play off stage. We signed 5 players on the last day of the window and although they were called panic buys, three of them managed to succeed in Arteta, Mertesacker and loanee Yossi Benyayoun. Andre Santos and Park never really made it but overall it turns out Wenger’s panic buys at that moment weren’t as bad as expected. But of course we won’t be hoping for that same situation to happen again and in fact Wenger’s latest quotes state that he won’t be making lots of additions.

He said, “We look more for quality than for numbers. Yes, we would like two or three players and if possible more, but we will not compromise on quality.”

If we are to bring in two or three players then they need to be of the highest quality because let’s face it our squad is crying out for talent. The main concern here is the fact that two or three players isn’t going to solve our squad depth issue, in which we rather stupidly decided to let go of 27 players and not replace a single one, unless you’re counting Sanogo (I suppose we have to have at least one player to boast about.) Of course I never expected the club to replace all 27 because that would be a ridiculous squad overhaul, however like everyone I expected more from Arsenal this summer but they simply have not produced.

This means that if Wenger is to bring up the squad depth to a level where we won’t have to bring back Jens Lehmann or Sol Campbell, or even worse having Steve Bould named as a substitute, then Wenger is going to have to promote some of the youth and reserve players. The likelihood is that Martinez, Yennaris, Miyaichi, Afobe and Akpom will all make the step up to train with the first team, whilst I wouldn’t even be surprised to maybe see the likes of Jon Toral and Gedion Zelalem.

Watching a young player developing their football skills on the pitch is always good to see, however it shouldn’t be happening regularly at a ‘big club’ that’s supposedly ambitious enough to compete for the Premier League. These players mentioned above probably won’t do much more than fill a squad place and maybe occasionally get on the bench but as soon as the injuries or suspensions build up, we could see them edging closer and closer to the Arsenal team. And we all remember what happened last time we filled a team full of reserves. 8-2.

Small squad size could cause Arsenal big problems

Although the transfer window still has around 5 weeks before it’s closed on the 2nd of September, it has already been 8 weeks since it was opened in June and so far we have seen several players labelled as deadwood leave the club, but we are yet to see any more additions to the club aside from young French Under 20 international striker Yaya Sanogo.

Although it’s great that Arsenal have let go of so many ‘deadwood’ players and cleared our wage bill, it’s worrying to think that technically we are a worse squad than last season, because we no longer have the same amount of depth in the squad. Of course our starting XI has remained the same, but in terms of back-up players and reserves in case of injuries, there’s been a bit of a swap around at the club and now we will soon be set to enter the new Premier league 2013/14 season with few options in terms of squad size.

Many have suggested that it isn’t a problem because nothing about the team has really changed because none of the outgoing players were ever regulars with Arsenal, with only Vito Mannone and Andrei Arshavin really getting a few run outs last term. But the fact is, although they didn’t play often, they were in the squad for squad depth, rotation and a bench place just in case of injury or suspension to a first team regular.

I suppose on a good note we can replace these fringe players with younger fringe players in the likes of Gnabry, Martinez and Miyaichi, who of course will all be on much lower wages and general demands, but what’s particularly frustrating is to see the fact that we all at one point expected Squillaci, Denilson and Arshavin to be replaced with good to average players who could provide admirable backup in the last case option. I suppose we do have that now in the young players mentioned above however it’s just frustrating to see the fact that we seem to have been lied to once again as fans of Arsenal Football Club.

Arsenal Rumour Roundup 31st Jan – Eisfeld, Torres, Holtby, Miyaichi, Van Persie and Mariappa

Despite Arsene Wenger consistently saying that their will be no new arrivals at the Emirates, there are still lots of Arsenal transfer rumours around today, especially as it has been revealed that Arsenal have already bought Thomas Eisfeld….

Arsenal linked with shock move for Torres! (Lucas Torres not Fernando!)

We are also being linked with a move to take Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby

Another cheap player apparently close to signing is the Watford defender Adrian Mariappa...

Young Gunner Ryo Miyaichi is set to join Fulham or Bolton today

Robin Van Persie has apparently told Arsenal he wants to move to Spain in the summer..

Everyone’s favourite Chief Exec Ivan Gazidis has announced that Arsenal won’t buy any stars

That’s about it for today so far, but there is not as much Arsenal transfer news as you would expect on such a crucial day. But if I had to guess, I would say that Wenger will probably surprise everyone by buying someone not on this list!

Wenger says he has a plan to loan out Ryo Miyaichi to an English team (Bolton?)

The young Japanese genius Ryo Miyaichi had an excellent first loan period at Feyenoord last season, and it was the sparkling reviews from Holland which prompted Arsene Wenger to bring him back to Arsenal this season to see him first hand.

But the emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain along with the arrival of Gervinho has left the youngster with very little chance of breaking into the Arsenal first-team this season, so Wenger is planning to send him out on loan to an English side in the next couple of days.

“I will have a chat with him tomorrow and I have a little plan.” Wenger said when asked about Ryo. “Oxlade-Chamberlain plays on the flanks now too, so if I can find an opportunity for him to play somewhere I will decide whether to do that tomorrow. It will have to be in England because he will lose the homegrown status if he leaves the country.”

Wenger’s statement rules out a move to Valenciennes, who had made an enquiry recently, so it looks like all the gossip recently has been saying that Bolton are the front-runners to take him for the rest of the season. After they did such a good job with Jack Wilshere, Bolton are always going to be in pole position for any further loans from Arsenal.