Friday Transfer Roundup; What's Weak This Week?

The one constant of the last few years as an Arsenal supporter has been the fact that we all basically go bat-shiat crazy during the summer. Some more than others, calling for pretty much everyone in the squad to be replaced, but everyone to some degree wants Arsenal to sign some new blood. You could characterize the distance between these two camps as a rift among supporters but I think you’d be wrong. We all just want a winning squad, and unfortunately we all think we know how to get us there. Hell, even the players at the club seem to think they know how to get some silverware what with England’s Future Number One stating that Arsenal need to splash the cash, and Robin van Persie saying keep the faith.

I guess it’s just something that almost all Arsenal supporters do. I can’t quite get my head around it, so, if you think you know why we are so transfer crazy, please let us all know in the comments.

Meanwhile, here’s a wrap up of who we didn’t sign this week and the chances that we will sign them!

Felipe Melo: Arsene Wenger has so many options to buy in central midfield that this one particular “Will he or won’t he?” is starting to grate on a lot of folks’ nerves. I would welcome the player but I don’t think Arsenal are even involved in this any more, irregardless the statements of his agent/the Fiorentina President, etc. It’s looking increasingly like Arsenal are being used as a stick to get the maximum value out of the transfer to Juve. -1/10

Miguel Veloso: Evidently, this player rates highly, on gaming consoles. In real life? He’s headed to Bolton. That he was linked so heavily to Arsenal last year and so decisively not this year shows you that the press knows f*ck all about where players are actually headed. Chances he’s coming to Arsenal this year? 0/10

Ever Banega: Ever do what? Tiny, miniscule, little Argentinian holding midfielder who currently plays for Valencia. He’s only been in Spain for 1 year, he’s not currently on the Argentinian national team and I’d be surprised if Arsenal could get him a work permit. 1/10

Dani Parejo: Big, rangy, young, hard nosed holding midfielder. Incessantly linked to Arsenal by possibly the keenest footballing mind on the planet. 2/10

Fabian Delph: No one is linking Delph to Arsenal, except me. In fact, he was heavily linked last year but this year the line went dead. The fact remains that Arsene Wenger is heavily investing in English kids, possibly to stave off constant criticism and likely to side-step potential rules changes such as the proposed 6+5 Affirmative Action Quota System for Englishmen. Delph is a left footed midfielder with a blistering shot and a bit of an early penchant for long range goals. His old manager compared his lung capacity to an Ethiopian Marathon runner, and I’ve seen him compared favorably to many of England’s finest midfielders, and Gareth Barry. Leeds are publicly admitting that two clubs have bid for the youngster but aren’t saying who and it’s a bit of a stretch, since Arsenal already have a British midfield core for the future, but with Wenger you never know. 3/10

Eden Hazard: His name may be an oxymoron, but Wenger would be a straight moron NOT to sign him. I’ve played him on the x-box* and I can tell you he is better than RonaldoKakaRonaldoRonaldinho all rolled into one. Plus, he wants to play for Arsenal. Never mind that Arsenal has more attacking options than you could shake a stick at, this guy is GOOD. Need we say more? 4/10

Chamakh: Wenger actually admitted that he was looking at this tall striker, but only as an option if Adebayor demands a transfer away. Given the fact that Ade went from 1st place to 5th place in AC Milan’s World Strikers Beauty Pageant I think we all have to admit that this is 50-50 at best. I’m feeling generous, plus I do think Arsene is trying to offload a player who has an attitude problem. 5/10

Lorik Cana: Cana has announced himself as eligible, but ONLY if l’OM sign a replacement. Cana’s logical replacement, Stephane M’Bia, is trying to sign with Marseilles but crap keeps getting hung up. The latest news I read on L’Equipe is that the deal is all but done. Once that happens, expect to see reports linking the £6.5m rated Albanian Supermodel to several clubs, with Arsenal being the favorite owing to the fact that Wenger already tried once before to bring him in and was denied over a work permit. 7/10

Blaise Matuidi: Young, African Francophone, reminds me of Michael Essien, and we do know that Arsene tried to sign Essien. Additionally, he’s reportedly available for a mere £2.5m and further reportedly had a meeting with Wenger this week. Not exactly the guy that Arsenal supporters are looking for, we’d rather have an M’Bia or Cana by my estimation, but certainly fits Wenger’s historical buying patterns. 8/10

There’s your weekly roundup, I’m sure if I missed anyone you’ll let me know about it.

Have fun and see you tomorrow!


  1. who the hell is eden hazard who does he play 4 ?????

    love 2 see cana at asnl big strong gd player overall

    matuidi is not what we need small not enough xp plz dnt get him focus on cana or i heard mahamado diarra could come as madrid want him out

    1. @jay, Eden Hazard is a pretty incredible little player. You’d think with his lack of height he’d have trouble playing down the middle and taking on defenders but the ball just sticks to his feet. However, as with youth, his finishing is a little bit poor. I’ve watched him whenever I could have caught a Ligue 1 game on Setanta and he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

  2. Great blog, excellent post today, sums up the transfer rumors nicely. Personally I think you need an entry for “somebody nobody has ever heard of, 9/10″….

    Now I’m quite a newbie AND and idiot American (I tried to introduce myself a bit in the comments under your post about AW and the “decisive year”), but the transfer madness IMO is a rather natural reaction to the success of Mourinho’s Chelsea. As the Special One went for “two world class players at each position” (including our very own A. Hole) we went for a real estate venture…Meanwhile, up north, Sir Alex can’t keep Tevez & Berbatov happy, while Rafa plucks the best of the Spaniards with pretty good success (El Nino, prolly the best buy of the past 3 years–until Arshavin, see below).

    The second factor is the YouTube factor. It’s much more glamorous to think about the highlight reel than the drudgery of Alex Song or Denilson making decent tackles and passes amongst the occasional turnover. But how many of us have watched Cana or Matuidi for an entire match (let alone over a season or two)? The comments in the blogosphere on Melo after watching him at the Confed Cup were pretty underwhelming.

    Anyways, I’m a stay the course, Arsene Knows Best (and I’m just trying to figure him out) kinda guy. I’m also a cheapskate and appreciate a good bargain. As for the DM, I thought Song made a big improvement as the season went along, finally varying his pace so that he’s now “big” and “skilled” and not quite so “lumbering.” I’d love to see him in the Ya-Ya role of a 4-3-3 similar to Barca’s, and I think the role would be his to lose.

    The other thing I think we Gooners should be rejoicing over (from a transfer perspective) is that we’ve got Arshavin. He was awesome in the Euros, we got him for a reasonable price (after playing chicken with the Zenit folks) AND he’s settled beautifully over his first half season in England. The Anfield show was the stuff of legend. If you want a Ronaldo AND a Benzema after already buying a Kaka, there’s another team you should root for….

    OK, enough said. Interesting board stuff happening with Kronke increasing his stake and a well written analysis of the “rights issue” in the Guardian

  3. Don’t forget Gokhan Inler, whose name is still lingering as tied to Arsenal. I agree, it sounds as if Matuidi is the likely choice here. I’m sure people will get upset because they’ve not heard of him before, but not many people had heard of Bacary Sagna and he’s one of the best right backs in the world. Just like in American sports, people take a fantasy sports approach and are always enamored by the big names. I’m fine, for now, with Arsene’s under the radar approach.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with AC Milan at the forward position. Signs point to Huntelaar going to Stuttgart now and if Milan can’t sign Dzeko (sounds like he’s gonna have to stay; he’ll be worth a lot more next year if he has another great season) or Fabiano (probably will happen), you might start seeing Adebayor’s name resurface. How about Adebayor (and cash) to Bayern Munich, Luca Toni to AC Milan, Franck Ribery to the Emirates? Sorry, just a Friday fantasy. Have a good weekend all. Let’s hope there’s some real news over the next few days…

    1. @ArseChicago, OK, drinking too much coffee, this a.m., so I’ll stay after it….It IS pretty interesting thinking about what Milan might do. Personally I do think they could use a big guy up front (to free up Pato) and Fabiano will probably be the guy. I think they’d do better with Ade or even a whole lot better if they could get Drogba. Unfortunately, for your fantasy plan, Luca Toni is so far over the hill…(played like poo at the Euros so it seems unlikely he’ll find his way back to Italy). Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ribery come to England in very late August, but it would be to one of the Manchester teams or to Chelsea (if Drogba went out). IMO he is pretty overvalued at this point, but he is a big name to mollify the “fans.” (Esp. at ManU if they don’t “use” the Ronaldo money.)

      What we NEED to do is take care of our business soon so we can start the season strong, crushing all the little teams (an opening victory at Everton wouldn’t hurt either. Last season our losses at Fulham and then at home against F**king Hull, emboldened all those crap teams, making those games far more difficult. The lesser teams (and there are about 13 of them in the league) should be looking for moral victories only when playing the beautiful machine that is Arsenal. Late transfers, both in and out, while exciting, are disruptive to the squad. Attempting to bed those players in and remain focused adds a dimension I’d rather see at the other big clubs.

  4. If we brought Cana in, then Nasri (his lover-of-old) would feel safer drifting a bit more centrally, where he can actually accomplish things. Maybe a bit of a 4-5-1 with some teeth to it?

    I’m too young to know, but did Arsene ever try a 4-1-4-1 or 4-1-3-2 when Viera was around? because Cana is definitely strong enough to anchor the midfield by himself. Hm. Hmm… Wishful thinking.

    1. @Dooley,
      In the days of Viera/Petit? No.. You have to realize that this holding midfielder position is a pretty new concept.

      1. @nycgunner,

        it’s hard for me to appreciate how good Petit truly was, having never watched him play. Seems like he had a Flamini style motor and true technical ability.

        Still, this team really only needs a linchpin to be aggressive in possession. I’d say we have the pick of attacking midfielders (minus Gerard and Xavi/Iniesta) compared to most of Europe

        1. @Dooley,
          Petit was truly a left-footed, midfield genius who complemented Viera perfectly. According to Viera himself, Petit gave him freedom to go from box to box without fear. He was a left back before Wenger convert him to midfield. Then, like our players of today, he left for Barcelona and they destroyed his style by trying to adapt him differently. what a shame. Mark my words, by the time they finished with Hleb, he will loose his style and touch completely. When they don’t need this players why take them?

    2. @Dooley, Wenger always employed his 4-4-2 formation and it’s probably the best formation for Arsenal against the other top four. It’s only been in the last few years he’s changed things a bit and taken a more trendy 4-5-1 in Champions League, since it seems to be the formation of choice for Europe.

      1. @WC, I know you’ve disagreed with me about this in the past, but most of the time when people thought he was playing a 4-5-1, he was actually playing a 4-2-3-1

        1. That’s very true Tim. It’s a 4-3-3 with the front 3 playing in an inverted V with the 2 outer forwards playing as outright wingers, and the MF’s playing in a tradition V.

  5. Matuidi is the least likely fit for Arsenal regardless of price. A deal, is only a deal if the player is able to improve our squad and there is no way he does that at the moment.

    He is way too small to complement our already aerially challenged MF. As I have said before, we might also see Vermaelen manning the DM position, Song resorting to CB and another tall, strong CB be brought in as the other signing. I could see Bassong fitting that bill.

    Chamakh comes in only if Ade goes.

      1. @LRV,
        bleacher report articles are mostly opinions. whether or not they are correct is debatable.

        matuidi listed at 5’9″. not exactly the midfield goliath we are looking for is he?

        i guess the real issue here is can he outjump a guy 3 or 4 inches taller than him? we do need someone who can win the aerial balls in midfield. if he’s techinically good enough, he can definitely play the CDM role (like senna) but is he? his age is a factor as well. he’s not bringing any more experience than denilson or song (if anything, he brings less). he maybe a player for the future if wenger think denilson will not do the job down the line but we need someone now.

        1. @nycgunner,
          How tall is Sagna? He constantly outjumps most of his opponents. Jumping is about timing your jump perfectly enough to get the right height. I remember Paul Scholes, in an England V Scotland game, out jumping Hendry who was almost 4 inches, or more, taller than him. And the young man is highly technically gifted, which was why Arsene wenger talked to him before all the rumour started. He was recommended by former Gunner, Giles Grimandi, who also recommended Sagna, Nasiri (bought by Arsenal), as well as Ribery, Benzima and Gocuf (can’t spell the name), the trio of whom we did not buy at the time because of price tags.

      2. @LRV, I’m not exactly impressed by 95% of the rfap that Bleacher Report publishes and I’ve been scanning over them for some time now. I think Vieira set the bar far too high and the reality is no one so far has managed to come out of his shadow. We expect to find some Vieira clone but he was abnormally tall. I’ll let you in on a secret – being 6 ft tall is not exactly the average height of a male. In fact it’s statistically around 5’9″ so really I think we need to get it out of our heads that if someone isn’t 6’0″ or over then he’s not fit for the CM position. I’d reckon there’s more CMs below 6ft. than there are over. What Matuidi doesn’t bring is leadership and experience which is why I’ve been such a staunch Cana advocate. Sure Matuidi can add depth which is equally important but we need a very competitive starting 11 first.

        1. @WC,
          “being 6 ft tall is not exactly the average height of a male. In fact it’s statistically around 5′9″ so really I think we need to get it out of our heads that if someone isn’t 6′0″ or over then he’s not fit for the CM position. I’d reckon there’s more CMs below 6ft. than there are over.” ………Exactly my sentiment.

          I am not a Matuidi advocate, neither am I against him coming. I just believe that he can do the job as well.

  6. Tim,a pretty good round-up. But what you missed? Let’s see! Just a myriad of Medium to Medium-high midfielders and defenders that are daily linked to Arsenal. just kidding! If you were to write about all of them, we will be here till kingdom come.

    It is certain that Arsene is fed-up with Fiorentina and their tactics over Melo. Fiorentina cannot match the Juve exchange guy’s wages so they gave Arsenal ultimatum to buy their Melo. Arsenal seem to call their bluff and they’ve gone back to Juve.

    I won’t be surprised to see Matuidi or any other unknown. All the players mentioned above are all unknowns anyway. YouTube makes us feel that we know them. Do we really? Anybody (even Fabrice Muamba) can be made to look good (or bad) on YouTube. Unless you see them play over a period of time, you cannot truly assess them.

    If anyone see any video of Eden Hazard can you let us know through Tim please? I have heard quite a lot of good things about the young man. Could be interesting; very interesting see him at Arsenal if all that I heard is true.

  7. LRV – I haven’t seen Matuidi enough to know how good he is technically but you can’t deny that he isn’t the extra bit of steel and experience we are looking for in midfield. As for the being good in the air goes, yeah I agree being good in the air isnt about how tall you are but how well you can time your jumps – that’s actually what i meant when i said outjump, guess i should have been clearer. However, i wouldn’t use Sagna as an example. I have seen him mistime his jumps a number of times and I remember one occassion last season when it actually cost us a goal.

      1. @LRV,
        yeah but we dont all play for the arsenal now do we? my point was simply this: we need someone good in the air in midfield, someone who is not afraid of challenging for balls and someone who brings a bit more experience and leadership to this team. you used sagna as an example. well he may be good in the air but he hardly sets the bar when it comes to aerial ability. he may be good for a RB but the center of the pitch is a much more crowded area so you need to set the bar higher. matuidi hardly seems like the answer to me. that’s why im voting for cana, even though i havent seen him play (rumor is he’s one tough mofo).

        anyways… gotta go and start my w/e. good discussion today. happy friday you all.

    1. I don’t think anyone is saying Matuidi is not an excellent player with enormous potential. The closest comparison would be Makelele, who was considered one of the finest DM’s of this decade.

      Like Makelele, he is not good in the air (nothing to do with height), but prefers to play the game on the ground, good technical skills, good field awareness, hard tackling and a good passer. A great fit for Arsenal if we were playing in Spain or Italy, not so good for the EPL when you have 6 ft + bruisers continually pumping balls up and over the middle, therefore bypassing the MF, and having an aerially challenged Arsenal team trying to contain that method of attack.

      Take into context the league level he is playing in, his youth, lack of high level experience and he is not the fit for Arsenal.

        1. Again, it’s not about the individual but it’s all about team balance. When we had Viera, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, Campbell, Lauren, Edu or Petit, Adams, Bould, etc. we had height and aerial ability all over the field.

          We did not need a DM to be particularly good in the air because we had more than adequate cover and “Mad” Lehman who covered his GK area rather well and with authority.

          Our current starting 11 has the 2 forwards, Ade and RVP, as the 2 tallest people on our team and they are required to be used as defenders on set pieces which ultimately degrades our counter attack ability. One of our major problems, defending set pieces, is a direct result of this imbalance.

      1. because of their attackers are terrible.

        except benzema. and giuly. and gourcuff. and hazard.

        yeah. i should have just taken a day off from the internet.

  8. Would be nice to sign Cana, put the fear of God in opposition midfields again, I don’t think we’ve done that since Viera. That said, all signs would indicate we’re on the verge of signing Matuidi instead, I haven’t completely given up hope on Denilson and or Song coming good this season though.

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