Through The Transfer Window

It feels like a grown-up version of Play School. The older generation know what I mean, no round, square or arched window, this is even less subtle than that; today’s story is through the transfer window. And to some extent we – Arsenal supporters – are on the outside looking in. If we’re honest, it’s a quite a large extent. Fed morsels by the manager, scraps that are turned into the equivalent of football’s fast food by the media and if my children’s behaviour is anything to be believed, your appetite is left unsated within minutes of completing the meal.

There has been a flurry of activity already with more promised. Demba Ba’s advisors know when they are onto a good thing, taking Chelsea to the cleaners like many before them. Alan Pardew’s strong management which demanded a statement to make clear the position for Newcastle fans, received its definitive statement within twelve hours. The West Londoners are building a curious collection of strikers, the key requisite seems to be the inability to find the net on a regular basis beyond Christmas.

Are Team Chamakh aware of this, I wonder? Surely a more attractive option than Lille? I don’t have good memories of that French city. Andrey Arshavin’s heartbeat raced as his agent said, “PS…” before that sinking feeling hit him as the final consonent turned out to be “V” whilst Johan Djourou is close to a move to Hangover, the crack German outfit we’ve all turned out for at some point.

Elsewhere, Arsène has apparently sanctioned a bid of €9m for Afriyie Acquah, who by all accounts is a midfielder but I am not sure that this story holds much water whilst Wilfred Zaha will sign for someone and then not play for them for six months as Palace seek to loan the player straight back. We’re used to that at Arsenal; we’ve signed quite a few who haven’t played for years…

Actually, the David Villa transfer talk reminds me of a trip to find a wildlife park in Spain a few years back. Set in the mountains, the winding road told us that we were 5km from our destination. There were so many twists and turns that instead of getting closer, the next sign told us we were 8km away, then 10km before suddenly the distance to our destination dropped rapidly until the destination was in sight. A hot day, a young child – you’re way ahead of me aren’t you –  Number One son redecorated the back of the passenger seat as we got to the gates. We never did get inside the park. If Theo doesn’t sign his contract, I may regurgitate that story with a different player, it just fits when things don’t go well.

Minds are turning towards the weekend’s FA Cup tie with Swansea. Arsène has never lost in the third round of the FA Cup but I am not sure he has encountered such a tough tie, on paper at least. The odds on Arsenal winning the trophy are quite good according to the latest sports betting. Certainly it is surprising to find that despite being away to a club who sit just five points behind them, Wenger’s men are considered favourites to progress into the fourth round draw on Sunday.

It is little wonder that the players are looking forwards rather than backwards; I would try and forget a day at work if it was the equivalent of the visit to St Mary’s. One of those where you muddle through and somehow things turn out better than they should. We will see occasions this season where the reverse holds true as well. Kieran Gibbs‘ media training shone through in his platitudes about the trip to South Wales, the saccharine words about trophies proof that there is something working well at the club at the moment.

Like Bacary Sagna, Gibbs is coming in for criticism this season. Defensively I thought he was poor in the Christmas games. Newcastle, well, Arsenal got away with it in the high-scoring win. Southampton he was a marginally safer option than the Frenchman. I understand that Sagna might be distracted by his contract situation, it cannot be easy to concentrate fully when you know that you may well be unemployed in six months time. That is for the manager to deal with on two counts, firstly the contract but secondly by putting Jenkinson into the team until Sagna’s focus can be regained. Personally, I think that like Walcott, Sagna is someone whom Arsenal should retain. It eases the pressure on the younger players development and is an unnecessary loss to the squad. That might not suit the player but it surely does Arsenal?

Gibbs meanwhile is still relatively inexperienced. Since 2008, he has managed just 79 starts and 11 substitute appearances including this season. This is his sixth season in the first team squad and whilst he was on the fringes for a while, the damage done by injuries really hits home when you consider that when he completes his next three appearances, he will have equalled his best ever total for games in all competitions in one season. Little wonder that Arsène is being urged in some quarters to look for a reserve left back although that has as much to do with the varying opinions on Andre Santos’ abilities as Gibbs injury record.

Which takes us back to where we came in, transfer gossip and neatly finishes today’s post.

’til Tomorrow.

424 thoughts on “Through The Transfer Window

  1. miami, its not a problem if there willing to turn or pass to a player running on rosicky will do this no problem when hes playing unfortunatly this isnt often.although i dont like to single out players i think santi is lazy and no help when were struggling, for a player with so much quality he goes missing to often for me

  2. Interesting AoB and MA. It’s clear something’s not working when a side apparently set up to play on the ground keeps going long. I hadn’t really occurred to me what was going wrong.

    West Brom home and Reading away were my two favourite performances since October, playing out from the back with confidence too. I wonder if we were doing anything different with our distribution/positioning and movement in those games.

    And it’s not really the point, but seeking out Sagna means it’s all flick-ons too, which are low-percentage even compared to just lumping it up to a CF.

  3. “the movement of the midfielders has been really poor and this is our biggest problem you cannot play football along the floor without movement to enable one touch high tempo moves,however this is where we seem stale and scared to play.”

    Very much so. Against Southampton, I lost count of the number of times our players were standing still in the same spot. There was also at least one occasion where our midfield central three were all standing within a space that could not have been more than a couple of yards – as if they’d forgotten who was meant to be doing what, where and when. I’m all for fluidity in our formation, but recently it appears that certain individuals are not entirely comfortable in their designated roles.

  4. Birdkamp at 5:55 pm
    If we can’t get a Diaby type as a ball-carrier in midfield then give me a creative type further up, a CAM or wide player. What say you?

    PS: I see people correctly lamenting the absence of the Little Mozart but I don’t see him as a Messiah. Has lost a yard of pace and can no longer blow by midfielders can defenders. I may be wrong but that is my two cents.

  5. Theos presence on the pitch means most team sit a bit deeper so as a tactical weapon then he in theory gives us an advantage even before kickoff. Theos problem however is against the sides who do this which will be the majority he’s pants as the central stiker. Playing Theo out wide and Giroud gives us the same tactical advantage with Theos pace but gives us someone who can play in the middle.

    Against the Barcas Bayerns & Utd Theo will get his wish as they’ll play a high line as for the bread and butter matches Giroud is the man for me. As a side issue Giroud and Poldi are having a pretty decent first seasons in the league. i don’t see how we could really have expected much more. Its possible they could get 15-20 league goals each and 15 to 20 assists between them not bad in my book.

    The amount of goals however is not the issue. Our biggest problem is our lack of creative consistency. Now i don’t expect a Newcastle or Reading every week and tbh i’d much rather have a standard 2 0 win, remember those, they were great. The Southampton Villa and Norwich games we barely mustered a shot. Our key creative stats such as completed passes in the final third are actually very good and very encouraging and so add to the bafflement. Answers on a post card to London Colney please.

  6. Bird/MGK,

    The more I watch these games the more I am coming to believe that Wilshere and Arteta are essentially playing the exact same role. If I was to get picky about some differences I would say that Wilshere attempts to get forward more and he carries the ball certainly more, but watch the games when we lose possession. Upon the loss of the ball every game you see both Arteta and Wilshere drop deep middle just in front of the back four. This means we have Theo (or who ever the striker is) and Cazorla to try and challenge for the scraps. Now, I don’t think Cazorla is a lazy player at all but he is an attacking minded/creative type player who does not carry a physical presence. The result is we concede possession, and if you think I am wrong then just watch the next game. I counted a number of times against both Wigan and Southampton just to name two, where the result was our entire team minus the forward were squeezed in to our final third of the pitch. There is no out ball when we have all the players effective cramped in to tight space and the result is to kick it long and wait for it to come back at the feet of the opposition. This is why I seriously believe that above all else we need a combative midfielder.

  7. I need to look a bit closer really. It’s a simplistic comment, but I’d always assumed that having played for great footballing teams like Pellegrini’s Villareal and Spain, Cazorla would know which positions to take up to keep the ball moving. I always found him pretty committed too.

    It’s not something I’ve noticed, but I’ll be looking out against Swansea, which will be a gigantic test. He was invisible vs Southampton, and AW recognised that.

    Yeah Shotta, I’ve been going on about a nippy wide player with a bit of vision. I think a lot of people would groan about it though! Either way I haven’t heard any rumours. I guess another creative attacking midfielder could mean Santi spends some games out wide, which he’s done well for most of his career, despite not being really quick.

    I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s pretty unusual for a top side not to have a bit of brawn in midfield. After AW’s recent comments about Diaby’s physical situation, I would love to know what the plan is for him – I doubt we see him as someone we can depend on week to week now.

  8. Zaha’s not coming…
    The Red Mancs offer Palace the better option.
    Sign, loan back till summer, Palace fight for promotion with full squad..
    Utd win the PL, sell Nani, Zaha joins team in the summer.

    can’t see how we beat that plan..our needs are more urgent

  9. the movement is not about player a or b but the team as a whole making themselves ready to receive the ball either in the first passage of play or second, when were on fire players start to move to collect the ball from a player who may not even have the ball yet,its the way you can shift opposition out of their rigid formation and move the ball quickly between them.if you lose the ball sometimes many players will appear out of posistion and have to get back quickly.i believe when this has happened in the past and we have been condemed for it we have the lost the confidence to play and therefore become stale.we need to shake the binds.

  10. That barnet does seem to have reversed the old adage that you get more repectable looking as you get older in Gerry’s case.

  11. Happy New Year, one & all.

    Don’t have a lot of time to comment here at the moment (selling house plus work issues), but although Irish has already noted ^up there^, thought it worth adding my €2 in support of KP-B and his decision to quit the field of play over this:

    Sad about the circumstances in which a football player felt this needed to be done in the 21st century, but glad finally that a team as a whole – and a world-renowned one at that – has had enough.

    Only yesterday I was looking at Mattia di Sciglio, AC Milan’s 20-year-old defensive starlet, and wondering if he could be something for us? And puzzling why is it that AW seems not to buy in Italy? (With the notable exception of Henry, of course.)


  12. Very happy to see the under-used off. Especially when they are doing nothing at the peak of their careers. Young or old a squad should all be challenging for a game and if not they need to go.

  13. .com has published some sensational training session pictures with a tall athletic football player who bears a unique resemblance to a certain Abu Diaby. The player walks, kicks the ball, moves his legs, enjoys himself, walks again!

    The Arsenal blogosphere is full of speculations about the identity of the depicted player. If someone of you recognizes the individual, please get in touch with ACLF to clarify the identity of the enigmatic beautiful unknown once and or all.

  14. Glad it is only a loan deal if that Djourou thing is true. Too decent a player to get rid. Unless it’s one of those loan with a view to a permanent deal jobs.

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