No matter what season, irrespective of which one, any transfer window lends itself easily to the Dirty Harry scene outside of the bank. Staring down the barrel of the gun, a source will tell you they are the lucky punks; we are the trigger happy anti-heroes with consciences. Truth is, we can never remember if we have taken six shots or just five. Lose count in the excitement? I’m not sure we even care. All we want is the one in front of us to be right so we can proffer a credibility on the recipient of our footballing largesse. Trouble is that this years model is next years flop; all we think is, “I gots to know“…. The difference between this season and those previous is that we aren’t adding, “if we are going to sign someone“, it’s “when the next one is arriving“. According to local news, David Ospina is just that man with Arsenal agreeing a fee of €4m. Whether terms are agreed is another matter although according to Sami Khedira’s Mr20%, clubs don’t bother negotiating unless they have an agreement with the player so one assumes the Colombian will be announced as an Arsenal player tout de suite. Or will it be Iker Casillas, whose Mr20% made sure no-one forgot about him at the weekend. Ospina seems more likely but just a week ago, we were looking at Spanish right back, now it seems an Argentine addition is most likely. This with Jenkinson at the club and Fahti on trial. It’s a bit too crowded. In terms of the size of the squad, goalkeeper and central defence remain the positions where the numbers are light. Once those are resolved, signings are not looked at purely as “business to be done” but adding depth to the squad so that if a title challenge emerges, it doesn’t flounder under a tidal wave of injuries and end the season in a fight for a Champions League place once again. Arsène spoke after the win over Borehamwood, indicating that he would not be adding to the forward line,
Up front we don’t need any more. It’s not especially for numbers. We need a goalkeeper for sure and after that it depends on how our midfielders get through without injuries until the start of the season. Maybe at centre-back we’ll still bring one in.
I would disagree with the striker role, it will be the only position in the club where there isn’t competition for places which is not a good sign. That’s not criticism of Giroud but if he plateaus this season, where is the edge that will bring him out of the darkness? Not worrying whether Yaya Sanogo is going to usurp him from the XI. Giroud knows despite the player’s personal preference, Arsène does not trust Podolski either. Where is the external drive coming from to push the Frenchman to produce his maximum performance? As admirable as the manager’s loyalty to the player is, it is also a weakness at times. Little wonder then, that talk of Mario Balotelli coming to Arsenal has resurfaced. Like Luis Suarez before him, the Italian has divided the fanbase about his abilities and the potential disruption to the squad his personality might bring. It’s amazing what a photo in a Puma store around the time of the Arsenal kit launch will do. Personally, I don’t see any deal for him happening; even Wenger’s almost legendary patience would be sorely tested. Which leaves Joel Campbell until he leaves. Or stays. To be honest, the signings this summer make me more convinced that the Costa Rican is not going to be at the club this season. Looking at the squad, we have depth in the wider positions, especially when Walcott’s fitness returns. The question is whether Campbell is the right back up for Giroud? He worked hard in the World Cup for his country and you sense that will not be the issue; is he a poacher, an instinctive eye for goal or an eye for the spectacular goal. More importantly, is he capable of producing when his chances are restricted. It seems hard to conceive of a situation where he would usurp those ahead of him in the queue for the wider roles and Wenger has not been overly encouraging about Campbell’s future, let alone the prospect of him being selected ahead of the Frenchman. Ideally, we would have another striker. Comparatively speaking, we seem a little lighter but if we went into the new season without one, would we be running the risk once more of being overly reliant upon Giroud? If anything happens, are we capable of playing for five months without him? There would seem to be better options than last year and who knows, perhaps we can. But given the depth of the squad elsewhere, it feels a bit like Russian Roulette. Let’s hope not. To finish this morning a bit of a heads up. At 1pm GMT each day this week there will be a second post, a week-long reflection of “Arsenal in the USA”. It kicks off with reflections on a favoured match from Miami Arsenal. I’ll have to change the sign-off each morning. ’til Later.