A reaction to a good list of potential signings.
Gregory van der Wiel
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger originally sent his scouts to Ajax to look at centre-half Thomas Vermaelen, and his £10m raid ended up pretty well. But the right back van der Wiel also caught the eye, and has now broken into the Dutch national team.. He is also reported to have admirers in Italy (Juventus) and Spain (Atletico Madrid) and would cost someone around £7m.
With William Gallas’ sell-by date approaching, the Italy Under-21 defender Ogbonna could be a useful signing. Currently at Torino in Serie B, he has been careful to say the right things, in case agents are listening: “I know exactly what I want and I am not closing the door on anything.” Wenger, who has sent scouts to watch Ogbonna play, will have been listening.
The Cardiff City man is another defender reputedly on the radar, although Manchester United are ais to be close to a deal. At just 17, he already has a £5m price tag which might be off-putting, but having already picked up Aaron Ramsay from the Bluebirds, Wenger may be more confident that its not a gamble ? and Matthews has already made the Wales senior international squad.
A rather slight figure, but that’s not put Wenger off before, the Belgian Hazard currently plays for Lille where his attacking midfield play, passing and speed have been impressive. At only 18, he is already attracting interest from Europe’s big guns and Wenger may need to move swiftly before other clubs line up some really silly money.
Wenger’s template signing (young, French) is likely to remain in place so Sakho must be one for Wenger. Currently at Paris St Germain and the French club’s youngest captain, at 17, he can play as a midfielder or ball-playing centre half. Already rumoured to have attracted the scouts of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, the French connection may sway the youngster for £12m.
One of those transfers which some people have been telegraphing for so long, it must surely happen. All the ingredients are in place – Wenger has monitored the progress of the midfielder for the best part of three seasons, and it would appear he is the perfect Wenger signing – quick and intelligent, with good technique and passing ability. At Matuidi’s current club St Etienne, the sporting director is Damien Comolli, who served as Wenger’s European scout at Arsenal for seven seasons. The way to a move should be pretty smooth, and it could suit all parties.
Veloso is another who has been thought to be on the way to the Premier League so long, that the fact he hasn’t yet arrived means that there might be something wrong with him. There isn’t, but he’s not exactly the fantasy signing Wenger might dream of ? yet a defensive shield for a sometimes fragile side might be just what he needs. Experienced and a proven leader, he could, for £13m, make the showier talents at the Emirates shine.
The PSV winger/midfielder may not be exactly what Wenger needs, but it could well be what he wants. A talented 22-year-old, he has played in four successive title wins at his club and played for his national side – and needs to move on. Wenger is again thought to be interested, but may have to part with £6m to back that up.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he may “reconsider” a move for Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh when the transfer window re-opens. Chamakh’s agent claims Wenger sees the 25-year-old as a potential £10m replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor, who was sold to Manchester City during the summer. The Arsenal manager said: “He is a player we were close to signing, but at the moment we have lost a little bit of touch with him because there is no transfer period now. We might reconsider the position if it is needed in January.”
Gifted, able to play on either wing, surprisingly powerful and speedy ? Babel has been built from the same template as Thierry Henry, yet snubbed Arsenal to play for Liverpool when he left Ajax in 2007. Babel’s recent complaints about life at Anfield suggest that he may be regretting his decision. Liable to be sold on by Rafa Benitez in January, Wenger will be tempted to snap up the chance to rebuild the career of a genuinely talented player at a bargain price. (Independent)
Wenger will of course be linked with a great many players as the transfer window approaches as all and sundry consider players who are needed to finally end the four year wait for silverware, but which of these ten can actually improve the squad already available to Arsene?
So of the ten mentioned in The Independent we have a smattering of some long running targets as well as some new faces and highly unlikely speculative suggestions. Of the ten there seems an emphasis on attacking talent even though the north London side can not stop scoring and create more than enough chances as it is. Obviously with Robin Van Persie ruled out for some months a striker could be of use but the need to bring someone in to spearhead the attack is not in my view as crucial as many make out, after all there are still some damn fine strikers to pick from.
I think Marouane Chamakh remains a fairly plausible signing for the January transfer window, not least because Bordeaux may want to cash in on their prized asset whilst they can, but at the same time they may not want to sell the Moroccan given their progression in the Champions League and similarly Chamakh may want to see the season through before making his mind up, but it does seem very possible he could head for the Emirates next summer and he would be a very useful addition to the Gunners ranks.
Clearly there are a few youngsters in the list who Wenger might like the look of, but does the Arsenal boss really need to bring in any more teenagers to add to the huge number of upcoming talents he already possesses? Surely it would make far better sense for the club to move for a player like Ibrahim Afellay, the PSV man has already proven himself over a few seasons and is just the type of flair player who would suit the club down to the ground, the Dutchman is also very adaptable and that too would interest Wenger.
In terms of beefing up the defensive midfield role the likes of Miguel Veloso are once again being touted but that seems like a deal that will be talked up forever without actually coming to fruition. Many fans appear to feel that the club needs long term additions to fill the centre back roles now that it appears that Philippe Senderos and Johann Djourou are perhaps not viable options. With that in mind a move for Mamadou Sakho would be a perfect one. The solid PSG man seems an ideal signing whereas a player like Angelo Ogbonna is still to prove himself worthy of a move.
I think even the most pessimistic Arsenal fan, even after successive defeats to Sunderland, Chelsea and Man City, would admit that the squad needs tweaking rather than a complete overhaul and I think the likes of Sakho, Afellay and Chamakh may be the best fit for the club.