As I drive for a living, I tend to listen to the radio a lot during the week. I’m obviously well aware that we are waiting for the start of the new football season and as a result of this, radio stations like Talksport have to improvise a bit to find things to talk about.
When presented with the problem of not really having anything to talk about, Talksport have had a history of coming out with some crackpot ideas, but what I heard from some of their presenters last week about Arsenal was just unbelievable.
Certain Talksport presenters claimed that the club are in crisis, that everyone is leaving, that they are getting left behind in the transfer market, all the usual stuff, etc. I even heard one presenter who is on from 4pm-7pm every night claim that Arsene Wenger’s position had become untenable! What is he talking about?
I sometimes think that the Arsenal fans take the bait a bit, that Talksport deliberately wind them up and wait for the bite, and it generally does come. But even by those standards, certain presenters got just a touch carried away last week – they’d of had you believing that the ground was about to be repossessed and the club wound up.
It’s almost like Talksport are using Arsenal to fill the void created during the close season, they seem obsessed with the situation at the club.
Personally I don’t think things are that bad at Arsenal. I’ve had a view for some 12-18 months now that some minor surgery is required, but nothing major.
Assuming they hold onto Nasri and lose Clichy and Fabregas, I believe that only a few signings will be required. Clichy is not a major loss, he will obviously need replacing, but I think his sale was good business for all concerned as he had the look of a player that needed to move on.
Fabregas looks set to finally leave – I can’t see that not being resolved this time. So the main issue for Arsenal now is to try and keep hold of Nasri. If they can, he could fill the roll vacated by Fabregas.
Maybe to show a sign of intent, Wenger needs to get hold of Nasri, give him the improved contract he wants and tell him he wants to build the side around him, convince him he is now the teams focal point.
What else is needed? Well I believe a few experienced players, for both the 1st team and for on the bench. The club have potential coming out of their ears, what they now need is a few ‘been there and done it’ signings.
I would like to see them sign an experienced keeper, I know they have Wojciech Szczesny coming through who looks a good keeper, but I still feel they would benefit from a short term signing of an experienced keeper like Shay Given, leaving Szczesny to go out on loan and finish his football education somewhere else in a similar way to what Manchester City did with Joe Hart.
They also need a centre back or two desperately. Arsenal fans say that Thomas Vermaelen is the real deal and that he was badly missed last season. So maybe one centre back would be enough, Gary Cahill and Christopher Samba are two names continually linked, I think either man would be a welcome addition.
Just look at Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and the importance he places on strong centre backs. He has built nearly all of his teams on a strong central defensive partnership, and over the past 12 months we have seen him already recruit his next partnership with youngsters, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
He obviously decided that Jonny Evans and John O’Shea weren’t up to the task, so he went and bought two players he thinks are good enough.
Arsenal also obviously need some experience to go in the midfield, Arsene Wenger has never really replaced Patrick Viera and his departure basically marks the turning point in Arsenal’s trophy count. He could also do with a spoiler to sit on the bench, I remember a player from the past that I hated, Gilles Grimandi. I couldn’t stand the bloke, I thought he couldn’t play football and was just a kicker.
Well, I believe if Wenger had a player of Grimandi’s ilk to bring on for the last 20 minutes at St James Park earlier this season, Arsenal would have beat Newcastle rather than drawing 4-4, they probably would also have beaten Liverpool at the Emirates in the 1-1 game – they seem to have no one who knows how to close a game down.
Arsenal weren’t that far away last season, they were well in the hunt until around March. That’s why I believe they don’t need a major overhaul, just a bit of tinkering.
I also don’t buy into this crap that Arsene Wenger needs to make marquee signings, what the hell are they? Does that mean going out and spending £30 Million on one player who is probably not worth it, just to show some intent? Absolute rubbish. Sensible signings are needed, not necessarily ‘big fee’ signings.
Another thing I also don’t get is all these fans that have now turned on Wenger, what’s that all about? He is still one of the best managers in the world, what do they want from him? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, without knowing what Arsene Wenger’s mandate is, it’s hard to judge him. But to get rid of him would be madness.
If he’s working on a shoe string budget delivering Champions League football every year, then that is remarkable success. If he’s choosing not to spend because he thinks he doesn’t need too, then he is now -after 6 years with nothing to show – short selling the fans. But no one ever tells us what the real situation is.
Until I know what that situation is, and until the end of the transfer window when Wenger’s actions can be judged, I am going to give Wenger and Arsenal a chance, I’m sure Talksport will continue to fill their boots though.