You would need a pretty good calculator to add up the amount of players that Arsenal have been linked with over the last 12 months. Even the softest of Arsenal fans will tell you that some experience is needed at the Emirates for the side to be mounting serious challenges for trophies again.
But who are the real targets of Arsenal? There is plenty of speculation to go around and if you were to add all the player values up you would be looking at around £200m but talent will not help alone, leadership is needed.
The first issue is obviously regarding a striker. Robin van Persie cannot do it by himself and he is normally injured for a good period of time each season. Not a matter of if, but when is the question for next Premiership campaign, but Wenger will surely be wanting to find himself some back up in that area. Who is the big question. The North London side have been linked with Jermain Defoe recently which sounds interesting but is he good enough to play for Arsenal and take them forward – no.
Benzema is another but Real have claimed they will not be selling him this summer. You have Gervinho too, and although it looks likely he will now join the Gunners, he will need to work hard to fit in immediately, a few goalless starts and he will soon have fans on his back as not good enough, starting well he will need to continue. Chamakh scared teams when he first started playing for Arsenal, soon after the magic wore away. The striker situation is a very tricky one and hopefully for Arsenal fans Wenger will come up with an answer.
Into midfield and we have the most boring transfer topic of them all, Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona. If he does go Arsenal will have a big extra chunk of money, of which all should be invested in some leaders, looking around the pitch and apart from RVP, Arsenal do not have any, in fact the captaincy should maybe be passed onto the Dutchman this season. Fabregas is a player, not a leader and that is what the Gunners truly lack. Seaman – Adams – Viera – Bergkamp (Has a lovely ring to it doesn’t it?) Change it to Almunia – Vermaelen – Fabregas – RVP and you think gee what happend?
There is some quality there but would anyone want to be in the trenches with the second selection? You could see Fabregas deserting with immediate effect. Looking back in history does not answer the questions though, it’s obvious Arsenal need guidance on the pitch and in Jack Wilshere they will have a remarkable captain in years to come. For now though, leaders need purchasing and at least two of them. From speculation alone there does not seem to be too many players with leadership qualitites, Stekelenburg would be a decent bet at the back, barking orders left, right and center, but in midfield most names that have cropped up seem quite average in the leadership department.
Defence is an interesting one though. Vermaelen will sort things out at the back but he will need help. Sagna is big, strong and powerful but would he really add anything to the first eleven? A few set piece goals against Arsenal at the start of the season will ask some big questions. Perhaps the problems lie deeper, perhaps the defence coach needs to sort things out, do they teach players to lead others around the pitch? Or are they too busy passing around stationary cones?
Bringing in a host of players that most have only ever really seen play on FIFA or PES will not help. Arsenal need leadership and that starts from the back. We can all say, oh we need him and we need that player but it’s just not that simple. It’s not easy finding leaders on the pitch either but for namesake we say Stekelenburg in goal, Mertesacker at center-back, Scott Parker in midfield and perhaps Huntelaar to help RVP up front.
When you sit down and add the amount of leaders United, Chelsea, and even Manchester City have in their first eleven, it does not bare thinking about when compared to that of Arsenal. Should no leaders arrive this summer at the Emirates then it will be another disappointing seventh season on the trot for Arsenal.