Four players that could make Arsenal world beaters

Neymar would work wonders at Arsenal but can they afford the transfer?It’s been the same old story again for Arsenal this campaign: start brightly; whispers begin to spread about finally having something to put in that empty trophy cabinet, only to crumble like a biscuit and drift away.

Who’s going to begin with the humorous jokes then? I’ll begin: Sebastien Squillaci. Even his name brings tears to my eyes, let alone his performances. Let the sorry tales and excuses follow – injuries, goalkeeping errors occurring more often than David Cameron upsetting the nation, blah blah blah, we’ve heard it all before. 3 trophies have already vanished quicker than you could say, “It was his fault”, but one last gem remains – The Barclays Premier League.

Wenger and his troops sit a mere 5 points behind leaders Manchester United, but if they end the season trophy-less for the sixth consecutive year, Wenger will face a barrage of complaints from the Gunners Faithful. “Get rid of Squillaci”. “Buy a goalkeeper”. The Frenchmen is known for buying cheap and transforming a cub into a lion. Look at a certain Francesc Fabregas, who at the age of 16 joined Arsenal’s academy for free, and is now valued at over £30m. If Wenger wants to build a world-beating side, he will have to get his wallet out; I recommend taking notes from Roberto Mancini. Here are my possible additions…

Wanted: A goalkeeper. Why? One word – Almunia. Wenger persists with the indecisive Spaniard who really should have been out a long time ago. There were signs that Wojciech Szczesny could be the man to become the first successful replacement for David Seaman, until an injury followed that moment at Wembley. Two players spring to mind when thinking of a goalkeeper Wenger may consider, Maarten Stekelenburg and Shay Given.

Stekelenburg plays for Ajax and was a member of the Netherlands side who reached the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final, conceding just 6 goals in the whole tournament. He is young, stands tall at 6 ft 6 in, and being Dutch, looks up to the one and only Edwin van der Sar. Given on the other hand has only made one appearance for Manchester City this season, and that was in the League Cup. Approaching the age of 35, Given no doubt wants to leave City and joining the Gunners could be his last chance to play football at the highest level. Stekelenburg would be most people’s preferred choice, but he would set Wenger back £10m, whereas Given would be allowed to leave City for half that sum of money. Stekelenburg’s talent and age would make him the better value for money, but is Wenger willing to fork out £10m to finally put an end to his goalkeeping nightmare? Yes. Expect Wenger vs. Fergie however – United are looking for someone to replace the irreplaceable Van der Sar.

Arsenal need a central defender who isn’t afraid to get stuck in, is tall, strong and most importantly can make the correct decision at the pivotal moment. Fact. With Thomas Vermaelen injured, Wenger thought that he had found the perfect replacement in the form of Squillaci and Koscielny, but where Koscielny succeeded, Squillaci flopped.

This saw the regular introduction to the squad of Johan Djourou, but once again injury conquered. Just like with his goalkeeping issue, Wenger will have to spend big if he wants to form an impenetrable defense. Enter Gary Cahill, whose name has been floating around the Emirates since the start of the season. The Bolton centre-half would be the perfect addition to Wenger’s threadbare squad; he is the sort of no-nonsense defender every manager craves for. According to reports, Wenger has been told by Bolton that around £20m would secure the Englishmen’s signature, quite a hefty sum when considering Squillaci and Koscielny cost Wenger a combined total of £15m.

Why are English players worth so much money nowadays? Look at Andy Carroll, who set Kenny Dalglish back £35m. That’s probably why Wenger doesn’t do English players. That said, I would recommend Wenger goes abroad anyway; I would prefer to see Per Mertesacker at the Emirates. The 26 year old currently plays for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga, but his contract expires in 2012 and with Bremen struggling this season, they may look to sell Mertesacker for a high fee in the upcoming summer transfer window. Mertesacker himself has said the Premier League is “attractive” and offers more experience than Cahill at a fraction of the price; the 6 ft 6 in German giant will cost close to £11m.

Do Arsenal have that killer instinct upfront? Some would argue that they do, with the likes of Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin tearing defenses to shreds this season, but if Wenger ever did fancy an extra striker, one perfect addition to his squad comes in the form of Neymar. The Brazilian maestro is only 19 years of age, but has already made 118 appearances for Santos, scoring 50 goals. Known for his confident personality, the wonderkid has been dubbed “the next Pele”, and would be no doubt become an instant hit at the Emirates if he were to form an acclaimed partnership alongside RVP. I don’t know what Arsenal fans would prefer, the signing of one of the hottest properties in football or finally a reason for Nicklas Bendtner not to play. The problem Wenger faces is that he will not be alone if he does look to sign Neymar, and he would incomprehensively fail in a bidding war if the likes of Chelsea or City were to take an interest, which they undoubtedly have. Arsenal were reportedly interested in 2008 when the price was not so inflated, but I personally believe Arsenal are out of the running in the chase for the Brazilian whose talent stands out like a sore thumb for all the right reasons.

Other strikers with not such a big reputation as Neymar include Oscar Cardozo of Benfica and Welliton of Spartak Moscow. Both have illustrious goal scoring records at an affordable price – Cardozo at £15m and Welliton at £11m. Manchester City’s interest in Cardozo recently cooled after the signing of Edin Dzeko, paving the way for other Premiership sides to make an offer, including Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. But do the Gunners really need a new striker? I personally think they do, with Marouanne Chamakh struggling to settle into life in England and the unmistakable Bendtner making me wince every time that he plays.

There is more chance of Mario Balotelli going 90 minutes without a sending off than Wenger signing four players at those sorts of prices, but if for a moment we could imagine that money grew from trees and Wenger was able to sign four of the ones listed, I would imagine he opts for Maarten Stekelnburg, Per Mertesacker, Gary Cahill and Neymar. In reality, he can’t because it would set him back around £70m (loose change in the eyes of City).

Take Neymar’s name out of the equation and you have three players who would reassure Arsenal fans with an indomitable defense capable of turning a tissue into a block of steel. It’s funny, Arsenal fans probably need a box of tissues whenever the ball creeps into their back line. I think it’s the right time for Wenger to take a gamble and splash the cash this summer, because it doesn’t seem for a minute that he is going to change his side’s style of play? Why should he, they play the beautiful game which is only aesthetically bettered by 11 men at the Nou Camp. The message is plain and simple: in order for Arsenal to return to the victorious days of 2003/2004 where they won the league without losing a single game, they need to stop signing the likes of Szczesny in the hope that one day they will just turn into amazing players, but actually buy world-class footballers.

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