First up a bit of gossip from the newspapers surrounding our captain. Barcelona apparently are now interested in him and are ready to offer £16 million. If and it’s a big if it’s true then I’d snap their hands off and then go big and bold and sign a central defender who’s ready to push both Kos and Merts all the way for a place in the starting eleven because for a while now, Thomas hasn’t truly done that. Also, that stops any idea of him going to Man Utd, surely the player would prefer Spain?
Onto today’s post – the first of many I hope from Tai Emeka Obasi. I don’t agree with us not needing further signings, but Highbury House is a place where everyone has a right for their view to be expressed.
Arsenal – The Oliver Twist In All Of Us
For every three Chelsea fans you see in Nigeria, two were Arsenal fans as after years of suffering and moaning season after season, many Arsenal fans migrated and the choice was easy as Chelsea had their own, John Obi Mikel in their ranks.
But supporting Arsenal in Nigeria within those nine agony years they christened ‘trophyless’ was far worse than a snail living in a colony of ants. We endured taunts after taunts, trying daily, and really hard, to avoid fisticuffs.
They cajoled that Arsenal was only a selling club, a football academy that fed the rest of Europe. When they read a big player linked to Arsenal, they laughed in our faces. We endured torture equivalent to what Devil could offer in hell. Man Utd fans were not left out in making jests of us either. Tough times!
When we eventually won the FA Cup we all heaved that big sigh and started talking tough that Arsenal’s ‘academy’ years were over. And to our utmost glee, Alexis Sanchez was soon signed as was Bacary Sagna’s replacement.
However, dear Gunners sing song these days is more signings.
Everywhere you turn to is – we need a striker, most also insist that we need a defensive midfielder and even if Thomas Vermaelen stays, many believe we still need a centre back.
It suddenly dawned on me that football fans are same from club to club. Every one of them wants world best at their various clubs. Dear Arsenal fans are not different. We’re all Oliver Twists.
Most Arsenal fans were calling for Arsene Wenger to add a back up to Giroud but Le Prof did more than that by grabbing a potential 20 goals + a season, who is not only a back-up but can also play with Giroud in his favoured 4-3-3 formation. Sanchez is the nearest to the calibre of striker Thierry Henry was since the ‘Igwe’s’ departure. One may argue about Robin Van Persie but Sanchez is more versatile and much faster and while Henry built his pedigree at the club, Sanchez arrived with awesome credentials.
So, in the striking department, do we actually need another signing?
Having Wenger as your football manager means having to learn the economics of everything at every turn. A careful appraisal would tend to suggest Le Prof has done an astute deal here. For a team that sticks religiously to 4-3-3 and one that’s been built on Oliver Giroud as striker who works for the general good of the team rather than personal glory, changing guard, much as it may courier an improvement, may mean changing orientation.
Despite the fact that Arsene hardly does change his orientation, experts in the field equally kick against it. So, rightly, Wenger sticks to Giroud for his hold up play, collecting Wojciech Szczesny’s up field kicks, bringing his team mates into play, as well as coming back to help defend corners and set pieces. Getting a player, who’d replicate all these and still score more goals than Giroud may be a tough ask.
Then if Giroud gets injured, suspended or needs rest, there is Sanchez, an exceptional player who is at home anywhere in the attacking three. He’s very fast, skilful, tenacious and an improvement on Giroud in finishing. He’s definitely a 20-goals-a-season potential. Whatever defending and holding up attributes of Giroud one may miss in his absence, Sanchez offers in more directness, trickery and precision.
Should Sanchez, for whatever reason, not cover for Giroud, there is Yaya Sanogo. Agreed, Sanogo is raw and not yet one to be heavily relied on but he is only a back-up and Giroud is not known for long layoffs. Besides, Sanogo showed in games against Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Hull City at Wembley that he was not just an ordinary spare. There were assured attributes of a great centre forward. He may not have scored a goal yet but I believe Gunners fans should be happy for that, for if Sanogo had added about five goals to those efforts as duly deserved, I wouldn’t bet Sanchez would have arrived.
Joel Campbell at 22 has shown signs of a real deal. UCL aside, those five matches at the World Cup led insights into what the Costa Rican could bring to the plate and one wouldn’t really know until he is given a chance, which for good measure, the young striker duly deserves.
Chuba Akpom, if for anything, deserves a chance as he’s Arsenal bred and a lot of pride goes into having to nurture a footballer from a club’s academy to stardom. Akpom deserves the chance.
So, why would Wenger and Arsenal need another striker with all these options? Especially when Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Santi Carzola are still playing for the club and are potent scoring outlets whenever within range.
If we study our top 5 or 6 rivals, I do not believe any other side in EPL offer more attacking threat than Arsenal. What Arsenal needs, is a defensive solidity that will protect the attack and keep things tight, so that score lines like 6-0, 6-3, 5-1, 3-0’s become a distant memory.
Who says beefing up a team is a season’s process?
Wenger has added a 20-goal threat to an attack that managed without Walcott and Ramsey for most of last term, to win the FA Cup and miss the title by seven points.
If you ask me a 100 times, I’d say get a very strong defensive midfielder, retain or replace Vermaelen and we’re done.
Written by Tai Emeka Obasi