Arsenal Transfer Rumors: 6 Players the Gunners Should Sell in January
As we enter the last week of the transfer window, all the talk surrounds who Arsenal should or will buy in these last few days.
That, of course, is if you're a somewhat delusional and/or overly optimistic fan (like me), or a journalist trying to whip up a storm.
The rest just know that nothing's gonna happen.
In an interesting piece published today, Arsenal blogger Arseblog wonders why Arsene Wenger, that renowned connoisseur of attacking football, cannot see his squad's attacking deficiencies up-front. And if he can, why he isn't doing anything about it.
Another recent theory that has been doing the rounds is the fact that Arsenal are saving up in case they do not make it to next season's Champions League, and its associated pot of gold. Quite a negative approach, in my opinion, if this is true.
And if Arsene Wenger's transfer chest has indeed been slammed shut, an alternative approach could be to sell one or more of his current squad and generate some extra funds, which can then be spent on acquiring someone who can add real quality up-front.
And I know there are some of you who believe that we need a defender as well, but I do not subscribe to that theory. We have nine or ten good defenders at the club. We are in the midst of a most unusual defensive injury crisis, but it makes no sense, financially or otherwise, to have an abundance of full backs at Arsenal.
So who do we show the exit door to? Well, there are the obvious candidates, the forgotten men. Manual Almunia, Sebastien Squillaci and Ju Young Park, to name but three. But those are too obvious, and they won't fetch much money either.
So here are six more, who are in and around the squad, but aren't doing all that much, and whose departure may indeed be a good thing for Arsenal.
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The lesser talented of our two Polish goal keepers seems to be wanting out. Euro 2012 looms, and it's being held in his home country. He wants to be in the squad at least, which is fair enough.
The way I see it, Lukasz Fabianski is never going to displace Wojciech Szczesny (who is just 21) in the Arsenal or Poland starting XI. At the same time, he seems to have loftier ambitions than Stuart Taylor. In other words, he does not want to spend his entire career on the bench.
It is, therefore, a good time to sell him to a club looking for a good young keeper, so that he gets some playing time, and Arsenal earn themselves a few million pounds.
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I like Johan Djourou, the person. He seems to be a decent, humble, hard working lad.
I've tried long and hard to like Johan Djourou, the footballer, and while I have managed that a few times over the past eight years, I need to like him more consistently.
And that ain't gonna happen.
Nice guys may or may not make the best defenders, but from what I've seen since he joined Arsenal in 2003, the Swiss international does not have what it takes to cut it at the highest level on a consistent basis.
And those last four words are crucial. Players in defensive positions are under the maximum scrutiny. Every mistake could be critical. And is highlighted. Repeatedly. And Djourou has made far too many for his or the club's good.
With Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson almost back from injury, and four other center backs at the club, this is the right time to move Djourou on.
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Arsene Wenger took a massive leap of faith at the beginning of this season when he sold Gael Clichy and did not recruit a new left back. He placed his trust, instead, in young Kieran Gibbs.
It took just two weeks of the new season for Wenger to realize that Gibbs had neither the fitness nor the desire to make the position his own, and he bought Andre Santos.
Gibbs has made just 59 appearances for Arsenal in six seasons, and while some of this is down to his being behind Clichy in the pecking order, it would be interesting to see how many matches he's missed due to injury.
His body seems way too fragile, and this season is a case in point. Only nine appearances thus far, when a world of opportunity beckoned.
Gibbs is English, he will sell for way above his fair market value. Time to sell him and reinvest elsewhere. It will leave us one let back short, but he's barely available anyway.
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The little Russian is another player I really like. Massive talent, great personality.
But we're in the results business, and Andrey Arshavin hasn't delivered results in a while. A long, long while. He has lost his confidence and his spark. His teammates no longer look up to him for that moment of magic. The Arsenal fans seem completely disenchanted with him, and the manager has lost faith as well. Elevating Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain above Arshavin in the pecking order for the Manchester United game seems to be the final straw.
Moneyed Russian clubs like Anzhi and Zenit have expressed interest in acquiring the Russian. If the offers are indeed what is being talked about, this could well be the time to take the money and run!
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Marouane Chamakh is another Arsenal player whose form and confidence have both vanished without a trace.
When he joined Arsenal, Chamakh seemed to be exactly what we needed. Bendtner with a good first touch and some work ethic. I remember watching him at Ewood Park in 2010, and I was mightily impressed. Up against a physically imposing Blackburn Rovers rearguard, he stood up to the test, holding the ball up superbly, winning aerial duels, keeping the ball under pressure and not being careless in possession.
Those were the days when Chamakh scored goals.
Now, along with his goal scoring touch, his confidence has also deserted him. He has had one or two decent games this season, but by and large, he too is a shadow of his former self.
French clubs like PSG and Bordeaux are reportedly interested in the Moroccan. Like Gibbs, he is making absolutely no impact whatsoever at Arsenal, so even if we don't recruit a replacement, his absence will barely be felt.
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Yup, I've left the most controversial recommendation for the end.
And I've thought long and hard about this.
Theo Walcott has come in for plenty of stick from a number of "experts", for not having developed his game enough and for making the same mistakes time and time again. He has established himself as a regular Arsenal starter over the past year.
His pace is fearsome, and he has formed a decent working relationship with Robin Van Persie. He has also improved the defensive side of his game. However, the experts still believe that he does not do enough over 90 minutes to warrant a starting berth.
I don't necessarily disagree, but I've still got no major issue with Walcott on the playing front. I don't throw a Chris Waddle-esque fit when Theo shanks yet another cross into Row Z.
However, what has really upset me recently are Walcott's apparent delaying tactics on the subject of the extension of his contract at Arsenal. For a player who was given his first taste of the big time at Arsenal, who has been given multiple opportunities by the Club, who went to the World Cup on the Arsenal manager's recommendation, and most importantly, a player who has not matured and contributed as much as he should have–that's not on.
Theo would fetch a massive transfer fee, given his commercial appeal and his British passport, and if I were Arsene Wenger, I would move him on and sign an Eden Hazard or a Mario Goetze.