Extreme Makeover: Arsenal Edition
Arsenal’s last three games have not indicated that the current team is able to win any major trophies.
A goalless draw with Aston Villa, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United, and a 2-0 loss to Chelsea are not the kind of performances that Gunner fans like to see from their team, or the kind of performances that are expected out of a world class team.
While Arsene Wenger is a world class coach, Arsenal fans still get frustrated with his stubbornness when it comes to the transfer market.
Wenger has said he does not buy world class players because the money is not available to him, the Arsenal board insists that if he wants to splash some cash, it is available to him.
While I’m guessing it’s a combination of both, I still think there are few things that Wenger and Arsenal can do to improve their chances of winning some silverware.
Step One: Loan the Young Guns
With the exception of Fran Merida and Aaron Ramsey, all the Arsenal players that are under 23 years of age and that do not get regular playing minutes should be loaned to bottom of the table Premier League teams for top of the table Championship teams.
They’re not going to get better by sitting on Arsenal’s bench. In addition, they’re not going to be able to contribute to any kind of title unless they’ve had real experience.
I was delighted to hear that Wilshere was going to Bolton until the end of the season. He’s already had the opportunity to start against Manchester City and will get lots of first team experience there.
Step Two: Clean Out the Attic
It’s time for these players to go: Campbell, Silvestre, Senderos, Almunia, Eduardo, and Fabianski. Campbell is getting too old to play world class football, same with Silvestre.
Senderos obviously wants to leave Arsenal and rarely gets first team experience. Almunia is a rubbish keeper. Fabianski never lived up to his potential; and Eduardo never fully recovered from his injury and is not scoring the goals Arsenal needs.
While I do not expect the sale of these players to make a huge profit, I do think it will clear up wage and roster space while making a little more money to spend on the transfer market.
Step Three: Take All Games Seriously
Arsenal was knocked out of the FA Cup by Stoke. That should not have happened. In a major trophy competition, at least half of the first team should be on the field.
While I understand that Arsenal had some major games down the road, it does not appear that resting most of the first team for that match did much good. In addition, having an inexperienced and sub-par reserve team did not help either.
Step Four: Splash Some Cash
After selling six players and loaning a host of others, there has to be replacements brought in. I suggest that Arsenal buy six players that are over the age of 25 or have had a lot of first team experience.
Here is who I would love to see at the Emirates.
In terms of forwards, Luis Suarez and Marouane Chamakh; midfielders would be Felipe Melo, defenders Girgio Chielini and Brede Hangeland and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
I have no idea how much it would take in terms of cash for Ajax to let Suarez go, but I’ve been a fan of his for the last 18 months. He’s a goal machine and Ajax players generally tend perform well with other world class teams.
I’m not 100 percent sold on Chamakh, but I do trust Wenger’s judgment here. Even if he isn’t as amazing as the hype has suggested, having Bendtner, Van Persie, and Suarez to compensate will be just find.
I am still bitter by the fact that Arsenal was not willing to buy Melo last summer. However, his performances at Juventus have not been up to par with what the Italian team expected. If Wenger were able to get Melo from them, I think that he could coach the Brazilian back to his world-class form.
Chielini would also be another play from Juventus I would like to see at Arsenal. He has loads of first team experience and is only 25 years old. He’s a large back and would complement Vermaelen well.
Hangelend is also this type of player. Having these two new guys as well as Vermaelen as options for backs would surely shore up the gunner back line.
Finally, Arsenal need a world class keeper. I personally believe that Hugo Lloris would perform well at Arsenal. At only 23, Lloris has over 100 first team appearances for Nice and Lyon. In addition he’s been capped eight times by the French national team.