Arsenal Transfer Option: 7 Players Wenger Can Target from the EPL Relegated Trio
It may appear like somewhat of an oxymoron title. After the immensely disappointing campaign North London giants Arsenal has ensured, the last place manager Arsene Wenger will be targeting to secure quality services, in his vow to implement changes into his youthful squad, are the trio that were unfortunately relegated from the English Premier League.
West Ham, Blackpool and Birmingham were all dealt with the cruel, money-wrenching blow of demotion in what was a thrilling 2010-2011 campaign. The Hammers' fate was foreseeable from an early point in the season but Blackpool and Birmingham enjoyed most of the season as unlikely options for the dreaded drop. However final day defeats ensured their fates.
One thing that concludes from relegation is that every other Premier League club is left salivating at the prospect of cheap, effective players in the transfer market. Although many will believe Arsenal are to strong and proud to be associated with players from struggling outfits, this season there was a heavy increase in the equality between sides, the table speaks for itself, which ensures there are a number of high calibre players aiming for new clubs.
Wenger has already stated that this will be an active transfer window for the Gunners after his side went a sixth successive season without the satisfaction of silverware. The need for success has intensified at the Emirates and with Wenger desperate for solidity, the Frenchman could easily be able to secure some strong signings at little costs.
Here are seven players Wenger can target from the relegated clubs.
Scott Dann-Birmingham City
The powerful centre half is reportedly enduring a chase from a number of Premier League sides upon Birmingham City's relegation and rightly so. Despite suffering a season ending hamstring injury in January, Dann is one of the toughest and consistent defenders in the EPL but is often underrated.
The 24-year-old is a composed, tenacious defender who possess great aerial dominance and a non-nonsense attitude. The Englishman formed a solid partnership with Roger Johnson from 2009 which before the tragedy of this season, saw the Blues' rise in English football.
Still young and promising but with sufficient EPL experience and natural leadership material, Dann could materialize as an immensely cheap signing as Birmingham City endure a financial demise. Unlikely to breach over £8 million to prospect of UEFA Champions League football and a genuine title threat would all be to tantalizing for the former Coventry City defender.
Scott Dann's presence would instill much needed depth and power into the Arsenal defensive line but is unlikely to eradicate to ongoing defensive woes. None the less cheap and effective.
Demba Ba-West Ham
Despite West Ham's horrific season, the January signing of Demba Ba provided the Hammer's faithful with some positives and ensured their lingering hope of avoiding relegation was kept alive up until the penultimate round.
The Senegalese striker has been impressively prolific for German outfit 1899 Hoffenheim with 37 goals in 97 Bundesliga appearances which ensured the 25 year old had long been touted as a future EPL star. In 13 matches for West Ham Ba secured seven goals and was easily one of the strongest performers of the New Year.
A tall, quick striker who is lethal in the air and just as capable on the ground thanks to his impressive balance and feet.
With West Ham relegated, Ba is one of the few certainties to depart Upton Parl with the likes of Tottenham, Fulham and Bolton all heavily interested. However Wenger could be in prime position to secure the powerful striker thanks to the admiration the former Senegal international has for the North London club. Furthermore Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is destined to depart in the up coming Summer ensuring room in Wenger's roster for Demba Ba.
Liam Ridgewell-Birmingham City
The English full back is an immensely consistent presence in the Birmingham City XI and boasts strong experience in the English Premier League having been at St Andrews since 2007, amassing over 100 EPL appearances. A tough, tireless defender, Ridgewell is another defensive signing that could come cheaply and effectively and provide better depth alongside mitigating the possible departure of Gael Clichy at Arsenal.
As mentioned previously, Birmingham City are entering serious financial trouble which ensures Ridgewell would arrive at the Emirates at a suitable cost unlikely to extend beyond £7 million. Veteran left back Gael Clichy, who has been less than impressive during 2010-2011, is rumoured to departing Wenger ensuring the Frenchman is eager for left back replacements.
With Leighton Baines high on the agenda, it is likely the Englishman may be scalped by the over whelming funds of Manchester City. This could provide Wenger with the ideal reason to target Liam Ridgewell as the former Aston Villa defender as the 26-year-old is a strong, tenacious left back who possess great height and speed.
Roger Johnson-Birmingham City
Birmingham's heart and soul defensively. Johnson has been a consistent force for the Blues as they continually defied the odds and maintain their presence in the English Premier League until now. An intelligent, experienced centre half, the 28-year-old would be an ideal defensive presence for the Gunners.
The Englishman constantly thwarted the Arsenal attack during the Carling Cup final and is renowned for his impressive aerial ability and speed for a big figure. Johnson has been linked with the Gunners previously, along with a number of other sides, including Liverpool and Tottenham. The former Cardiff City defender appears likely to depart St. Andrew's after their relegation with a price ranging between £8-13 million.
Johnson's aggressive approach could be just what Wenger desires in the Arsenal defensive line furthermore with over 70 appearances in the EPL, Johnson ticks all the potential boxes.
Currently pursued by almost every Premier League outfit, Charlie Adam is exactly what the Arsenal midfield requires, a tough, composed, creative flair who provides monumental defensive support.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a stellar first season in the EPL, amassing 36 appearances and 13 goals, conveying some of the best midfield football in the English Premier League. The Scottish international is certain to depart the Seasiders with Liverpool and Tottenham reportedly the main front runners. However Arsenal have been linked with a move for the Blackpool captain.
The Arsenal midfield has been criticised throughout the season, particularly their lack of muscle and defensive mentality. Adam's introduction would certainly erode any lingering physicality problems alongside instilling another play maker.
Ben Foster-Birmingham City
Few expected Birmingham City to endure relegation and now that they have succumbed to the crushing demotion, a passage of sorrow goes out to goalkeeper Ben Foster. The Englishman was magnificent throughout the season, particularly in the Carling Cup Final win against Arsenal, as he constantly thwarted some of the best attacks in World Football.
Although one thing that emerged from Wenger's poor season was the eradication of the on going goalkeeping conundrum. Lukasz Fabianski managed to find consistency and maturity before a season ending injury in January, and young gun Wojciech Szczesny was a shinning light for the remainder of the season at the tender age of 20.
However neither evoke permanent stability in the Arsenal goal with Wenger even targeting the likes of Pepe Reina and Gianluigi Buffon. With Ben Foster on the market, the Frenchman may pounce on the English international to intensify the competition for Arsenal No.1 role.
Scott Parker-West Ham
West Ham admitted to relegation during the previous weekend, which provided heart break for the fans whilst salivation for every other side in the English Premier League. Captain Scott Parker, who has arguably been the midfielder of the season despite the Hammer's tragedy, stated he would depart Upton Park if the London club were relegated.
The Englishman is now chased by every side in the EPL, and fortunately, Arsenal are said to be serious contenders as the 30-year-old aims for UEFA Champions League honours. A tough yet intelligent midfielder whose energy and efforts are exemplary week in week out, blessed with an incisive passing range and technically astute tackling, the former Newcastle United midfielder is considered one of the most undervalued players in World Football.
Parker is rumoured to have a £16 million price tag on his head, which is more than affordable considering the calibre the Englishman possess.