Arsenal FC: 5 Good Things the Gunners Have Done so Far This Summer
Many Arsenal supporters have an uneasiness and anxiety about the fate of our beloved Gunners amid a prolonged period of inactivity in the transfer market and a deafening silence from the board and "Silent" Stan Kroenke about the direction they intend to take the club.
However, lost in this negativity and hidden under all the worry are the good things happening at the club. Yes, they do exist. If one looks hard enough, there are some positives and reasons for optimism to be taken from a frustrating summer.
So to cheer everyone up and tell people everything is not quite as bad as it seems, here are five good things Arsenal have done this summer. Perhaps I am just willing to think that way, but these moves could actually signal the club has its wits about it and is moving in the right direction.
Loaning Out Denilson
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Speaking of moving the club forward, this was perhaps the most necessary outward transfer of the summer, along with the as-yet unfinished one of Manuel Almunia.
Denilson showed quality in the 2008-09 season, but since the emergence of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, the Brazilian's usefulness and quality have decreased. Denilson's lazy, ineffective and error-strewn displays for Arsenal this season greatly hurt the team at times. Fans were relieved when he expressed his desire to ply his trade somewhere else at the end of the season.
Many Gooners grew anxious when no club would take on our burden, and Denilson was included for the preseason tour to Asia. But the club finally got its necessary business done. Even though this kicks the can down the road until next year, being rid of a huge piece of deadwood still constitutes a success.
Giving Carlos Vela More Playing Time
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After showing some impressive displays in the early part of last season, Arsene Wenger neglected the talented Mexican striker, eventually sending him on an unsuccessful loan spell to West Bromwich Albion.
As a result, many questioned his future at the club, as he had seemed to permanently fall out of favor with Wenger. However, after being given successive starts in preseason thus far, Vela is showing the class and ability that could make him an extremely valuable asset for Arsenal.
Vela has seemed to have a nose for goal so far, netting in both games in which he has played. Moreover, his sumptuous chip from close range against Malaysia XI showed Vela has the creativeness, ingenuity, and flair Arsenal lacked for much of the last campaign.
Those who have read my articles know I admire Vela's talents and his ability as a poacher. I am sure that as he gets more chances, he will become more and more successful in an Arsenal kit.
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Speaking of creativity and flair, the Ivorian winger will bring bundles of it to Arsenal, along with admirable qualities off the pitch.
Gervinho certainly has an eye for goal and is one of those players who is especially dangerous because of his ability to turn half-chances into spectacular goals. He also possesses strength that belies his lanky frame. And you know a player's talent is immense when Arsene Wenger compares him to Thierry Henry.
Gervinho is also well on his way to becoming a fan favorite before he has stepped foot on the pitch at The Emirates. His respect for the Cannon and his desire to play for the Gunners and no one else is in total contrast to the likes of Gael Clichy, who somehow needs a giant paycheck to "win things."
Keeping Samir Nasri
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One of the most prolonged, and frankly, one of the most incessantly annoying transfer sagas of the summer has been that of Samir Nasri. Will he leave? Will he stay? Will he stay but leave on a free transfer next summer? Will he stay and sign a new contract?
With regards to Arsenal's immediate footballing future, these questions are—for the most part—pointless. The fact is, while he is not at the same level as Cesc Fabregas, the Frenchman is a great player and a key cog in the attack. Losing him would undoubtedly take away a good chunk of our creativeness and would certainly weaken the side.
Regardless of the financial impact Wenger's staunch refusal to sell would have on Arsenal, if we want to seriously contend for trophies next season, we must keep our best players while adding quality reinforcements. Nasri is one of our best players. It would significantly weaken our chances of challenging for silverware if he were to leave, especially to another Premier League team.
Keeping Cesc Fabregas (So Far)
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I venture to say that, unless Aaron Ramsey pulls an even more spectacular Jack Wilshere-type transformation this season, the retaining of Cesc Fabregas through the end of the transfer window is the most crucial if Arsenal is to win anything next season.
Simply put, losing our captain and talisman would be a disaster. Fabregas is the creative heart of the team, and Arsenal clearly lacks ingenuity when he does not play.
The points about selling Fabregas to merely end the saga hold merit, as it is as much of a distraction for fans as for players. But unless we receive a fee of at least £40 million for him, selling a young player of Fabregas's immense quality would be a major loss.
If the money made from the transfer were to be reinvested in Juan Mata, for example, the loss would be a little less hard to take. However, we know this is not Wenger's way and begging him to reinvest transfer fees is futile at this point. Plus, Mata would take some time to adjust to the Premier League and its rigors.
If Arsenal can just hold off cheap, whining Barcelona for a little bit longer, this supposed summer of woe might actually not turn out so bad after all.