Arsenal FC: Wilshere Out, Dixon Skeptical and Transfer Targets Achieved

Toni Okike@@enigma106Senior Analyst IISeptember 4, 2011

The Gunners players on international duty were on fire in their own respective ways. Gervinho turned on the style for Ivory Coast, with a scintillating display that saw him score two goals and supply three assists for his teammates.

Robin van Persie was on a hot streak when Holland smashed San Marino with a 11-0 scoreline, and he was quick to tell the media vultures that this is the best Dutch side he’s ever seen. That’s his opinion, though.

When Johan Cruyff was on the verge of becoming a world champion in the 1974 World Cup, Robin wasn’t even born, but I’ll have to comment that the Dutch Class of ’11 has been phenomenal.  Following his four goal haul in Eindhoven, reports are emerging that van Persie might approach Wenger to tell him that he wants a free role at Arsenal, instead of the usual centre forward position.

Van Persie played behind Huntelaar to deadly effect against San Marino, but I don’t think that it will be in Arsenal’s best interest to play him there. He’s the best striker at the the club, and there are a thousand players at the club that can supply the ball for van Persie in the midfield, so he shouldn’t bother himself.

Sticking with Gunners on the international scene, Theo Walcott wants England to continue the momentum following their 3-0 win over Bulgaria. Theo did okay in the game, and was instrumental in England’s third goal. With England hosting Wales on Tuesday, Walcott seems odds-on for a starting berth.

The transfer window is pretty much over, but the media vultures haven’t taken their foot off the pedal. They’ve reported that AC Milan have put Nicklas Bendtner on their radar after he stated openly that he’ll never join Arsenal.

I have a hunch that Bendtner might do well in Sunderland, so Steve Bruce might face stiff competition from AC Milan and the other teams that denied their links with him this summer. With positions in the striking department fully occupied, it will be impossible for Bendtner to play for the Gunners again; except if Wenger has other plans for the bloke.

The media vultures have also stated that Wenger wanted to sign Clint Dempsey and Yoann Gourcuff but he missed out on them. Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta gave Arsenal what Dempsey and Gourcuff would have given to the squad.

Benayoun, like Dempsey, is a highly versatile player that can be fielded in many positions across midfield, while Arteta can match Gourcuff for technique, passing, creativity and set piece taking. However, the media vultures have reported that Arteta and Mertesacker ticked all the boxes for Arsene Wenger this transfer period.

On the 29th of July, Sounak Mukherjee wrote a brilliant article tagged Arsenal’s Corner: Transfer Story so far and wrote some targets that were in line with what the fans wanted:

  • Sign a Left Winger/Wide Striker who can be an integral part of Plan B—Check!
  • Sign a Central Defensive Midfielder, who could deputize in Song’s absence during the African Cup of Nations ’12—Not Done!
  • Sign a Center-Back as a defensive Cover for Vermaelen and Djourou—Not Done!
  • Sign a Full-Back if required in case of departure of “Experienced” heads—Not Done!
  • Sort out the contract situation of Samir Nasri, either extend his contract or sell him—Not Done!
  • Sort out the transfer situation of Cesc. Keep the captain—Partially Done!
  • Offload “Dead Wood” from the team—Denilson, Eboue, Almunia, Bendtner (not really “dead wood”) - Not Done!

With the transfer window closed, Sounak Mukherjee must be a happy chum because Wenger has achieved almost all the targets set in his article.  Wenger signed a left winger/wide striker who can be an integral part of Plan B, in the form of Gervinho. Wenger didn’t sign a central defensive midfielder who could deputize on Song’s absence during the African Cup of Nations next January, but the fans saw another beast called Emmanuel Frimpong.

Wenger signed a center back as a defensive cover for Vermaelen and Djourou in the form of Per Mertesacker, but I’m of the opinion that Mertesacker would be selected above Djourou and Koscielny.

The contract situation involving Samir Nasri took forever, but Wenger flushed him out to Manchester City to bring some good money to the club. The Cesc Fabregas saga didn’t have a happy ending, but Arsenal felt that the time was right to part with its former captain. The bloke is on a hot streak with Barcelona and Spain, and it’s good to see that he’s flourishing.

As for the “deadwood,” Wenger has done very well to remove a large chunk of them, but the likes of Almunia and Squillaci are somewhere in the mix. Denilson was packaged in a box shipped across the Atlantic, Farmer Eboue was sent to Turkey to teach them how to dive by ‘pushing the button’ (according to CNN) and Nicklas Bendtner was given a chance to save his footballing career with a move to Sunderland.

In my honest opinion, all transfer targets set by the fans were achieved by Arsene Wenger.

Many Gooners would’ve loved to see the BioHazard of Eden, as well as the french sensation Yann M’ Vila, but we have to realize that this present lot is more than capable of ending Arsenal’s trophy drought. Whether it's in the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup or the Champions League, there’s a full season to look forward to and to be optimistic about.

However, there’s an ex-Gunner that is pessimistic about Arsenal’s chances of breaking into the top four; the legendary right back Lee Dixon.

Dixon believes that Arsenal could face the prospect of not making it into the top four:

“For all the transfer frenzy of the last week, I’ve seen nothing to alter my belief that Manchester United are still the team to beat in the Premier League.

Certainly the evidence on the pitch from the first three games suggests United deserve to be favourites, but what those games have showncombined with the transfer window spendingis that they will face a real challenge from the neighbours.

What Manchester City did at White Hart Lane last Sunday put down a proper marker. It’s the most balanced City side I have seen for a long, long time.

Which leaves Arsenal facing the prospect of being outside the top four. I’ve spent the last week trying to get last weekend out of my systemwhen I saw the team-sheet sitting in the Match of the Day studio waiting to watch the game I said to Alan Hansen I feared the worst.

I couldn’t believe what I saw all over the pitchArsène Wenger looked like a man in the wilderness sitting on the bench.

The hope for Arsenal fans is that this result can prove a turning point. If it had finished 4-2 or 3-2, we may not have seen such a frantic week in the transfer market. It was certainly not the way the club usually does business under Arsène.

But it did meet one of his requirementsthe players he has brought in are better than the ones he has in the team. Signing Mikel Arteta came as a shockalthough not as much of a shock as it must have been to David Moyes.

Losing one of your key players when there is no time to find a replacement is hard on him and a club who look close to being in freefall. They’ve a big couple of weeks ahead.”

Let me emphasize on a point or two from Lee Dixon’s comments.

The first paragraph says that Manchester United is the team to beat. If Sir Alex Ferguson could win the league with calamities like Bebe and Obertan, he can certainly win it again with Welbeck and Cleverly.

Arsenal got a first hand demonstration of how ruthless and clinical Manchester United can be, and that result propelled them to the top of the pile with just three games gone.

His comments about Manchester City are also correct. Mancini has used Khaldoon Al Mubarak’s millions to create a formidable squad that can even challenge for the Champions League, not to mention the Premier League. The emphatic 5-1 result at White Hart Lane set a clear message to other teams in the league.

This year’s Manchester derby cannot be missed for anything on Earth...of course, it can be missed. 

“I couldn’t believe what I saw all over the pitchArsène Wenger looked like a man in the wilderness sitting on the bench.”

If you gave Lee Dixon a suit and told him to manage a game with the likes of Traore, Coquelin and Jenkinson on the pitch would he have fared better?

Notwithstanding, it was an embarrassing defeat.

He has aired his opinion about Arsenal, but he and so many other Gooners fail to realize that WE ARE JUST IN WEEK THREE!!!!!!!!!

Do I need to use a megaphone at the top of Mount Everest to make my point clear?

In other Arsenal related news, Jack Wilshere is most likely to be out for three months because of his persistent ankle problems. But it’s good to know that, with the newly built-up squad depth, there are other players that can deputize in his absence. with the likeliest candidate being Aaron Ramsey.

Andre Santos has told the media vultures that he’s at Arsenal to win trophies:

“Whenever I’m at a Club, winning cups is always my main goal. I want to win titles and win the hearts and minds of the supporters. I think I have to take it one step at a time.

Obviously, there are many games ahead of us but I hope to win many titles for the Arsenal family, making the supporters happy is the most important thing.

Well, I arrived here with one aim, being a champion. I will wear Arsenal shirt and give my utmost to it, I will do everything for this Club and that’s the main reason why I’ve been signed.

I’ve had a great season at Fenerbahçe and I hope to bring a lot of happiness to Arsenal and to win the hearts and minds of its wonderful supporters.”

I’m pretty sure that he’s going to do his bit by breaking attacks from the right wing and supplying inch-perfect crosses for the attack from the left.

The Chambered Ox has told the media vultures that it won’t be easy for him to break into the squad, and you can check out this video of Yossi Benayoun talking about life at Arsenal.

To wrap my post up with a big red and white ribbon, was generous enough to publish the career stats of all the new signings this season from when they were kicking in their mother’s womb till when they signed for Arsenal Football Club.



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