Friday, 13 May 2011

Double raid for striker and midfielder | Chamakh speaks | Vermaelen comeback?

Morning Gooners.

It feels like the season is in wind down mode. The Football Writers Association held their annual dinner and prize giving ceremony last night as Arsenal prepare for their end of season ball at the Grove next week.

A season of what might have been and our downfall began on one February day where we started to fall apart because of a freak goal which will never replicate itself in a million years.

Marouane Chamakh has pinpointed the Carling Cup Final - along with several other players already - as the game which changed the course of our season.

"It's weird. Right up until the end of February, we were competing on every front. Then we lost the League Cup final and we started asking ourselves questions.
"Everything happened very quickly, the Champions League came: we played well in the first leg against Barcelona, and then we blew the return.
"In hindsight, the League Cup left its mark on us. It's my first season with the club, but it's been a long time that my teammates want to win something.
"All that's left for us is to finish the season as best as possible."

This analysis - coming from a relatively new player - says to me that our problem is not just on the pitch but off it as well. The heads go down and there isn't the spirit in this side to be able to pick ourselves up and fight again. We just don't have that mentality. this is something which Patrick Vieira highlighted in his interview with The Times.

Some players do, Cesc's cameo appearance against Aston Villa is proof that he can come on and change a game. But when you're looking around the pitch for other player who will fight as hard as he does for this team there are very few others with the character to do the same.

This is something I think the manager needs to address in the transfer market this summer. We need to add a few players who won't be beaten, who have character and a never say die attitude. All too often we've not seen these attributes in many of the players in the current squad and I'm not sure it can be instilled on the training pitch.

I'm not suggesting for one minute we need to spend tens of millions. We know Arsene Wenger is very diligent in the transfer market. What we do need him to be this summer is decisive and to get his business done as early as possible, prior to the players returning to pre-season training.

It is no use him expecting to find a player on August 31. These types of deals have done little for us in the past. They also often turn out to be players just to bolster numbers in our squad rather than someone who will come in and fight to be first choice.

For me there are two principles we need to adopt in our business this summer: do it early and be deceive on who we want. 

But we've still got to very important league games to play and win before we start worrying to much about who will sign this summer.

Ahead of Sunday's game, Arsene Wenger is due to speak to the media today for the first time since Sunday.

We already know Cesc will be available, but we should be able to add Samir Nasri and Thomas Vermaelen to that list as well. The Belgium defender is tipped to make his comeback from injury alongside Laurent Koscielny.

There are a couple of transfer rumours around this morning. According to the Daily Mirror, Arsene Wenger is planning a double raid on French side Lorient.

We've already been linked with 23-year-old striker Kevin Gameiro - who seems to favour a move to Spain but that could be him bluffing to the journalists. 

Now you can add to the list of names midfielder Morgan Amalfitano, 26, who is a free agent come the end of June.

Elsewhere Emmanuel Adebayor says he'd consider signing for Spurs. Harry Redknapp loves signing former Arsenal players!

And finally, wouldn't it be justice if Sergio Busquets, one of the biggest cheats in the Barcelona team, was banned from the European Cup final for being a racist.

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