Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Hazard and Parker linked - Board to have more say on transfers?

Morning Gooners.

As per usual on the day after our defeats, the players come out and make statements about how sorry they are we lost and they'll make it up to us.

Cesc tweeted:
"Hard moment to say it as everyone is upset from our game, but really thank u very much 4 ur support at the Emirates this season, ur amazing."
Nasri tweeted:
"Guys thank you so much for your support during the all year you were amazing sorry for the dissapointement during the season."
In reply to those messages, they both received countless questions asking them whether they'd be at the club next season. I very much doubt either would answer that question, especially on Twitter.

Neither played at the weekend and with Cesc out for the Fulham game, it would be a surprise to see Nasri at Craven Cottage either as the manager has already stated he's got very little chance of being involved. It must have been hard on them watching on from the sidelines at the meek display we put on against Villa. You can understand Cesc thinking about his future and whether he's done all he can at Arsenal.

One player who's future cannot be in any doubt is Wojciech Szczesny who has got a job for life at the club if he builds on the development he's made this season.

He believes this squad has what it takes to go the distance next term but questions whether we can actually complete the job.

He said:
"Obviously I am happy to be playing for Arsenal and I am trying to do my best, but if we look at this season we never won a trophy, so it is disappointing for me.
"I think we have the quality to be winning the Premier League. It is just a matter of can we make that next step?" 
I believe that as 11 individual players, our best starting 11 is probably the strongest in the league. They don't seem to be able to perform as a team. Or they can, provided it's a big match and they can motivate themselves for it.

We've fallen short against the smaller teams and that's where out mentality has to be questioned. Why aren't the player up for the bread and butter matches which actually win you the title? Is there something different in the preparations to these matches? Do the players only get themselves psyched for games against our title rivals? Do they think it's beneath them to work hard to win games against Newcastle, West Brom and Stoke?

Now we have to get ourselves up for Fulham on Sunday were we need to ensure a win takes as a close as we can possibly get to finishing in third position.

Robin van Persie says it's going to be difficult to finish third and we have to hope that either Stoke tonight or Bolton on Sunday take points of Manchester City. Whilst Thomas Vermaelen says we have to work on our mental toughness as its proved to be one of our weaknesses this season.

Could that weakness be fixed by the signing of players who have been there and done it previously? Quite possibly. I think the profile of player we sign this summer has to be different to that in recent years. We need professionals who have won trophies already. We need internationals with the ability to weather a storm and fight when things are getting tough.

We've been linked today with Scott Parker. It's unsurprising really. West Ham have just gone down and he was probably their best player. The Daily Star story says West Ham want £15m to £17m for him and we're prepared to pay £10m. Whilst the Independent say we can snap him up for as little as £6m. He's certainly someone who would add much needed experience to our squad.

At 30, he's that much older than the average age of our squad which is 24. And whilst Harry Redknapp is interested in taking him to Spurs, we can offer him Champions League football.

The story also goes on to state the Arsenal board will be getting more hands on with transfers this summer. Personally I'm not sure what qualifications or knowledge our board has to be able to question Arsene Wenger on who we should buy apart from watching a lot of football. He's the master of this domain.

Whilst I believe we need someone higher up in the football club with executive power over the footballing side of the club in a similar role to the one David Dein played, I'm not sure any of the current board members have the skills Dein has.

Lord Harris of Peckham might be a master of all things retail, but can he spot a talented footballer? Does Sir Chips Keswick watch the hours of football Arsene Wenger and his team do?

Personally, whilst their intentions may be good, I think they should leave the decisions on who we should buy with Arsene Wenger. Yes, advise him buy players who have Premier League experience. But don't tell him who he can and cannot buy.

Finally our old friend Eden Hazard has been linked with a move away from Lille by the Daily Mail. They quote the player as saying:
"I want to play at a big club. I have no preference."
He's previously admitted he'd love to play for Arsenal. Could we make that happen this summer? Possibly, but the fee would be high.

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