Friday, 30 December 2011

Henry to join but should Wenger sign Gotze too? -Frimpong wanted by Villa

Morning Gooners.

Well it's all about the return of our King, Thierry Henry today. Apart from - of course - the official site which has no news on whether we'll be signing our former captain.

Arsene Wenger has however revealed he's prepared to continue with playing two central defenders out of position at full back, because he expects Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs to return to first team action before the end of next month and there isn't much point in signing a player on a three or four year deal when your injured ones are that close to a return.

The manager told the official site:
"At the moment it is very difficult because we have players out who are short to come back. There are difficult decisions to make because we are short in the full-back positions.  
"But you think, 'do you really want to buy a full back for three or four years?' 
"When you have four out and two close to coming back. I think no, because we have people who can do the job during this period."
For me one of the reasons we've not been playing at our best in recent weeks is because we don't have any specialist full backs in the team. We've become increasingly reliant on the six players in front of the defence to make a difference when this team uses its full backs in most of its attacking play.

I agree with the manager about not signing someone on a permanent deal, but is there no one in his database of players who wouldn't fit the bill? Surely he could pick up a Croatian defender no one has heard about and bring them in for the remanding months of the season. I feel with that statement a state of deja vu looking back to last season when he imagined that Thomas Vermaelen would be back playing within weeks but was still out for a longer period than expected. Do we really expect Sanga and Gibbs to be fit until the end of the season? I don't. We know that with Sanga's injury he's likely to pick up niggles which will keep him out and with Gibbs, I'm sorry to say he can't be relied upon.

Despite these concerns, I don't think the manager will sign anyone. And to be fair to him, where does he fit another player into the squad when Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Santos are all fit? An ideal signing would be someone who is under 21 who doesn't need to be registered for our Premier League squad who the manager can develop. If there is no one coming through the reserves and the under 18s at the moment he's not prepared to take a chance on, surely there can't be an issue with bringing in someone young he can help fulfill their potential?

One such player was Thierry Henry. Wenger saw what he could do when he was at Monaco. And when the Frenchman became available at Juventus snapped him up. Now it appears certain our leading record goal scorer will be back at the club who turned him into a superstar on a two month loan deal.

According to The Sun, Henry is on an intense fitness programme which includes double sessions. He's agreed to the deal and it's only issues with his club New York Red Bulls and the MLS to sort out before the contract can be submitted to the Premier League / FA and his player registration is complete.

Some reports say that because Henry has only just returned from a beach holiday, he's not got enough match fitness to be involved in the Fulham game. Others say he could be in line for a place on the bench.

One things for certain, tickets for the FA Cup game with Leeds are sure to sell out once his signing is announced. Wenger has told the official site he wants both Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho to be made available for that games by their countries, but a deal must be reached.

As I said yesterday, I have no problem with Henry signing but it would only paper over the cracks in the short term. It's clear to see that we need a player who can play both as the central striker or take a place on the wings. The news on a possible move for Mario Gotze has gone quiet recently but he does fit the bill, especially as he's only 19 and wouldn't take a place up in our Premier League squad.

The early team news is good. Theo Walcott should be available following the illness which kept him out of the squad for the Wolves game on Tuesday. There are no fresh injuries ahead of tomorrow's game.

And there is one piece of transfer tittle-tattle, involving Emmanuel Frimpong. The Daily Mirror report he's being targeted by Aston Villa for a loan move for the remainder of the season. Wolves are also in the running for the midfielder.

The manager faces the media later, so hopefully we'll have more news on the Henry deal before the day is out.

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