Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Higuain's medical -Fellaini's £50m cost is good value -Adams rates Mertesacker/Koscielny partnership

Morning Gooners.

Heard the one about the striker having a medical at London Colney yesterday? No, me neither. As expected the training ground's medical centre remained quiet as the saga of Gonzalo Higuain's move from Real Madrid rumbled on for another day.

I don't think there is too much to get worked up about. When it happens, it happens. We are in pole position to add the striker to our squad, certainly ahead of Juventus because we're offering the player a better financial package than the Italian champions.

And I don't buy the assumption that Ivan Gazidis, Dick Law and Arsene Wenger are only working on the Higuain deal. There are certainly other pieces of business going on behind the scenes. Like for example the need to move on some of the squad players who hardly got a look in last season. Hamburg are keen on taking Johan Djourou back to the Bundesliga, according to Sky Sports. They'll also be looking to do deals for Ju Young Park, Marouane Chamakh and Nickllas Bendtner or at least letting the player know what we'd expect in the way of a transfer fee and let the players do the leg work in finding a new employer.

It seems as though one player who is very keen on joining us this summer is Marouane Fellaini. Yet again the Daily Mail are the ones running the story. And this time the angle is that Arsenal are debating whether they can justify the £50m cost of the Belgium international's transfer fee and wage demands over the course of his contract.

While it's possible that we are prepared to pay Everton the £22m to get Fellaini through the door at Highbury House, are we prepared to pay the player an extra 33% to up his wages from £75k a week to £100k a week. Should he be one of our top earners?

Personally I think he'd be worth it. He's shown he can do it at Everton and I would expect him to shine in a team with better players around him. If it were me, I think we should stretch ourselves to secure his signature if necessary. We know that Arsene Wenger is wanting to add two midfielders to his squad this summer and to my mind Fellaini should be one of them.

He would offer us something that none of our other players have because of his height and power. For me it is a no brainer but I understand the manager has to look at the bigger picture. Can he afford to pay £5.2m a season in wages to Fellaini on top of £7.8m a year to Higuain? It's something the money men will be working out.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mail we've put in a bid of £2.5million for Le Havre left-back Benjamin Mendy. According to the report the French Ligue 2 club want £5m for the 18-year-old. Quite why we would need another left back when we have Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal is the question I'd have. He'd have to be one for the future because at the moment we are well stocked for quality left sided defenders.

And finally the Tony Adams media love in continues and the former Arsenal captain has been speaking about one subject he'd qualify from university with a first class degree - defending.

Adams, speaking at the World Refugee Day charity match said:
"It's the only position where you need familiarity.  You need to play with your mate on a regular basis to gain confidence and I think that really worked for Arsenal defensively. [Arsène Wenger] left that alone and they gained confidence.  
"It's the fact that they play regularly with each other that they've learnt [about] each other's game. 
"I used to play with Steve Bould. We used to play zonal defence. Steve was a zonal defender and he knew how that system worked. Playing with Martin Keown was different. He was a man-to-man marker and when I used to play with Martin, I used to play differently alongside him. 
"To keep changing that scenario is very difficult. If I was playing with Bouldy one week and then Martin the next, it would have been very difficult for me to go from one to the other. 
"I think that's what really helped Koscielny and Mertesacker - that they got to know each other's game. For me, Mertesacker is a zonal defender and Koscielny is a man-to-man marker. They got to know each other's game because they played with each other week in, week out."
It's interesting that Arsenal end the campaign with the second best defensive record. We had the best defensive record on the road, it was at home where we slipped up. I really like the Mertesacker/Koscielny partnership. I think the fact that in the 10 games they started together from March until May they only conceded four goals shows how well that partnership worked.

It raises the question over the future of Thomas Vermaelen. I'd be open to us selling him. But if we do we'll need to bring in a quality player to replace him. And in fact I don't believe that having three central defenders are enough for a team that wants to challenge for trophies. I think we should have at least four, if not five, with the fifth being a versatile player who can play at right or left back.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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