Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arsenal Should Sell Cesc Fabregas

I think Cesc Fabregas’ time at Arsenal is nearing it’s end. He has been a great servant since joining the club at age 16, but it may now be time to collect the fat check from Barcelona, allow Cesc to go where he wants, and use the money to move forward and improve the team as a whole. Sources say that Arsenal are looking for a fee of 35-40 million pounds for the captain, and if Barcelona, or any other club, meet that asking price, does anyone NOT think it would be in our best interest to take that kind of cash?

The importance of Cesc to this team over the past few seasons is undoubted. He has led from the front for the most part, and he has been a loyal servant since he first arrived from Barcelona. His talent is world class, and any team would love to have a player of his quality. My fear is that this current Arsenal team have become too reliant on Cesc, and when he is injured like he was for a good portion of this past year, we seem to lose our way.

Selling Cesc would give us the freedom to change formations into what I think we most suited for, the 4-4-2. That would allow Jack Wilshere/Samir Nasri/Aaron Ramsey to have the creative slot in the center of midfield next to Alex Song. Up front we could have both a target man like Marouane Chamakh or Nicklas Bendtner (if we keep him) next to the brilliance of Robin van Persie. Or we could move Theo up front with RvP and play them in the Bergkamp/Henry roles. The wing positions could be solved with a number or options, including Arshavin (again, if we keep him), Theo, Nasri, or Wilshere, along with potential signings Eden Hazard and Gervinho. I think our players are more suited to a 4-4-2 formation that has been so successful for the club over the years as opposed to the 4-3-3 we have been operating with the past few seasons.

The other benefit of selling Cesc, obviously, would be the large amount of money we would be getting for him. If you need to bring a lot of players in to revamp a lineup, then you are going to need a lot of money to do it. While we’ll get some money for selling Denilson, Bendtner, Almunia, and some others, all of that won’t even add up to the money that we would get for selling Cesc. He wants to go back to Barcelona, and I can’t really blame the guy. If you watched the Champions League Final you know how brilliant a team they are, even if they are a bunch of twats. Let’s take that big money for him and reinvest it into the team instead of keeping a player around who doesn’t want to be here and eventually selling him for a lower price or losing him on a free when his contract eventually runs out.

Cesc has been a good servant to the club, but at some point you need to move forward without certain players. Arsenal sold Vieira, we sold Henry, and we can sell Cesc too. You can’t replace a player of his talent level one for one, but with a squad that needs so many things fixed, I’d prefer 3-4 very good players to one great one. Let’s make the move that will make everyone happy and sell him this summer.

Feel free to agree or disagree with me, and if someone wants to write an article opposing what I just wrote, you have an open invitation to email me your article and I will post it here unedited tomorrow. ArseNole{at}arsenole}dot}com. Cheers and up the Gunners.

PS: I'm still going to marry Cesc's sister ;)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Arsene Wenger's Failed Project

Removing the dead wood at Arsenal is something that basically every supporter has been calling for since about March of this year. I’ve talked to several of you on twitter and the list is long and varied as to who should be shipped out, but the general consensus is that we want most everyone gone. Denilson and Bendtner I think will both be on their way, and I don’t think anyone will be saddened if Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Vela, Arshavin, Almunia, and Squillaci follow them. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out fellas. Some people would add Clichy to that list as well, but I’ve always been a bit of a Clichy fan so it’s hard for me to put him on there, although if he and Nasri don’t sign new deals then they will be gone too.

Now that we’ve got the list together of who to ship out, let’s analyze the problem a little bit more. I think if you look at that list of players that aren’t up to scratch, it shows a problem with Arsene’s transfer dealings as a whole over the past couple of years. All of those signings, with the exception of Almunia, have been in the past 4 years. Wenger expected them to develop and build the foundation of a squad that would compete for the top honors in football, and it never materialized. Is it a case of poor scouting, poor transfer decisions, or just poor coaching? Sure, they have all had moments of greatness, Vela in the Carling Cup, Arshavin’s 4 goals at Anfield, etc…but the problem has been that none of them can be consistent enough to hold down a regular place in the team, much less compete for trophies.

The Invincibles, in my mind, was the culmination of Arsene Wenger’s first “project” at Arsenal. He had brought in the players, molded them into a team, coached them up, and reaped the rewards. He had taken players with a lot of talent and supplemented that with a lot of experience. For every young stud like Henry when he first arrived and Anelka, we had a Bergkamp and a Tony Adams. The problem with the current squad is there has never been that balance between youthful talent and energy to go with experienced players who have been through the wars. He sold off Vieira, Henry, Campbell, Lauren, and Gilberto, to replace them with the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, and Eboue. When you look at it like that, this plan was destined for failure from the very start.

Arsene is coming to the close of his career, and much like most of the current squad, I believe his talents are waning. He has not shown the foresight and knowledge of the transfer market that we all assumed he had. We thought the genius would eventually show through and that his master plan would somehow come to fruition. It hasn’t, and it’s time for an overhaul. If Arsene Wenger is unwilling to change his ideas on how to put a team together, then it will require someone else making that change. He’s been a brilliant manager for us over the years but being stubborn year after year is absolutely mental. He’s so stuck on his ideas being correct that he is unwilling to branch out and accept that this time he might have been wrong.

I hope Arsene makes the right moves this summer and shakes up a lot of the current squad. Part of me is hopeful, thinking that it can’t get much worse than this and surely now Arsene has seen the error of his ways. Mostly though, I worry that almost nothing will change, that we’ll trot out a lineup on opening day next season with almost the exact same squad that collapsed this season. Maybe nothing will ever change while Arsene is in charge. But for now, we can all hope. Up the Gunners.