I thought it was a mixed, and interesting, reaction to my blog yesterday. Most of you seemed quite happy with the signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but- understandably perhaps- there were some dissenting voices over the prospect of Samir Nasri being replaced by a teenager who has yet to set foot in the Premier League. Not to mention the still unsecured defensive reinforcements.
One thing is clear to me regarding our newest recruit. That is, although he will be involved with our first team squad, no matter how talented he may be, he is going to need a few months to adapt to the pace and quality of the Premier League. We've seen it before; Walcott took a couple of years- the odd flash of brilliance aside- and the damage that Ryan Shawcross inflicted on Aaron Ramsey's leg was made much worse by the fact that he had only just begun to establish himself in the Arsenal first team following his transfer eighteen months previously. So, I'm not expecting any miracles from the guy.
That said, it would be misleading to suggest that Oxlade-Chamberlain is the de facto replacement for a player whom I hope never to see in an Arsenal shirt again. as I mentioned yesterday, we have Arshavin, Walcott and Gervinho who can all play wide. And, it's just ocurred to me that we also have Tomas Rosicky who can play there if neccessary. I know I've made a few jokes about the Czech recently, not all of them appreciated, but it is clear that there was a quality player in that frail body of his once upon a time. Could he roll back the years?
The news yesterday that Arsenal managed to secure a "special talent" work permit for Japanese wonderkid, Ryo Miyaichi, rather suggests that perhaps Arsène Wenger will be looking elsewhere for his wing wizards. As with the Ox, it's difficult to see Miyaichi will make an immediate impact at the club, but who knows what his loan spell at Feyenoord will have done for him? I don't suppose he was nicknamed "Ryodinho" for no reason.. As I said yesterday, I'm liking the fact that we seem to be getting ourselves back in the (super) fast lane. Though, naturally, I acknowledge that, this being football and not athletics, pace alone will not win us anything.
I tell you what though, I was just listening to a football podcast, I'm not going to say which one because it was annoying me and I ended up turning it off. Where do people get this notion that Samir Nasri is (was) one of our two best players? It's almost as if Robin van Persie doesn't exist. Or we don't have a highly talented central midfielder called Jack Wilshere in the ranks. Or we don't have that Rus- I'll stop there. Yes, Nasri had 4 or 5 months where he was absolutely superb. And then he disappeared. He is clearly a good player, he's proven that. But a great player? To be a great player you have to do it season, season out- like Fabregas. Nasri has managed, just about, one half of one season in three years. It is not going to be a disaster when he goes. Sorry, but it isn't. It'll be good to have actual, proper, football to concentrate on in three days time, I think.
I also don't agree with the suggestion that Arsenal still have to solve a goalkeeping problem. The only goalkeeping problem we have, as far as I'm concerned, is that Manuel Almunia is still on our books. But it seems very, very clear to me that he has let us, and Arsène, down for the last time and now has three young keepers in front of him. One of whom looks set to be the Arsenal #1 for as long as he wants to be. I'm not saying Wojciech Szczesny is infallible, I am saying that there aren't many keepers I would wish to swap him with. And even fewer that are available. Shay Given? Six years ago, maybe, not now.
The "ITK" buzz today has turned away from Gary Cahill being unveiled as the newest of Arsenal centre backs and settled on Birmingham's Scott Dann. I've been told by someone who used to watch him at Walsall that he is a very good player and the strength of Birmingham's defence last season would appear to back that up. Though it could also be that they were one of the most mind numbingly negative teams to "grace" the Premier League- how did we lose a Cup Final to them? How? Nothing would surprise me with Arsenal at present. However I still believe that with Bolton, surely, keen to take a transfer fee for Gary Cahill rather than let him walk for free in a year's time, he will be the answer to all our prayers.
It's funny to think that it was nearly twenty years ago we used to joke about the dungeon George Graham kept his surplus of centre backs in, isn't it?
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