Ganso Linked, Arsene Speaks, Vela Terms, Where’s Wilshere?
Brazil trained at London Colney in preparation for their Olympic campaign, inevitably inviting links to Brazilian players in the media. Prominently among them is Arsenal’s reported pursuit of attacking midfielder Paulo Ganso, with suggestions that Arsene Wenger will have him watched the South Americans’ warm-up game with Team GB today.
While it’s unlikely the manager will base his decision on a friendly tie, Ganso is exactly the kind of player the Gunner’s need in that crucial attacking midfield position. At 22, he’s the right age and is coming off a good couple of seasons with Santos. With Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and hopefully Jack Wilshere available to play that role as well, Ganso can be eased into the squad in his first season. The transfer fee might be an issue though, with Santos rating him fairly highly and Transfermarkt.com valuing the player at £16m.
An attacking midfielder and proven goalkeeper are definitely the most urgent of our needs. While we continue to be linked with strikers galore as Van Persie’s future still hangs in the air, Arsenal need to first offload Arshavin, Bendtner and perhaps Chamakh before considering further recruitment up front. Of course Lewandowski or Llorente would be great additions but with Giroud and Podolski already on board, I think any additions in the striker department from here on are likely to be slightly lower in profile.
Arsene Wenger has restated his belief that Arsenal can win the title without resorting to financial hara-kiri. Whilst acknowledging Chelsea and Manchester City’s unparalleled spending, Le Boss feels Arsenal have always spent in bringing good talent to the club without going bust.
Arsenal have been in the race for many of the past seven seasons until January or February going on to collapse in the final run-in. At times, it was the player’s lack of mental fortitude while at others it was tactical naïvety that let us down. These are not manifestations of transfer fees paid and wages doled out. They are issues that can be fixed by having a tighter knit team and working out strategies on the training ground.
Neither Manchester City nor Chelsea will be able to keep up squad investment interminably. Following in their foot-steps is doomed for failure in the long run and Arsenal are better off trying to maximise the potential of our players than chasing a flawed philosophy. With a bit of work on correcting our deficiencies, we certainly have a group of players that can beat anyone in the league.
In other news, Carlos Vela has completed his move to Real Sociedad for a reported fee of £3m. Arsenal also have a buy-back clause on the Mexican at the end of the 2013-14 season. It’s a fair deal for all parties, you feel. If Vela has a couple of good seasons in Spain, Arsenal would have first option on him while it allows Real Sociedad to secure the player’s services for a reasonable amount of money. With Vela only 23 at present, he would be in his prime in two years time – never say never.
The newsworthy item today should be the announcement of the squad for the Far East tour. Amidst all the talk of Van Persie and Walcott, Jack Wilshere’s fitness has been pushed to the background. The Englishman still hasn’t joined up with the first team in training. If he’s included in the touring party, it would be a positive sign of his recovery. If not, it’s surely a cause of concern for Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff – and perhaps another reason to keep a close watch on how Ganso performs tonight.
More Arsenal thoughts tomorrow.