Archive for the ‘Transfers’ Category

Dear Barcelona

06/07/2010

So you today say you won’t wait much longer for Cesc Fabregas. Is that a promise? Will you just piss off if Arsenal continue their refusal to sell? That would be nice.

The daily ‘negotiating’ tactics are pretty hilarious, and it seems the more silent Arsenal remain, the more desperate Barcelona start to sound.

Barcelona won’t pay over the odds. Of course,why should they? Arsenal should just accept the opening offer and sell their captain and one of the best midfielders in Europe for little more than the Catalans received for Yaya bloody Toure. Oh wait… Also, if they want to move on to Mascherano or Robben please be my guest. It’s not like they lack enough diving players already.

Sandro Rosell also regrets the topic being public as it “increases the selling club’s expectations”. And whose fault is that exactly? Arsenal have made all of about two statements on the matter; I think he needs to be looking closer to home. They will never pay 50 or 60 million euros? They won’t even get to negotiate let alone buy if they don’t.

Because he's worth it.

Is saying you won’t wait meant to be a threat? Let’s not forget which club is in the position of power here. Arsenal have no need, and no desire to sell. Yes, Fabregas may want to join Barcelona but he is also Arsenal club captain and last time I checked he still has four years left on his contract. If it came down to a war of stubbornness Arsenal can simply hold him to it.

Oh and getting your whole squad to day by day comment that Cesc’s heart belongs to/is already in Barca does not reduce the fee. It just makes you sound like twats.

I could hazard a guess at what the FC in FC Barcelona stands for but this is a family blog...

If you want to buy Cesc Fabregas, offer a proper transfer fee. Like you did for David Villa. Like you did for Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Arsenal should really call Inter for some tips on how to screw Barcelona over).

Arsenal will then say no, and you can be on your merry way. At least until next summer. Thanks.

T.

Transfer Window Hits and Misses

04/02/2010

The January transfer window just passed saw the lowest spending since 2003, a whole £140m less than last January’s whopping £170m. Clubs have been certainly feeling the pinch and seem to be much more careful with their money. While it’s far too early to judge here are some thoughts on who could be hits and who might be misses.

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The Free Transfers

I think Sol Campbell to Arsenal is quite astute and judging by the game and a half he’s played thus far, he looks like he can still cut it in the top flight. Certainly a better option than Mikael Silvestre! Over in Manchester, I was less convinced by City’s signing of Patrick Vieira. I think it will be difficult for him and there will be games where the pace is too much for him. That said, he’ll bring a lot to that dressing room and should be good for cameos where games are being closed out.

sol campbell arsenal

Beats playing for Nott's County.

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The Loans

With money a bit thin on the ground, some of the most interesting deals were loans. Landon Donovan looks to have fitted straight in at Everton and I think he’ll do well for the remaining time he’s over here. Senderos from Arsenal is also a good move – the Swiss has stagnated a touch but people think he’s rubbish just because Drogba messed him a few times. Name me a central defender that hasn’t struggled against the Drog.

Bolton have got a couple of good youngsters in Weiss and Wilshere from Man City and Arsenal respectively. Wilshere in particular could be an instant hit if his cameo Carling Cup appearances are anything to go by. Basturk is one of those players who was once good on Football Manager but I’ve never seen him play enough to comment in real life. Fat Sam had a decent track record with signing older creative types at Bolton and the Turk could be sneaky good for Blackburn.

Maxi Rodriguez will be rubbish for Liverpool and Amr Zaki will be rubbish for Hull. Fellow Egyptian Mido might surprise a few people at West Ham. With a £1K a week wage he’s motivated to prove people wrong if nothing else.

wilshere bolton arsenal weiss

I can't decide whether he's disgusted to be holding that shirt or if he's just very cold.

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The Cold Hard Cash

The biggest signing was Man City getting Adam Johnson for £6m+. An interesting one this, he’s done well in the Championship this season but I don’t see where he’s going to fit at Eastlands right now. You have Bellamy and Petrov both playing on the left and they’re both playing very well. One for the future me thinks, but he’ll have a great mentor in Petrov who is an excellent left winger.

After much of the window saw both Porstmouth keepers being linked with moves away to the same clubs, it was eventually Asmir Begovic who left, joining Stoke for £3.25m. He was wanted by Spurs too but apparently legged it from the hotel they were putting him up in. I do wonder whether he will displace Sorensen, they seem kind of at the same level to me. It’s a good signing for next season though.

Elsewhere Victor Moses should get lots of opportunity to prove he’s worth £2.5m at Wigan given that Jason Scotland has yet to score this season, while Benni McCarthy should score enough to justify his £1m move to West Ham. Sunderland have got a good prospect in Matt Kilgallon for £2m.

Birmingham had lots to spend but only got some squad depth in the end with Michel and Craig Gardner joining for £3m each. They’ll be useful, nothing more nothing less.

adam johnson

As good as Stewart Downing. Maybe.

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Harry Redknapp’s Wheeling Dealing Transfer Merry-Go-Round

Let’s face it, Spurs deserve a whole category of their own. Any team with Harry Redknapp in charge is always likely to make deals but when you cross it with Spurs’ odd transfer policy you’re bound to get some baffling deals. First up, they bought Younes Kaboul back from Portsmouth for about £5m (less if you count what Pompey still owed).

This is by my count the fifth player they’ve bought back in about 18 months (Keane, Defoe, Crouch & Chimbonda the others) and they’d probably save themselves a lot of money if they didn’t destroy careers in the first place. Kaboul has improved but won’t play when everyone is fit, so as usual lots of foresight there. Two right backs (Naughton and Hutton) went out on loan leaving them with only Corluka.

eidur gudjohnsen spurs

Come on Harry, let's not play games. You know you want me.

Gudjohnsen was brought in on loan. I’m not sure about this one, it kind of depends where he plays. He certainly hasn’t been a striker for a few seasons now but is a decent player. I get the feeling Redknapp is addicted to buying players he once liked the look of. Lets be honest now, they don’t really need Gudjohnsen do they, but Redknapp just couldn’t say no to a bit of sexy loan action.

The one striker leaving was surprisingly not Pavlyuchenko but instead Robbie Keane who left on loan to Celtic. You don’t normally loan your captain out do you, but by the sounds of it they were constantly changing the price of Pavlyuchenko. No doubt the same happened with Bentley which is why he’s still there too.

harry redknapp

Buy me Harry, no buy me!

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So overall nothing that exciting happened, and as usual the bullshit rumour brigade was full of exactly that – bullshit. There are a few decent signings but you sense everyone is saving their dollar for some post World Cup bingeing. Because of course that’s when the best value can be found…

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T.

Adebayor Signs For Man City

18/07/2009

Finally. At least he won’t have to change his seat covers…

I guess personalised number plates aren't exclusive enough these days

I guess personalised number plates aren't exclusive enough these days.

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Plenty has been said over the past week or so but I think it’s a good deal for everyone involved. Arsenal get rid of someone who had irrevocably burnt his bridges with the club while receiving the best part of £25million. Man City get an established top four player while Adebayor gets untold riches per week.

I come here to make money and be offside.

I come here to make money and be offside.

Personally, I’m glad to be rid of him and perhaps I’ll write a bit more in depth about it in the next day or two. For now though I’ll leave Man City fans with the good and bad of the season just gone…

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T.

The Curious Transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

18/07/2009

Here’s a transfer that’s got me a bit confused. Barcelona are set to give Inter Samuel Eto’o, Alex Hleb on loan for a year AND a fee in the region of £35 million in exchange for the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Now I don’t really understand the thinking behind this for many reasons. Not least the valuation. This sees Inter getting around €60 million worth for Zlatan putting him on a par with Kaka in terms of fee.

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Now I know Eto’o is seen as a bit of a disruptive influence and shows no signs of extending the one year remaining on his contract but surely Barca could do better than giving both him and €40m for Zlatan. Famously called “the most overrated player in world football” by Martin O’Neill during the last World Cup, I’ve never understood why he is valued so highly. Yes he makes for a great Youtube compilation (see below) due to his capability for the ridiculous and admittedly he scored 29 goals last year (25 in Serie A), but he has always struck me as something of a flat-track bully who doesn’t do it in the big Champions League games or international tournaments.

Barcelona’s attack hardly needs strengthening after last seasons 158 goals in all comps though I imagine Zlatan (or indeed the rumoured David Villa) would give them more of a hold up option for Henry and Messi to play off. They would be better off getting a new goalkeeper and perhaps some defensive help. I can’t help thinking that having seen Real Madrid break two world records in buying Kaka and Ronaldo, Barcelona feel they have to make a similar statement. The reason that Real had to buy so much was that they were crap last season and even with this new forward line I reckon they’re still a top deep lying midfielder away from being a side that can win things (explains the Alonso interest then).

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It will be quite amusing to see how Eto’o and Mourinho work together too, given the latter’s numerous run ins with Zlatan. Eto’o is not afraid of throwing his toys out of the pram and I can imagine more than one confrontation this coming season. That said he will no doubt still score plenty of goals but it will be an entertaining 09/10 at the San Siro. Hleb as well (funny how quickly he’s become irrelevant) doesn’t strike me a Mourinho player and given that Guardiola didn’t trust him by the season’s end I can’t think Jose will either.

crazy-eto'o

Crazy Eto'o

All in all Inter will be laughing all the way to the bank, while Barcelona will wonder at some point next April why they are on the wrong end of a Champions League exit thanks to an overrated striker who couldn’t score in a big game.

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T.

Seven To Replace Number Seven

18/06/2009

Right, there was only so long I could keep the Spurs badge as the first thing you see when reach the blog – time for some new posts. Since we last wrote, it seems the great primadonna himself is on his way to Real Madrid for the princely sum of £80 million.

Ronaldo practices his amateur theatrics...

Ronaldo practices his amateur theatrics...

Just who will Man Utd buy to replace the tantrums, the diving, the stepovers and the occasional 40 goal seasons? Let’s take a look at some potential replacements.

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1. Antonio Valencia – Wigan – £14-18million

Valencia

Valencia

Last season: League – 31 games/3 goals.

This is the most likely deal to go through just due to who the selling club are. Valencia has impressed at the JJB though perhaps doesn’t yet score enough (or indeed assist with only five last season). It appears some move have already been made to sign him but if I’m honest I’m not sure he’s good enough for a team like Man Utd. He is only 23 so has plenty of time to improve but Wigan will have done very good business if they get £18m for him.

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2. Karim Benzema – Lyon – £30million+

Benzema

Benzema

Last season: League – 36 games/17 goals. Champions League – 8 games/5 goals.

The highest rated French player still playing in Ligue 1. Benzema has scored 54 goals in the past two years and would be a great addition up front. Pacy, strong, good with both left and right foot as well as decent in the air, he could add the pace that has been lacking from Utd’s forward line in the past few years. He’s still only 21 so has yet to completely fulfil his potential. I could see him forming a terrific partnership with Rooney or indeed Berbatov and he could well follow in the footsteps of Utd’s last great French number 7. Needless to say, Lyon chairman Aulas would drive a hard bargain as usual.

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3. Sergio Aguero – Atletico Madrid – £40million+

Aguero

Aguero

Last season: League – 37 games/17 goals. Champions League – 8 games/3 goals.

The youngest player to ever play in the Argentinian league, Aguero has starred for Atletico in the past two years. Maradona’s son in law has formed a great partnership with ex-Utd striker Diego Forlan and is capable of plenty of assists to go with his goals. At 5’7″ he probably lacks the power that Ronaldo brought to the side and he make take time to adapt to English football but he has the ability to produce the unexpected. Still only 21, his age couple with his buy out clause means it would take big money to prize him from the Vicente Calderon.

4. David Silva – Valencia – £20million

Silva

Silva

Last season: League – 19 games/4 goals. UEFA Cup – 3 games/1 goal.

Silva is a less obvious choice and may be someone to target if Valencia isn’t signed. A diminutive winger/number 10, he was an important player in Spain’s Euro 2008 win before ankle ligament damage meant a truncated 2008/09 season. Tricky and creative with a sweet left foot, aged 23 he can still improve. He is another who maybe too slight for the Premier League but at the same time if Rafa Benitez is after him, why shouldn’t Fergie try and gazump him. One of the cheaper potential targets too, given Valencia’s financial troubles.

5. David Villa – Valencia – £35 million

Villa

Villa

Last season: League – 33 games/28 goals. UEFA Cup – 5 games/1 goal.

The most coveted striker in Europe at the moment having had his best season yet for Valencia whilst also still basking in the glory of being top scorer in Euro 2008. Strong, powerful and pacy, Villa is a complete striker at a peak age (27). Competition will be fierce in the race to sign him and to be honest it would be a surprise if he went anywhere other than Real Madrid.

6. Arjen Robben – Real Madrid – £7-20million.

Robben

Robben

Last season: League – 29 games/7 goals. Champions League – 6 games/1 goal.

A bit of curveball this in light of his injury record but there’s no doubting Robben’s ability when he’s fit. A pacy, direct winger with the ability to go past a man, Robben has always been susceptible to injury but the plus side is that he has Premier League experience with Chelsea. For two years he was a key player in their title winning sides, before Mourinho got fed up with him missing games. Fergie wanted to sign him before he went to Chelsea so what price a cheeky bid now. Still young (25) even though he looks 35 and his price should be relatively cheap given Real’s clearout of all things Dutch.

7. Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich – £50million+

Ribery

Ribery

Last season: League  - 25 games/9 goals. Europe – 8 games/4 goals.

The best player in the Bundesliga and one of the best players in the world. This is the man I think would be able to replace Ronaldo most in terms of goals, determination and overall impact. He can play both left and right as well as behind a striker and has ferocious striking ability, not least from distance. With the fees that Kaka and Ronaldo have gone for his price tag will be big, though if reports are to be believed he already may be too old for United. To be honest I think he’s still worth pursuing, just as out of all the suggested targets he is the one most at his peak. A big game player for a club who have plenty of big games.

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T.

Taking A Closer Look at the January Sales

03/02/2009

Another January transfer window closes and the media hyperbole can be put away until the summer. The whole schebang inevitably focused on those transfers that didn’t happen – Kaka to City – and those that weren’t concluded until the very last minute – Arshavin to Arsenal and Keane back to Spurs. Naturally, there were some deals that seemed a good piece of business and those that seemed a little too inflated by mid-season panic buying.

The Sportboys like to put their neck on the line and make predictions. Andrei Arshavin’s impact at Arsenal has been analysed in a previous post and another blog over the coming days will deal with the football agents’ paradise, otherwise known as Tottenham Hotspur. Therefore, here is our guide to the rest of the best and worst of January’s transfer activity.

It’s a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the…

Kevin Nolan – Bolton to Newcastle – £4.5 mil

_44399903_nolan1

Nolan was one of Fat Sam’s key players at Bolton but things hadn’t quite worked out for him under Gary Megson. Newcastle were in need of a midfielder with pedigree in the Premiership and the eye for a goal. In Nolan, they have a player with over 200 appearances in the top flight and is at the ripe age of 26. At £4.5 million, he is great value for money and is the kind of player who will kick on and help Kinnear’s Toon Army with the unenviable task of sorting the Tyneside club out.

Jo – Manchester City to Everton – Loan until the summer

jo_36105t

The Brazilian may have arrived at the Eastlands with a hefty £18.5 million price tag but Mark Hughes obviously didn’t fancy taking the risk of giving him a sustained run in the first team. With Man City holding a plethora of strikers and Everton struggling to field any (with no detriment to their team) this transfer made sense all round (unless Man City had actually been competing with Everton for European places). I saw some top performances for Jo while he was at CSKA, strong, pacey and good in the air. He will provide the Toffees with a good target man and make sure that Fellaini isn’t the only player with big hair playing at Goodison.

Hugo Rodallega – Necaxa to Wigan Athletic – £4.5 million

hugo-rodallega

I won’t pretend to know anything about this guy’s playing history but he looked pretty handy against Liverpool last week. He seems to have the right attributes for the Premier League and Steve Bruce seems to have success with Latin American players. It will be interesting to see how he develops at Wigan but with Henri Camara joining Stoke on loan, he will get ample opportunity to play.

Charles N’Zogbia – Newcastle United to Wigan Athletic – swap deal plus cash

nzogbia_280x390_468358a

Left St. James’ Park in acrimonious circumstances, which perhaps put off bigger clubs from taking a gamble on him. However, Charles has an abundance of quality and is young. Bruce likes pace and flair from his wide players, which he should provide. Should he move on in the future, I am sure Wigan will make a tidy profit on the Frenchman.

Emile Heskey – Wigan Athletic to Aston Villa – £3.5 million

emile_heskey_630184

It would be easy to simply vindicate Martin O’Neill’s decision to bring in Bruno by pointing to the debut winning goal against  Portsmouth last week. However, I think we all know that Heskey is not going to score too many and may not even get into the first team when Carew is fit again. But for £3.5 million Villa have boosted their small squad with an experienced and dependable team player. Quite embarassing for Liverpool that they were pipped to him because they weren’t prepared to stump up the cash.

Ricardo Quaresma – Inter Milan to Chelsea – Loan until the summer

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Undoubtedly this won’t go down too well with Blues fans but I am not so sure that the Portugese international will be so succesful at the Bridge. The winger has built himself a big reputation over the past few years and Mourinho obviously saw a new Ronaldo in him, hence paying a lot of money to take him to Milan last summer. As Inter’s form started to dip, Quaresma was eclipsed from the first team by others. However, this isn’t the first time that flamboyant wingers have fallen foul of Mourinho. Robben was sapped of confidence by the moody one and is now finding a new lease of life at Real Madrid. My reason for doubting Quaresma’s ability to succeed at Chelsea is a) the short amount of time he has to adapt and make a contribution and b) Scolari’s challenge of fitting him into a midfield that he continues to play Obi Mikel, Lampard and Ballack. Nevertheless, bringing Quaresma on loan is low risk and a coup in terms of players that are available in January. Was Mourinho doing Chelski a favour, hoping they return it in the summer in the form of Drogba and possible Lampard?

James Beattie and Henri Camara – Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic to Stoke City – £3.5 mil and Loan until the summer

jamesbeattiegif

Stoke are outside of the relegation zone and notched an important win against Man City last weekend. Nevertheless, it was clear that they lacked firepower this season. In James Beattie and Henri Camara, the Potters have picked up two players that have scored goals in the Premiership, are not past it, are still hungry and each bring different qualities and abilities. These are ‘staying up’ signings. Whether they can compensate for a poor defence and three games without Rory Delap mega-throws, it remains to be seen.

0125623435167001

Ar, Ar, Arshavin, Russia’s Greatest Goal Machine

03/02/2009
"Wow, I am relieved to be holding this"

"Wow, I am relieved to be holding this"

After the ‘will he won’t he’ saga of the past month, Andrei Arshavin’s transfer to Arsenal has finally been confirmed. Not by some suspect guy claiming to be a Zenit spokeman, not someone close to Arshavin and most certainly not according to what Sky Sports ‘understands’. Arsenal.com has pictures to confirm, which is good enough for me.

The Sportboys being Arsenal fans, are well chuffed with the news and you all should be too, because the whole bloody boring affair is over now. If you want reminding about why we predict he will thrive in the Premiership, read here.

Point of note: If the chant “Ar, Ar, Arshavin, Russia’s greatest goal machine” (to the tune of the Boney M classic ‘Rasputin’) catches on, we want credit.

 

P.

Is Arshavin an Arsenal Player? A Zenit Player?

02/02/2009

Maybe he’s stuck in some sort of international limbo like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, and is now stranded at Heathrow for the next few months until the summer window as the two clubs try and sort out this most tedious of transfers. I remember the Cashley Cole saga from 2006, where the transfer rumours had rumbled on for weeks but come midnight on deadline day there was still no concrete news. It eventually went through at around half one in the morning. This time we are again a couple of hours past the official close of the window and there are still many contradictory stories coming out. At around 5pm it seemed the deal was dead but now it appears to be on again. I expect there’ll be no confirmation either way till tomorrow but it seems he has signed. Thank goodness for that…

Life is waiting for this saga this end...

Life is waiting for this saga this end...

 

T.

Keane Back to Spurs?

02/02/2009

So it seems that Robbie Keane may be moving back to Spurs for around £15million. I don’t really get the thinking behind this on Spurs’ part. A year ago Jermaine Defoe left as he wasn’t getting games as he and Keane couldn’t play together due to both being about five feet tall. Are we to expect that this has now somehow changed in the intervening twelve months? Is Redknapp planning to play just one of them alongside Pavlyuchenko? All three of them together? I know that for the time being Defoe is injured but in a month or two this problem will need solving. Another example of Tottenham’s short sightedness in the transfer market, something which will be discussed in more depth later this week.

Hmm...

Hmm...

 

T.

Why Arshavin Will Be A Success at Arsenal

22/01/2009

 

Ra ra Arshavin, Russia's greatest love machine...

Ra ra Arshavin, Russia's greatest love machine...

The word on the proverbial street is that Arsenal are closing in on the siging of Russian international forward Andrei Arshavin, or Shava as he is affectionately known by Zenit´s fans. Ít seem that the St. Petersburg club has learned transfer negotiations from their club sponsor, Gazprom. i.e. hold the other side to ransom. Nevertheless, once Zenit realise that they aren´t dealing with Manchester City (or will they?) then a deal should be tied up for around 15 million pounds before the transfer window closes. “That´s  a lot of money for someone who had two good games at the Euros” I hear fans and media pundits cry. That is to be expected considering Arshavin has been plying his trade in the Russian league. Zenit have only made an impact in the UEFA Cup and Champions League over the past three years, and the Russian national team in last summer’s European Championships.

My time spent living in Russia back in 2004/5 and following Russian football on-line has given me the benefit of seeing Arshavin in action over a number of years, developing into the special player he has undoubtedly become. Rather than simply dwell on the “will he or won’t he” aspect of the transfer saga, I will give 5 reasons why Arshavin will be a success at Arsenal when he finally signs.

1) CREATIVITY

It is obvious that Wenger is looking to sign the mercurial Russian to compensate for the short-term loss of Cesc Fabregas and long-term loss of Tomas Rosicky, whom I doubt will play consistently for Arsenal ever again. Although the Gooners are starting to string some results together, at times this season the midfield and attack have looked short of ideas when trying to break down those teams that like to ‘park the bus’. At the highest level Arshavin has shown that he can provide the ‘killer’ pass, whether a Fabr-esque pass through the middle, like the assist to Igor Denisov for Zenit’s first goal in the 2-0 defeat of Rangers in last year’s UEFA Cup final, or a cross from the wing, as seen for the key goal against Holland in the Euro 2008 Quarter Final.

2) GOALS FROM MIDFIELD

Arsenal have failed to recreate the heyday of midfield goals, when Robert Pires and Freddy Ljungberg would score for fun. Despite a decent return of 13 goals last season, Fabregas has not looked like emulating Frank Lampard’s knack for deflected shots. More often than not his shots are inches wide or hit the woodwork, much like Zinedine Zidane for my Valencia team on an old version of Championship Manager.

Samir Nasri is looking the part in terms of well taken finishes in important games but the remainder of Arsenal’s midfield look unlikely to chip in other than with the occasional fourth goal in a 5-0 win at home against relegation fodder. This is where Arshavin should be able to alleviate the pressure on the front men. Although not strictly a midfielder, he may be able to “do a Cristiano Ronaldo” and get praise for scoring “so many goals from the wing”, when in fact he will play as a forward. Nevertheless, the goals will be especially important when in combination with the next asset…

3) THE ABILITY TO DO THE UNEXPECTED

You may have guessed by now that I am a big fan of the slitty-eyed one, so please forgive me for the bold but perhaps exaggerated statement I am about to make – Andrei Arshavin is in the same mould as Lionel Messi. Now I know Messi is arguably the best player in the world right now at the age of 21, while AA is 27 and has been playing in Russia his entire career. However, it is the same ability to do the unexpected that puts him in the same bracket. Going back to my point earlier about Arshavin having been showing his class for a few years now, here is a Messi-esque goal against Spartak Moscow from back in 2002.

I know it is easy to fish a random YouTube clip to prove a point, but there are a number of occasions in which Shava has made something out of nothing, using his incredible pace, balance, toughness and accurate finishing to turn a game. It is not easy to find let alone buy a player that has this asset, and this is ultimately why I think AW jumped at the chance to bring in Arshavin. This clever goal is reminiscent of those that Henry often attempted but failed to get away with. Arsenal would benefit from the sharp-minded and audacity of AA that can only really be seen in Robin Van Persie from the current crop at the Emirates.

 

4) PREPARED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND LEAD THE TEAM

This is probably the most overlooked point by those analysing Shava’s potential transfer. He is 27 years old at the prime of his game, a player that has been the main man for a big club (by Russian standards) and massive country(by geographical and population standards) and is hungry to perform regularly at the very highest level. This is exactly the type of addition Arsenal need to their squad – a man that is prepared to lead the team and take on responsibility, relieving the pressure from Cesc Fabregas. He may look 15 but his maturity and experience match his true age.

5) VERSATILITY

Arshavin’s best positions are as a play-maker behind the forward line or as a forward just off the main striker. However, his versatility makes him a threat, whether playing in the middle or on the wing. It is more than likely that he would be deployed by Wenger on the left-hand side until Walcott returns from injury, with Nasri either moving to the right or a central role. Some have suggested that Arshavin is too luxury or small to be succesful in the Premiership. Again, that is to be expected from those who have seen him play twice. To the contrary, Shava is a tough player that I think would excel. The main criticism that can be levied at him is that he is susceptible to drifting in and out of games. But that is what Ronaldinho does, right?!

I am not completely sure as whether AA will be eligible to play in the Champions League knockout stages because as far as I was aware, you can only play for one team per season in European competition. However, the Real Madrid/Diarra and Huntelaar saga has confused me. Media reports seem to think one player is allowed to register for another team. Anyhow, Arshavin, whether this season or next, would slot nicely into the 4-5-1 that Wenger has favoured since the Gunners’ run to the Champions League final in 2006.

Final Note

Russians haven’t had such a successful time in London as of late (see Pavlyuchenko and Litvinenko) but this boy is special. If this transfer ever ends up being completed, Arsenal fans should be very excited. Obviously Andrei is because this YouTube clip shows him learning English (see 1 minute 55 seconds in for comedy moment).

To further make my point about him being round for more than two minutes, here is a sweet Arshavin hat trick from 2005.

 

P.


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