"My approach is that we have a very strong squad but if one or two opportunities arise we will take it."
Those were the words of Arsene Wenger in yesterday's press conference in response to a question which asked whether we will be signing any more players. We have heard this before from Le Boss and my initial reaction was a sigh. I crave inside knowledge and I have zero patience when it comes to transfers, especially transfers which are necessary. I accept that Sahin won't sign because he was always a luxury player to have. If, for example, our move for an orthodox defensive midfielder broke down I would be having a much harder time accepting it. So today I am going to be deciding what player is necessary in order to challenge for the title.
Arsenal have done excellently so far this summer in my opinion. We anticipated van Persie's exit with the signings of Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski - a trio well capable of filling the Dutchman's shoes. The transfer which we never prepared for properly was that of Alex Song. The opinion is well and truly split with Song. Some rue his departure and are calling it another loss of a star and most are not too fussed that he has left. But the main consensus is that we need to replace him.
"If you look at the numbers you will see that Song was more of an offensive player than a defensive midfielder," "Arteta can play deeper - the kind of Pirlo role - and we have Diaby who is a very strong defensive player."
Wenger hinted that he is looking for that replacement but said that he was not going to buy an 'average' midfielder. If someone special is available, he will make it happen. Fair enough but the fact is that we do need a midfielder. When one looks at our midfield we see a long list of good quality players, but that list is misleading. When analysing each player individually you will start to see flaws in the midfield depth. Currently available to Wenger is Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Ramsey and Coquelin. Only Coquelin out of those players is a true defensive midfielder. While I have faith in Le Coq's undoubted potential, he is definitely not ready for regular first team football. Cazorla and Ramsey are not deep midfielders, though Cazorla can play there it would be a massive waste of his attacking talent. Diaby is capable as we saw last Saturday but he is always an injury worry. He is also more accomplished in the attacking role and definitely not a defensively minded player. Arteta is the only one out of all of those players who I genuinely trust. He is as reliable and disciplined a player as I have seen but again, he is an injury worry. In fact, he is so important to our team balance that we never won a game without him until the last match of the season against West Brom.
You might be arguing that, as Wenger said, Song was not a defensive midfielder and therefore we already have players capable of doing his job. I am of a different opinion. I think that we need a different player to Song, not a like-for-like replacement. I genuinely believe that in order to challenge next season, we either need a much more organised midfield or a solid holding player. You just cannot concede 49 goals and expect to come close to the title. Wenger wants the holding midfielder and I expect him to find one suited to our team.
"If someone top, top class turns up, completely defensive, we will consider it.
He has set the standard pretty high there. There aren't many top, top class defensive midfielders available. Wenger wants a 'completely defensive' player, and that is his biggest hint yet that Yann M'Vila will not be arriving. As an article from LadyArse said, Yann is not the man. He is a great player but too similar to Song. He likes attacking and is not the rock many seem to believe. I really like the look of Capoue however and if Toulouse do agree to sell him I would be thrilled with his arrival. He would provide that solid base in front of the back four, shielding from relentless counter attacks which are more often than not our undoing.
I am looking forward to next week. It should be exciting and dramatic - the way Arsenal like it. Hopefully we'll come out the other side as an improved team.