Wenger on alert for ‘special’ signing

Wenger on alert for ‘special’ signing

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he’ll be keeping an eye on the transfer market in January in case he can find a ‘special’ player but played down the necessity to secure further backup to Olivier Giroud.

Playing up the availability of Nicklas Bendtner and Lukas Podolski, the boss was as coy as ever on the matter of new signings when pressed on the subject at his pre-Cardiff media sit down.

“We are on alert in the market if something special turns up but we are not desperate,” confirmed the Frenchman, although he had to again make clear that Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was definitely off the agenda.

“We won’t approach for Suarez. He has signed a contract. We gambled on Sanogo at the start, he has not been fit but Bendtner is back and Podolski is back.”

Having ruled Giroud out of the Cardiff game with an injury, along with a host of others, the boss took a moment to praise his compatriot for the sterling effort he’s put in up front all season long and joked that he’s not surprised the former-Montpellier man is not keen on a new striker.

“Would you expect anything else? We have to give him credit. He has a fantastic combative attitude. We have a great confidence in him.”

In truth aside from a few rumblings about Dimitar Berbatov (if you thought Arshavin was infuriating…), Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa and Real Madrid’s teenager Alvaro Morata there’s been a veritable dearth of nonsense transfer talk.

No doubt that will pick up once the world’s football agents have finished quaffing their New Year’s Eve champagne, but for the moment enjoy the calm before the storm.

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125 COMMENTS

  1. Happy New Year

    I’m re-posting my earlier comment … I believe we can win the league this year, its looking more and more probable.

    But my analysis side makes me reflect:

    List of Attackers in leading teams:

    Man Utd: RVP and Rooney
    Chelsea: Torres and Eto’o and Ba
    Man City: Aguero and Dzeko and Negredo
    Liverpool: Suarez and Sturridge
    Barcelona: Messi and Neymar
    Real Madrid: Christiano and Benzema (Bale)
    Bayen Munich: Robben and Ribery plus more
    Borussia Dortmund: Lewandowski
    PSG: Zlatan and Cavani

    Most of the teams have a big name pair hunting together. They might not always be successful (Chelsea!!!).

    We need one more marquee signing to make that leap into the frightening European leading teams. A solid Attacker who can convert against any opposition.

    Your comments guys…hope we all have a super 2014

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    • What are you trying to say? That names or FIFA14 rankings are more important than performance?
      We have Giroud, Ramsey, Walcott and Podolski, who have found the back of the net often enough in absolute numbers (Giroud, Ramsey) or in context to the number of games played (Walcott, Podolski).
      Also we’re top of the premier league, which in my book makes us a ‘leading team’.
      I give a flying fuck about names, I want results. And so far we have had the best in the PL.
      We don’t need to buy names if we make them.

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      • To clarify: I’m not against buying players in general (funny thought).
        But all this ‘we can’t compete if we don’t have a big name striker’…I don’t buy it.
        (–> door)

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    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • The goal against United was because we were missing Mertesacker, not anything to do with our midfield. Surely you’re not suggesting that Lucas and Essien are better than Arteta at breaking up play and distributing the ball? Arteta v Liverpool this season was one of the most complete performances I’ve seen from a midfielder, any player on that list would be proud to have put in a shift like that.

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        • Arteta is not world class. He is international class. Truth hurts. My list was in response to the guy mentioning strikers. We are scoring goals. The problem is the defensive aspect of our game. We were rinsed by Man City. Mertesacker wasn’t missing then, was he?! We had nobody to take on Toure, who bulldozed through our defence and Flamini. Flamini looked like a deer in the headlights against Toure, who is a beast. We looked ordinary when Nasri tore our defence to shreds. The point is, we still have not replaced Vieira. I still say a striker is not as important as a strong midfielder who can protect the back line and make runs forward. Vieira did this job for us. Now we have Flamini and Arteta. Bender comes to mind because he is a beast. Spain have shown that a striker is not essential to score goals. They won the world cup with only their midfield! Of course a striker would be amazing, but the priority should be protecting the back with a strong box to box midfielder. Every time City got the ball anywhere near our half, I thought they would score. We scored 3 on the day, and 2 perfectly legitimate goals were disallowed, as well as a perfectly legit penalty not given. That would have been 5-6 goals. Does a team who has problems going forward score 5 or 6 goals? We are capable of scoring from all over the park. Strong defense will win us the league. The goals will come.

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      • Personally I’d take Flamini in Arsenal’s deep midfielder role over half of the guys on your list. I don’t really disagree with your overall point, but Wenger does not care for midfielders that defend and don’t bring anything to our passing game, and with good reason.

        Xabi Alonso and Matuidi (PSG) have expiring contracts and possibly could be acquired cheaply in January or free on a pre-contract, this is something to keep an eye on.

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        • I would take Flamini over half those guys too, but I am trying to make a point that a team’s defensive record is protected by a strong defensive midfielder. The point is, we still need to replace Vieira. If I had a choice between buying a world class striker and a world class box to box midfielder, I would go for the midfielder.

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      • Arteta is twice the player Essien is, and Flamini doesn’t do a bad job either.

        Not to mention Welsh Jesus and the way that Wilshere hustled the best midfield ever ™ out of the game two years ago…I wouldn’t object to someone coming in be because both Flamini and Arteta are getting on but they do as good, if not better, than most of the names on your list.

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      • Barca have Busquets, Song and Mascherano. We had song he chose to go warm another teams bench for a few years. More fool him. Carrick, Essien and Lucas do me a favour we have better players than them.

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      • Yaya toure? He doesn’t even try yo be a defensive midfielder. If a player goes near him then hes capable of winning the ball but he’s far from being defensively aware. He only impacts on tbe game as he gets closer to the opposition goal.

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      • Obviously we’d love a toure or a shweinsteiger, who wouldn’t? But a super star striker would be even more welcome, especially in the big games were it often seems to come down to one moment of brilliance by a world class striker. Unfortunately there are probably none of either category available so we’ll just have to see what we can achieve with the current squad right? COYG!

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  2. Giroud is important not because of goals but the way we play. We are quite dependent on him and Wenger is not taking too many chances with bredtner upfront. Hopefully that will change in forthcoming months.

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    • Wenger himself said that he would like to give giroud a rest, but because he is too integral to the way we play, h is frcd to play,. So, I think, if we are gonna buy a new striker, it would probably some on who does what exactly giroud does, buytas second dchoicto him, instead of someone who brings “something different”, because we have already got such strikers in podolski and Walcott.

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  3. Can’t wait to be pleasantly surprised by another ‘top signing’ but till then weldone to our current squad. They have shut up a few pundits who have nothing better to do than prophesy doom and gloom for the arsenal. Happy new year to all gunners.

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  4. Have to bring in a striker Arsene. Once you get past Giroud then our depth in that department in terms of quality is thoroughly exposed. A WC striker will be hard right now, all we need is a quick fix so that when giroud is out injured or rested we can always shuffle and bring in that quick fix without having our hearts in our mouth as we prepare for a £32 diego costa bid in the summer.

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  5. In Arsenene we trust, he’ll make the right decision and who knows we might get a surprise signing.
    Here’s to a top 2014!!

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  6. I truly agreed with Arif that Gunners need a world class striking duo to compete that give them more variation of playing 2 Strikers sometimes and most of the time with 1 forward and 5 midfielders (flooding with talents).

    I think a bargain call will be Mitroglou who is scoring for fun now. A strong physical players that is suitable for all out attack like a poacher!

    Second I would love to see another french partner Benzema to join Giroud so they can communicate in french so opponent defenders don’t understand. But highly unlikely signing.

    Next, Alexandre Pato looks good to up for grab, a world class striker that is forgotten in Brazilian league.

    Last but not least, no Berbatov pls..he is too lazy (worst than Giroud in term of misses). Lavezzi will be a good addition of pace and Diego Costa will be just another striker to choose. So this 3 ain’t world class I can said.

    Just my 2cents worth.
    Cheer on the Gunners thru 2014!

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    • Why do you think we need a striking duo when we play with only one striker? Our wingers score more goals than our striker, and our striker’s job is to set up goals for our wingers!

      We don’t need to spend ANY money this January. We just need our players to be uninjured and fit.

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  7. Yes AW. In the summer you could transfer other guys. World is not about only one guy with Suarez Name. I think last summer was best time to buy best striker but you wait wait wait wait and wait and in last hour you did Ozil without any striker. i don’t know if we didn’t buy Ozil, what we supposed to do to this season.

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  8. Luuk de Jong from Borussia Möechengladbach might be a good choice… Dutch International… Not cup-tied in the CL… could be worth with a snip…

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  9. Said it quite a few times now, Julian Draxler. Optimistic I know, but the quality, age and position is spot on for Arsenal now.

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    • He’s naturally a no.10 but can also play left wing. We are well stocked in this department (CAM: Ozil, Rosicky, Cazorla. LW: Podolski, Chamberlain, Cazorla). As talented as Draxler is, he’s not what we need.

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      • Our best strikers over the years were wingers themselves though. Draxler has great control, bags of skill, a good shot, two good feet and physique which makes me think he can easily be moulded into a striker. His ability to play many positions and his age only means HFB will still be our main striker with Draxler being eased in.

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        • I thought that might be your point. I know Tezza was converted from winger to striker but that doesn’t mean it will work every time. It would be an expensive risk if it didn’t work out. What the squad needs is somebody that will come in straight away and will score goals, and I don’t agree with people saying we need ‘cover’ for Giroud. As much as I like him, we need better than Giroud. Somebody who will push Giroud for his starting place and create healthy competition.

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        • Why are people obsessed with prolific goalscorer’s, as long as our 11 players score more than the opposition in a match that’s all that matters.

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        • What Igor said! There seems to be a fixation on wanting some magical goalscoring phenomonen to be signed, who will score twice as many goals as Suarez. WHY?? Last time I looked we were leading the league. We HAVE the squad. We can win the league with what we’ve got. Even with Giroud hurt for a couple of games, we’ve got Podolski and Walcott scoring goals. And even Bendtner has been decent in the few minutes he’s had.

          Relax, folks, no-one needs to panic. We’re pretty damned good the way we are!

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    • Podolski is better than Hernandez. We need a higher class striker, no point in just adding to the squad. I want to see strengthening. That means looking above Giroud class. But as I have mentioned before, I feel the priority is a box to box/defensive midfielder. Flamini is okay as is Arteta, but we don’t have anyone who makes me feel at ease when a decent side has the ball in our half. I suggest Lars Bender. If we go for a striker, obviously Suarez is not a possibility, at least not in the near future. If we can go for a ‘problem’ player like Suarez, why not go for Balotelli? Before anyone says anything, he is a world class player. His only problem (a big problem) is his behaviour. But Wenger has dealt with problematic players before. I think he is worth a gamble.

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      • this makes sense to me.

        Against lesser team, our midfielders dominate the middle of the park. So we feel good and look secure.

        However, against some big teams, we struggle to win the middle third due to: a) too short; b) not enough pace; or both a) and b).

        There are plenty of ways to tweak a squad, especially with one full of versatile players like ours.

        Giroud is important to the team because not only of his attacking focal role but also his defending at set pieces. Furthermore, with a short and small midfield, against team with tall players we cannot play the ball through the middle except lob or cross high ball to Giroud head. This comes off sometimes. But good team will defend the second balls so that even Giroud wins the aerial duels, the ball will still be lost. If we play around and get the ball in the box from the wings, again we don’t have two or three players getting on the ends of the crosses. Barely comes off. We almost always have to play around the blocks, other than tearing them apart.

        So, if we have a bit more pace AND height AND muscle in midfield, we at least will not need Giroud’s height in defending. Moreover, with such quality, we could play Walcott or Podolski up front as tactically we can pull the opposition defence/midfield and tear them apart. A strong midfielder will have attack through the middle, especially against some big teams.

        Anyway, if we sign a top class deadly striker, I won’t complain at all.

        Come on, Arsene, let’s lift the confidence at the Club even more with a signing. Oh yeah, I like to see us sign someone for the sake of it!

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  10. My personal interpretation of Giroud’s comment that we don’t need another striker is that he realises that it will be very difficult to get a good striker in this transfer window, and so he’s looking on the bright side by saying we already have enough quality players. Well, that’s just a guess, of course.

    I tend to agree with the handsome bastard. We’re half way through the league and we’re top of the table, even though several of our attacking players have missed a lot of games altogether: Walcott, Podolski, Cazorla, Chambo have plenty of goals between them.

    Of course it would still be great to bring in another CF, I just reckon it’s not a train smash if we don’t. Since his first game thi season Bendtner has show decent progress, so that’s something else to take into consideration.

    And even though it will be difficult to bring in a CF, you can be sure Wenger will keep his eyes peeled, one ear to the ground, one to the grapevine, a finger in every piece of the pie, etc.

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  11. Very unlikely we’ll sign a striker, unless it’s on loan. World class strikers are going to be hesitant moving with the World Cup looming and most are at clubs fighting in the Champions League, who have no reason to sell.

    It would take special circumstances and upwards of £40m to prise any of them away and I seriously doubt Wenger will splash that kind of money again so soon after Ozil.

    I think the best we can hope for is a loan and pray Giroud stays fit and becomes more clinical.

    Right that’s what my logical mind is saying now for my heart……Come on Wenger I hear Messi is unsettled at Barca!

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  12. I think Podolski is a good back up to Giroud, particularly for the rest of the season, and (I surprise myself to say this, but…) I think Bendtner does alright too.

    The only player link I’ve enjoyed for this window has been Diego Costa, but in my opinion I would rather we sign him next summer when, you know, we can use him the Champions League. Also, as well as we’re doing, I think people forget we’re still going through our team rebuilding patch. We didn’t get to let go of a couple of our players and we have the need for depth in other places too.

    If there is a position we may need filled sooner than later, is a young high potential CB who can play with the first team should the need arise. Young because they will have to understand not playing much initially, but good enough to sit on the bench when Kos or Mert is injured and Verm makes space on the bench. Next season we will need to look at our GK, RB, and ST positions for first choice or depth as we continue to improve.

    Next year is our tell tale season as far as I’m concerned, and anything good this season is just a beautiful bonus.

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  13. If the release clause for Diego Costa is there then they have to accept it and he will come to Arsenal. We just need to put the bid in. I’m open to debate but to me it seems simplistic.

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    • It’s almost like the player has no say in whether he leaves a club or not….. While we can activate the release clause, we do have to get Diego to sign a contract and he can say no.

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      • I’m aware of that, but I don’t think he would say no to us. At the moment I don’t think there are many players that wouldn’t join us if we had a bid accepted for them.

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        • He is in is team that is pushing Real and Barca all the way in La liga, the first team to qualify for the knock out stages in CL and touted as being this years dark horses. I think no will be the default answer.

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  14. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Has he been playing in the premier league for years and only just joined us or has he been playing in different leagues, in different countries, with different styles and now he has to settle and get used to the premier league style of quick play?

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    • Ozil is by far the best player on the team, one of the best in the world, and he shows it every single game. People think he is underwhelming or disappears or “had a quiet night” hecause they want to see a Fabregas type player who dominates the ball but Ozil plays a different way, the German way, like bayern or their last world cup team. Faster one touch football. He leads the league in assists in his first premiership season with no preseason to get used to his teammates. It’s a bit harsh to say this but honestly the only reason he doesn’t have twice as many assists is the other players around him not being quite on his level some of the time (or consistently is maybe the right way to say it) and I think he may be a little frustrated by that at times, especially after playing for Madrid and Germany. Players like wishere, Cazorla , giroud, walcott all have the potential that’s why he agreed to come to us but some games this year they haven’t been at their best or have been injured. But there is no doubt that Ozil will take us, has already taken us, to another level and as other players on the team continue to develop or new talent is brought in we have a very bright future because of this massive massive signing.

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  15. He is a terrible tease. He’s done this before, talked about only wanting super, super quality. I can’t see us buying anyone. If we actively target a back-up for Giroud we are going to swap Bendtner for another Bendtner. If we want someone to properly compete with Giroud we need to look in the £20mil-£25mil bracket. If we want to replace Giroud we need to be looking at £30mil plus. Just can’t see us spending the money.

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  16. Özil has repeatedly said to the public that ‘not a single decision was regretted’ and that being at arsenal is a dream, I’m not sure you are that knowledgeable abt this, ‘mind the gap jokes’ guy, and if you are trolling, it really isn’t needed.

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  17. we are one or two pieces away from being a very dominant force, which is promising. in the mean time this squad could hardly be doing better, 38 games played in 2013 – top of that league, top of this seasons league, still to play our best football.

    good times.

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      • Yes, and Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery, Gotze, and Pele, too. But they won’t be enough. We so desperately need to buy 25 new players. We need to spend at least infinity billion pounds, if not more.

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  18. I heard Bendtner was waving goodbye to the away fans at the Newcastle game? Is he leaving? In which case will we have to rely on Yaya? I’m not too sure of his capability but at least making a song for him will be easy.

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  19. Omfg what is it with wenger and Bentdner?? Wat is it he can see in him that we can’t and why does wenger still think we have enough depth in our squad that we don’t need any new signings?! He is the only one in the world that must think that!! Arghhh so frustrating!!!

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    • What do you expect him to say?
      ‘Bendtner’s shit so we need someone else’ and then see all the available strikers prices double over night!!!!

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  20. If anything we need to secure the rb spot with a sagna contact I hope and get a striker. I know this sounds crazy but hear me out. If there is any truth about Falcao not being happy at Monaco, we should at least put out feelers. You want a special talent, not cup tied, whose still young enough to secure our front line for at least five or six years while we restack our youth team? Can play in cl now for him, won’t have to wait until next year and he has a chance to win the bpl championship with an instant contender. He has size and is faster than giroud. Maybe our best chance since they paid £52m they may want like 55 and hopefully we can keep him on decent wages. We have the money on the bank and the puma deal so it’s not like we’re broke and can’t do it.

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    • I like him.. I like his size, his speed, his technique.. but, I remember reading something about Falcao’s ridiculous salary. Ive seen quotes near 450k / week. That is INSANITY.

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      • I don’t think he’s on wages that high but I’m not sure. Capello came out today and said falcao would be more likely to move than higuian

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        • Because of the low tax in Monaco he would need to be paid a silly amount like that gross, to give him a similar net (after tax).

          (I’m not saying 450k is correct, just that he moved for money and we will not compete for a money grabber).

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  21. I hear Balotelli might be available this January. What do you guys think? He has the ability, but are his disciplinary issues too much of a risk?
    If we are serious about going for the CL this season and want a non cup tied super star striker, then only Suarez and Flacao would fit that bill. However if the BPL is our main target then being cup tied should not be an issue. Rooney or Dzeko. However, the most realistic options are probably Berbatov, Benteke or Remy.

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  22. Bendtner is probably as world class as is available.
    On the other hand, AW denied interest in Suiarez, a sure sign we’re planning a bid. Maybe his new contract has a proper release clause?
    :-)

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    • According to the papers his buy out is £120m, so no one will be buying him… except maybe Real M, as they have very low standards off the field.

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  23. Well, Wenger certainly did “surprise” us last transfer window with a “special” player, maybe he will do it again…..

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  24. We should have whacked £50 million quid on the table for Saurez, by now we’d be dancing in streets, knowing the title would be coming home…£40 million.+ £1, i mean Ffs..

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    • If the buy out is £40m then £40,000,001 is more than the required price.
      But then it turned out that his agent hadn’t been truthful, so AW lost interest.

      Next time you go shopping, try offering the shop assistant more money than the price on the package.
      You’ll get the item but you’ll be an idiot!

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    • That’s an interesting thought. He’s certainly got the tools – pace, strength, skill on the ball, hard shot, some finesse when required. That’s an experiment I’d like to see, but not until the C1C matches next season.

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  25. Has anyone thought about Giuseppe Rossi? I think he’s on top of the scorers charts in Serie A (15 goals in 18 or something like that), he’s got a really high pass percentage (83% according to whoscored.com), and, perhaps most importantly, is not CL cup tied. I’m getting into silly season mode, but I can’t help but feel he’d be a good fit for us…

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  26. I think it will be difficult to sign a striker on three counts :

    1) It is a world cup year and most players/agents worth their salt will play a waiting game if possible till the summer before making a move.

    2) There are a number of well heeled clubs in the hunt for a striker in addition to us.

    3) There aren’t that many top level strikers available at the moment, particularly those who offer something different from Giroud.

    Add to that the fact that Bendtner for all his faults has done a decent job in the limited time he has featured (and is close to replicating the sort of muscular presence and strength OG does well), I can’t see us moving unless opportunity presents itself.

    If we consider the sort of strikers wenger was looking at in the summer (Higuain and Bitey), that would give us an indication of the sort of skill set he thinks we need to complement Giroud/Bendtner.

    I think what we lack a bit is speed on the counter and someone who can beat a man or two on his own with his ingenuity/movement,.

    The likes of Diego Costa is in high demand and may again have us chase shadows.

    One solution which will allow us to revisit the issue again in the summer while offering us cover now could be :

    Michu – he has the lankiness and mobility up top plus is already blooded in the PL. Should not be cup tied and if we so decide to pursue a better long term option up front in May, we can re-role him to midfield where although outstanding, Rosicky is not getting any younger. Price can’t be prohibitive considering what Swans paid for him.

    Cons. Age and not exactly knocking them in like last season but this could be as much a factor of service.

    The other option maybe to consider a loan for someone like :

    Pato. He is very quick, technically superb (something we have missed up top), will not be cup tied and comes with plenty of CL pedigree. Unpopular back home with his club, he will be looking toward a bigger stage to secure him an elusive world cup spot in the Selecao and what better team to come to rehabilitate his career than us (with recent track record of Per and Podolski).

    We could loan him minimizing our risk exposure but work in a first option to buy. meanwhile, we will act as a shop window for his current team.

    On the negative side will be questions about his attitude, hunger and focus. still only 24, he has plenty of future ahead of him but another concern must be his injury record. Then again, what better place than to come to us with our experience in that department.

    At very least, taking either of these two on will represent less risk, and easier conclusion to any deal as neither will be terribly high on any major teams flavour of the month list but both are good enough practical solutions that will offer us inventiveness and mobility in concert with the more battering ram approach of giroud/Bendtner.

    Again not saying Wenger will go for them but certainly think we should be giving them some thought whilst we sniff out any bigger names that may appear on market by chance in january.

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    • Costa – IF Atheletico put him on market, our competitiveness for his signature will depend on how others move (Chelsea, Real).

      If left on the shelf with say Dortmund as a competitor, we may stand some chance in getting him (if we put up enough which we may have an edge over the Germans). But it is a big risk as it could be another Suarez situation with Atheletico dragging things or he may go to the Germans as a personal preference.

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      • Dortmund would probably only move on him if they move lewendowski this window which hopefully would mean we can get him on the cheap.

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        • I really can’t see Athletico letting Costa go during their best season for some years. Why would he want to move in a WC year when it could effect his ‘call up’ and a good WC could add to his value.
          Lewandowski has his heart set on Bayern and I can’t see money changing that (or it would have happened already).

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  27. Amazing to see some still harping about the need for a ‘DM’ with Arteta and Flamini performing superbly this season.

    They also seem to forget we have Diaby coming back. LANSA.:D

    I think there will be some concern with the spare keeper spot and this is certainly going to be difficult to sort as no one likes to be benched behind Szsc and Fabianski. certainly an older keeper (Dudek was making some complimentary noises toward us recently) could be a good short term solution.

    The other area is of course CBack. I think we have just about sufficient at the moment but could do with one more. Wenger will likely want to assess the promising Hayden (a bit young) and Miquel but we do need someone early 20s if possible considering per, TV and Koscielny are all 27 ++. This though may wait to the summer.

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  28. My goals are that we get healthy and we see more squad rotation. The second might help the first. This summer we will bring Campbell back from loan and if he isn’t ready we will buy. It is nice to have options.

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  29. C’mon Gazidis and Wenger! A prefect year ending and a happy new year would be to get out the cheque book and compete with Bayern for the signing of BvB guy.

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  30. Iam not sure if we really need to buy in january because I guess the pundits are also brainwashing us (Arsenal fans) such that even we do seem not to appreciate what those players are doing

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  31. Wenger said a surprise might be waiting during the Summer transfer window. And we got Ozil. Who is to say something similar cant happen now too? :D

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  32. I wonder whether Jovetic now wishes he’d signed for us? He’s 4th choice and has played about 5 minutes of football all season. Would have been good for us too.

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    • Is he fit again?
      I thought he was injured.
      Having said that, the brief time he’s been on the pitch this season, he’s looked poor.
      Is he really better than we have already?

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      • I’ve got no doubt that he’s a good player. I don’t think he’s played enough to show it this season though…

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