Completing the Jigsaw

The end of season feeling hasn’t quite set in, as it usually should have. We’ve had a delayed FA Cup final, a delayed Champions League final, some tedious international friendlies and finally headed off with international qualifiers. This only leaves a 3-week break for pre season to kick off for any players involved on international duty – not quite enough in my book. I love the Premier League but it is quickly turning into nothing but a money spinning franchise with the players’ put firmly to the side. Jack Wilshere said this week that he didn’t want the season to end, but he’s firmly the exception rather than the rule and a rather special exception at that with his injury record. It may also be because he thwacked in 2 belters for England this weekend! Either way it’s good to see him chomping at the bit for regular football as well as finally looking fully fit.

Anywhoo…Onto this summers transfer business. We all know what we need. There are 3 missing pieces to our puzzle, some people think 2 but I think it’s 3. We need a Defensive midfielder who is a little smarter than the Coq for the bigger games or even to play alongside him for the big away games in Europe where we need a little more security. In addition to that we do need to address the Goalkeeping situation. There are a lot of people who think that we should give what we have a chance and I think that I was firmly in that camp 12 months ago having brought in Ospina. Now however I’m a little unconvinced that we have a keeper that is capable of winning us a Premier League Title. I thought the Scz would be that guy this season but his temperament both on and off the field let him down this season. Finally I think that we need to look to add to our forward line. Again people will point to Theo Walcott being able to provide us with that alternative option, but it’s more of a Giroud type player that we need in order to compete. There aren’t many better ones out there but there are a couple, whom others are also after so it will make our summer a little tougher.

The candidates

Morgan Schneiderlin – This is the man I feel is best suited to our game and someone who can really flourish and further his career with us. He plays like a more mobile and assured version of Mikel Arteta who we really need to replace. People will easily forget how much of a great job Arteta did for us and how we really have missed him, at his best, this season. I can just see him slotting in for the more straight forward home games and the Coq playing in the away games because of his eagerness to press in addition to the combination of them when we have a slightly tougher game. He’s the perfect fit for us, more so than Arturo Vidal, who is a box-to-box transition player. We already have Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey who do that for us so don’t really need Vidal for that purpose. Not that I would scoff at the signing, no matter what we all think Wenger always knows how best to fit anyone into the team and also knows best exactly what we need to add (even if he hasn’t always been able to add it). As we all know the finances at the club look to be healthier and we have around £70m to spend. Schneiderlin will end up costing us between £20-25m by the looks so I’ll go with the prediction of £23m.

Petr Cech – no matter what we all think/say on this situation it very much looks as though we are interested in signing the big man. I really believe that he will be a big improvement on what we have and he’s someone who knows how to win a title both domestically and in Europe, which gives us a bit more experience in that department. Having proven winners in our squad is only going to give us more of a chance of creating that winning mentality and spirit from back to front. Confidence instils belief and if the rest of the team can play with more confidence in their number 1 it will create a more relaxed and pressure free environment in which to perform; surely this will only improve some of our first XI. It looks as though talks are taking place and are at an advanced stage, although I did read a couple of headlines and tweets mentioning that Chelsea wanted a home-grown player in return. If true, this would not surprise me in the slightest. We did the same to them for the Ashley Cole situation. We knew that it was going to happen so we got Gallas in the way of a return to compensate for a huge loss. The loss for Chelsea won’t be as great as Cole was to us, however I can see them digging their heels in to make it as inconvenient as possible for us in terms of having less time to settle. It’s pretty clear that they want to make life for one of their rivals difficult, however it’s also clear that they don’t give a monkeys about the man Petr Cech who’s spent over a decade there. They did the same with Frank Lampard so again it’s no surprise. Staying classy as always. This is a deal that looks that it will cost us around £10-£11m.

A Striker – So if we go on the assumption that we’ve now spent £34m it would leave us around £36m for any other purchases we require. I can see us spending the full whack on one player if the ‘right one’ as Wenger says becomes available. The potential suitors here go from Raheem Sterling and Gonzalo Higuain to Marco Reus and Jackson Martinez. Lord knows who we will end up with on this front and I think that this will be the business done as close to the end of the window as possible for 2 reasons. Firstly if Walcott’s contract situation is sorted early on in the summer then it would rule out the likes of Sterling. If it takes a little longer then he may well be used as a part of a make-weight deal. Secondly Walcott may in fact be waiting for our summer business to be concluded before signing to seek assurances as to where he may be plying his trade; either RCF or CF. What’s clear is that we are a maximum of 3 players away from a title tilt, well a proper one anyway. With 3 additions and the sorting of Theo’s contract we will finally have the holy grail of 2 good players for every position.

The summer transfer bonanza hasn’t fully begun and won’t properly feel like it has until the football stops. There will be a 1-2 week break of no football followed swiftly by pre-season training. It feels like a quick turn around, my own football team begins pre-season tomorrow and that’s after a 7 week break which still feels pretty rapid. Lord only knows how the players will cope with 2-3 weeks off. It’s going to be an exciting summer though, not because we’re thinking of making huge marquee signings (not that I’m ruling them out) but exciting because we really do look like a squad that can challenge with the right final ingredients.

More transfer fun and musings to follow next week.

Have a great week.

Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1

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