Finally, after so many years of waiting, the revolution at Arsenal is happening. It’s just as much about new signings as players leaving. I don’t know if this is “the year,” but I do know the Arsenal are moving in the right direction. I’m excited and other Gooners should be too.
Look at the signings…
Podolski and Giroud were aggressive early signings that sent a message. Cazorla (unless something happens) and probably another signing are class signings that send a message. With an average age of 26, or something like that, these are the type of signings that have been missing at Arsenal for the last five years. THREE INTERNATIONALS! This means a trophy run.
Why the change? Who knows. But I bet it’s because the Arsenal Academy is finally starting to come online. After years of waiting, the Academy is starting to produce and the Club knows with more certainty what roles to fill from outside. Wilshere, naturally, gets the most attention, but Frimpong was all the rage before his injury; and Coquelin has been a quiet and steady keel slotting directly into bench play (the young Arteta). Don’t forget Gibbs either. Add to that the up and comers: like Eisfeld, Aneke, and Gnabry, and Arsenal are starting to get more confident.
Look at who’s leaving…
The biggest criticism against Arsenal should not be that they don’t spend. Arsenal can’t compete with the oil money. The biggest criticism should be that Arsenal don’t cut their losses and move on. Arsenal might not have the money of some clubs, but Arsenal can afford and should be more open to cutting players. And taking the loss that comes from risk.
Talented players will always come through Arsenal. That’s the privilege of a Big Club. But not all will make it. Arsene’s economic common sense is very good in risk adverse situations, but his Continental sensibilities to risk aversion leads him to hold on too long.
Until recently, Arsenal have been way too slow to cut players and move on. Finally, that’s beginning to happen. Chamakh, purchased just a year or so ago is on the outs. Park, purchased during last summers “freak out” is on the way out. Arshavin, icon that he is -and I will mis him – doesn’t fit Arsenal’s new direction and looks to be out. Other players can finally move on too: Vela, Squillaci, and Botelho. Even RVP, club captain that he is, must move on.
The point? Arsenal are cleaning house. This has been way too long in the making.
Look to the bench…
One of the biggest challenges Arsenal have faced for years is the lack of depth. An injury here or there causes a complete squad breakdown. But things finally seem to be turning around.
The defense is locked in: Chesney is set, with Vermaelen, Koscielny (new contract!), Meretsacker, Djourour, with young Bartley.
The midfield is a good combination of experience and youth: Arteta (how huge was that signing?), Song (at least for now), Diaby (returning), Ramsey (this will be his chance to finally “return”), and Coquelin (the new Arteta, seriously, watch him play); with Frimpong and Wilshere coming back from injury.
Oddly enough, absent the RVP trauma, upfront Arsenal look stronger than ever: Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, a refreshed Gervinho, Chamberlain, Rosicky, oh, and possible Cazorla (or maybe in the midfield?). This is a front line with international credentials.
After so many summers of pain and anguish, Gooners should be excited. Success is never guaranteed, and anything can happen, but tomorrow is finally today. What we’ve been waiting for is here. This is a squad that can compete.