So yesterday the club announced our second “signing” of the summer on a two year contract – Mathieu Flamini. He left the club in 2008 on a free and it seems he’s came back in exactly the same scenario. Many are frustrated that Arsene has took the cheaper option again but I think that’s unfair on Flamini. Had we’d bought him for £15m and had he not ever played for us, we’d be getting a 29-year-old, experienced defensive minded midfielder who helped turn AC Milan’s season round last year. That’s not a bad buy in my books.
The only problem I have with this signing is that we’d not even considered him had he not been on a free. Wenger has certainly taken him because of the financial benefits, but really you’ve gotta see it from a different perspective. In my opinion we don’t need a world class defensive midfielder, we just need one as an option, that can do a job when called upon. Flamini will do exactly that. Besides, it means we now have a further £10-£15m to spend on other positions, which will most likely mean an even bigger signing.
On Flamini, the boss said
Because he knows how we play football. He knows the Club. He had a huge desire to come back. He was available because he was out of contract and he’s a quality player, and a focused player.
He can play with everybody in midfield and he knows the game we want to play. He knows the game in general. He’s tactically very shrewd, very focused to win and that’s why the decision was basically a no brainer.
And Flamini did have a huge desire to come back. As I said before, he turned down several contract offers and did double training sessions with us, in hope that we’d offer him a contract just like we did with other former Gunners. He’s been very humble and hard working since joining a few weeks ago, even to the point where he refused to park in the first team car park despite the fact he was offered to. He wanted to earn that spot in the car park and that’s the kind of players we want in our team. Flamini spoke of rejoining the club, saying
It feels good to be back home, I have some unfinished business with Arsenal so it’s a great feeling to be back. Once you’re a Gunner, you’re always a Gunner.
I feel good, I have been training for three weeks with the fitness coach, Tony Colbert. So I feel ready to start competing for Arsenal, especially on Sunday – it’s going to be a big game.
It’s a derby, everyone knows how important it is. We have to win it and we have to be ready for it.
Once you’re a Gunner, you’re always a Gunner. This is exactly the kind of mentality we need in our team as it rubs off on the others. I doubt a player like Kondogbia would have had the same mentality, yes he’s a good player but we need influence, character and experience in that squad if we want to seriously challenge for the title. Anyway, he’ll wear the number 20 shirt and most certainly be involved Sunday, whether or not he starts is a different question but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He hates Tottenham.
We’ll find out more later today about the game as the manager does his usual pre-match conference however the injury news so far is that thankfully both Ramsey and Wilshere are both fit to play. There was some negative news to balance the positive and that is that Podolski’s injury is worser than they first thought and is set to be out for 8-10 weeks. It’s a shame as he looked a lot better so far this season than he did last, all the best to him and hopefully his recovery is quick and without problems.
In other news there was the Champions League draw yesterday and it started off brightly with us being put with Marseille from pot 2, before Dortmund and Napoli followed from pots 3 and 4. We’ve most certainly got the hardest group out of the English teams to qualify however I’m convinced we can get second or even first.
Napoli weren’t impressive during the Emirates Cup, yes it was 2-2 but it was four goals of the poorest quality you’ll ever see. They’re a good side with some quality players but they’re lacklustre defensively so we shouldn’t struggle to finish above them. Dortmund are of course last years Champions League runners up, but that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically finish above us. We finished above them a few years back and we beat Bayern 2-0 last year at their place who went on it to win it by beating them, so it’s not impossible that with the focus, desire and right signings, we can top the group.
In other more related transfer news, yesterday the ever reliable @GeoffArsenal tweeted a bit of a teaser by saying
Arsenal are ready to spend £40m on a German International.
I can’t declare who it is right now. It’s for the best.
It’s got everybody on twitter thinking the same thing – “who could it be?” and I thought I’d do a quick overview on the options. Here’s a list of all the German International players that I believe we’d have an interest in signing and haven’t moved this window, yet.
Neuer, Adler, Hummels, Khedira, Ozil, Gundogan, Lars Bender, Sven Bender, Reus, Draxler, Müller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Gomez, Kießling.
Looking at that list, I’d be incredibly surprised if Wenger broke our transfer record on a goalkeeper or defender, so that takes the first three out of the equation. I also get the impression that Geoff has very specifically said German International for a reason, and because of that I doubt a move for Kießling too, especially considering he’s just signed a new contact. This leaves the following
Khedira, Ozil, Gundogan, Lars Bender, Sven Bender, Reus, Draxler, Müller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Gomez
Now, if you then consider which of these Wenger would actually pay £40m for, the list gets smaller. I don’t think he’d want to fork out that kind of money on Khedira, Gundogan, Sven Bender, Draxler or Gomez. They’re either too young, too inexperienced, cup tied or just quite simply, not worth such a big fee. The list then looks like this
Ozil, Lars Bender, Reus, Müller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos
I get the feeling that Wenger is looking for an attacking midfielder to play at the front of the middle three, especially considering we have Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Diaby plus now Flamini for the more central positions. I also believe he wants a goalscorer, not just a playmaker. The list continues to get shorter when you consider these factors
Ozil, Müller, Reus
So, one of Ozil, Müller or Reus? That’s exciting. I’d say out of the three, Ozil is the most likely as Real will certainly be looking to offload him with the purchase of Bale and there’s been whispers all summer of them selling him, too. Plus at the end of last season he was more of a substitute than a starter, with Modric, Khedira and Alonso usually starting ahead of him. With the arrival of Illarremendi and Isco, his opportunities will be even further reduced and with it being World Cup year, a move could suit all parties.
In terms of interest I’ve long known of Arsene’s affection towards Reus. I’ve been saying all summer that we want him and it really wouldn’t surprise me if they made a bid. At £40m it’s not the kind of money Dortmund could refuse and Reus would definitely be interested in a move. He’s previously said
l think everyone has their favourite club. I was always a fan of Arsenal, because l appreciate their style of play.
My idol was always Thomas Rosicky. He is phenomenal. I copied everything about him, right down to his sweatbands.
Perhaps it’s just a dream of mine that he’d come, as he’s one of my favourite players in football right now. The guy can do everything and last year managed to score 27 goals and get 14 assists in 61 appearances, that is an absolutely ridiculous return for a midfielder.
As for Müller, well I’d say it’s the biggest long shot of the three. He’s one of Bayern’s best players and I can’t see why they’d have any interest in selling him. Then again we might just be looking to test them because they do have an abundance of attacking midfielders, they might not be against selling one. I did hear we was looking at him about five or six months ago, so it wouldn’t be too out of the question.
I guess it’s all rumours, ifs and maybes for now, let’s hope that a bid is actually placed over the coming days and when the window closes we get any one of those three. Heck, I’d take any of the last six I mentioned in fact, they’re all quality players and could certainly add something to the team that we don’t already have.
Thanks for reading such a long blog, till tomorrow.