What do y'all think of Nuri Sahin? I saw him mentioned somewhere a few weeks ago as someone who, because of lack of playing time, might like out of RM.
For the same financial reason, I agree with Sach that M'Vila probably isn't a realistic target. I also think he'd be a less-than-wise long term buy for the club. The club has defensive and holding midfielders coming up through the ranks; Frimpong, Coquelin and even Wilshere can fill that role; one of Frimpong or Coquelin probably will at some point. What they really lack are young attacking midfielders. Ramsey still has potential, but think of how poorly they played without Arteta all year long - they need someone who will take his place and, hopefully, be a whole lot better than him. No matter how many goals the defense conceded this year, it seemed like the bigger problem was that they had no idea how to turn lots of possession into goal-scoring chances. More often than not, long spells of Arsenal possession involved more lateral than diagonal passing, with three or four players lined up straight across the field. This allowed their opponents to remain organized and, when the ball was turned over, to break back the other way with speed.
Arsenal conceded the 8th fewest goals last season. City conceded 20 fewer goals and United conceded 16 fewer goals. That's a big difference. The defense is still a big problem. Arsenal actually scored 2 more goals than last season. Ideally, you'd always want to score more and concede fewer, but I think the defense is a bigger issue personally, especially after you've brought in Podolski.
Looking at the players we have:Mikel Arteta
- Why start with Arteta? Because he's the oldest. At 30, he has 3 years left on his deal and you have to wonder a little bit how much he can play going forward. He's had issues with his knee and his ankle in the last few years. He's still a good player, but I don't know if you can count on him for 45 games. He played in 41 games combined between Arsenal and Everton this season for what it's worth.Alex Song
- He's probably going to get a raise this Summer, so he should be around for the long-haul. The big issue with Song is his role on the team. As his passing ability improves and he becomes more important to the attack, what are you going to do to free him up to move up the pitch? He is the bread winner in the midfielder, but if new responsibilities are pulling him out of position, something is going to suffer.Jack Wilshere
- I see his situation similar to Song's. While he can win balls back for Arsenal, the big issue becomes his positioning. He's also a great play maker and played between Song and Fabregas last season [when he was still alive]. Obviously, he and Song can switch roles and things like that, but I still think you need someone to be in front of the back four, especially when the centerbacks are joining in on the attack.Emmanuel Frimpong
- I see Frimpong going on loan again because he's not ready. He's still very raw, like what Song was 2-3 years ago. I think Wenger seriously needs to have a talk with him about maturing and settling down. I love him as a character [#dench], but he seems more likely to become our Mario Balotelli at this point. I need to see more of him before I judge him. I love his toughness, but I need to see more of his positional acumen. A holding midfielder needs to be able to cover for multiple positions and not get thrown by the draw of the attack. I think Frimpong is 1-1 1/2 years away from really challenging for a starting XI place. At that time, Arteta will be nearing the end of his contract.Francis Coquelin
- I think Coquelin, like Arteta, does a good job of getting into passing lanes. I also like his versatility and I think in the short term, that is what will keep him in the squad, so long as he stays healthy. My big concern with Coquelin is his ability to compete physically. I thought he was overwhelmed against West Brom and he made Song's job more complicated. Song and Frimpong are as tough as they come and Wilshere is fearless. I'm not sure what we have in Coquelin.
So that brings me to M'Vila
. I do think it's important to have a pure defensive midfielder. At the very least, it allows you tactical mobility. M'Vila is the type of player who frees up everyone. If a fullback charges up the pitch, he'll fill in there. If Verm or Kos decide to jump into the action, he can fill in there. He's never more than 10-15 yards ahead of his back four. His positioning and discipline are fantastic, and to me, would be a welcome addition and change for this club. He can still tackle and pass, but his disciplined positioning stands out to me.
You also have to keep in mind that you could lose Song for two of the next three Januarys with the ACN. It's the same possibility with Frimpong. Who will play the holding midfielder then? Long term, I think it does make sense to bring in M'Vila. He gives you flexibility, cover, and freedom. I think he'd be a fine addition to the club.
EDIT: Also, we released Manuel Almunia today. He was on something ridiculous like £60,000 per week wages. It'll be good to get him off the books.
Edited by sachmoney, 22 May 2012 - 02:32 PM.