Arsenal and Madrid, dance partners this January?

This whole RVP thing has turned into quite a storm my friends.  Just as the Arsenal were beginning to get the engine in gear, just when us we all began to believe the team was just one step away from taking the big step, RVP is out for the season.  But all is not lost.  Knowing that RVP is out for the season now is actually a blessing. 

I don’t mean to sound callus.  RVP has been inspirational the last two months and a team leader.  But losing him now allows the team to shift gears.  We know RVP is not coming back, so no more crying.  Yes of course it creates an opportunity for another player, (side glance at Vela), but this injury forces Arsene and company to act.  Buying players just to buy is ridiculous, but injuries have changed the equation.  Luckily we have time to plan this year before the transfer window closes.

Plenty of speculation will swirl around during the coming transfer storm.  Names that fell out of favor may come rushing back in (Huntelaar, Van der Vaart, Carlton Cole, that German kid or Remy).  But perhaps more important, this transfer window is building up to be what the summer was not.  A potential rush of new faces and blood into the club.  Besides a forward, Arsene must look at the left-back position and a new DM type of midfielder (for when Song leaves). Given the significant roles Arsene might be looking to fill I don’t expect any big name signings.

If recent history is any guide, Arsene is not afraid to pull the trigger on a big money trade at the right price for the right player (Nasri, Arshavin and V2000).  But the injuries during this term are asking for an injection of quantity to see us through the campaign.  This means less of a focus on adding the one veteran signing (Arshavin) and more about grabbing bodies that fill holes. Because of the sheer quantity of players he might need to bring in though, Arsene will be forced to buy cheaper.

Cheap buys on the players market is nothing new to Arsenal fans, but it does mean a sharp change in direction away from many of the past rumors.  Chamakh and Matuidi are likely out since both teams have placed high valuations on them.  This means the stock of someone like Clement Chantome is going up. This also applies to the likes of Huntelaar, unless Arsene can grab him on a deal, which is unlikely.  Cole presents an interesting possibility, but the English premium on his price might push him out of contention, especially since Bendtner will return.

Oddly enough, the story this January might revolve around Arsenal and Real Madrid.  Madrid has three players that might slot in well at the Arsenal; most importantly, all would likely be happy for the move.

The first is a player discussed during the summer transfer rage, Rafael van der Vaart.  Although he’s an attacking midfielder, he’s comfortable playing up front in a role RVP used to play.  So he’s a possibility if we’re looking for a 1-to-1 replacement.  He doesn’t play the exact same game as Arsene asked from RVP, but he has the ability to play that role.  Not to mention, since he enjoys being the center of the attack the position might work well for him.  He’s also the right age to quickly slot right in, 26-ish.  That being said, whether he might clash with Fab is a serious question.

Another player is a defensive midfielder, Gago.  The Argentine is not happy at his lack of playing time, has plenty of class and Madrid would likely sell him for a discount.He was only purchased for around 10 million euros in the package deal that brought him to Madrid, which means he can be sold for around £5m without much of an issue.  Gago would appear to fit in well with Arsene’s past chase of Alsonso. His game might clash a little with Baby Face Denilson, but that might be okay, since he can provide a three-party rotation when Song does return.  The question is whether he can help give Song a break of if we would still need a physical DM to back up Song.  The reserves might provide a Song backup so we’ll see.  All in all, he should mesh well with Fab and I would be least surprised to see him don the kit.

Finally, the third player is Drenthe.  Another Dutch national team member, he can play left midfield or left back position, he’s young and has ridiculous pace. Granted, Drenthe is a bit of a long-shot.  We don’t necessarily need him, but he might be too much talent to pass up at the right price.  I suspect he’ll move to the Italian league, honestly, but a quick strike to pick up a player of his quality is interesting.  Perhaps most important, his game does not clash with anyone on the field.

The problem with all of the players is that Arsene always goes that additional step: he looks at the man and personality.  This is great for the fans, it means we can truly support and love our players, but it also creates one more hurdle for a talented player to join us.  And after the Ade fiasco, I suspect Arsene is even more focused on the quality of the player.  Both Van der Vaart and Gago are unknown quantities in this regard.  Although rumors of Van der Vaart having a bad attitude exist.  And Drenthe has a pretty bad reputation that might immediately put Arsene off.

Regardless, this transfer window is sizing up to be exciting and I’m searching the Ligue 1 games like a groupie.  Teams know we’re somewhat desperate, but there is plenty of quality out there.  With chel$ki and manfool fighting over big name signings, I’m looking for Arsene to pull off three more Vermaelen signings and we shock the world.  That being said, I suspect we won’t know anything about the players we do sign and all of us will be scouring the web for any bit of information once the signings start to roll in.

the student

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