Arsene started the January transfer window off right with Silva.

Day 2 of the January 2010 transfer window comes to an end and so far, all is quiet on the Western Front.  It’s funny, with all the hype for January, expectations, or hopes any way, were high it would begin with a Bang.  But as good Arsenal fans, we know to wait until the end of the month for the special signing to happen -Arshavin anyone?  That being said, we do have one signing, an apparent Brazilian phenom in Wellington Silva.  Silva’s young, but this kid apparently has the potential to break into the bench in the 2011/12 season.  Even more so, he might be the beginning of a very successful January transfer window for Arsene. 

Silva is not actually available to play until January 2011, after he turns 18.  But his purchase threatens the current crop of forwards going into next season.  This is a kid that has the potential to jump to the first team and Arsene is the type of manager to give him a chance.  While the Brazilian Serie A may not be the EPL, it’s a good stepping stone.  The kid will not some time to acclimate, but the expectations on him are to begin pushing for a first team action as soon as possible.

Arsene doesn’t pay £3.5m  for a player that isn’t ready to begin pushing for first team action in 1-3 years.  For instance, Song was purchased at 19 for £1m; Diaby at 19 for around £2m; and Denilson at £3.5m at 18.  Denilson is probably the best example since he came from straight from the Brazilian league wasn’t even a starter in Brazil, but because of injuries began starting in the 2008/2009 season, at the age of 20.   In any case, Silva isn’t likely to make the first team his first year.  But if history is any guide.  He and Arsene will expect him to start challenging the forwards by the 2010/2011 season and looking for solid first team play by the 2012/13 season.

This long-term play actually effects the Club’s decision making today.  Off the cuff, Bendtner is safe.  Silva’s game is finesse, he’s quite slight, not power.  Arshavin is too well established to be moved or perhaps Silva might be the perfect Arshavin replacement.  RVP’s role, at least for the foreseeable future, is secured.  RVP plays with a degree of sophistication that only comes with time, even to great players.  It’s unlikely Silva can replicate RVP’s role that fast, let alone challenge RVP’s position.

No, Silva poses a bigger threat to Eduardo, Vela and Walcott.  Silva is young, so he’s a bit of a long-term project, but so are Vela and Walcott.  Eduardo is the least vulnerable.  He’s older, more established and clearly has Arsene’s support.  Vela would seem the most vulnerable because of the potential clash in the type of play.  But I think Walcott has the most to worry about.  Right now, Walcott’s extreme pace is what makes him valuable, not his skills.  People always talk about his injuries, but the fact is, Walcott can’t take any quality defenders on one-to-one.  He has to beat them with his speed.  But if Silva has speed like (close to, not equal to) Walcott, then having Vela and Silva works to our advantage, better overall technique and rotation.

This signing continues Arsene’s policy of raising the technical game of the players, whether in the Reserves or in the First Team.  Although Silva, or Zezinho if we complete his signing as well, are not the splashy veteran we are looking for right now, their signatures bode well for the strategy we have in place.  Keep buying higher and higher quality of youth to develop, then sign one or two veterans.  It helps the present and future.

I expect Arsene to wrap up the signature of one more youth player then to focus on a veteran player.  This would make this January window huge for the Club, injecting a ton of talent into the team while others are looking in the wrong direction.

-the student

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