The “what if” Gallas leaves idea is gaining steam.

The most fun is playing the game.  After that, watching players much better than you playing the game correctly.  Love of the Club permeates everything of course.  But for us armchair managers the fantasy game keeps us going through these dull times.  You know, “the what if?” game.  What if Melo was on Arsenal? Or, what if Fab leaves these summer?  Since I already think my opinions matter enough to post -Arsene is a regular reader of course – I love what ifs?  Today’s “what if?” is actually based in reality: “what if Arsenal don’t re-sign Gallas?”

Rumors are growing and speculation with it.  Gallas may be leaving on a Bosman this summer.  And some blogs already beat me to the punch on this one.  They point out all the facts I love to play with, like what’s Gazidis thinking?  Or, how can the team allow Gallas to move on in a way that respects the player’s needs and the Club?So I’m going to cut a different way and play a different game: allowing Gallas to leave with dignity is the best step to rebuild our backline.

I’m not a Gallas hater.  I think he’s been great, especially since he put up with those who shall not be named last year.  But for the Club and himself, Gallas moving on might allow the backline to solidify.  For one, father time can’t be beat; Gallas is a starter, but he’s getting older.  This creates a bit of a problem.  He wants to keep starting, and he should.  But we need new blood to go along with Vermalean.  Second, we need to bring in young blood to give them opportunities and lets face it, we have that person in Bartley, if only to give him a chance; or, we should go get someone like Subotic.

For the team though, fixing the backline requires some profound changes.  While Sol is okay as a bench player, Gallas and even Silvestre are not.  And fairly so, at least for Gallas.  He deserves to start.  Unfortunately, holding on to all three hinders the development of the backline and even clogs up our midfield.

Should Gallas and Silvestre leave we gain two spaces in the backline.  The quick answer is to go out and buy a new central defender (Sakho!).  But we might not need to, especially if we’re trying to be budget conscious.  If Gallas leaves, we can move Song back to his natural position in the center of defense.  Song has been great as a defensive midfielder, but his experience has also made him a better central defender as well.  We can then bring in either Bartley or another young central defender to play on the bench.  All of a sudden we have five central defenders, the oldest of which is Sol, but he’s happy in his role, two stalwarts in Vermaelen and Song as starters and two youngsters as subs to develop.

This allows us to retool the midfield a bit as well.  If Song moves back, we can go for another (or our first real) defensive midfielder.  In turn, we might be able to switch back to a 4-4-2 which, frankly, I would prefer.  With Clichy, Vermaelen, Song and Sagna in the back four, we can have a midfield four of Arshavin (back where he belongs), a new signing, Fab, Nasri (back where he belongs).  This gives us a diamond (yes I’m a fan).  Or, for those particularly rough games, we can do a 4-5-1, putting Diaby in the midfield as well.

Or, even if we stay in the 4-3-3 lineup, all we need to purchase is a young box to box, defensive minded midfielder, like a Sissoko or Capua from Toulouse.  All of a sudden what are our current weakness, defense, becomes stronger, younger, but still has the necessary experience.

Whatever, the options are there.  A shake up of our backline loses some stability, but we can handle the influx of fresh blood.  And in fact, we might even gain some stability because our current central defenders wouldn’t need to play every single game.

-the student


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