Arsene’s goalie trauma

Recent rumors had, emphasize had, us linked to the Russian keeper Akinfeev. Now rumors are rumors and transfers are never easy, but this looks to be true and Arsene’s failure to make the deal is troublesome. For all of Arsene’s genius, he seems utterly beguiled at this position. He lacks a vision for this position and it shows.

What we know is that during the winter transfer window we went after three players. Arsene said that. Two we know: Chamakh and Smalling. We got neither, but Chamakh will be here in the next week or so. The third player was unidentified, but we knew was a keeper inquiry. That it might have been Akinfeev is no surprise. His was one of the possible names thrown about -wishful and otherwise. Until now though, we had no reason to know why our attempt at a ‘keeper fell through, let alone who it was. For all we knew it was another no name.

Enter today’s rumor that it was Akinfeev and we have a real problem. Assuming it was him, and I expect it was although deep down I hope this wrong, Arsene’s failure to sign him may have killed our chances this season. Sure there are lots of factors involved in a transfer, especially a foreign player.  And speculating about what might have been is fodder for loud mouth bloggers. But we pulled off Arshavin when we needed to. Akinfeev deserved the same attention. Imagine if Akinfeev had been introduced during February. Remember Arshavin’s impact? Psychologically it was a huge boost, on top of the goals of course.

Akinfeev’s addition would have been important for similar reasons. At the most basic level, Akinfeev would have provided a secure keeper, helping to lock down a leaky defense. More abstractly though, Akinfeev would have sent several messages to the rest of the players. First, that we’re serious about winning. Second, that failure to reach your potential means you lose your position. Both good messages to keep the players from getting complacent.

There are other benefit for the team as well. Putting him between the posts in January would have given him more time to adjust to the England for next year. England is very different than Russia -cough cough, Arshavin. A few more months wouldn’t have hurt. Also, picking up Akinfeev now would have been good for Mannone and Sczesny because it would open up a pipeline for them to keep improving at Arsenal. Since we could get rid of Almunia and then Fabianski (Mannone moving to the number two next year).

Instead, we enter the summer transfer season needing to show some momentum. To show the fans we do care about winning. To find a goal keeper that Arsene can buy then ignore once we have him.

– the student

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