Smoke and Mirrors: Arsene is up to something

Blogging, sometimes it ain’t easy; especially not during a quiet transfer season and the World Cup. Most blogs out hanging on to any transfer crumbs that comes their way. But fair play, I’ve started a half a dozen posts to no avail, but end up giving up. Until recently. I’m not buying what Arsene’s selling. Monsignor is up to something.

This summer began in familiar territory; everyone asking, what is Arsene up to? Basically he’s done the same thing as always: buy young talent to develop and maybe bring in a heralded, but not too expensive new player(s) for the academy and pick up an experienced player for cheap (Chamakh).

But last summer marked a slight change. For those that were counting, Arsene put out around £35m in bids. He went after Melo, Dzeko and Sakho.  He wasn’t  successful in the least, but sometimes it is the effort that counts.

The problem is that Arsene’s transfer plans are never obvious until, well, September. So all of us spend a summer crying in our pints about things that never were or going to be. I mean, it all makes sense in hindsight; but during the process, it’s just painful.

And Arsene has been a treat so far this summer. First, he tells us that we’ll have all our summer signings done before the World Cup. Not likely and it didn’t happen. Then, we get the Fab rumors, which ties us with a host of players, Gourcuff and Ozil being the big two. Emotional roller coaster! Top it off with our destruction of the defense -we are losing FOUR defenders this summer -and Arsenal just seems to be in spiral mode some times.

Unlike many of his compatriots, Arsene (and the Board) are so quiet about things that we have no idea what’s going on. For all we know, Arsene just bought Xavi from barca. Okay, maybe not Xavi; but nobody saw the Vermaelen transfer coming.

Yet, as much as people cry about Arsene not splashing the cash, it somewhat misses the point. He always has a plan. Last summer, he went for Melo, Dzeko and Chamakh. He struck out on all of them, but he put in real bids.

So far this summer he seems to be going after the same positions he missed out on last summer. New striker? Chamakh. More defensive help. He went after Smalling and now Koscielny. Only the bid for a new goal keeper is new.

If this holds true, expect Arsene to make two more moves.

One, he’s going to make a move for a defensive midfielder. Whether we’ll know the person, I have no idea. He tried really hard to get Melo and obviously was willing to splash the cash. Perhaps another £15m bid or something for Melo? If not him, then up to £12m for someone else.

Two, and here’s the potential surprise, Arsene is going to look for one more box-to-box midfielder. This is where something new might happen. Diaby is solid, but we need someone to rotate with him. Remember when Arsene went after after Ander Herrera from Real Zaragoza, it wasn’t too long ago. Although that deal seems to have fizzled out, he was no Fab replacement, he was a Fab complement. The Iniesta to Fab’s Xavi.

Speaking of Fab, the whole Fab thing has made a mess of everything.

Will Fab leave or won’t he? I was 99% sure he was gone a couple of weeks ago, but Monsignor has me confused these days. Who knows, maybe Fab will stay for one more year. Maybe it’ll be Fab’s “Ronaldo” year. But at this point, does it matter? Fab seems to be as confused as one can be: heart says barca, but gut says Arsenal.

But if he leaves, he has to be replaced pronto, and there are only three potential replacements: Gourcuff, Ozil and Hazard.

And, that’s why something is up. There are too many questions and too much unfinished business. Arsene may not spend too a lot of money, but he always has a plan.


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