Wednesday, 7 May 2008

All change this summer

Finally, after more than three months of fake transfer news, we have the real deal with various signings lined up, at the forefront Flamini and Barry.

Firstly, Flamini. Arsenal fans are right to be concerned that he is gone, but I think it is more to do with Arsenal's worrying inability to hold onto their players, than his footballing ability. Flamini may not have been typical of this, given that his contract was running out, but there is a recent trend of Arsenal's best players leaving, or being tapped up - Ashley Cole, Diarra, Flamini and now Hleb being courted by Inter.

This naturally brings up the memory of Anelka to Real Madrid, Overmars and Petit to Barcelona, Vieria to Inter and Henry to Barca. All bar Anelka haven't excelled after Arsenal, and this hindsight is attributed to Wenger's mastery of the transfer market. Not so, all the players mentioned angled for their moves away, and it couldn't be countenanced that they would stay at Arsenal while unhappy (according to recent reports, Henry received a £5m 'loyalty' payment in 2006 to resist the lure of Barca). Another supposed master of transfers, Alex Ferguson (the man who signed of Taibi and Djemba X2) redeems himself by forcing players out - Keane, van Nistelrooy, Ince, Hughes, etc.

So, Arsenal seem to have a problem in this regard, being compared this week to a feeder club a la West Ham. So, Flamini, and possibly Hleb will need to be replaced, but with Vela and Merida returning from Spain, it shouldn't be that hard to pick up a defensive midfielder, well Arsene?

Liverpool seem intent on signing Gareth Barry, and the question that must be asked is - why? How could he possibly improve the team?

Well, Guillem Balague suggested on Monday that Liverpool will play 4-3-3 next season, with a midfield of Barry, Mascherano and Gerrard. Certainly it is hard to see Barry being effective in a typical 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, and I think a 4-3-3 is a good bet but it is more likely that Alonso/Lucas comes into midfield and Gerrard plays on the right of a front three with Torres and Babel, as Gerrard's positional sense shows that he couldn't be trusted too much in midfield.

Looks like a good setup on paper, but no, it won't be their year.



JJ said...

4-3-3 could be decent but Pool need a left back as well. Alonso will most likely leave - I think he needs a new challenge anyway - so it'll be Lucas in there and no harm either as he needs the games to improve, and personally I think he can be a top top (copyright Jamie Redknapp) player. Lucas, Mash, Barry, Gerrard, Babel Torres sounds like it runs along Benitez's wingless wonders approach alright.

Mal said...

I agree, Xabi will more than likely leave this summer. Apparently himself and his wife want to raise their child in Spain, which is fair enough. I can't see Gerrard playing on the right though. I think that he would play well there but I don't know if he'd be happy with it and we'd have Gray and Redknapp questioning it every game, "he needs to play in the middle" etc. It's funny how Zidane, Ronaldinho, Messi, Ronaldo and others seem to do okay playing out wide.

Mark said...

mal - spooky, we made the exact same point about the wingers on the podcast

Mal said...

The second sight is still working so.
It now seems like Arsenal are after Barry too. There were a few eyebrows raised when it became clear that Rafa wanted him. Will it be the same response now that Wenger is interested?

Mark said...

I suppose the Arse could do with him more, given that Flamini has gone but I'm a bit surprised at the attention over him. He's a good player but would he really make that big of a difference, especially for the big money he will cost? I'm not convinced