So without much to talk about in the world of Arsenal, I thought I'd have a look at the worst case scenario for us this summer.
There has been talk of Ade leaving, but I think that is a load of old tosh. Ade has catapulted himself onto the wanted list of most major European clubs this summer and his agent knows this.
Chapter 1 in the 'Beginners guide to becoming an Agent' is titled:
1.0. Why earn less, when you can earn more?
So lets not get our knickers in a twist over this minor problem because at the end of the day, if somone offers you 20k more a year in your current job, you're not staying loyal to the manager who taught you how to do a pivot table in excel... right?
The problem we have at the moment is that someone is saying to Flamini, here is £20k a week more, oh, and here is another £2million to sweeten the deal. You have to say, that would be pretty hard to turn down. I have faith he will stay, but I had faith that Henry, Paddy, Overmars, Petit and Anelka would stay. I think they call it blind faith or something?
The Hleb deal is also interesting because he has the option of buying himself out of his own contract and getting a signing on fee. Again, I have faith, but lets just say both are greedy bastards and decide to make way.
So what will we be losing?
Flamini is a good player. I like to think of him as Ray Parlour on red bull. He averages 18 miles a game, and rumour has it he runs home instead of getting on the team coach. He has bundles of passion, bundles of drive and he is just about to reach his prime. Since his introduction into the midfield, Cesc has been given more freedom to roam and Arsenal's attacks have been able to move forward quicker.
He is good, but he is not world class (Yet).
Hleb is a great dribbler of the ball, I like to think of him as Messi with no product. When Messi was running about like a headless chicken the other night I couldn't help but think of Hleb. The things the man can do with the ball amaze me, he brings Cesc into the game, he pulls defenders out of position and I would say he is just as responsible for the team ticking as Fab4.
Like I said though, he has no end product. No shot and minimal assists. This cannot be over looked, he is there to produce, not look pretty and make the purists go, 'Wow, he is soooo technically gifted'.
So what are the options from within if both leave?
Flamini internal promotion candidates
Diaby: Patrick Vieira's younger brother and illegitimate love child of Will Smith. He has been played predominantly out wide this season despite preferring a central role. He is immensely skilful, but a bit tackle shy. He has an eye for the odd spectacular goal, but he also has an eye for a shockingly inaccurate 3 yard pass. Is he good enough to takeover that CM birth? Maybe... but I wouldn't bet my house on him being a success.
Gilberto: I love him for his loyalty and commitment on the pitch. He is a model professional but some would say he is past it. I wouldn't agree with them, I think he has a lot to offer the team and his recent form has proved that he doesn't need to start drawing a pension just yet. There is life in those legs, the question is... is it a step backwards considering our finishing position last year?
Denilson: I don't get Denilson. He plays some lovely passes, he is quick and does like to stick the boot in every now and then. For me, he has had a bad case of 'secondseasonitis'. He hasn't really offered the team that much this year... bar a cracking goal against Newcastle in the Carling Cup and RvP some company in the physio room. He is very light weight for a stocky chap so I think I would rule him out as a candidate.
Hleb internal promotion candidates
Walcott: Theo loves to play down the middle, but with competition stiff up front - a place out wide in the Hleb role could be the only way to secure a starting birth next year. He is fast, he is starting to develop some tricks and he is gaining more confidence with his shooting. I don't know what you guys think, but I've noticed lately that he is trying to thread his passes through the eye of a needle... just like Hleb does. Is Theo impersonating Hleb... to become HLEB! No... because Theo had a shot the other night. A good option though.
Vela: What... the greatest player since God put on a pair of football boots? Oh yes, King of Osasuna... President of Potential... Duke of Youtube...! CARLOS VELA! He did well against Madrid didn't he? He even has his own blog... how much do I know about him? Zero. Could he be played out on the wing next year? Probably! Would he be good? Maybe... Did I say he played well against Real Madrid? Screw it... he is going to be a sensation! Problem solved!
RvP: Contentious call... but, he does play out wide for Holland and he does a bloody marvellous job too. He could still take all the freekicks, he could score goals from midfield and he could allow us to have a little and large partnership up front (Ade + Eddie, Theo, Vela...). Could he be the perfect solution? I think so... will that happen? Doubtful... he is never fit!
Who could we bring in from outside?
I have no idea! I'll give you 3 names for each to chew on though:
- Diarra (Madrid)
- Veloso (Sporting)
- Gattuso (Milan)
- Elano (Man City)
- Arfa (Lyon)
- Robinho (Madrid)
I know there will be a minority of people who will come on and moan about the Championship manager type suggestions, but to them I say,
'Go and blog on Arsenal.com...'
You'll never get an ounce of transfer speculation over there.
I like talking about potential transfer targets, as do all the Grovers.
So, I have given you 12 names to run the rule over. It's the age old battle of internal vs external recruitment and Arsene Wenger is going to let you make the decision for him in the comments section.
I hope you have enough to talk about!
Happy blogging Grovers!