Good morning Grovers! I'm in jubilant mood this morning because Arsenal have satisfied my lust for new players well before the transfer window opens. Superb eh? An actual signing... before June 1st. Are we learning lessons or are we bracing the fans for a departure? I think we're learning lessons... get your business done early. Show the rest of the squad you mean business and actually build the club up again.
Lukas Podolski is a superb signing on many levels. Firstly, it's not often we buy a forward with goal scoring pedigree. Generally, Arsene Wenger picks his strikers based on physical attributes, then technical attributes... then we pray to the footballing goods they learn how to find the net. Sometimes it works... Thierry Henry and Adebayor spring to mind. Other times, it completley bombs. Chamakh and Kaba Diawara certainly drop into the latter category. Wenger had this to say on his new man...
'We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas and see him as an important part of our future. He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options.'
Podolski comes with pedrigree. He can play centrally and he can play on the left. He's powerful and he's very fast. He's not a tricky skillful wideman. He's someone who represents brute force. He'd rather take the straight line than the dancing into space route someone like Messi takes. He's a German Gareth Bale. Except hopefully he'll score more goals, stay on his feet a bit more and obvioulsy he'll be playing for us next season as well... Gareth probably won't be for Spurs. So not too many similarities!
An injection of quality like Lukas will boost team morale, increase competition and give us more depth. His stats are very impressive as well. In the last two seasons for Cologne he's played 63 times, scored 33 goals and bagged 13 assists. Even for Bayern Munich, a team everyone said he tanked at, he managed 32 games in his last two seasons, scored 19 and landed 12 assists. In 60 appearances over two seasons Theo has managed 22 goals and 16 assists.
Hopefully his arrival is a signal to the fans that the rumours this year are not to entice us into handing over our hard earned cash for another year of mediocrity. When I was told way back in Jan that we'd be making two signings from Germany and we'd be making a big move in France it looks like part of that has been complete.
Who is the big name from France? I have my doubts it's Hazard. Question now is whether we have the clout to take M'Vila from Rennes against the competition of Inter Milan and Bayern Munich. You'd have to imagine than our French connection and the bright lights of London would sway a 21 year old Frenchman that London was the best place to be for his career and development. If we tie up that deal sharpish, I'd feel 100% more confident about the summer. I still think we'll snare Hoilett and I wouldn't be shocked if we snapped up Kalou and Holtby. All we'd be missing then would be a top quality creator.
They exist out there. Marvin Martin seems to have gone right off the boil this season but we knew there was interest there last year. You've got Eden Hazard ripping it up with Lille still (14 assists and loads of goals), though he is more of a wideman. Eriksen of Ajax looks very gifted but his stats don't impress hugely this season. Valbuena of Marseille has 11 assists, at 27, he'd be of the right age. There is also Giroud who has weighed in with 8 assists of his own! Pretty damn good... even though he's a forward.
Anyway, the point is this. There are players out there at the right price if you're looking in the right places and you have the desire. Doing your business early is a possibility as well. It's nice to see we're making the right moves now... let's keep the momentum going this summer. Well played Arsene and Ivan.
So... who'd be on your shopping list this summer?
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P.S. Two things to draw your attention to. Firstly, we did a little piece for The Armchair Gooner, take a look at the first two comments, very amusing. Secondly, another Charity type thing to draw your attention to. Gareth Parker (@GarethParker <- Great Gooner follow on Twitter) is throwing a Balls to Homelessness event in the Piccadilly Comedy Store. Alan Davies of The Tuesday Club Podcast will be heading up the bill along with fellow Gooner Ian Stone. I'll be heading down there as well, they've heard about my jokes and insisted I do a ten minute slot. I know... I know... word gets around about great jokesmithing.
Tickets are £15 and it's for a good cause. You can buy them here.
Also, a massive, massive thank you for sharing around that Sagna article yesterday... the guys at Grassroot Soccer will be thrilled the article was recieved so well. Remember, if you want to donate to them, the page is here (Grassroot Soccer Donations).
P.P.S. I'd talk about last nights United vs City game but it was such a let down, I can't be arsed. Watching Fergie lose his rag late on was pretty funny... what a petulant brat of a man he is.