Defensive midfielders… the choices and why Arsenal need one | Alex Song stories hotting up | Cazorla is here!

by & filed under News Review.

We’ve only gone and done it… we’ve only landed Santi Cazorla… a year after first expressing an interest, Gazidis and Dick Law have pulled it together and nabbed their man for the criminally low price of £12million! That price should rise if we win the World Cup or the European Championships, but we’ll worry about that later. We have an extremely talented player who is heading into his prime. A superb addition and a much needed one. I said at the start of the summer I’d be very surprised if we bolstered with an attacking midfielder, not because we didn’t need one, just because our transfer budget didn’t look like it could stretch that far.

How wrong was I? The priority for me was a defensive midfielder, a back up striker then an creative player. We’ve landed a striker, a winger and a creator. All very exciting. We still look in desperate need for a holding midfielder. I’m not sure why all the papers are saying signing Sahin depends on whether Song stays or goes. My view of Sahin was he was more of a Jack Wilshere / Arteta type player. We need a proper holding midfielder in my view. This idea that we don’t play with one is half the problem. By distributing the defensive duties across 3 midfielders who don’t have natural defensive instincts, you’re diluting accountability. You see that when we concede goals. No one knows who to blame. Part of Steve Bould’s job is about forcing that accountability. Everyone in the side should know exactly what their role it. Just like in Barcelona’s side. Being a flair side doesn’t exonerate you from tactical duties, if anything, it should mean more focus is spent at the drawing board.

Loads of names have been bandied around, which is why I’m sure we’ll make a move for someone. Javi Garcia of Benfica has been mooted as a possible target. He’s a youth product of Real Madrid and hails from Murcia, a few miles from where Geoff is staying at the moment. Perhaps the bear can pay his parents a friendly visit wearing his Arsenal clobber? From what I remember, the guy is a bit of a beast. He also has technical ability by the bucket load, trouble is, I’d imagine he’ll come at a hefty price. Then there’s Javi Martinez of Bilbao. He’s the player we have had a serious interest in luring to Arsenal all summer, but again, I’m pretty sure there are a number of clubs lining up with massive offers for him when the time comes for him to leave. I also wonder whether he’d leave Spain. Then there is the curve ball that could be Victor Wanyama. My Celtic friends tell me he’s good. But who knows? Sometimes they work out well… i.e. Jelovic… and sometimes they work out very badly… i.e Barry Ferguson!

Point is, I can’t remember us being linked so heavily to so many different defensive midfielders. Surely it means something… surely!

Also, all the stuff I’ve been saying about Song for a long time appears to be creeping out the woodwork. He doesnt’ really care for the club, all he’s worried about is his next move away. Before you all start slagging of his advisors, you should know  this has been going on for ages and only one person appoints advisors. People in the club won’t see these stories as new. If he’s looking to go, he’s made that decision all by himself. Luckily we’ve got him tied down to a deal and there’s no Barca DNA to worry about. Shows you all you need to know about loyalty though… Wenger kept him in the side through the barren years when he was utter garbage, one good season and he’s singing the Barcelona theme tune… disappointing. Well, not hugely, I’m not a massive fan of him. He’s a good player, but like Nasri, does he have that grit you need to be a true winner? I’m not so sure… well, not for us anyway.

… and yes, I know Nasri won the league, but come on, hardly integral.

We can do better. If Wenger thought he was that good in the creative role, he wouldn’t have bid for Cazorla. Simple as that.

Right, I have to shoot into a meeting. Apologies for the short post… see you in the comments later!

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955 Responses to “Defensive midfielders… the choices and why Arsenal need one | Alex Song stories hotting up | Cazorla is here!”

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  1. DaleDaGooner

    Problem is, it’s confirmed that the twat is in advanced talks with red nose and crew, he’s asked for parity with Rooney, and deals agreed, they are begging Arsenal to listen to them for a bid…Arsenal is telling Juve to come up large and telling the cunt YOU’RE STAYING OR negotiate with Juve….end least that’s what i want to believe

  2. IvoryGoonz

    incesc: it’s a general thing, he started by being nasty towards Le Grove.

    and I and I doesn’t make no difference if you actually know what I mean.

    for the facts, let’s say you might find that me posted at mid-day when I had a break, and then started again when I was finished, at 1850, funnily, there was no posts from Keyser since all his bs at midday too… people actually answer him, but he ignores it. I’m pretty sure you’ll find out I came on at 1850 and was no Keyser to see around until 20 minutes later. but I might be wrong. also I’m not often.

  3. DaleDaGooner

    I mean how do you go to work with your team mates and look them in the eye and act like you’re staying to help them win something…

  4. Marko

    Also if he does go one of Doumbia, Llorente, Soldado, Falcao or Benzema would be nice. Everyone bar the last 2 are realistic

  5. Dan Ahern

    incesc – No, I’m trying to hold on to him. And I rather he played at CF, as he is an elite CF. I’m not trying to sell him to ManU (which I think is a bad move at almost any price), I’m not trying to demean him in the reserves. I’m trying to get him to keep playing for AFC. I would entertain good money from Juventus. I’m talking over 20 million here. (But of course, I’m very worried we wouldn’t buy another player with the sale money. So that might not be a good move either.)

  6. incesc


    i swerve from loving him and wanting him upfront to seeing him rot in the reserves all the time

    i guess more than anything i want him to stay because with cazorla we have a team at last.

    but if he goes to man u we are back to square one.

    lllorente or podolski or giroud cant replace him

    and ian wright today on twitter was rinsing arsenal fans saying hes leaving to win as if its our fault.

    dont want to sound like that shit song but we do need a hero

  7. Keyser

    The money means fuckall really, we bought him for 3 million, he’s been with us 7 years, he’s been injured repreatedly, and the last two years Wenger’s made him the focal point of our attack, like he made Fabregas the focal point of midfield to get the best out of him.

    When he finally begins to repay the faith Arsenal have kept with him, he’s done what’s best for himself and he’s going to get a massive pay deal.

    I’m not too bothered if he leaves, or wherever he goes, all it does is kill the idea we can compete like a real football club, rather than a business.

    If he stays, signs a new contract, I’ll keep that childish hope, if he goes, then football is as soulless as it seems.

  8. Harry Redknapp

    #i got it from a very good source selling sacks of rice on stroudgreen road.

    Gervinho our new leader

  9. sam

    yes its all wenger’s fault
    now all these lame ducks are staying because no one wants them.
    even chamakh is waiting for van persie to leave,
    even avb already told gallas, jenas etc… to piss off, wenger has no backbone. father figure my a$$, robin just found his new father and dumped the old one.

  10. Harry Redknapp

    its not just us selling. you have to look at the facts, fergie would not commit the club like this unless the player had given him the thumbs up, robin wants out, keeping him is a lose lose.

  11. Harry Redknapp

    the only time i have felt sorry for arsene in this whole van persie thing was when kolo was in the press sayin van should come to city. arsene backed him when he was doped up on slim fast and city were tryin to distance themselfs. other than that when robin refused to negotiate last summer because he wanted to concentrate on stayin fit the alarm bells should have been ringing and he hould have been put up for sale before the euros

  12. incesc

    at some point arsenal will kil off the silly myth we cant win trophies

    if robin stays it will happen sooner

    feeder club, no trophies etc are all frustations created by arsenal fans and exploited by talksport.

    liverpool would kill to be in our position, weve fallen from the top of the tree but we are poised to climb back up,

    arsenal have always thrived as underdogs

  13. Keyser

    More anger than anything else, angers a fleeting emotion though.

    Every year he was injured you’d get the same people saying sell him he’s a crock, and I defended him, he finally comes good and he’s made a cold clinical decision thinking about the best for himself.

    How upset can you get with someone who cares soo little ?

  14. Harry Redknapp

    but if robin wants to stay he has to sign this year, because if were reliant on him again next season and he walks on a free or the club has to sell him in january then we are f**ked

  15. Harry Redknapp

    see but rogin was a regular on tv sayin he likes it arsenes way, he believes in the manager and the style, as soon as he has a little bit of power with his goals and his contract situation he wants to talk about ambition, if he had ambition he would have concentrated on stayin fit 5 years ago. lets not get this wrong he was worried about lack of interest, thats the only reason he re;eased that statement, if he gave a shyt he would have released it last day of the season and took the fine for breaking the media blackout

  16. incesc

    it turns out he cares about himself and not arsenal…

    i dont even think its a cold clinical decision

    its ego, agent, arsenal fan trophy bullshit

    i cant see robin training as arsenal captain thinking being a back up at man u is the zenith of his career. he wants trophies and city are the team who will be winning it but it wont be his trophy and he will only be a small cog there..

    he wanted madrid or barce and they didnt come and now hes in a fix. to save his pride even tho he said it wasnt about money hes asking for parity with rooney because it will restore his belief in himself

  17. Harry Redknapp

    incesc ,the cold part is, he acted like mr arsenal all season , yeah he done well but he behaved like tony adams and knew he was not signing a new deal lol proper legends would never tell the fans the clubs pants, were fans we do that. a proper arsenal man does his job, i dont believe arsene to be an arsenal man anywmore by the way. why didnt he put in a transfer request officially?

  18. incesc

    arsene has already spent the money thank god

    carzola, giroud and the pold will replace rvps goals.

    small hope is with wilshere back next season the whole team can push on to even more

  19. Harry Redknapp

    arsenes big problem he is sentimental. we all love rocky rocastle but look at how george removed him, look at how george removed limpar, football managers gotta be cold, sentimental coaches are finished. arsene shipped out players like piresso he could afford to keep his diabys and djourous

  20. Harry Redknapp

    i believe fully that robin knew if he had a good season he would refuse the contract, its sad to be in a stadium idolising a player, and YES that player is milking it,yet he knows he is off lol thats different from a captains behaviour cesc lol

  21. Dan Ahern

    incesc – Yeah, I understand the love/hate. He’s put fans in a tough spot. But my point is, that shouldn’t cloud our judgement going forward, and hopefully it won’t cloud the judgement of those that run AFC.
    Especially as a club, you can’t complain about player power and then let your best one go for cheap because he said mean things about you. And you can’t be so afraid of not earning money off of him that you forget how valuable on the pitch he is.

  22. Harry Redknapp

    the fans are split, some think robin is some kind of hero who has put arsenal on the spot. i see it differently, robin just didnt have the bollocks to say i want to sign for CLUB X. good luck to him. i was more upset when eduardo broke his leg because him an ade looked pretty good lol

  23. sam

    not me harry!
    rosicky did sign a contract without any problem
    the word ambition in his statement describes him as ungrateful to arsenal football club.
    some people don’t like to know the truth. now he’s signing for 200k he wanted good luck to him.

  24. Harry Redknapp

    if we do manage to get 15mill for robin im expecing them to spend properly in a replacement. if they dont well im fucking disgusted(and not suprised)

  25. sam

    if you also tell them that this is his last good season they won’t believe you.
    he scored that many goals and got the golden boots because he was our only striker

  26. Harry Redknapp

    lets sum it up, chamakh is crap, he scored 13 goals then got dropped. no freekicks or penalties. but when he was the only striker opetion the start of the the 10/11 season he scored 13-14 goals then was completely dropped for robbin, if he can do that without 7 seasons to settle in then you have to give credit to the team ,any one with confidence infront of goal will score goals for us

  27. BacaryisGod

    Gambon, you really are a broken record. The whole point of what I was saying regarding the 90k is that it will give us more flexibility in other areas. I still think we’re in an impossible position with Van Persie based on his injury record and age.

    I would rather the 90k go towards strengthening the squad in other areas.

  28. BacaryisGod

    Dan-the 90k is not the rationale, although it’s touching that you and Gambon are aligned on this. The point is there’s one big bucket of money we have to spend and based on the damage RVP has already done, keeping him makes little sense any way you look at it.

    The last thing I want is for him to go to United, but if that’s where he is forcing a move, then we should extract some value out of them, and Welbeck has a huge upside.

    It’s all a moot point, because he’s not coming anyway…

  29. sam

    grovers will disagree but i think its time to play theo walcott up front.
    instead of buying another striker maybe one more creative player like sahin and a winger will do.

  30. ikon

    I think we all knew RVP would be leaving. Yes losing him to utd would be a loss to Arsenal. But I think we can cope up if we invest the money in one striker and defensive mid.
    On the other hand selling him to united would send very wrong signal to the fans and to our rivals as well. It would be better if the club takes a stand and keeps him in the squad.

  31. Moray

    we have already replaced Robin with Giroud. If he leaves, do not expect him to be replaced. If he is, it will be by a kid.

    If he goes to Man U then he not only strengthens a club I believe to be our closest rival (for 3rd place), but also revitalises their ageing and – I believe – declining squad.

    If he leaves at all, it will be a sign to the world that we are still weak and prepared to sell our best players every summer.

    What happens with RVP is critical. If we are prepared for another transitional year then we could flog him and see how the new players bed in. If we work on strengthening our defence through practice, discipline and a signing or two, then perhaps we could survive the loss of our prolific striker. But I think the morale boost of him staying would not be dulled by his previous comments. Having that strikeforce we currently have makes me stiffen a little. A few more defensive minded additions plus the Turk if possible, and we could really do something this year.

  32. Jeff

    BBC is reporting that the Man U bid for RVP has stalled. What a nice bit of news to wake up to. Hope he stays and proves to everyone who doubted him that his motives were not financial but driven by the desire for glory on the pitch.

    It is what every fan also wants and has the right to demand. Everyone has their utopia, here’s mine. Robin stays, we also get Sahin and one more defensive player to keep the goal tally down. If that happens, we’re in with a chance of a trophy maybe two.

    My hopes are higher today than they were this time last year.

  33. sam


    the only crime here will be to sell him to man utd, otherwise i don’t the problem as you said it that we already replaced him.
    3 left footed strikers in the starting 11 wasn’t going to work so one has to leave.
    the one asking for 200k has to go coz the 2 just arrived.

  34. Moray

    Sam, what I meant to say is that – in Wenger’s mind – we have already replaced him. For me, IF RVP goes, we need a top class replacement on top of Giroud, and pref a right footer. But I think it unlikely it will happen.

    One thing, though, I really don;t understand where Man Utd plan to get the money from. They are hugely in debt, already pay Roooney 200k per week and seem to be divesting players to cut down their salary bill. How can they afford another 10m per year player? It really doesn’t make sense. Maybe this is just a pissing competition for Ferguson who was gazzumped by PSG on the Brazilian.

  35. Moray

    Following the huge purchases of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, Ferguson stated the world had ’gone mad’.

    “I find it quite amazing that a club can pay €45million for a 19-year-old boy,” said the Scot.

    “To tell everyone that PSG are here they’ve signed Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They must have spent about £150m in the last month.

    “The only deterrent to that is UEFA. ”

    Man Utd record transfers…

    1 Dimitar Berbatov Tottenham Hotspur £30.75 million September 2008
    2 Rio Ferdinand Leeds United £29.3 million July 2002
    3 Juan Sebastián Verón Lazio £28.1 million[44] July 2001
    4 Wayne Rooney Everton £27 million August 2004 *biggest transfer fee for a teenager at the time
    5 Anderson Porto £20.4 million[45] July 2007
    6 Ruud van Nistelrooy PSV Eindhoven £19 million[46] June 2001
    7 David de Gea Atlético Madrid £18.9 million[47] June 2011
    8 Michael Carrick Tottenham Hotspur £18.6 million[48] July 2006
    9 Nani Sporting CP £17.3 million[49] July 2007
    10 Owen Hargreaves Bayern Munich £17 million[50] July 2007

  36. Moray

    What a cunt that guy is!

    “I find it quite amazing that a club can pay €45million for a 19-year-old boy,” said the Scot.

    “To tell everyone that PSG are here they’ve signed Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They must have spent about £150m in the last month.

    “The only deterrent to that is UEFA.

    “In the conditions of European football, you don’t qualify for Europe by winning the league or coming second – you only get in by invitation.

    “That’s where, hopefully, UEFA can have some power.

    “When somebody’s paying £45m for a 19-year-old boy you have to say the game’s gone mad.” [sic]

    What he means is that “When someone ELSE is paying e45m…”

  37. peanuts&monkeys

    All said, Arsenal are now a pronounced 2nd tier team in PL. City, Chelsea and ManU leading 3-horse race. Arsenal will compete with Spurs, Liverpool and Newcastle for the 4th spot. This is why Arsene keeps mentioning that 4th is a trophy. Indeed, 4th is the trophy of the tier-II teams of PL who are racing on the side tracks (service lanes…hee hee).

    “If you are a Gunner, you are a service lane runner”…wow! what did i do there…i’m impressed.

    BUT, But, but…..all this can change if Arsene (a) Doesn’t sell RvP, (b) buys a decent defender from a PL team.

  38. Thomas, it's up for grabs now..

    Jeff @ 05.30
    Warning: long post! 😀

    Sadly I don’t share the same optimism reading that headline. All it says is that the deal negotiations are still alive and the price is the issue. We will sell him!

    There are a number of factors in this saga. Robins actions and desire to leave after our investment in him in time and patience; his phenomenal recent form, and the clubs reaction to another star player bombshell and our commitment to becoming ‘the best club in the world’ after our move from Highbury.

    Separating each of this issues out we can focus on particular aspects of this transfer saga. I don’t subscribe to the ‘greedy cunt’ theory simply because this is what a modern footballer bases most of his career decision on. RVP it turns out is no different. Virtually every player who signs for us could be labelled so by the fans of the club they leave. Podolski reportedly doubled his wages by signing for us. Is this any different really?

    I’m going to focus on the club now. This does not mean I ignore the other aspects of this story. I will be absolutely devastated to see RVP in a Utd shirt this season. And that will bring emotion into the judgement process. However, here’s where we are. Robin’s statement. “I won’t sign a new contract” what does it mean? The club have said they want him to stay. RVP has made no other statement saying OK then, I will play the last year of my contract. This clearly points to the fact that Robins statement was misleading the fans he professed concern for and that he actually wants to leave NOW! So bullshit Robin! You want out now!

    So the club have a dilemma. What to do!

    Champions league money will increase substantially this season with new TV deals achieving more than 100% growth. If the club seriously believe we can achieve CL or higher with RVP then this should dictate our thought process and not money. If Robin stays and helps us achieve that (even if he leaves next year on a free) then there is the fee they will get now for him. CL this season is going to be worth 50m +

    With him staying and our new arrivals we are making a real statement of intent and would have a real chance of seeing Liverpool and Spuds well behind us. This will mean CL.

    This is why I will seriously criticise the club now. Our approach should simply be. RVP is going nowhere and NOT he is for sale but at a price north of 20m. We haven’t said that in any article I’ve read.

    Here’s what I mean:

    Instead we say well we don’t want him to leave, and even to you Utd the price is 5m higher. No… We have a price and under all the circumstances of where we are as a club I think this is absolutely the wrong approach. Yes we will hear all the bullshit about Robin wanted to leave, we wanted him to stay etc etc

    Calling RVP a cunt if he signs for Utd may well be an acceptable reaction to many and everyone is entitled to an opinion. But don’t leave the club off the hook also. Yes he backed us into a corner. But we could have come out of that corner strongly and fighting by telling everyone to fuck off, he’s not for sale. Robin get on with it son. You’re going nowhere this year. Deal with it!

    That’s what I want the club who have aspirations to be the greatest club in the world to do. Not to cave in meekly at the sight of a 25m cheque drawn against the bank of fucking Manchester! It’s fucking small change and is absolutely the wrong thing to do for a club competing directly and against the odds with teams with greater resources than us. We don’t need this money! We have 200m in the bank and have made a profit this season just gone of 60-70 million. Probably more in fact. We were at 50m profit at the six month mark in Nov and nothing has happened (like big buys in Jan) to alter that. All other revenue will show increases when the accounts are published in Sept in areas like commercial, CL, PL money etc. and we already know that the wage bill for 2011-2012 will top out around the 140m mark.

    And if shit come to the shove.. We can also afford to have a sulking superstar once he’s not lining out for Utd!

  39. on-the-edge

    By God, Stan and Wenger should start getting death threats if they are selling RvP to ManU. And one of them should pay a huge price for doing this insanely wrong at millions of fans.

  40. scott q

    On the edge get a grip and dont be such a retard!!! no arsenal fan wants robin to go to another english club but no need to come out with that verbal nonsense!!

  41. Ryan

    Etienne Capoue is the answer. To make him you get a dash of M’Villa for defensive duties, a dash of Song for great vision and dribbling, then finish him up with a spritz of Ox for speed. Having both Song and Capoue would be amazing especially in difficult games we could play both as DMs and boss the midfield! And he can easily play CB. If not him Wanyama would be a good Song understudy