Transfer Thoughts

Posted: January 31, 2014 in Arsenal, Soccer

I am happy that Arsenal was able to give themselves a little cover in the midfield. This could mean a few things, including, that Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere will not have to be rushed back into action. Something that seems to happen entirely too often when it comes to Arsenal. Kim Kallstrom adds experience, and if we are honest, an extra body, which is good. While no striker coming in doesn’t seem like it makes sense on the surface, it is relatively clear that none were really available. Julian Draxler is a huge prospect, and I would love for him to pull on an Arsenal shirt but, as others have said, who knows how much he would have helped this season. I do hope we go back in for him in the summer though. I don’t really have too many issues with how this transfer window went down.

We all know that the striker situation is an issue. And while I don’t expect that January was going to be a time to fix that situation, I think more should have been done in the summer. Of course, in that case we probably wouldn’t have Ozil. Fact is, something must be done in the summer of 2014 about this. The money is clearly there this upcoming summer. And while there are other needs (Arteta’s spot, Center Back), striker has to be figured out.

Now, on to thinking about the rest of the season. There is no need to freak out, clearly Arsenal do have a good team. More points than any other PL team in 2013 prove that. But losing Theo Walcott for the year and have Ramsey out for so long are big blows. Not only that, the two main teams competing with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City, both had much worse coaches a year ago. And even though those team were faltering at the beginning of the season, they seem to be hitting their stride. Arsenal clearly belongs fighting for the title, which is a huge improvement. But Man City and Chelsea may prove to be too much in the end this year.

The summer of 2014 is huge for Arsenal. It has been circled on the calendar for years and with Arsene Wegner locked into a new deal, Arsenal need to have a plan going into it. If they plan for the summer, and execute a few signings, while keeping the main part of the squad together, than next season could be the glorious one for Arsenal.

Keep your heads up. There is a lot of football still to be played this year, and it is going to be a lot of fun. Arsenal actually bring joy now, and hopefully, in the not too distant future, can bring silverware as well.

Begin As You Mean To Go On

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Arsenal, Soccer
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A lot has been said of the streaks that Arsenal are on right now. Since their defeat to Spurs in March they have played 18 competitive games. In those games they have 15 wins, 2 draws and a loss. Also, 10 of those games have been on the road. Not one of them has been lost. In fact, not one of them has even been drawn. The 10 straight road wins are a club record for Arsenal. They have also only conceded 11 goals in this frame of games, and 6 of those have been from the run of play. Quite the run, indeed.

I was told by a friend of mine, whose opinion I respect greatly (and also a Chelsea fan) that Arsenal needs to prove that they can do this while, not only fighting on more than one front, but also still having meaningful games. While most of the run last year was done in the PL, Arsenal did beat the champions of Europe on their own ground. One of, I believe, 3 losses for Bayern in the whole of last season. And, their only loss over their last 30 games of the season. And while it may not seem meaningful to people who are not fans of the Arsenal, clearly the fourth spot, and a spot above Spurs, means quite a bit to not only the Arsenal fans, but also to the players. The way they celebrated after the win at Newcastle shows that they were indeed playing for something in that run.

Arsenal has also already played 3 Champions League games already this year. Two of those were qualifiers, which happen to be games worth in excess of 10 million pounds. Still think that without winning those, no deal for Ozil would have happened. So, for me, there has been things riding on the games for Arsenal during this run. But, beyond that I think there are some important factors that we should talk about involving how this run has happened.

Arsenal have clearly changed. And not only because of the money that they threw out to get on of the most creative players in the game today. But because they only let the players go this summer that they wanted to go. The decision was all Arsenal’s on who left. No player tried to force their way out, bar the “world’s greatest striker”. This team wants to be together. They enjoy playing together and have developed a keen understanding with each other. It was said many times by Arsenal fans this summer that the squad is a good one, and just needed quality sprinkled in. And I think that is quite true, and Arsenal is proving it at this point.

Over the past few years Arsenal has tended to make quite a good run over the last few months of the season. While you could say that it is because they are only in one, maybe two, competitions, it could also be because they have finally had the chance to become a team. Over the three summers before this one, Arsenal had lost at least one player that they did not want to at the end of the season before. And they didn’t just lose anyone, they lost very important players to the team. It takes awhile for the team to settle in, and find a new talisman after such talented ones leave. Two years ago RVP stepped up, and the team relied on him. Last year it was more of a team effort, but Cazorla was on a different level still.

This year, they found their ways to win at the end of the season last year and they still know how to do it. There is no get to know you period. There is no time where the squad is looking around for answers to questions they don’t even know. In the run to finish off last season the team won with great defensive performances, like against QPR when Walcott scored a minute in and we didn’t net again. Arsenal won with brilliant counter attacking performances like against West Ham, when Poldi ran the show. The team found out that they could win in different ways, and there wasn’t anything to relearn coming into this season.

My point in all of this is to say, I don’t think enough people are talking about the fact that Arsene kept his team together. And maybe that is why they are on the run that they are on. Arsenal knows each other. Instead of looking to Ozil to be the solution, they are asking him to be a part of a complex equation. Maybe Arsenal doesn’t have the depth to compete in four competitions this season. And maybe they won’t win a trophy again. But Arsenal is much closer now than they have been since about 2007, and things just look brighter from here.

I haven’t written anything is almost a year, but it became time to dust off the blog, figure out how to type on a laptop again, and give it a go. It became that time when I read this bullshit, bias article by Kevin Palmer from ESPNFC. It becomes painfully clear that Palmer is trying to convince not only the readers, but also himself, that Arsenal is a small club.

It can either be viewed as an inevitable outpouring of relief or a slightly embarrassing overreaction, yet the tidal wave of PR spin that has surrounded Mesut Ozil’s arrival at Arsenal has come perilously close to giving an impression that these fallen giants of the English game have developed an alarming small-club mentality. 

Well it might just be relief there, Mr. big boy britches. Arsenal fans have watched their club fight with no budget for a long time, and now have seen them sign one of the best players in the world. A team like Real Madrid and Barcelona fill a stadium to unveil new signings. Arsenal takes some pictures and have a “small club mentality”. Okay then.

While it is understandable that the supporters are delighted by the prospect of a world-class talent arriving after a period that has seen the club sell off their best players to domestic and European rivals, the euphoria that greeted Ozil’s £42.4 million signing on deadline day has given the impression of a team who cannot quite believe a top-quality player was willing to join. 

Or, or….People are surprised that the club actually went ahead and spent the money. No one I know, other than Piers Morgan hahahaha, questions Arsene Wegner’s appeal to big time players.

When Ozil was unveiled as a Gunners player on Thursday, one wag at the news conference suggested Arsenal must have been tempted to dust down their underused open-top bus and parade their trophy signing around the streets of North London as a replacement for the silverware the club used to win. It should not be like that for Arsenal — giants of the game who have for so long been the standard bearers for English football. 

Here we go. Only took until the third paragraph to mention that Arsenal has not won a trophy in a while. I’m still waiting for the mention of the fact that they have built a stadium and had to keep the budget balanced and were still a top four club in the toughest league in the world. No? no mention of that? Okay then…

Let’s not forget that major captures signings at Arsenal never used to be the novelty they have become. In the days when they were signing the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Jose Antonio Reyes and Sol Campbell, transfer coups were a regular part of the story for a club who were also regulars on the trophy-winning podium. 

He literally mentions players who were signed within 8 years of each other. Now, this was clearly quite a successful time for Arsenal. But before the Bergkamp signing there was a bit of a question about what direction the club was going in. He pointed them north, and Arsenal didn’t look back until they did something that no other team has done. Built their own stadium while always finishing with a positive budget.

Back then, a signing of Ozil’s magnitude would merely have been greeted as a positive step forward rather than the greatest moment in their recent history, but that has been the plotline promoted by all involved in this wonderfully stage-managed transfer. 

Yeah, it might be the best moment in the past 8 years for Arsenal (though there was a fucking CL Final in there). And yeah, it’s clear that the management is proud of their signing. But why shouldn’t they be? It shows that Arsenal is turning a corner.

After the initial self-congratulatory statement from Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis claiming Ozil’s signing banishes the notion that Arsenal are a selling club, the club’s official website has run daily celebratory stories toasting the arrival of the Germany international. 

As a PR tool, run by the club, fucking should. They just spend 42.4 million fucking pounds sterling. Would you like them to not mention it? Come on. It’s PR for God sakes. It is the way the world works. If no one knew, Gareth Bale signed for Madrid. I know, they haven’t mentioned it….

It is all part of the modern spin that goes with this multimedia age, but there is a danger that Ozil’s arrival is merely papering over cracks in a transfer policy that continues to be riddled with holes. An Arsenal midfield featuring Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey could well be the most impressive in the Premier League, but the masterful German’s addition to the mix has merely strengthened an area of their team that hardly needed any improvement. 

That is wrong. Plain and simple. Arsenal scored one or less goals in 22 league games last year. Creativity was missing. Had trouble unlocking defenses. Palmer would have to actually do some fucking research if he wanted to know that though.

Instead, Wenger needed to resolve issues that have continued to undermine his team for the past five or six years and, on that score, he resoundingly failed to achieve his goals ahead of this season. 

Oh, and you know what Wegner’s goals heading into the season were? Are you sure?

Will Arsenal goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski be inspired by Ozil’s arrival — or that of new backup keeper Emiliano Viviano — and transform themselves into world-class performers? Can Ozil help the Gunners’ long-standing woes when trying to defend set pieces? Is he the man who plugs an attacking gap if sole striker Olivier Giroud is injured for an extended period? 

Arsene clearly wanted a striker, but that is the only one of these things that he seemed to think was an issue. Why the fuck can’t keepers be inspired by an Attacking Mid’s arrival. He is a world class player. That should make everyone at the club want to up their game. What is that issue defending again? Finished second last year in goals against. And, save the bull shit reffed Villa game, have started pretty well again. But yes, a back up striker is a worry.

The answers to all of those questions has to be negative, meaning Ozil is in danger of becoming a shining light in a team still undermined by fundamental flaws that a sole marquee signing could not solve.

These flaws are made worse every year by the team being robbed of it’s best players in the summer. Not this year. There is continuity. The team fixed those problems over the last 3 months of last season and should push on now.

Having promised he would bolster his squad with several players in the transfer window, his one big signing leaves him open to an injury crisis, and Wenger has backtracked on his previous comments to insist that Ozil is enough to give him a well-balanced squad for the next nine months. 

Jesus Christ. Of course he did. What the fuck do you want him to say. “No, I think we are short in 9 areas and the players I have suck and can’t handle it”. Get fucking real Palmer.

To his credit, Wenger had not added to the celebratory mood surrounding the Ozil arrival and he was calmness personified as he justified his lavish investment in a player he tried to sign before he joined Real Madrid three years ago. 

Holy shit, that was almost positive. Well, it wasn’t negative at least. More of this coming?

There can be no doubt that Ozil’s signing is a huge statement of positive intent from Arsenal and Wenger, yet their belief that this solitary signing is a riposte to those who have questioned their transfer policy for the past five or six years is surely misguided. 

Nope, not more of it. I don’t understand why Palmer couldn’t take 10 minutes and understand the fucking policy. The money hasn’t been there. For lots of reasons that all Arsenal fans know. Now, with new sponsorship deals in place, the money is fucking there.

If Wenger follows up this coup with further sparkling signings in the next transfer window and the one after that — assuming he extends his contract to stay at the club, of course — this record-breaking deal may well come to be seen as the sea change Arsenal fans are so desperate to see. 

So what the fuck is your defenition of a “sparkling signing”? Not a German international with 100+ Caps for 10m Pounds? Not Santi Cazorla, one of the top rated and highest spoken of players in the PL? Not Laurent Koscielny, plucked from relative obscurity to develop into one of the best defenders in the PL?  Why not? Because they didn’t cost 40m. Come on man.

On the other hand, this late, late piece of window shopping could turn out to be an expensive publicity stunt for a club that was backed into a corner and forced to pay over the odds to sign a player they may not have needed as they look to take the necessary strides forward to become competitive all over again.

Over the odds for a player, huh? With the money being thrown around, I would hardly say that they money spend on the guy who has the most assists in all of Europe last year is over the odds. And again, if you would watch the team and do a fucking ounce of research, you may come to find that he is quite what Arsenal need.

What is greatness? How do we, as a culture today define it, and how do we achieve it? Greatness means different things to different people, but one thing that people could agree on a few years ago, is that Lance Armstrong embodied greatness. A man who was stricken by cancer just as his career was getting started. A man who, despite having a long fight with that cancer did not give up. A man who fought back after he beat cancer to reach the mountain top (literally and figuratively) of cycling, culminating in an unprecedented 7 straight Tour De France titles. A man who brought America’s attention to France, and cycling, every year for almost a decade. This, was a man who was greatness.

Then, he wasn’t. Evidence has come to light that Lance Armstrong had been using illegal performance enhancing drugs during his time with the US Postal service racing team and his wins in the Tour De France. Nike has dropped him, he has stepped down as the chairman of his cancer foundation Livestrong. His name and his record is in the process of being dragged through the mud. And deservedly so.

Here though, is where my questions of what makes greatness come in. Does he lose his title of great because we find out that to get to the top of his sport, he took illegal substances? Do we consider that cycling consistently has the worst record of any sport when it comes to doping (despite the sport claiming it is clean). Does it matter that he used the drugs? Yes, of course it does. He cheated, but does this negate greatness? Apple has stolen ideas from Google, and Google from Apple, cheating each other, but do we consider either of those companies great? I do.

Lance Armstrong had cancer, and when he beat cancer he hopped back on his bike. He rode his bike to the top of the cycling world, and stayed there for seven years, after having cancer. I keep going back to the fact that he had cancer because this is what I think makes him “great”. Should he have cheated. No. Should it matter that every other one of his teammates, and more than likely most cyclists in the world, were cheating? No. Should we not consider him great because he was determined to get to the top of his profession and did what it took to get there? Morally, yes, we should. He did cheat, and he did disappoint a lot of American’s in doing so.

But, he also beat cancer. He was, and still should be, an inspiration for all who have had cancer, have cancer and to families of people who are fighting it. He is proof that cancer, if it doesn’t kill you, can make you stronger. He didn’t have to get back on his bike, but he did. He didn’t have to be determined to be the greatest cyclist who ever lived, but he was. He cheated to get there, but he got there.

Disgraced? Yes I think Lance Armstrong should be disgraced. But I think that we should still look to him for inspiration. He fought through a disease that a lot of people fight everyday. And after he made it through cancer, and found his fame in cycling, he made sure that he remembered the cancer and that other people are fighting the fight that he did. Do I think Lance Armstrong is a good person? Not really. But do I think he should be looked to for inspiration? Yes, I do. And not just for people who are fighting cancer, but for anyone who is fighting through tough things in their lives. Lance Armstrong is proof that if you win your battle, you can march on to bigger and better things.

Greatness means different things to different people. But for me, Lance Armstrong is still great. He is not a great human. He is not a great leader. But he is a great inspiration. And while titles and sponsorship’s can be taken away, the fact that he beat cancer and made his way to the top of the cycling world cannot.

The NHL’s Great Mistake

Posted: October 18, 2012 in Hockey

We have now past the scheduled start of the NHL season, and again, for the second time in 8 years we are without professional hockey. The NHL, which locked itself out of the entire 2004-05 season, had just started to really gain some traction again in America when, once again, it has locked itself out.

The NHL was on the verge of becoming a sport to watch in America again, after teams from LA and the New York Area (New Jersey Devils) played in the Stanley Cup finals. Finals which, in a city such as LA, which hasn’t cared much for hockey since The Great One left, were being watch widely. In fact, the clinching game of the finals received a 13.6 household rating in LA, which is the best there since 1976.

The point of all of this is that the NHL was starting to be paid attention by American sports fans. But alas, this lockout, if it last the entire season, could be the beginning of a long and ugly demise for the the league in America. One of my best friends is a hockey fan above all other sports, and says that if they do indeed lockout for the entire season, it is going to take him years to forgive them at this point.

The issue is that they just simply isn’t the level of money to go around in hockey as there is in the other professional sports in America. Some clubs simply are not making the profits that they need to make in order to stay competitive.

I have a few ideas for how the league could improve and give itself a better chance with American Sports fans. I feel that the NHL should cut six teams and go down to 24. They should stay in their strongest markets. And they should explore new markets without major winter sports teams already established there.

Dropping down to 24 teams would help for a few reason. I think you would take some of the failing teams out of the equation, meaning that there would be higher profit ratios across the league. Another issue with the NHL to me is that the talent is very diluted. Fourth lines at this point are no more than filler players who are getting 5 minutes of ice time a game. With 6 less teams there would be more talent for less teams making the hockey better in general. Better, more exciting hockey would bring more fans. And, staying with me here, fans bring money.

It is clear that ESPN and the NHL have not been getting along lately, as ESPN has spend 100 times the amount of time talking about Tim Tebow as they have talking about the lockout. However, ESPN is clearly not opposed to putting hockey on their networks. Just recently, the start of the KHL (Russian Hockey League) was shown of ESPN2 and ESPN3. To me, this seems like they are just rubbing the NHL’s face in the fact that the NHL has been yet unable to get hockey back on ESPN since the lockout in 2004-05.  I do think though that the NHL may have been on it’s way back to at least getting a spot at the negotiating table with ESPN before this lockout. I cannot see, however, it happening anytime in the near future now.

The NHL owners have made a grave mistake in locking the league out. Lockouts are about money, and the owners think the players are receiving too much of their profits. The issue now is that even if the players agree to take less percentage of the profits, there are going to be less profits than there would have been with no lockout. The league has a long contract with NBC to broadcast games, but if they had continued to let the momentum build as it was, they would have been able, at the end of this contract to look outside of NBC. Now, as viewership is going to fall, as it always does with a lockout, there is going to be less options for the league to look for a new and more profitable TV contract. And, TV contracts are where a large portion of the income comes from for professional sports teams.

Locking out not only hurts the players and owners as neither of them make money during this time period. It most of all hurts the fan base of the NHL. It was not a large fan base to begin with, and I am here to tell you that I have already lost interest in whatever is left of this season. If that is anything.

Arsenal’s Summer: Part 2

Posted: May 18, 2012 in Arsenal, Soccer

In Part 1 of Arsenal’s Summer I looked at who I thought the team should be shipping out this summer. Now it is time for me to take a look at who I think should be brought in. Now that we know 3rd place is secure and there seems to be a little money to spend, this should be a bit easier.

Lukas Podolski: Podolski has been secured for months now, even if the club announced it only weeks ago. He is an attacking player who can play attacking mid from the left side and up the middle, also able to play out-and-out striker. He has been secured from Koln for around 10 million pounds, give or take a few hundred thousand. With 18 league goals this year he will hopefully bring some added fire power to Robin Van Persie (if he stays, of course) and should step into the starting lineup. Podolski is a fast player with a cannon of a shot and should add a player willing to shoot from the wing as it seems Theo has become more accustom to passing.

Yann M’Vila: M’Vila is a talented defensive midfielder who is disciplined and has the ability to get the move going again after breaking up the play. Scouts seem to love this young man, and he is a fixture in the French midfield whenever there is a National Team game. He would give Arsenal cover in front of the back four that they haven’t had since the days of Vieira. Alex Song has proven this season, with 12 assists, to be more than a player who will just sit in front of the defense. His passing has becoming impressive, and I have no issue with moving him to a more box to box position. Bringing in M’Vila would allow there to be a better rotation in the squad, using him when there is an attacking team and song when a team is more likely to sit back. Could cost up to 20 million pounds. And that, with this being Arsenal, could be an issue. There are many reports that he is on the verge of Arsenal, and many that he is not close to the Gunners at all. Time to play the waiting game with this one.

Shinji Kagawa: Kagawa plays for Dortmund (BVB) in Germany and was a major player in their campaign this year, which saw them win the league and the German Cup. He is a player that has clearly been on Arsene Wegner’s radar, but he is also talking to Manchester United. It is said that both clubs have had bids accepted and it is now up to the player. Wegner has ties with japan, and that could help but it seems to most that Kagawa is leaning toward Manchester. Kagawa had 13 goals and 17 assists in all competitions this year. He lines up on the wing, but charts show that he typically likes to drift central and dictate play from that area. Arsenal are in need of a creative player centrally, and he could fill the void.

Jan Vertonghen: Vertonghen is a center back for Ajax in Holland and was just named the leagues Player of the Year. He has been watched by Arsenal from some time, but has stated that Tottenham is his desired destination. Though he has talked up a move to Tottenham, because of the chance to player right away and all of the time, Spurs seem to be reluctant about making as large of a bid as Ajax see fit. Not sure what is going to happen here, but this is at least worth keeping an eye on as the defense is always an area that could use improvement.

Olivier Giroud: Giroud is an all around striker that plays for Montpellier scoring 25 goals and having 8 assists in all competitions this season. Here is an article by the great Jamie Sanderson (@younggunsblog on Twitter) on what type of player Giroud is. He seems to only be an option for Arsenal if Van Persie decides to head for the exit door. At around 15 million pounds, his price tag is a bit steep, but it would be nice to see Arsenal go for him in spite of that.

Junior Hoilett: Hoilett is a Canadian who plays for Blackburn. He suits up as a winger and  is talented. Last season he finished with 7 goals and 7 assists. He is available on a “free” this summer, but being so young and owned by just Blackburn so far there would be a fee required. That fee is not determined yet. This would be a smart move to add talented depth to the roster sheet.

For now this is all of the players I am going to talk about. But as the rumors about players become more serious, and my interest in Arsenal signing certain people becomes larger I will add people to the list. Arsenal needs to strengthen most areas of the squad and could use some quality depth too. 5 or more signings are probably needed this summer, though I don’t see that happening.

Arsenal’s Summer: Part 1

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Arsenal, Soccer

This is part 1 of 2 of my look at the moves that I think Arsenal should be making this summer. I am writing this the day before the massive West Brom game, and since that is the case I am going to only talk about the players going out. Can’t really discuss who should be brought in until we know if the champions league money will be available.

Players on their way out:

Nick Bendtner:

This is a player that I have been going back and forth on for a couple of years now. Now, with Podolski already secured I am ready to let Bendtner move on. I have always been an admirer of his talent. Sadly, not as much of an admirer as he is. I think as long as Arsenal is able to move him along for 5 million pounds it will be a good move for Arsenal.

Carlos Vela:

Vela has really had a nice season this year playing for Real Sociedad contributing 12 goals and 8 assists. I, again, have always enjoyed Vela as a player and think he has plenty of talent. But again, it is time for him to move on. He has told the media that he doesn’t want to be at Arsenal any longer, and really there isn’t a place for him at the Emirates. He should move for around 4-5 million pounds as well. Think he will end up in Spain and be an important player for a team there.

Denilson:

I don’t think Denilson is as bad as some Arsenal fans consider him to be, but he is not good enough to play in the Arsenal midfield. Unfortunately for Arsenal other teams have noticed that he is an average player on an above average player’s salary. It is going to be hard to move him for good, and to be honest I see him going out on loan again. I think as long as Arsenal can have another team pick up at least half of his wages it is a help.

Manuel Almunia:

Almunia has been on his way out for a long time at Arsenal. I am pretty sure a lot of people don’t even know he is around anymore. I am thankful to him for the services he provided, but was never good enough to be the number 1 at Arsenal. Will be allowed to leave on a free this summer.

Lukasz Fabianski:

Fabianski, or Flappyhandski as he was known for a time at Arsenal, is another back up keeper who needs to move on. Now, I actually think he is a solid keeper and a capable back up, but I think to be fair to him Arsenal should let him move on. He is the understudy for Szczesny for Arsenal and for Poland, and that cannot be fun for him. He is good enough to start for a smaller club, and should bring in some kind of small fee.

Andrei Arshavin:

Arshavin went back to Zenit St. Petersburg on loan this winter and brought home a league title. It is time for him to move back to Russia and play out the rest of his time in a country that truly, and rightfully, adores him. He was brilliant in his first season with the club, but I feel that he never found that magic again after being asked to play as center forward for the better part of a season. I am wearing his jersey as I write this, and will never forget that special moment when he scored four at Anfield. Hope to get 5-7 million pounds for him and thank him for his service to the club.

Sebsastien Squillaci:

Goodbye, for free.

Now for the ones that I am up in the air about.

Marouane Chamakh:

Chamakh came to the club on a free and was great in his first few months here. It was clear that he wanted to play the style of football that Arsenal employs, plus he brought them something in the air. He was a breathe of fresh air. He went through a bad run of form though, and found himself of the bench more often than not. Probably more due to the fact that Rovin Van Persie began his run of brilliance as bad for him Chamakh. He has not climbed off the bench since, and RVP’s form has not dipped, but he has been bright in his substitute appearances as of late. Think that if there is a good fee offered for him it would not be the end of the world to move him on. But, if no one is offering good money, he should stay and fight for time. There is still talent there.

Park Chu-Young:

If I am honest I have not liked the way we have treated Park. He has scored in the games for the reserves that he has played and I think he should have been given more of a chance in the first team. Not sure why he was bought if he was just going to sit on the bench. I think it is only fair to move him along to somewhere where he will have an actual chance to play. Problem is, his lack of playing time may have ruined any chance of getting a decent fee for him.

Andre Santos:

I know people are probably going to hate me for this. I think if there is an opportunity to sign a more solid defender at left back to be the back up to Gibbs it should be done. And if that is the case then Andre Santos should be moved along. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the love for the guy. He is always happy, and has a great attitude, but plays a little too much left wing and not enough left back for my taste.

After the West Brom game tomorrow, I will write another piece discussing who I feel should be brought in this summer.