The transfer window is nearly upon us. It’s a time when the daily reading of the BBC gossip column becomes worthwhile (apparently) and rapidly pressing F5 on Newsnow becomes compulsory. It’s a time that culminates in every football fan across the nation becoming transfer experts. It’s a time when the press can contradict and disprove THEIR OWN reports within the same day. It’s the time when the views we have expressed at LadyArse gossip on stories for the last 4 months are tested. It’s a time which whilst initially giving us hope – usually ends in disappointment. And myself (@andifoster) and Mark Brus (@markbrus) have written a little (actually quite big) something to bring you up to date….
Ok. So over the last four months we have been linked with around 75 players (with varying degrees of realism). Wenger has also said that he has money to spend in the window. So there is a feeling that Wenger will spend some of the cash he has locked in his secret vault underneath the Emirates that Kroenke guards with his moustache. We might not just be investing in medical equipment for Diaby after all! But who will he spend his not so secret fortune on? Second guessing Wenger has always been hard work – but hopefully we can help you with your filter.
We’ve separated all of the players that we have been linked with into 5 categories (+ an extra one that will inevitably grow):
Paper Arse: This category is for players that the t’interweb or press have linked us with but there is absolutely no truth / weight in the story (or so we think).
Wenger Wildcard: Wenger likes to throw a surprise and players that find themselves in this category are exactly that. A long shot bet. Certainly not a guarantee – but as the category name suggests – a bit of a wildcard.
Maybe, Just maybe: As the name suggests this is a “possible” category. Perhaps a few things would need to happen in order for this transfer to happen or maybe we have seen some evidence of genuine interest – but not enough to get a name printed on a new shirt.
One for the summer: We’ve seen enough evidence to suggest that we are interested – but we think it’s very unlikely that anything will happen until the summer.
Hot Stuff: The players that as far as we can work out are our targets – or at least will be the players that we will be linked with the most until the end of January.
And a new category…..:
No Go! A category created after the Huntelaar thing.
Mark and I have each split a complete list of the players into the categories…and what follows is a write up of some of the transfers and our opinions on likelihood…The complete list of players is at the end. But don’t leave it to our opinions…get involved in the comments section below and let us know your thoughts…..
From Mark: (FYI – written in early December)
Fernando Llorente – Maybe…just maybe
The talented striker is unhappy at Bilbao and likely to leave. We are known to be interested, but there will be a lot of competition for his signature, which might drive the price too high for Wenger’s liking.
Lewis Holtby – Hot Stuff
The talented German midfielder has made big strides this season. Being half-English, he is keen to try playing in the Premier League. Despite being an Everton fan, if we show an interest he’d surely pick us over the Toffees. He’s not achieved star status yet so Wenger might feel he can get him on the cheap and develop him.
Luke Shaw – Hot Stuff
Another exciting prospect of Southampton’s much-admired academy and likened to Gareth Bale. With Andre Santos possibly on the way out, we will need depth at left-back, and if Shaw fulfils his potential he’ll be our answer to that position for years to come.
Nikica Jelavic – Hot Stuff
Supposedly unhappy at Everton due to a rift with team-mate Kevin Mirallas. We could do with another striker and Jelavic seems like he’d be a decent fit at Arsenal. It’s a long shot, but if we sign a striker this seems like the most likely one.
Philippe Mexes – Paper Arse
How many times in the last ten years have we been linked with Mexes? Forget it; it’s never going to happen. He’s well-established at a big club like Milan and we just don’t go for players like that.
Isco – Maybe…just maybe
A supremely talented young midfielder playing for Malaga. His minimum release fee clause is currently low and if he doesn’t renew his deal he might be tempted to join his old team-mate Cazorla at Arsenal, where Fabregas, another young Spaniard, also enjoyed success.
Michel Vorm – One for the summer
I’d like this to happen, as Vorm is an excellent goalkeeper. However, I imagine Wenger won’t view it as a priority for now and will give Szczesny the rest of the season to improve his form and make the no.1 spot his.
Darren Bent – Maybe…just maybe
Inexplicably frozen out at Villa at the moment, Bent will surely be leaving the club. He’s a good finisher and might be worth a go, but is he Wenger’s kind of player? Only for a reasonable price, I’d guess.
Wilfried Zaha – Wenger Wildcard
We’d face a lot of competition for Zaha, but Wenger’s ability to nurture talent from the lower leagues in recent years might swing things in our favour.
Hatem Ben Arfa – Paper Arse
I’d like it to happen, but it’s a risky move. Coming from another Premier League club, he’d be expensive, and is well known for having an attitude that’s difficult to manage. Although there’s the French connection, I don’t think Wenger will risk it.
Stewart Downing – Paper Arse
Hopefully and surely rubbish. Downing has been awful since his move to Liverpool and will probably move back to Middlesbrough, a club a little more at his level.
Jetro Willems – Maybe, just maybe
This transfer could well increase in likelihood if /when Santos leaves the club. I’m actually pretty confident about this – so as far as I’m concerned – Willems is one of two possible replacements Wenger has in mind for Santos when he leaves (the other being Shaw)
Edison Cavani – Paper Arse
At a cost of a cool £30m you are more likely to see me suggesting that Squeakylacci was our best ever signing than this transfer happening.
Moussa Sissoko – Wenger Wildcard
We’ve been linked with Sissoko for years and the rumour returned in December. A natural midfield enforcer – he could well be the player that Diaby should have been. Sissoko turned down a new contract with Toulouse and his current deal expires in the summer.
Mickael Landreau – One for the Summer
The French goalkeeper had a small falling out with his club Lille and had his contract terminated earlier in the month. This is a move that would make a lot of sense for Arsenal – and I would have put this in the “Hot Stuff” category until he signed a deal with Bastia until the Summer.
Wilfried Zaha – Hot Stuff
Already a passionate Arsenal fan – Zaha could well bring a lot to the table – although he will not be the person to provide us with goals up front. I think there is a lot of weight in this link – but I don’t want him to be a Walcott replacement – I want him in addition. He will also add to the British contingent that Wenger is creating……Oh – and according to Zaha’s ex team-mate - the deal is already done
Darren Bent & Stevan Jovetic – Wenger Wildcard’s
Ok – so neither have been linked with Arsenal for a long time. But both would bring what our side is missing – goals. A move for either would be very unlikely but definitely not impossible.
Frank Lampard – Paper Arse
(Just watch it happen now)
Sean Morrison – Maybe – just maybe
Like my opinion on Willems – this would also require people to leave in order to happen (Djourou & Squeakylacci). But Morrison is the right age of player for Wenger and would add to his British core. Keep an eye on this one…..
Pepe Reina – Paper Arse
Either someone knows something that I don’t or the media are recycling stories from the past again. Reina would cost a fair few £££ and there is no chance that Wenger would sign Reina now given the emergence of Chesney. Chesney does need someone to keep him on his toes – and we definitely need some reliable back up…but it won’t be Reina (Incidentally – if Wenger does look at a short term GK solution this January my money is on Sorensen )
David Villa – Maybe, just maybe
Two weeks ago if you had told me about this story I would have laughed at you. But the Twitter has been erupting over the last few days (and from good sources) saying that there might be some genuine interest from both parties. He could well be a great signing – but he would represent a massive depature from Wenger signing more unknown players. Maybe he could be the ace up Wenger’s sleeve – but my feeling is that Villa would represent just as much a boardroom signing as anything else – and by this I mean that Wenger would obviously have a say – but the board have been encouraging him in this direction…The other thing to mention is that for this transfer to happen – something will have to give. The price being talked about is £16m and Wenger wont pay that for a 31 year old. Villa also won’t fit into our current wage structure – so something will need to happen there as well. Oh, and Barcelona have no plans to sell him in January. But all of that aside…I still dont think it’s completely out of the question. It would be a massive coup for us – but expect there to be some serious competition for his signature should he actually be available. If something happens with this – I doubt it will be until the end of the window and even then it wouldnt suprise me if this was a loan until the end of the season.
Sebastian Jung – Maybe, just maybe
For me – this is quite similar to the Jetro Willems thing, and I think that Wenger will be looking at Jung as competition for Jenkinson should Sagna go. I’m convinced Sagna is going anyway (in the Summer) – so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jung arrive now so he is already established in the squad by Summertime.
Will Hughes – One for the Summer
Every club with a scouting network will have picked up on Will Hughes – the England U21 Starlet playing for Derby – and Wenger is known to have had him watched. There will be a lot of interest in him as he has a rapidly growing reputation within the sport and as he can play in both central midfield roles (Def and Offensive) a lot of clubs will be eyeing him up. I think this is a transfer that could well happen for us – but not until the summer.
Charlie Austin – Paper Arse
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to see this happening – but it won’t. As Mark said in the original article though – I could definitely see him joining a club like Villa. It’s also worth mentioning that since the original link – Austin hasn’t been anywhere near as prolific.
Demba Ba – Hot Stuff
Andi. What are you saying. Wenger has already said that we aren’t moving for him. Correct? Well it all depends on how you read things. Wenger did say that we wouldn’t sign Demba Ba (as he also did with BFG and countless others) but then he also said that speaking about it before we played Newcastle was inappropriate which could well mean that there is some substance to the story. And the Newcastle game certainly didn’t do his reputation any harm…. Gunnerblog summed it up best I think when he said “if we don’t try to sign him for £7m then it is tantamount to mismanagement”. I don’t think that many will disagree with him. And as Chelsea are reportedly meeting with Ba’s agents this evening there could well be a number of people questioning the judgement of our club if we do miss out on him. It’s worth mentioning though that the only way “Sky Sports Sources” would have found out about this meeting is if the information was leaked by Ba’s people to generate interest – so Ba joining Chel$ki is certainly not a done deal.
So – my scenarios……
Good Window = Walcott staying + signing extension. Gervinho somehow getting lost in Africa and never returning. Zaha + Ba (/Villa) signing (Willems / Shaw, Jung & Morrison also in if squad players shipped out). Diaby staying injury free (don’t laugh) until the end of the season when we can put plasters on him and ship him off to some unsuspecting foolish club that has no idea that when the plasters fall off Diaby will fall apart. Bit part players finally shipped off. Bosmans sorted (Holtby + Llorente + Sissoko would be lovely but very unlikely)
Bad Window = Anything involving Walcott leaving and Arsenal not doing anything whatsoever to replace him or to improve the bare bones of a squad we currently have at our disposal. If I see anything from Wenger about quality / “special” players not being available in this windowc as an excuse for not improving the squad I will go nuts (I’ll even film it and put it on the Youtube for you to all laugh at)
Gut Feeling = Somewhere in the middle
I can’t help but shake the feeling though that this window will have both a serious effect on the future of Wenger at the club and as to how our team performs over the next couple of seasons. Let’s just hope that on February 1st we all feel positive…….
Keep us up to date with your views on the twitter (@andifoster & @markbrus) and in the comments section below. Take part. Laugh at our views if you want but congratulate us if we actually get something right………
Click on the list below to see all of the names and how I chose to split them all. Oh – then have a go yourself…….
Happy new year from all of us at LadyArse. Keep in touch.