Could we be a stronger team if Cesc leaves?

Following Raddy’s article yesterday exposing the press reporting of ‘Arsenal’s behind the scenes dealing’ for the fanciful unsubstantiated speculation it undoubtedly is, I thought I’d be obtuse and join in with the speculation by putting myself in the shoes of a supporter who is prepared to believe some of the stronger rumours that are circulating.

Just for those who may read the headline but not the article, I am not suggesting that we would be stronger BECAUSE Cesc goes to Barca, just looking for the positives IF he does.

Here are some of the mooted changes in personnel at the start of next season if our worst fears are confirmed and Cesc leaves. FC Lorient and Fulham have both confirmed that Arsenal have made an enquiry about their players whereas the Joe Cole story is just a rumour that many are prepared to believe.

Out: Cesc, Gallas, Sol, Silvestre, Merida, Almunia (maybe not sold)

In: Chamakh (already signed), Koscielny, Schwarzer, Joe Cole

Would the balance of those changes make us a stronger team next season?

Starting from the back; even after conceding 4 goals last night, I think Schwarzer is better than Almunia. He’s not top top class but he would give Szczesny the couple of years he needs to grow into our first choice keeper. I’d send Fabianski out on loan to try to rebuild his confidence and keep Szczesny as our number two, maybe giving him the occassional start in the side.

Koscielny is an odd one. I don’t know that much about the player. Arsène is obviously very keen on him, so I suspect he will turn into a gem in the mould of Vermaelen and hopefully bed into the side as quickly. I think he could be better for us than Gallas in terms of motivation, freedom from injuries and aerial power in defence although he lacks experience. A lot rests on the continued fitness of Djourou as it is certain that one, or both of our CB’s will be lost to injury at some stage so we may have to rely on Song to fill in at the back at some stage.

A defensive midfielder to cover for Song is the player I feel we really need but will not acquire, so I hope that Eastmond gets a few first team games as he seems to be the player coming through who is best suited to the role.

OK, Joe Cole is not as good as Cesc, but he’s a clever player who is direct and creates chances for others. He can score goals and play anywhere across the midfield. He has a battling temperament and will give his all for the team. Cole would also allow us to rest Arshavin who I believe was playing with injuries for a lot of last season and struggled to come to terms with the physical demands of  the premiership. The arrival of Chamakh should mean that AA is never called upon again to play the lone striker role.

I fear we have relied too much on Cesc. He has been the focus of our play and this has created scenarios similar to Henry’s last season where players in possession of the ball were clearly looking for Cesc rather than making the quick pass to another available player.

Chamakh will give us a much greater physical presence up front.  He is strong, tall and he can head the ball. The only thing that worries me a little is whether he will be able to build a partnership with RvP (not that we will play 4:4:2), but he is a great link-up player and will be able to play wengerball.

With these changes, the spine of the team should be stronger – certainly at the top and the bottom. The loss of Cesc’s genius would be replaced by a potent attacking force in the final third with the inclusion of Chamakh and Cole. We should not forget Ramsey who I believe will become a fantastic player in our midfield. Diaby should show us more of the attacking brilliance that we witnessed in a run of games last season.  I expect Theo and Nasri to demonstrate their ambition by reacting positively to the disappointment of being left out of the world cup and put in meatier performances next season.

Obviously we will be a far stronger team if Cesc stays and we also add to the squad, but who can be sure that will happen? Consider what the acquisition of Koscielny, Cole and Schwarzer would bring to the team if Cesc leaves. I would expect either TV or RvP to be appointed captain and we would be addressing some of the areas of frailty in the current side.

80 Responses to Could we be a stronger team if Cesc leaves?

  1. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all, pretty solid “No” vote at the moment, but could that be because it’s just me whose voted ? 

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning chary – No it is then! …. next topic 😆

  3. Morning all

    Excellent thought provoking post rasp – there will have to be life after Cesc and while burying our heads in the sand is all well and good for a few weeks if he goes we’ll have to pick ourselves up and get on with it.

    As we’ve all said over the last four weeks we actally know nothing and in the same way as we hanker after certain players to come into the squad we have to be realistic about how changes might affect the team.

    Bit of fun – like choosing the team on a Friday 🙂

  4. Off topic for a moment – How good were the Germans last night? Proper attacking football – good build up play and then someone unleashes a shot!!!!!!

  5. Rasp says:

    Over reliance on any player is dangerous. We won games last season without Cesc. I think we have too many ‘playmakers’ onm the pitch sometimes.

    The things that impressed me about the Germans last night were their organisation, direct play (early ball through the middle or out wide), the pace of their attack and the power and accuracy of their shooting – all areas where Arsenal could improve.

  6. Rasp says:

    snap peaches 😉

  7. Alfa says:

    All turned around now – 10 yes votes!

    A definite no from me. For me its the difference between being a good team and a dominant club. A dominant club aims to have two world class players in every position. Selling our best player can’t help but damage that ambition, even if in time the club rebuilds the team. Why can’t we have Cesc and Joe Cole?

    Will we thrive with some new players if he leaves – of course we will in time, our club is always bigger than any player. But it will be another case of two steps forward and one step back.

  8. London says:

    a shot? what is this shot? Ahh that is one of those things Dandan writes about from days gone by.

  9. Rasp says:

    Morning alfa,

    What changes do you think it would take for Arsenal to be the club that pinched other teams best players rather than vice verse?

  10. We have to re-build the spine of our team whether Cesc stays or goes – having a soft keeper who is a good shot stopper but useless at organising his area has caused us so many problems it has to change. Schwartzer wasn’t protected by his back four and even though he let in four goals I would still take him over Almunia.

  11. London says:

    Morning all

    Good post Rasp.

  12. Stone says:

    No matter what happens with Cesc, we are at least buying a GK and one CB. The Joe Cole deal seems to be separate from the Cesc one as Wenger is fully committed in holding on to our captain. Joe Cole in would mean the death of somebody else (probably Eduardo); Wenger’s interest in Schwarzer means he has admitted that Almunia is utter crap so a GK is surely on the way; we only have two CB above 20 if Campbell leaves so a new one is absolutely essential and will be bought no matter what, even a second one though he could go with Bartley or Nordveit as our 4th choice. If Cesc leaves, however, that might mean we buy a new midfielder for a substantial amount, maybe Melo or Arteta.

  13. charybdis1966 says:

    Just my crummy joke, but you raise a good point about the other players feeling obliged to always pass to Cesc rather than look for the best forward pass.
    However I disagree that the team could be any stronger as I go back to the old adage that selling your best players BEFORE they reach their prime sends out the message that we are a selling club.
    It’s agreed we need at the very least 3 new players(goalie, centre back and stand in DM) which will mean a change in the dynamic of the team, especially during the settling in period for the new players, so to then have the fulcrum of our mid field replaced will be an extra change too far, IMVHO.

  14. Nephew of Rocky says:

    Good post but weak argument…we are very close to having only JD and Verminator as CB’s so no adding just the Lorient player isnt gonna make us stronger…Cole and Chamachkakacha alone will be good offensively but the problem is definately defensive! With Schwarzer it will help but we need GK plus 2 or 3 the 3rd being able to be a DM/CB ala Song.. not 1 when we have just lost 3…

  15. London says:

    Good comment Stone

  16. asd says:

    don’t we ask barca to give toure +cash or hleb+cash which will fill the space left by cesc

  17. Rasp says:

    Morning Rocky’s nephew and welcome,

    I was restricting the argument to the players we seem most likley to land rather than fantasising about those I’d like. I agree we need 2 CB’s as JD can’t be relied upon to stay fit. We have been linked Jagielka, so he’d have to be 1st choice CB with TV if he came and Koscielny as back up.

  18. Rasp says:

    Good point about potential purchases if Cesc leaves Stone – replacing him with a more defensive midfielder would be a good move as we have a plethora of attacking midfielders.

  19. Alfa says:

    Hi Rasp, London, Peaches.

    Good question Rasp. My guess (because who really knows what goes on at the club) is that it will take three changes:

    1. Arsene to have the confidence/arrogance/balls to want to take on the other big managers in public to fight for players.

    2. AFC to be generating enough cash to be able to waste some on big acquisitions that don’t turn out to be the very best value. Maybe we are getting closer on this one.

    3. The board to see big player signings as an investment, not just a cost. At the moment they only seem to see property as an investment – the Emirates, the training ground, the flats etc. Great decisions by the board but only half the story.

    I don’t know which one is the most important. I just hope that we don’t dick about and miss out on some good players.

    By the way, still lots of talk about Schwarzer but it occurred to me the last 3 times I’ve seen him play he has let in 10 goals in total.

  20. tommystout says:

    good morning people, just the idea of schwarzer in the side would improve it…. ignoring yesterdays flappy impression.

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi Alfa,

    Short(ish) CB’s and a keeper who is crap in the air and never knows whether to stay or come out is an invitation to the Boltons of this world to bombard us with high balls – Schwarzer is good in the air. He may have been culpable for the 2nd goal last night but could do nothing about the other 3 and pulled off some pretty good saves.

  22. Morning alfa

    The Aussie defence was rubbish though wasn’t it, if a keeper is left so exposed it must be hard to shine.

    We had a great back four last season and Almunia still managed to muck it up 😉

  23. Morning chary – I agree that too many changes could damage any improvement that those changes are hoping to achieve but we need a change of keeper and we will have a change in the CB pairing so those positions will have to get on with it and bed in quickly.

  24. charybdis1966 says:

    Yup, that’s what I mean Peachy, a change of keeper is imperative due to sub standard incumbents in that position while the centre back additions are required because replacements are needed.
    We already have a new striker to be in one of our first choice XI presumably, so to then change a key member of our midfield engine room would be too much, it would be savage revolution rather than enthusiastic evolution.
    On another point I’ll be holding my breath every time a Danish defender goes to tackle Robin today. If we lose him for the start of the season, well……..

  25. Judith Le'Strange says:

    Yes I think we would be stronger, because there will be disharmony in the team with players knowing that Fabregas wants to leave and Wenger saying no he’s not going anywhere. I think we should cut our losses and let him leave for £35-40 m and if Barcelona are serious they will stump up the transfer fee

  26. Rasp says:

    Morning Judith, welcome,

    Personally, I’d like to keep Cesc for one more season as I can’t see him underperforming and I think the emerging players need another year so we can decide who will make the grade (the jury is out on Denilson, Theo and Diaby for many) If we do sell Cesc, it must be for in excess of £45m

  27. dandan says:

    Chary, I couldn’t disagree more, if you sell a great player who has given you yeoman service over the years, but is now a hundred percent committed to leaving. How does that make you a selling club whether he is your best player or not. Surely keeping him against his wishes will cause disharmony and send a note of caution to other players that no matter what you do for Arsenal in the end you will not be respected.
    Of course we should fight to keep our best players and Arsene does that.
    Secondly if they are recent acquisitions or newly promoted then they do indeed owe us and I would agree your stance. But IMHO players who have repaid our faith,served us well and now stand to make us money whilst furthering their careers as they see it should be respected and allowed to move on if that is their real desire
    Cesc is such a player and having rejected previous approaches should not be disrespected should he decide to go this time. Let him go with our blessing respect him when ever he returns and move on.
    We Are the Arsenal and do things with style, we to will move on and just as Cesc came to take Bergy’s place in our affection so someone will replace Cesc.

  28. dandan says:

    Oops. Sorry Rasp, very interesting question well presented.

  29. charybdis1966 says:

    Dandan, I don’t believe that “Cesc is 100% committed to leaving” – if so he wouldn’t have said he was going to leave his future up to Wenger would he? Do you have definitive proof of this, and not “It is understood…” that or “Sources close to the player have said that..”. ype of proof ?
    I just wish we, as a club, showed a bit of back bone and stood up to other clubs who tap our players up and not say limply that if a player wants to go “we can’t stop him”. I know you can say we moved on Paddy, Thierry and other fans favourites, but the critical difference then was those players were past their prime, Cesc is approaching his.
    To a degree every club is a selling club, but previously we would sell players at a time that suited us not when it suited the player. Once other clubs realise that our star players are available not just at a certain price but at ANY time then it’s the thin end of the wedge.
    I don’t believe Cesc will go this summer as Wenger has invested too much of his reputation in him staying for him to relent over this, say what you will about him but he is as stubborn as they get and if Cesc was to go I’m pretty sure he would leave too.
    Now that the Tapalona elections are over does that mean we don’t have to listen to anymore of Joanie Laporta’s vomit-inducing electioneering re. signing Cesc ?

  30. Villaverde93 says:

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  31. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan, just trying to tickle a few funny bones!

    Did you see that Ledley King is out of the WC and Rooney has a minor injury. Bad call by Copello taking King – its about time Dawson got a chance.

  32. Big Raddy says:

    I voted No.

    Cesc’s value is so enormous he cannot be replaced. We get a player like him once in 20 years (last one Brady). Look what happened when Chippy left.

    Cesc is the heartbeat of the team. Sure we can win without him but we will not be a better side.

    AW needs time and luck to sign the right players who will allow JW and AR to come through and fulfill their potential. They will become the new face of AFC.

    But if Diaby continues playing for France like he did the other night and can take that form into the Prem. We could be very surprised and find we have Cesc’s replacement already!

    Sorry…. bit of a waffle as I thought it through ……

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Where are my manners? Interesting post Rasp. Much to ponder as we approach a very interesting Holland v Denmark game. I have divided loyalties, so am a winner either way. A draw would be good.

  34. dandan says:

    HI Chary. I have not suggested that Cesc does want to leave, I used the words should and If…. Thus we are talking hypothetically… I to do not think Cesc will go at least I hope he stays a while, but if not and he is committed to going, then good luck son and thanks for the wonderful memories.
    Please reread my above post in the light of this comment and you will see it is your selling club belief that I take issue with.

  35. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy,

    We will definitely be better with him, no question. The proposition was; can we have a better team if we recruit wisely and he goes. Purely hypothetical as we will probably keep him and buy a player or two.

  36. dandan says:

    HI Rasp, King was a dumb call in the first place one because he is injury prone and two, well e is a spud aint e.
    Problem is so is that Dawson fella and that sour faced Lemon on the wing. Our can yer expect em to win bugger all. LOL

  37. charybdis1966 says:

    Oh right Dandan, I didn’t connect the “if” before the “you sell a great player” to “100% committed to leaving” as it was after the bit about the yeoman and I assumed you thought Cesc was definitely off – the perils of skim reading.
    I still maintain that selling a player just turned 23 after spending around 6 years bringing him to the level he is now will signal a change in selling policy, however I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

  38. dandan says:

    Fascinating Quote from AW.This from Sky Sports

    No deal
    However, Wenger, when quizzed about Fabregas’ future, insists he does not need to speak about his star player and that Arsenal are not looking to do a deal with Barca.

    Fabregas is currently with the Spain squad preparing for the World Cup and is refusing to let transfer speculation distract him from helping his nation become world champions.

    “I don’t need to talk about Cesc,” said Wenger. “He has a deal with Arsenal and we don’t want to sell him.

    “I’ve spoken with Fabregas many times – as with all the players in the World Cup – but never about his future.”

  39. Rasp says:

    Looks like he’s as good as sold then dandan 😆

  40. Rasp says:

    ….. actually, I’m getting pretty excited about next season, particularly if Cesc stays. I think there is a good chance that Diaby and Nik will come back from the WC as better players.

    I can’t understand why Song has been left out of the Cameroon side – wasn’t he in the team of the tournament last time?

  41. charybdis1966 says:

    So it looks like Wenger is denying the “best conversation I’ve ever had in my life”(according to Cesc) never happened.
    Strange, unless of course this is selective editing by the hack reporting the story.

  42. kelsey says:

    Late morning all.

    I voted a definite no.If only someone could get hold of darren dein, for surely he knows all the answers.

    my heart wants cesc to stay, but my head tells me otherwise.

  43. Rasp says:

    I was thinking the same thing chary – someone’s telling porkies!

  44. dandan says:

    The secret I believe is in the phrase world cup, IE.while they have been away, the conversation you allude to was b4 they left.
    Aint we a cynical lot LOL

  45. terry says:

    no one should leave and we need 2 def and a def mid

  46. Big Raddy says:

    Rubbish game by Denmark. Nik looked good on the odd occasion he had the ball. RvP looked rusty.

    Sorensen on the other hand was very good.

    I think both teams willl go through

  47. kelsey says:

    Agreed Br,

    so many crap games so it the beach ball or the bloody mosquitos swarming 🙂

  48. dandan says:

    Germany has looked a class apart from everyone else as far as I am concerned.

    Roll on Brazil, wonder if they will play attacking football or like the rest be afraid of losing

  49. Rasp says:

    Apparently the Bundesliga has been playing with this new ball all last season which may explain why they looked so good yesterday. Its been reported that a high percentage of long passes miss their target because the ball moves so much in the air.

  50. SharkeySure says:

    “14:47 Commentary
    Sensational start to the BBC’s coverage as Emmanuel Adebayor’s phone goes off…. twice. Unfortunately, the Manchester City striker has got a very sensible ringtone. I was hoping for Blue Moon at the very least

    Brain dead !!??

  51. Joe says:

    Can Fabregas be captain of Arsenal next season? No we should sell him for at least 35mil use it on experience and steel.In the prem you need a solid duo in midfield i think we should go back to 442 with Chamakh and RVP upfront and steel in CM with Song Diaby/Mbia/Gourcuff maybe even Melo/Toure doubt it though. This will let players like Arshavin, Nasri to be influential as proper wingers rather than forwards knowing we have consistency and reliability in CM. As for CB we should go for bullys like Kjaer,Subotic or maybe a cheeky bid for Vidic(wishful thinking)we have really missed having someone in defense who can frustrate opposition and organise the seemingly forever sloppy defense. As for GK i give up.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Good comment Joe, but we will not revert to 4-4-2 after so much time

  53. kelsey says:


    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is rumoured to be considering a move for Nigerian international keeper Vincent Enyeama. The north London manager was apparently already an admirer of the Hapoel Tel Aviv goalie who had impressed in Europa League action last season during wins over Celtic and Rapid Vienna and his latest display against Argentina has further illustrated the 27 year old’s ability at the highest level.

    Wenger is keen to sign a new keeper after seeing Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski put in a series of woeful performances last term and has been linked with moves for a number of potential replacements including Hugo Lloris and Joe Hart.

    Enyeama has helped his Israeli side to the league and cup double last term and is known for his penchant for taking penalty kicks and has been linked with a move to La Liga in recent months. The Nigerian is thought to be available for around £4m.

    The population of israel is 70% Jewish, 25% Arab 4.99% non specified and one Nigerian 🙂

  54. andy says:

    Good post Rasp. Its a yes from me that its possible for us to be better but only if the right positions are filled. I’ve said it before and i say again that we do have lots of attacking players and as influential and downright brilliant as Cesc is, if he stays and we dont strengthen we will still be very average next season.

    The best case scenario would be to keep Cesc but add a GK, 2CBs (depending on Sol) and an experienced defensive midfilelder.

    Plan B would be to add all of the above and lose Cesc.

    To me plan C would be to keep Cesc and remain as we are.

  55. andy says:

    There is of course a plan D but i dont even want to think about that.

  56. irishgunner says:

    Cameroon lost to Japan 😯

  57. irishgunner says:

    Plan D = Lose cesc and not replace him?

    Song didn’t even play for Cameroon – what’s with French managers and been totally barking bonkers?

  58. andy says:

    Yep. Lose Cesc and still not get any of the players we need to strengthen. I heard Song not playing… is he injured ?

  59. irishgunner says:

    Don’t think so – as I said French manager ha ha we must have got the only half-sane one in the box 🙂

  60. andy says:

    Im glad you put half-sane. haha

  61. irishgunner says:

    LOL had to be careful with that one 😆

    Another pretty dire match…

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Nice to see the Italians getting somw of their own medicine.

    Paraguay are well hard!

  63. irishgunner says:

    Terrible defending too for the goal – not like the eyetalians.

    Crap game though AGAIN

  64. Big Raddy says:

    That was Fabianski-esque

  65. dandan says:

    When are we going to see some football, this is dire.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    DD. It shows once again how spoilt we are with Wengerball

  67. irishgunner says:

    Evening Dandan – Answers on a postcard please – its bloomin awful. Germans were enjoyable but it was hardly a good game though either.

  68. irishgunner says:


  69. Big Raddy says:

    3 games today and all sub standard. Is this worth the hassle of pacifying the wife because of the bloody trumpets?

    Let’s hope that Ivery Coast and Spain can give us some entertainment

  70. kelsey says:



    Not a great start by any of our lads,though I was really surprised that Song was omitted and Eto played like he didn’t want to be there.

    Another point is that a number of players are playing for their “adopted” country,and yesterday one had two brothers playing against each other, a sheer mockery.

    Hopefully, things will improve,and regardless of results we get to see some games that has one on the edge of ones seats.

  71. Alfa says:


    I have heard from a couple of sources on the radio that the altitude is really affecting players so that they are having to slow their game down. The Germany game was at sea level so maybe that is why they played at a higher tempo.

    Whatever the reason, I agree with your assessment of the quality though.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    I think the reason is fear.

    Yesterday the whole of Copenhagen stopped for two hours during the game and I guess it is the same in all the WC countries. That level of pressure must take it’s toll on the players and their ability to take risks – that overlapping run leaving the flank open for a counter-attack, the shimmy around two players when a safer backwards pass may retain possession, the 25 yard shot when a pass to the winger is on. What would you do?

    Look what has happened to Green!

  73. kelsey says:

    Morning alfa and BR,

    Well if that’s the reason, maybe they should reconsider the format and make it a straight knockout competition from the start.

    We all know in previous World Cups often the Final game of the group stage is meaningless or a team may prefer to be placed second rather than win the group, as they know in advance the possibilities of who they play next.

    Altitude is not a new problem, mexico being a prime example.

    Going back on the comments,rasp implied that the germans had been playing with the new ball in the bundesliga, which if true, would be an unfair advantage IMO

    On the positive side when one sees the various African participants, the fans sure know how to enjoy themselves even when they are’s carnival time for all of them.even if their understanding of the game sometimes seems to be irrelevant.

  74. Morning all

    Oh dear it looks like the new ball is all our fault anyway, I took this from an article about it

    English sports scientist Andy Harland, who came up with the concept for the new ball with a team from Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute, has also been quick to stand up for his design.

  75. kelsey says:

    Maybe Mr.Harland could quickly design some keeper gloves enirely made of velcro 😉

  76. Hi kelsey 😉

    Are you glued to every game – can’t see New Zealand v Slovakia being a cracker, what d’you think?

  77. kelsey says:

    I am not glued to every game, watching parts of some games, zealand have a very good coach, will be sought after by many after this World Cup.There could well be a surprise in this match .

  78. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    We are in for a real treat today with irish’s exceptional post coming up in 20 minutes, but until it is published, I’d just like to say what a complete arse Patrick Stewart is …. for those of you who haven’t seen the clip, this is his attempt to put the affable James Corden in his place at an awards ceremony……

  79. I will add your Weblog on my ‘Blog Friends’, if you request on my blog comments ( ). great for ur weblog brother.

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