When the “Torres to Arsenal” rumours broke yesterday they came as no surprise to regular readers of the comments section of Arsenal Arsenal.
Our well-informed fellow blogger Kelsey revealed weeks ago that we were talking to Chelsea about the Spanish forward and that we had even gone so far as to make an offer.
To me the story makes a lot of sense.
Higuain may be our number one striker target (although who knows? No-one at Arsenal has commented about the Madrid-based Argentine and I would not entirely rule out the possibility that the whole thing is a newspaper fiction that has taken on a life of its own).
But let’s take things at face value and say we are interested in him. Even so, we would be crazy to have him as our only option to fill the “world class” striker role that is essential for giving extra edge to our attack.
Players change their minds; agents can mess up any deal and if one of the financially doped Oiler teams sets their greedy eye on him we would be out-bid in a heartbeat.
So I both hope and assume that Arsene Wenger has other goal poachers in his sights this summer.
Wayne Rooney may be one. He inspires mixed feelings amongst Arsenal supporters (Gn5 said only yesterday that he could never forgive him for the atrocious dive that helped end our unbeaten streak), but he would undoubtedly strengthen our team and his departure would weaken Manchester United at the same time.
Some people doubt we could afford his wages, but with a big signing on fee and the promise of a free granny flat in the Highbury Square development I reckon we could woo the Roo.
Then there is Torres. At Liverpool he looked like one of the best strikers in the world. Then he went to Chelsea and his career stalled badly.
Maybe he hit a run of bad form; maybe he found it difficult to displace fan favourite Didier Drogba; maybe he is just allergic to Chavmungus scumbags, of whom there are many in the Chelsea dressing room.
Whatever the reason, and despite some signs of recapturing his form from time to time while in West London, there is no doubt that Fernando Torres’s stock is much lower now than it was when he quit the Scousers.
With Mourinho arriving as manager, the Spaniard must be unsure of his place in the Chavs’ future plans.
All of which could make him a perfect Wenger signing. Much of Arsenal’s early success under Arsene Wenger came from players whose careers had stalled or stagnated elsewhere.
Dennis Bergkamp (yes, I know he was signed before Arsene arrived but there is evidence that Arsene advised Dein to buy him) was struggling at Inter Milan. He had been signed from Ajax after his startling skills caught the attention of top clubs throughout Europe. His first season in Milan was so-so, but the following year things started to go wrong. He suffered injuries and wasn’t scoring goals. This is what it says on Dennis’s Wikipedia page: “Off the field, Bergkamp’s relationship with the Italian press and fans became uncomfortable. His shy persona and his propensity to go home after matches was interpreted as apathy. Because of his poor performance on the pitch, one Italian publication renamed their award given to the worst performance of the week, L’asino della settimana (Donkey of the Week) to Bergkamp della settimana (Bergkamp of the Week).”
That last fact makes me want to find a Milanese and punch him in the kisser.
Anyway, thankfully Dennis opted to join us and became a legend.
Then there was Marc Overmars. No-one would touch the flying winger because he was coming back from a traumatic, long-term injury which – according to conventional wisdom – had taken the edge off his speed. Under Arsene he flew once again.
Patrick Vieira: at AC Milan he was languishing in the reserves and played only twice for the first team. Arsene brought him to The Home Of Football where, from his first memorable appearance in the famous red and white, it was clear that we had someone special.
Thierry Henry: yes, already a World Cup winner when we bought him – but only as a wide man used off the bench by Les Bleus. He was not seen as a central striker by anyone except Arsene.
Nwankwo Kanu: like Overmars, untouchable because of injury – in Kanu’s case a dodgy ticker that required major corrective surgery in the US and led to the memorable terrace song “he’s big, he’s black, he’s had a heart attack.” Untouchable, that is, by anyone except Arsene Wenger.
Bobby Pires: unhappy at Marseille and in dispute with the club’s owners when Arsene picked him up.
You can see what I’m getting at. Put in the context of those early Wenger signings, Torres could very easily be the sort of player who could rekindle the highest heights at Arsenal. And unlike the others, he already has comprehensive experience of the Premier League.
When he was at his pomp in Liverpool Torres looked like the heir to Thierry Henry. His speed, his strength and his finishing all reminded one of our great Frenchman. Now, at 29, he should have two or three years of being at the absolute top of his game.
I, for one, would be perfectly happy to see him with a cannon on his chest.
Do you agree?