It’s no secret that “transfers out” remain as much a priority for Arsenal this summer as “transfers in”.
Leaving aside the likely departure of Brave Sir Robin, Arsène Wenger has stated that any more arrivals are contingent on selling players who are surplus to requirements or who want out.
The players in the Out Tray include some or all of Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Andrey Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci, Johann Djourou, Lukasz Fabianski and Ju-Young Park.
If you can detect the sound of creaking when you read that list, it’s because those players are often referred to in the Arsenal online community as “Dead Wood.”
The conventional wisdom is that they all failed to reach the standard required for Arsenal. Some (like the defender we so optimistically christened “the Squid”) through not appearing to have sufficient ability, others (like the Walt Disney character known as Little Andrey) through lack of application.
Most fans would probably be happy if all were shipped out in the next few weeks, especially if there is a decent few million quid coming back in the opposite direction.
But hold on just a moment.
Lest we throw out any babies with the bathwater (a particular risk for the tiny Russian, it must be said) maybe it’s time to take one last look at those players we are so eager to discard.
Could any of them still contribute to the Arsenal cause?
In the Poll below I would like you to vote for the player (or players) whom you feel could have a chance of going on to have a successful career at Arsenal. But first let’s take a look at the individuals concerned:
Our carefully coiffured Moroccan is one player who, to my mind at least, has not been treated fairly since moving to the Hallowed Land of N5, either by Arsène or the fans. In his first season, while van Persie was still injured, he showed himself to be a very capable front man, holding up the ball well and scoring goals. When the Dutchman returned, Chamakh got very few opportunities and was never able to find his groove again. The reason I feel Arsène was unfair to him is that, although we may have acquired him as a Plan B, we hardly ever played to his strengths. Ironically, in a team without van Persie and with a more direct approach to attacking (as the arrivals of Podolski and Giroud seem to indicate), the Chamster might just come good again.
I will always have a soft spot for Nicki B. He is a ludicrous character, with an ego the size of Denmark and as much self knowledge as a Satsuma. But he can score goals and got some vital ones for Arsenal over the years. He has never had the class to be an Henry or a van Persie, but as a back-up striker who is used to the Premier League… could he still have a future?
Remember that winning finish against Barcelona? Remember the four goals away at Anfield? What about the superb cross for Thierry Henry’s winning goal up at Sunderland earlier this year? There’s no question that Arshavin has class, but he also often appeared lazy and uninterested. Mind you, he has spent his entire time at Arsenal playing out of position. He’s not a wide left attacker – he is a classic “creative”, someone who sits in the hole behind the front striker. Arsène is said to be scouring world football right now for a creative attacking midfielder. Maybe he already has one…
Poor Sebastien. He arrived at the club two seasons ago as, you would imagine, a third or fourth choice CB. Almost immediately Thomas Vermaelen got an arrow in his Achilles and was out for an entire year and our other defenders were so injury blighted they might have been Irish potatoes. The Squid actually played some very decent games for us, but coming in and out of the team, always with different defensive line-ups, meant that he soon started to cop the supporters’ wrath for bad results. His time may well be up, but he is a better player than many seem to think he is.
The Big Swiss may be the least deserving of a place in this selection, as there is little evidence that Arsene has any intention of selling him. However, his name regularly appears in the fans’ hit lists of defunct timber. His Arsenal life has been badly hit by injuries and he proved last season that whatever his merits as a CB, he certainly ain’t no right back. But, he has also looked very, very good when he gets a proper run alongside one of the senior CBs. At the very least he has a strong case to be considered an excellent fourth choice CB.
I suspect many Gooners would be happy to keep our only remaining Fab as back-up to Szczesny. The problem appears to be that the older of our two Poles-in-goal wants regular first team football. His error-strewn past means he will never get the top job at The Grove (despite Szczesny’s best efforts to out-Fabianski him). But would you keep him if he was prepared to remain as Number Two?
Er… yes… ahem… Anyone got any ideas what he’s like?
Now – time to get voting – and remember, you can vote for more than one player.