Evening fellow Gooners,
Well there’s one thing about Sundays that I think sums up the first week of the transfer window, from an Arsenal perspective. Scattered. There’s been a bit of everything really and nothing we really didn’t expect.
U/21 French International Yaya Sanogo was “Unveiled”, even though the player himself had been speaking of being an Arsenal player for several weeks already. As mentioned in the pod, this looks like a familiar signing to those we have made in season gone by. Obscure, injury prone, but no doubt, talented young striker who will join the ranks to be moulded into a polished gem. It’s something in our signings we’ve seen before with varying success over the journey. (Joel Campbell at one end of the recent spectrum, Kos at the other) But this is one signing I think we can hold a decent amount of hope for. Yaya’s form in the U/20’s competition currently taking place is encouraging and I fully expect that if he remains fit during the season that we will see him gather some minutes in one or all competitions we take part in.
We’ve seen players shipped out. No surprises by most of the names really. Mannone, Djourou, Arshavin, Denilson, Squillaci were all on the fringes if not the bus stop outside the Emirates long before they were moved on this week. I see this as action in the right direction. These were players taking up space in the locker room, seats on the club bus and wages from a restricted pool of funds. So freeing up one or all of these is definitely going to have its benefits.
Coquelin has also been announced as having agreed a loan move to the Bundesliga, but I still think there is hope for the young Coq and playing first team football on a regular basis will be good for his career. He has been vocal in his needs for senior minutes and I respect the fact that he wants to play and improve and not just waste away collecting a pay cheque at the end of the month. Props to him.
Meanwhile we still have to find new homes for the likes of a good chunk of our “striking” force. I think it’d be fair to say that there is no place in the squad for Chamakh, Bendtner and Park in the coming season and the sooner we can locate individual clubs (perhaps we could do a two-for deal heh) willing to take them on, the better it will be for us.
And speaking of Striking options, has anyone heard the news that we are in for Higuain?! Didn’t think so… The real talk (and frustration) this week has come from the endless loop of “breaking news”, speculation and false dawns about what would be a record signing for the club. I won’t go into my thoughts on all of the media hype, but rather, I’d prefer to talk about the player himself. A genuinely exciting prospect at pretty much the peak of his powers, Higgy has found himself on the fringes at Real Madrid and is seeking a new start at a club where he can establish himself as the number 1 striker. My colleague, Matty B, is a man of statistics and was keen to inform me that his shot/goal efficiency is nothing short of world class. As this tweet from @optajoe clearly demonstrates
2 – Higuain chance conversion rate (no penalties) season 2011-12 43%, 2012-13 32% – Average Premier League striker 16%
This is a guy who knows how to hit the back of the net. (16 goals and 5 assists from 28 appearances this season.) At the Bernabau since the 06/07 season, you could also come to the conclusion that he has more to his game than just hitting it first time. Madrid is a team of quality and anyone not able to also play the ball around and spot the passes is quickly moved on, or not even considered as a signing. With our current stock so desperately thin of genuine, quality striking options I believe there is good reason to be excited about this deal.
Of course, being The Arsenal, a deal is never announced officially until the ink is dry at the bottom of the contract. Deals being what they are these days could mean that we are in for a little bit of a wait before this one is also “unveiled”.
Patience, my fellow Gooners, Patience