So here we arrive at that part of the year where people go mad – or even madder than they were before – and the transfer window officially opens. Yesterday the floodgates opened from the free market of the footballing world and out poured a glut of free transfer footballers ready to embrace ‘a new challenge’, a ‘dream come true’ and an ‘exciting opportunity’ to ply their trade with new clubs.
As I flicked through the Sky Sports website yesterday to see all the players that were released, I have to say I was a little bit surprised with some of the names that were featured. Usually at this time of the year you get the football equivalent of a jumble sale. Managers will be doing their best impressions of pushy mums looking for a Primark bargain in the professional footballer ‘managers special’ bins that are put out but rarely, if ever, do you actually find a bargain.
I have to say I do like the idea of the Sam Allardyce’s, Tony Pulis’ and Alan Pardew’s of this world all waiting patiently at 6am for the store to open so they can snap up a few footballers.
Anyway, normally the names on the list should not concern a team like Arsenal. After all, if mid-table Premier League teams are dispensing of their unused or ‘surplus to requirements’ players, why would a team with title aspirations (and yes, we do have those despite what some sections of the media might think) want to go charity shop searching? Well for me, for once, there are opportunities to actually improve on some of the players we’ve already got. Granted, there are not many opportunities, but there are a few in there that raised a few eyebrows from yours truly. For example, Jussi Jääskeläinen, as an experienced player with great Premier League pedigree is a great player to have in at number 2 to deputise for Szcz. He would also be a vast improvement on Almunia and Fabianski. His ‘free’ness would also give Arsene much cause for happiness as well and it means you can move Fabianski on for a fee and actually get a bit of money into reinvest in the playing staff elsewhere. There were other players that raised my eyebrows too, such as Danny Murphy – captain of Fulham. I certainly wouldn’t think we need him in our midfield but he is still a good player with Premier League pedigree. And Fulham didn’t just stop there – Pavel Pogrebnyak also didn’t make the list of player Fulham are retaining next season as it stands – although it is thought that those two players would be offered new deals. Given that Pogrebnyak started in such great form, and as a tall (very tall) striker showed that he can adapt to the league, would you take him him over someone like Park? No offence to the Korean, but I would purely on the basis that I’ve seen him more times than the Korean and so I immediately expect more than what we got. Also, Le Boss clearly doesn’t fancy Park too much, otherwise he’d have seen more game time. So right now he’s just filling up space. Big Pavel would at least give us a beastly circa 6ft 7ins presence to throw on for 10 minutes if we need a goal. And at a free transfer the risk is minimal – especially when you think his wages won’t have been that high at Fulham.
So can we expect to see Arsene at the sales this summer? In the case of the above two players I’d say I hope so.
Until tomorrow people.