Cole out, Gallas in. Woohoo!!!! In place of a controversy ridden discontented lately underperforming turn-coat left-back, we got an excellent and enthusiastic fresh centre-back replacement, plus £5 million in transfer fees! How cool is that. And with Wenger, Henry, Diaby, Flamini, Clichy and Aliadière all French, Gallas is bound to have an amazing chemistry with the team.
No doubt what Arsenal needs right now are new defense signings. The loss of Vièra was costly. Too costly. From creating the EPL record of the longest run of unbeaten League matches (49) in 2003-04, we were reduced to a Club struggling to barely qualify for a UEFA CL spot. But the young Gunners once again justified why I am their most ardent and loyal fan, by reaching the Finals of the UEFA Champions League ’06, setting a new CL record on the way by playing 10 straight matches without conceding a single goal!
Another new signing, Czech Tomáš Rosický, already spotted and signed by Arsène Wenger way before the rest of the World came to know who he was after he scored two goals against USA in the last World Cup, is a formidable force at the Midfield/Forward sector. With Pires and Bergkamp gone, he can fill the void they left behind (I am comparing him with the Bergkamp-of-current-form, not the once-upon-a-time-God-Bergkamp).
Many people say Henry is God. Nah. To me, he is just a Demigod. The real true God of Arsenal is Arsène Wenger. The Club’s first non-English non-Scottish Manager in its history, Wenger is a Maestro when it comes to spotting future talents. When I first started supporting for Arsenal, Henry was still on his way to stardom. The people who really caught my eye then (around 1999-2000) were players like Emmanuel Petite, Kanu, Bergkamp, Keown, Parlour and good ’ol David Seaman (hehehe). I had just missed the Ian Wright era. Wenger made Henry what he is today. And believe me, Van Persie and Walcott are going to be the next Thierry Henry (I just don’t like the way young Walcott is currently being over-hyped unnecessarily by the media).
Another new signing, Júlio Baptista (aka The Beast), on a loan exchange from Real Madrid, is an attacking Midfielder known for his power shots from long distance. Although he won’t do justice to the role that Vièra used to play (which was more defensive), I think it was a good deal to exchange him for another unhappy player Jose Antonio Reyes (plus £3 mil). Reyes was a good deal but I felt he underperformed at Highbury. I guess EPL isn’t for everybody. Look at how eager he is to get back to Spanish football. Wish you all the best Reyes.
Then there was a rumour for sometime that Arsenal was planning to buy Tevez. Hehe, when the final list came out on Friday morning, I wasn’t surprised at all to find him (and package-deal partner Mascherano) not at Arsenal. But yeah I was bloody hell shocked to find them both at West Ham. Read here and here for the various conspiracy theories and discussions that developed immediately after this transfer. I mean, two players worth more than £50 mil are bought for £5 mil each, that too by a Club like West Ham? Sure I know WHU used to have players like Rio, Lampard, Joe Cole, Defoe, Kanoute, Glen Johnson and Carrick before, but do take a look at their current squad now. You catch my drift?
I truly believe in the Conspiracy Theory, that since these two players are owned by Media Sports Investment (MSI), either they’re planning a West Ham takeover or Chelsea’s Big Boss Abramovich who has a 15% stake made sure the two players moved to any Club as long as they are not Arsenal, ManUtd, Liverpool or the other biggies. Because Abramovich now knows very well after the Gallas episode that he cannot keep stacking up all the good players at Chelsea as they become discontented after some time even if he offers to triple their pay or a season starting line-up chance (See, some players still have passion for the game and aren’t entirely driven by money), so now he is distributing the good players to smaller Clubs before the bigger Clubs lay their hands on them. Just like the way he outbid us on SWP last year with his dirty roubles when we needed him badly, and then hardly played him at all during the season. Bastard! He has truly prostitutionalized (don’t even know if that’s a legit word ) the entire EPL.
Anyway, Arsenal is not that desperate to get additional attackers right now. I am truly happy for the Hammers and wish them all the best. For the Gunners, with strikers like Henry, RVP, Adebayor, Aliadière and young Walcott, and others like Baptista, Rosický, Ljungberg, Fàbregas, Gilberto, Flamini etc all capable of attacking, more concentration should be given to defense. With the three most prominent Arsenal defenders of my era MF Vièra, Campbell and Cole now all gone, it is up to the new signings and Arsenal youth to provide a strong defense line at the back.
And oh, before I conclude, the last signing of this transfer window, young Brazilian Denilson (Brazil U-19 Captain). The moment you read this, I’m sure any Arsenal fan will immediately think “Ah, good ’ol Wenger, thinking of the future again aye?”.
With that, the first team of Arsenal for the year 2006-07 are forwards Henry, Van Persie, Adebayor, Aliadière and Walcott, midfielders Gilberto, Fàbregas, Rosický, Hleb, Song, Ljungberg, Baptista, Denilson and Flamini, defenders Touré, Clichy, Senderos, Lauren, Djourou, Eboué, Hoyte and Connolly, goal keepers Lehmann, Almunia and Poom.
According to this article by Jonathan Northcroft, Arsenal sold Cygan for £2, exchanged Cole for Gallas plus £5, exchanged Reyes for Baptista plus £3, bought Denilson for £3.5
Arsenal finished the day with £6.6m in their pockets, the best defender in the Premiership in their squad, both “the Brazilian Steven Gerrard” and Brazil’s youth captain arriving, and two underperforming players and a malcontent off their books. If they ever remake The Sting, Wenger and Dein should get the Robert Redford and Paul Newman parts.
Over the past eight transfer windows Arsenal’s spend has been £63.9m, while Chelsea have paid out £325.7m, Manchester United £117.7m and Liverpool £95.6m. It’s easy to get swept away by the thrill of the purchase. Any shopper knows it’s only when you return home and open up the bags that you see what you have actually got. Some clubs may have felt pangs of regret the moment the deadline passed on Thursday night. At the Emirates stadium they couldn’t believe their luck.
My ideal starting line-up:
--------------------------- Lehmann -------------------------
Eboue ---------- Toure ----------- Gallas ---------- Clichy
Van Persie --- Fabregas -------- Gilberto ------- Rosicky
---------------- Baptista ----------- Henry -----------------
Imagine the impact this attack would have on the opponents. Ah! Sheer power!
While Clichy is out, Flamini can play in his spot, but once Senderos is back, will Wenger play him at CB and push Gallas to LB? Only Wenger knows…
Another formation that Wenger can keep as the starting 11, taking into consideration his favorite 4-4-2 formation and his preference over either Hleb or Ljungberg playing at right.
Anyway, as I fiddled around with my hands on Paint Shop Pro™, I got a bit carried away as it was really easy to move the players around. So I came up with a couple of other “formations” for various other occasions. Hehehe.
This one is the formation of the Gunners when the play was disrupted by a naked male streaker running into the football ground.
Abramovich and Mourinho ran after the streaker immediately to sign him up for the Chelsea squad, just for the heck of it, since they have the money.
Meanwhile, confusion and chaos at the Manchester United Camp.
Clockwise from top:
- Tim Howard, still pissed off on being replaced by Van der Sar while being loaned to Everton, came out in the field to roughen him up.
- Winker Ronaldo being chased by angry English fans. As he ran, he simultaneously did three of his favorite actions: winking, crying and stumbling.
- Brown and Heinze doing something useful for the Club finally by carrying out teammate druggie Rio on a stretcher as he’s “totally wasted” from last night’s drug binge with a couple of friends.
- Abramovich, under a disguise, spying on the players on who to poach next.
- Angry boy Rooney watching the match from the stands because he was slapped with a 6 match ban, right after returning from his 5 match ban.
- Giggs dancing infront of the fans for winning the first three matches of the League even though they lost the next 10 games after that.
- Disgruntled former Captain Keane hurling out abuses at the current team while cops try to restrain him.
- The Neville brothers fighting because Gary made fun of dirty Phil again for being dropped from the team. Daddy Neville trying to stop them from fighting while mummy Neville looks on.
- And finally, Sir Alex and owner Yank Glazer. Well, it’s just a picture so I leave it up to you to use your imagination.
While Old Trafford was in complete disarray, at the “Chelsea Only” members meeting held at Stamford Bridge, London, organizers panicked because there were not enough chairs to seat all the players as the number of members were far more than the number of people estimated according to the “official” record.
So there you go. Hope you found it entertaining (or exasperating for all ye ManUtd and Chelsea suckers).
Gunnerssssss for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!