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Don't Stop Movin' - Arsenal's Transfer Plans, Boiled Down to Bare Necessities.

Musical references will abound today for the first couple of paragraphs, then abruptly cease when I can no longer be bothered.

Arsenal have a few standout needs in the transfer market this season, as the rumour mill will doubtless have told you, and it seems the club agrees. John Cross, a man who inspires Suspicious Minds in many Gooners, but does occasionally have solid info, has suggested that Arsenal's priorities are a powerful central midfielder and a striker.

Those two are the most immediate, along with a new right-back to replace the outgoing-no really! Definitely-He's leaving-Bacary Sagna. A few names have been thrown around for these positions, along with the usual Cesc Fabregas return rumours, possibly with more substance than before, and some vague mutterings about Carlos Vela. However, while discussions about names are all well and good, I fear we'll end up with Tears on My Pillow when excited discussions about Javi Martinez, Morgan Schneiderlin and Edinson Cavani prove fruitless. Established names are good, but there are attributes-or an attribute-that Arsenal's signings should share, so as to avoid the failings of last season.

Stuck In the Middle With Giroud

At Arsenal's worst last season, which I will categorise as the Everton defeat and Swansea draw, there was a nigh-complete absence of pace and atleticism. Olivier Giroud's limitations are well-known, and horribly worsened by a lack of players buzzing around him. Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are fine playmakers (Cazorla moreso), and more accustomed to one-twos and throughballs than runs in behind, while Lukas Podolski is simply too lazy to do much more than play passes out to Gibbs and occasionally smash in loose balls.


With Giroud acting as a bottleneck, Arsenal's play was slow, entirely in front of the opposition defence, and easily broken up and countered-Arteta and Flamini sit deep well, but when caught up the pitch they suffer without an athletic midfielder to help them out. Arsenal only have one of those realistically fit, and Aaron Ramsey was only available for 30 minutes from the Everton game. Without him and Mezut Ozil, the side had no way of making the ball stick in the final third, or penetrating the opposition defence.

Even when Ozil was fit, the German had nobody to pick out. Besides ridiculous criticisms about his loose body language and failure to score twelve goals every game, his poorest games came when he was surrounded by three other central playmakers all running towards him for a short pass. Giroud cannot reach through-balls, and Theo Walcott was tragically absent. As such, he was limited to having Ramsey as a target when he was fit, then nobody.  And when the attack broke down, the same problems on the counter existed, especially when Jack Wilshere abandoned all defensive duties. 

So, the main area the Gunner struggled in was movement. Attacking movement was lacking, limiting Ozil, while defensive movement led to vulnerability on the counter. Hence, new players should be fast, willing to attack space, or strong, quick along the ground and capable of building from deep. I don't ask for much. 

Read on for a break down of transfer speculation

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