Ins and Outs at Highbury

I wanted something fairly unemotional to rate the players coming and going from highbury so I’ve come up with a star system. The idea is it should be based on what level they played in last season. So…

0

squad player at lower division team

*

first teamer in lower division

** squad player at premiership team

***

first teamer in premiership, possibly an international

****

first teamer at contender, probably an international

*****

international star (walk into any team)

seems reasonably fair to start from.

So much easier to do those coming in first…

In:

Gervinho

Winger

Regular player for Lille as they won the French championship. International record is ok, and promises more but not enough for the next level.

****

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Winger

A good scoring rate for Southampton last year. In the third tier of English football. His loss hasn’t held back Southampton this year.

*

Joel Campbell

Striker

8 senior club games makes him hard to grade. Only played in Costa Rica. Also irrelevant: he’s not got a work permit. (Though my only sources for this are wikipedia and a blog.)
I’ll say he’s been a squad man at best so far, but at least in top flight.

**

Carl Jenkinson

Centre back or right back

Let’s be blunt he played 8 first team games for a second tier club over two seasons.

*

So that is 8 stars, and effectively three players at time of writing.

Out:

Eboue

Utility

Useful cover at full back and midfield. He works solidly, but has been a liability from time to time. I’ll miss him. Played well over 100 league and 50 European games for us (some as sub). I’m going to be harsh, he probably deserves more than this but

**

Denilson

Defensive midfielder

I know he’s only gone on loan, but being honest he isn’t coming back.
Another who I’ve mixed feelings about. He thrived on a run in the team, playing in virtually every game in 2008/9. Fell down to squad player, so again I’ll be harsh. However this does reflect his contribution last year.

**

Traore

Full back

Would be a good sell if we’d kept Clichy. May struggle to get games at QPR.

*

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

Striker

one game in two years. Good record at Doncaster Rovers is enough for …

*

Mark Randall

Midfielder

Good luck to him, I think he’ll prove better than this but so far he’s

*

Gael Clichy

Full back

Our first choice left back for five years or so.

****

Nasri

Attacking midfielder

Walked into Man City team. Captained France Nuff said.

**** 1/2

Cesc

Cesc

Lets put this simply: we built a team around him.

*****

I’ve not inlcuded Carlos Vela, and a group of other junior players (Pedro Botelho, Kyle Bartley, James Shea) who’ve gone off on loan and may come back. I’ve also not included Jens or Thomas Cruise. Good luck to them all, especially Thomas who has been released at age 20.

So that is a total of 8 players in my table of exits. Including three first teamers and two heavily used squad players. I point at the number of stars lost and sob.

Now lets look at the major departures closely: we’ve lost a full back, a defensive midfielder, a utility defence/midfield player, and two attacking midfielders.

So why have we signed three wingers? Carl Jenkinson is not strengthening when compared to Eboue let alone Clichy. And we’ve lost both. He’s our replacement for Traore.

Lots of rumours flying about at the moment. In no particular order…
Out:

Bendtner

Centre forward

Good bye and good luck. Played out of position and unsurprisingly didn’t thrive.

**

In, and limited just to those I’ve heard today!

Gary Cahill

Centre back

Looks like he might strengthen us.

Better than his ***

Alex

Centre back

OK. When I’ve seen him he looked solid enough.

Per Mertesacker

Centre back

Would be great. Really great.

****

Yossi Benayoun

Attacking midfielder

No. Just, no.

**

Park Chu-Young

Striker

Allows Bendtner to go. But Monaco, with Park, were relegated last season. On the other hand Lille were interested.

***

Phil Jagielka

Defender

Solid, and can play in midfield too.

Like Cahill better than ***

Who have I missed?

We need at least three four star signings. Players who have played top flight football for teams that compete. That arguably excludes Jagielka and Cahill, but I’d make an exception for either of them. If we make three such signings that would be standing still compared to last year. Depressingly there aren’t three such signings on the list above.

I do wonder how many of these rumours have any truth in them, and how many are more than Arsenal phoning to see if they are available and being shot down. Only time will tell.

The big question is why are we doing this now? Did Wenger really not believe it was needed before the you-know-what? I knew that Cesc was going to Barca when we failed to win a trophy last season, I knew Nasri was going before we played Udinese, so why didn’t the club act earlier?

We are a laughing stock and it hurts.

Update: Andre Santos is now strongly linked with Arsenal. He would be a 4* signing on this model. Worryingly though it seems a common view that he is better going forward than in defence. A possible flaw in a left back, but a very Wenger signing!

Eden Hazard is again linked, and he would also be 4* as the star of Lille’s double winning team last year: he won the player of the year award in the French league.

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