Unprofessional Foul


April 12, 2011

Gooner Cleaning House

Practice makes perfect: kick 'em to the curb.

Although it sounds like another HGTV show or reality wife-swapping experiment, it’s actually what’s being speculated to happen behind the scenes at the Emirates over the coming weeks.  It seems The Professor is finally fed up with the under-performing variables in his multi-season experiment and is ready to clean house. The UF email thread posted the question of who we would like to see leave. My list doesn’t exactly match the proposed sale targets in the media, but some changes are undeniable, for die-hard Gunners or just the casual Arsenal observer this season; others certainly bring more argument:

Manuel Almunia – Out.
This is, of course, if even teams in Turkey will still have him. After his mysterious “knee injury” warming up at Bloomfield Road on Sunday, it is extremely apparent he doesn’t handle pressure well. Whether he didn’t realize the supporters would literally be on his back the entire game, or he’s contracted IBS over the course of his Arsenal career from Jens, it’s time to go. It’s no surprise that Wenger would finally sell him, but it will be a surprise if anyone would actually pay to buy him. Good luck getting this one off the books.

Thomas Rosicky – Out.
Don’t get me wrong, he used to be wonderful. Sadly, I think he’s run his course and can’t find any consistency. He doesn’t create enough nor make an impact when coming on as a sub. His lucky goal against orient saved our ass, but it can’t/shouldn’t save his job. His age isn’t the issue, it’s his aim.

Denilson – Out. A waste of bench space…’nuff said.

Abou Diaby – In.
People knock Diaby (literally and figuratively), but he’s got size, speed, and a lot of strength. He controls the ball extremely well. Sure, he’s a little hot-tempered, but if you were 6’6″, everyone hacking at your legs would be like a horse swatting flies off his a**.  At times, it must get annoying for him, but his temper isn’t a bad thing if he can use it wisely and use it to motivate others (a la Viera).

Sebastien Squillaci – Corn Crib.
I don’t know what they’ll do with him. If Verma EVER gets healthy again, he’s not really needed in the first team anymore. Squillaci is older than Kos and has had a shaky season. I know he was cheap and just signed for cover…but I don’t see him hanging in for the long term definsively. He used to be a bad-a** in France, but for some reason, that didn’t stay with him in his transfer to London. Keep him out back in the corn crib until we finally find (and purchase) a strong, commanding CB, which should be sooner rather than later. Then, he’s out.

Emmanuel Eboue – Bleachers.
I couldn’t care one way or another. He’s fine cover, and very versatile. But, if we can find someone else who can play as many positions as he does and do it better, I don’t have a problem with selling him. (Note: this post was written before he scored against Blackpool Sunday and still holds true). There is an issue (behind the scenes) about how he upholds the team spirit and has a positive dynamic in the dressing room. I can see that the ‘joker’ has to find something to laugh about on the bench, since that’s usually where he finds himself, but he is an expensive cheerleader…

Carlos Vela – Out.
I know we’re loaning him this year, but I don’t think it’s to make him any better. In my opinion, it’s to ease the transition out of the club (or at least it should be). He’s got potential for another club, but he can’t regularly complete at the level Arsenal NEED their strikers to perform.

Marouane Chamakah – In.
I wish he could take his head OUT of his a** though. He started the season beautifully, but “got tired.” Sure, 4 comps and this league could wear someone out in their first season. He’ll be given a little longer to acclimate, and after a rest this summer, next year will be his proving ground. He holds the ball and distributes much better than Bendtner, but, as of late, has totally lost his sense of awareness in front of goal.

Nicklas “I’m the greatest striker in the world” Bendtner - Out.
Too little, too late. Over the years, his first touch is still poor and he relies on getting good service to score instead of creating his chances. He’s got more attitude than Wenger typically likes to deal with and since he isn’t getting much playing time, I don’t think Nicklas would have a problem leaving for a club where he would get to be the big fish in a small pond, instead of vice versa.

Andrey Arshavin – In.
Or at least he should be. To the critics who complain about his form this year, he’s certainly not scoring as much as he did last year, but that’s also because Van Persie has been healthy most of the season and Arshavin’s been playing on the outside. Arshavin has the second most assists (11) in the League this season, with RvP the 9th highest scorer in the league (11). There’s a balance to be met and it would do Arsenal fans well to remember that not all strikers need to score individually to contribute to a scoreline. Assists matter. On top of that, he’s not made of glass. Arshavin, Clichy and Wilshere are the only regular starting players who haven’t missed a game due to injury this season.

In all, none of those players (except Arshavin) were very expensive. The club should be able to make a fair bit on the players they do clear out (except Almunia, I fear we will actually have to pay someone to take him off our payroll). I doubt we would get near that number of players in return, but should provide enough funds to acquire a strong CB and possibly another keeper may finally be in the works. We already have Frimpong, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Henri Landsbury available for next year, which would provide plenty of midfield cover to make up for those that get sold.

If and/or when they do clean house, who do you think should go? And who should Arsenal buy?

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Mountain Wag