Archive for July 17th, 2006

Buffon for £12.6m is a genuine possibility

20 comments July 17th, 2006

If Arsenal sign Gianluigi Buffon, they will have the two best goalkeepers from this summer’s World Cup. Some would call this madness. However, when one notes that Jens Lehmann is 36 whilst Buffon is a sprightly 28 (maybe 29?), it begins to make more sense. Brilliant though Jens is, he won’t last forever, and Buffon is the best possible replacement. If the Italian were to arrive, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jens was released from his contract and allowed to return to Germany.

Buffon’s agent has confirmed that Arsenal have made a “very serious offer” for the goalkeeper, and elsewhere has denied that his client is determined to remain in Italy, stating that he is equally likely to move to London. The move is made even more plausible when you consider that Arsenal are still owed around £7m for the transfer of Patrick Vieira (whom, incidentally, we all hope doesn’t end up at Man U).

If United are set to join the fight for the relegated Italian players, Arsene seems in no rush. Nor is he going to continue his pursuit of Javier Saviola:

“We are not interested in Saviola at all. I have enough forward players. We have Rosicky, Ljungberg, Reyes, Van Persie, Henry, Adebayor, Walcott, Lupoli, Bendtner, Aliadière, so where do I put the strikers?”

Well, you put “Rosicky, Ljungberg, Reyes” on the wing, “Walcott, Lupoli, Bendtner, Aliadière” on the bench, and that leaves you with Van Persie, Henry, and Adebayor: not exactly brimming with depth. In spite of Arsene’s comments, my sources indicate that he was indeed interested in Saviola, but the move hit a stumbling block over the Argentinian’s gigantic wage demands.

This too might explain his reluctance to splash £10m on Curtis Davies: a relatively unproven talent with a huge price tag. In my opion, we really need some experience at the back in the wake of Sol’s departure. The Times mention that Arsene wants a “a defender who can play at centre or left back”. Strange then, that he allowed Carlos Salcido to slip through his fingers.

However, if you choose to believe Mihir Bose (and I suggest you don’t), Arsenal’s tight purse strings can be explained by the release of their new bonds, which are dependent on the following clause:

“In order to get the bond Arsenal have had to agree to twice-yearly solvency tests, in September and March, and to forecast how much they will spend on transfers. They say they will keep net transfer spending to £12m a year for the next three years.”

Oh well. We’ll just have to sell Ashley Cole to keep net spending down.

Earlier on in the post I was a bit dismissive of Jeremie Aliadière. But then, I think that’s quite understandable. Despite some promising displays and being hyped to the moon and back, injuries and competition for places have meant that two goals in a loan spell at Wolves last season is probably the high point of his career so far. He even had his website closed down: disastrous. However, despite missing plenty of chances his performance against League Two Barnet was apparently fairly promising. He is back with the squad now, and having turned Saviola down Arsene may be willing to give him one more chance. Considering he’s now 23, this is probably his last one.

He’ll certainly be hoping there isn’t much truth in this. After the trauma of last summer, so will many Arsenal fans.

Have a good day. You never know, we might sign someone. Probably not, though.

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Cesc Fabregas
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