Archive for May 16th, 2007

Freddie first in the queue for the exit?

215 comments May 16th, 2007

The Daily Mail says Portsmouth and West Ham, the two sides heavily linked with Ljungberg in January’s transfer window, are set to make summer moves for a player who, in spite of never recapturing his blistering form of 2002, will leave as an Arsenal hero.

They also talk on an eleven player exodus, before naming Jose Reyes, Mathieu Flamini, Manuel Almunia, Philippe Senderos, Jeremie Aliadiere, Alexandre Song, Kerrea Gilbert and on-loan Brazilian Julio Baptista as other possible departures (Arturo Lupoli and Fabrice Muamba have already left).

I’d be very surprised to see Senderos sold, and I think the sale of Muamba suggests that Alex Song, for better (or much more likely worse), will be part of the first-team squad next season.  However, Emmanuel Eboue and Justin Hoyte both signing long-term contracts does not bode well for the future of Kerrea Gilbert.

Flamini, Baptista, and Aliadiere will definitely leave, but don’t really require replacing.  The emergence of Denilson and Diaby more than compensates for Flamini’s departure, whilst Niklas Bendtner will join the first-team after penning a new five-year deal.

Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing another striker arrive to supplement Henry, Van Persie, and Adebayor.  Bendtner and Walcott have plenty of potential, but are largely unproven.  You know by now how highly I rate Carlos Tevez, and if this lad were available for around £6m he’d be worth a punt.  Being English, however, I expect he’ll cost thrice that.

Manuel Almunia has been usurped by Wookash Fabyanski, which leaves just Ljungberg and Reyes.  These are the two that do require replacing.  The wide areas is where we’ve looked weakest this season – if we’re going to lose two wingers, we must replace them with proven quality.  All eyes are on Marseille winger Franck Ribery, but if you watch the UEFA Cup Final tonight you might catch a long-term Arsenal target on Sevilla’s left flank: Antonio Puerta.  Imagine Reyes, but cheaper and less of a girl.

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