Archive for September 5th, 2007

Arsene: “We are in the process of turning Cesc Fabregas, Denilson and Abou Diaby into world-class players.”

125 comments September 5th, 2007

Whatever you read anywhere in the press, Arsene has had plenty of money to spend this Summer.  If you want proof, you can wait for the publishing of our annual financial results.  Or, you can take it from the man himself, who says:

“We are not short of money.  We have done very well and our [financial] results will come out soon, you will see.  But I have not seen a number of what you might call world class players. World class prices maybe but not world class players.  I feel we make superstars.  We have a feel for the game and the way we want to play football is linked to development and therefore you have to take your time a little bit.  I feel we are in the process of turning Cesc Fabregas, Denilson and Abou Diaby into world-class players.”

The signings of Eduardo, Sagna, Fabianski, and Diarra are classic Wenger buys – players with massive potential who are not yet at their peak.  Players whose value is only likely to increase.

The same could be said of Cesc, Denilson, and Diaby – the trio of potentially world-class midfielders that Arsene has highlighted.  Cesc is by far the furthest along the line – a key component of our side, he is a regular in the Spanish national squad and a £25m-rated star coveted by the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.  With four goals in six games so far this season, I expect him to reach double figures this year and confirm his status as one of Europe’s most complete midfield players.  And all at the age of just twenty.

Cesc’s remarkable performances could be the biggest barrier to the development of Denilson.  The two are extremely similar, and for that reason many of the Brazilian’s performances have come as a substitute or out on the flank.  However, in last season’s domestic cup competitions he was blooded in the centre, and performed outstandingly.  When paired with Fabregas in the draw at White Hart Lane, he showed a maturity on the ball that belied his tender years.  This season, I have noticed a marked improvement in Denilson’s upper body strength.  If he continues progressing like this, recognition at full International level with Brazil will follow within a year.

Abou Diaby has already won his first cap for France.  The eldest of the trio at 21, his career was put on hold for almost nine months by a terrible ankle break.  However, since his return to fitness he has forced his way back into Arsene’s thinking with some outstanding performances, most notably in Cardiff last year.

His potential is obvious.  His combination of skill and strength on the ball invites favourable comparisons with Patrick Vieira.  He’s even capable of some thundering challenges to match our former skipper.  But, in a more serious way than Denilson, Diaby is suffering from his own versatility.  Last season he was used primarily on the left-wing, as well as upfront, and his preferred position of central midfield.  This year, with Gilberto occasionally filling it at centre-back, you’d expect him to get more chances in the middle – though the arrival of Lassana Diarra and Mathieu Flamini’s decision to stay will limit his opportunities.

He’s also unfortunate in that he appears to be injury prone.  At the start of the season, with Gilberto still on his holidays, an ankle problem prevented Diaby from seizing his chance in the first team.  Now that Flamini has stepped in and impressed, it’s a long fight back for the younger Frenchman.

When he does get chances, Diaby needs to improve his concentration and his passing.  It’s all very well to burst past three players, but not if you then knock the ball out for a throw in.  That is, of course, an exaggeration, but Diaby is frustrating in that he does not seem to have yet harnessed his immense talent.

When he does, I have no doubt he can be the “world class” player Wenger insists he will become.

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