Archive for August 31st, 2011

Deadline Day Preview

190 comments August 31st, 2011

Deadline Day is upon us.  As you rise this morning, Brian Swanson will be dusting down his giant iPad, Jim White will be gargling salt water and taking speed, and some unfortunate soul will be stood outside the Tottenham training ground waiting for Harry Redknapp to tell him he’s signing a “triffic player”.

Yesterday, we knew of three deals going down: Park Chu-Young, Andre Santos, and Per Mertesacker – whose signing I tried to inform you about before the press broke it, albeit in code.  All three of those have since progressed to different stages.

Park was paraded by the club on the official site, and gave the kind of interview that immediately endears you to fans, stating:

“I’m really happy to be at Arsenal. In my opinion this is a great club. Now I have to show what I can do on the pitch. I will do my best, I will never give up, I will show heart and I will give everything I hope you will support me.”

You can be sure he’ll be keen to make a swift impact: in two and a half years time he’s scheduled to return to Korea to do two years of military service.  Arsene, at last, is thinking in the short-term.  Park will wear the number nine shirt, and compete for a starting position in our front three.

Further reading on Park:

We talked about Andre Santos at more length yesterday – the player has now since Turkey to head to England to seal the move (video here), having been granted a work permit yesterday afternoon.  I’m told he’s agreed a four year deal, with a fee of £6.2m.

Further reading on Andre Santos:

The signing of Santos should be announced today, along with that of Per Mertesacker.  I have to say I think Mertesacker is just what we need.  A big, strong, bruising centre-half with plenty of experience.

The deal came about rather quickly, with Arsenal only formalising their interest on Monday afternoon.  Mertesacker flew in from Germany yesterday to undertake a medical, and has agreed personal terms on a weekly wage of around £80,000.

Any centre-back signing was bound to split opinion, especially with Arsenal fans having been fed on a steady diet of Cahill, Jagielka and Samba across the summer.  I have to say that what Mertesacker lacks in Premier League experience, he makes up for in other areas.  At 26, he has 75 Germany caps.  He’s the captain of his club.  He’s played in 2 World Cups and a European Championship.  He has all that over Cahill, plus about four inches in height.  And, even at around £10m, he’s significantly cheaper.  It’s a no-brainer.

Further reading on Per Mertesacker:

There will be plenty more to say about all three players once the deals are done and the dust has settled.

Quite a lot could still go on today.  I’m expecting one or two departures.  Armand Traore completed his permanent move to QPR yesterday, and immediately began by assuring their supporters his disastrous performance against United was a one off.  I can assure them that it wasn’t.

Nicklas Bendtner was widely expected to move in this window, but that one was very quiet yesterday.  Indeed, there was more noise about a possible loan deal for Marouane Chamakh – it seems the two target-men’s futures are interwined.  Another striker, teenager Joel Campbell, is set to join French side Lorient on loan having failed to win a work permit.  Manuel Almunia will still be hoping to find a new club, whilst Henri Lansbury is another that could be on the move.

Lansbury leaving would be dependent on Arsenal finding a new midfielder.  Arsene was very clear that this was an area he wanted to strengthen, and whilst he seems to have shored the defence and attack up there’s still no sign someone to fill the void left by Cesc Fabregas.

Yesterday all the talk was of a €40m bid for Dortmund playmaker Mario Goetze, but the German club were swift to deny both the bid and the player’s availability.  More realistic targets are said to include the Chelsea pair of Benayoun and Malouda, whilst the rumours around Rennes’ Yann M’vila persist.

My personal opinion is that Santos, Park and Mertesacker may be it for this window.  I would absolutely love us to sign a midfielder, ideally one with the creative ability and flair  we’ve lost in Cesc and Nasri, but with less than 24 hours to go and no sign of a fee being agreed I consider it unlikely.

Still, stranger things have happened, and if Arsenal can pull three irons out of the fire, then why not four?  Whatever happens I’ll be following the news all day.  There may well be some sort of liveblog, so stay tuned for that, and I urge you to follow me on Twitter, where I occasionally dish out some quite useful bit of info.

Right.  See you on the other side, folks.

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