Some managers may be cursing Mark Hughes and Manchester City, with their bucketloads of cash and a needy addiction to trying to sign every troublesome and moody striker in the world. Yet, Arsene Wenger may be quiet relieved after this weekend though as Emanuel Adebayor joined the Eastlands revolution ending his 3 year spell at Arsenal. In public he may say he’s disappointed to lose him, but £25 million sure makes the pain disappear rather quickly.
After the tiresome and rather obvious pleading that Adebayor went through last summer, trying to engineer a move to join A.C. Milan, Wenger should be pleased to receive a staggering £25 million for the Togolese striker. Despite a little wavering on the part of the striker, no doubt still hankering after that phone call to come from the San Siro, Manchester City finally confirmed the deal yesterday.
With Eduardo’s return to fitness, coupled with the return of Tomas Rosicky, both after nightmare periods of injury bound inactivity, Wenger now has money to spend on players more suited to the team ethic he has created at the Emirates. Adebayor, despite his goal return of 16 last season, gave the impression of a man who wanted to be somewhere else. The wages of £80,000 a week he managed to squeeze out of Arsenal due to his continual flirting with Italy and Spain last summer were obviously a burden for him.
Arsenal’s fans however were not impressed with his efforts for the Gunners last season. Using the template that earned Michael Owen so much scorn, they created a similar brochure offering Adebayor’s talents to the highest bidder. I have to say I found it rather amusing, if somewhat bizarre, to then discover that Adebayor wanted a “loyalty” bonus as he hadn’t asked to leave. Bless him.
The general feeling from the supporters seems to be one of good riddance, the whole Milan saga souring any relationship they had with player. They doubted his commitment, effort and willingness to fight for the cause last season, despite his hefty wage increase. Wenger however has been more complementary towards him. ‘We have lost a great player and we wish him well. He’s done extremely well for the club. I don’t believe that last season he got enough support. That was playing a part in my mind and in his mind, certainly, as well.”
Of course, the onus will now be on bringing in some more firepower to improve the Arsenal front line but is it required? Arsenal currently have 6 players who can fill the roles up front for Wenger. As I mentioned, Eduardo has returned and will be looking forward to getting a good preseason under his belt. Walcott will be hoping to get more time on the pitch and finally cement a regular place in the starting line up. After a disappointing Under 21 tournament this summer, he’ll be keen to kick on this season.
Robin van Persie will be desperate to finally put his injury ravaged run behind him and finally prove his worth to the fans and his manager.There is no doubting Van Persie’s talents, but he does still appear fragile to the demands and rigours of top level football. Bendtner often flatters to deceive and needs to show more consistency. Knocking stupidly coloured boots on the head and simply scoring goals would be a good start.
Of the current crop, the one who will be interesting to see how he develops is Andrey Arshavin. Arshavin will be keen to build on the flashes of genius he showed last season and got 6 goals in 12 league games, including 4 at Anfield. He could be Wenger’s ace in the pack next year and he’ll certainly light up the pitch with his range of skills. Finally, is this the season Carlos Vela breaks through to cement a permanant place in the match day squad? Precocious and technically gifted, Vela has the chance to show people just why he is so hotly tipped in games other than Carling Cup games.
If Wenger seeks to bring in another striker, the only type they don’t posses is a battering ram centre forward. Someone who can get amongst central defenders like Terry, Vidic, Woodgate and Carragher and cause them problems. Whilst Bendtner is tall enough, he lacks the physical presence that Adebayor offered. Whatever comes of the funds City have sent Arsene’s way,you can be certain of one thing; the money won’t be wasted.