Fresh from being booed by the Emirates, er, faithful for a meaningless 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls, Arsene Wenger has been linked with Wolves Winger Matt Jarvis as a possible replacement for the wantaway Samir Nasri. On first glance, this might send you Arsenal fans already foaming at the mouth into a full-on, RP McMurphy-esque breakdown. But before you drop your trousers and look to defecate on a picture of Wenger, hear me out, because I reckon Jarvis is exactly the sort of player Arsenal need to become a more robust, direct, outfit capable of winning the league.
He's a genuine winger
Even with the signing of Gervinho, Arsenal lack width. His supporters will point to Theo Walcott yet, even if he does play wide right, he is no more a winger than I am a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party. Theo has his merits, and will surely move more central as his career progresses, but he couldn't, as the adage goes, put a cross on a pools coupon. Jarvis is comfortable on either flank, has the ability to go outside on both sides, loves to cut in and shoot but sees his bread and butter as crossing the ball with either foot. His stats of 4 goals and 6 assists last season for Wolves do not, at first glance, appear brilliant. But as Mick McCarthy often played with no central striker, he was often slinging expert deliveries into a box emptier than Emmanuel Eboue’s cranium. Nasri, on the other hand, scored 10 in the league with only one assist, so much for being a playmaker.
He will be desperate to succeed
Jarvis started his career at Gillingham before moving to Wolves and has taken to the Premiership like Cesc Fabregas to a Barcelona shirt. His performances against some of the Premier League’s stronger teams led to an England call-up and first cap and Liverpool had been sniffing before paying over the odds for the more limited, if quicker, Stewart Downing. Nasri clearly thinks he is bigger than Arsenal, agitating to move North to either United or City and generally acting like Zammo who has been denied a ten bag by Mr Bronson. Jarvis is completely unflappable and would love being at Arsenal.
I bet 95% of Arsenal fans couldn’t give a monkeys’ about pretty football anymore. The tempo needs to be increased, the width needs to be stretched and the play needs to stop breaking down when it is funnelled infield
He could help change the culture
I don’t in anyway think that British players deserve to be bought ahead of their foreign counterparts, but I am steadfast in my belief that Arsenal could do with a few. I support Liverpool and, although the jury is out on Kenny’s predominantly British signings, he’s clearly gone down this route to avoid any bedding in time. The last thing Arsenal need is yet another 19/20/21 year old prodigy who takes time to settle. Gervinho will do well. Players from the Ivory Coast seem to mostly adapt well to the Premier League, yet if Jarvis came in and reproduced his Wolves form at the Emirates it may, just may, convince Arsene that there is another way.
He’s relatively cheap
Let’s say Arsenal flog Nasri and Fabregas and are sitting on £60m. Take between £7 and £10m of that for Jarvis and Arsene is left with £50m to spend. Ramsey and Wilshere are more than capable of filling the gaps left by the two mercenaries, freeing up the rest of the loot to buy a spine. Jagielka or Cahill for £18m, £10m on a keeper with international experience and then £22m for another striker and a midfield enforcer. It actually could be that simple.
He’s a genuine winger (2)
I bet 95% of Arsenal fans couldn’t give a monkeys’ about pretty football anymore. The tempo needs to be increased, the width needs to be stretched and the play needs to stop breaking down when it is funnelled infield. The pairing of Gervinho and RVP looks promising from the off, but they are a couple of roamers. Arsenal need someone who can switch sides and produce effective, inswinging crosses, especially away from home.
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