Will Arsenal Regret Missing Out On Liverpool Bound Remy?
For the first time in years, it feels like Arsenal are actually addressing the problems in their squad this summer. The club have spent most of the last decade rebuilding as one star after another left in search of trophies and higher wages, but now they can focus on improving an already solid foundation.
They lacked pace last year in Theo Walcott's absence, so they've signed Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona. They needed a right-back, in came Mathieu Debuchy, a proven Premier League defender. They need a new goalkeeper, and David Ospina is set to join from Nice. Mikel Arteta is getting on now, and it looks like they'll sign a dominant midfield presence, with Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin and Germany international Lars Bender linked.
It's a refreshing (and overdue) change, but there are still a few areas that need addressing. Whether or not Thomas Vermaelen leaves this summer, Arsenal could do with another centre-back. They just about got away with only having three in their squad last year as they were lucky with injuries, and in an emergency Bacary Sagna could fill in, but he's moved on to Man City.
The club would also benefit from bringing in another proven goalscorer, and they might regret letting Loic Remy go to Liverpool. Olivier Giroud is a very good forward when he has runners going past him - his hold-up play brings the best out of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey - but he can look limited in their absence. The France striker always gives his best and all that, but his finishing can let him down, and he won't win games for Arsenal with individual brilliance.
Wenger intends to convert Alexis Sanchez from a winger into a centre-forward, a move that worked spectacularly for Thierry Henry all those years ago. Even Henry wasn't an instant success though, and the Chile international will need time to adapt to the English game.
Sanchez has clearly got the ability to play through the middle, scoring 19 La Liga goals last season, but expecting him to adapt to such a vital position while he's still finding his feet is asking a lot. And yes, he plays as a striker for Chile, but that's with a strike partner. Playing up front alone is a whole different ball game.
The Arsenal boss is still trying to make Yaya Sanogo happen, but it's clear he isn't ready yet, and that's why Remy would have been such a smart purchase. He may not be a world-class striker, but he'd be a great option to have in the squad. Giroud played pretty much whenever he was fit last season, because there really was no one else, and he looked exhausted in the final months of the campaign.
Sanchez may well end up becoming Arsenal's next star striker, but there would still have been room for Remy. Arsenal will want to do better in the Champions League next season, and there are more than enough games to go round. With Giroud, Sanchez, and Remy, as well as Sanogo, they would have had really impressive strength in depth. As Arsenal found out last season, it takes a strong squad to win the league, not just a first-team.
Walcott and Lukas Podolski can also play up front in theory, but neither have the all-round game that a lone forward really needs. If either Giroud or Sanchez get injured, Arsenal suddenly look very light in attack.
Remy scored 14 goals for Newcastle last year, and he is set to join Liverpool for a ludicrously low fee of around £8 million as well. Arsenal could easily have afforded to bring him in and still complete their other business.
It's hard to complain too much about Arsenal's signings so far this summer, but the club are so close to success. Last season the lack of an alternative to Olivier Giroud cost them, it would be criminal to allow it to happen again.
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