I knew that yesterday’s post would bring out the people who moan about Arsenal moaning any time there’s a bad patch so let me start by addressing that issue. Remember the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Remember how at the end of the story when he cried wolf there was actually a wolf and the townspeople ignored him and the sheep were eaten and they all resorted to cannibalism or starved to death because it was winter and they should have protected the sheep at all costs even though the boy who cried wolf was an asshole? Erm, the point is that sometimes when the boy cries wolf there’s an actual wolf!
Tuesday against Wolves, Arsenal were unlucky. You can complain about the team complaining about their luck in the past all you like but when that team creates 19 chances in 45 minutes and doesn’t score a goal you have to say that they were unlucky. Arsenal deserved three points from that game.
In fact, I applaud that performance. How many times in the past have we seen Arsenal allow a goal because of sloppy defending, go into their shell, and try to pass the ball into the net? Tuesday against Wolves, Arsenal dropped that shit and went direct. In the second half, Arsenal passed the ball less and attacked more: attempting 87 fewer passes in the second half but attempting more than twice as many shots. Arsenal were unlucky, Wolves were lucky, shit happens.
And now let the gnashing of teeth begin over my position on whether Thierry Henry would be a good signing. This is really simple:
- Arsenal need a back-up forward until Chamakh returns from the Africa Cup of Nationalism
- If you think anything else, please see #1
First, I agree with people who say that Arsenal’s problems in the forward spot are long term. This might seem to contradict my position above but hold on, I’m getting there.
Chamakh’s form may be deader than corduroy but he is still under contract at Arsenal and by all accounts one of Arsenal’s highest paid players. You and I may want to “cut him” or “sell him” but as we all know by the fact that Almunia is still gainfully employed by the Arsenal things aren’t that simple. The chances of Chamakh being sold in January are about the same as me landing a date with Cheryl Tweedy. Sure, if I see her I’ll ask but I’m not going to mortgage my future on it.
That means Chamakh will almost certainly be on the books until this Summer and we have to be prepared for the possibility that he will be around until the end of his contract, just like Almunia.
Like I said before, from what I gather Chamakh is making a pretty hefty salary — because he came to Arsenal on a free — in the £80-90k/wk range. Now, maybe he’s the kind of guy who will take a pay cut to go play for Bordeaux. Maybe, unlike Wayne Bridge, he actually does just want to play football. And maybe Arsenal can find some kind of deal where we let him go for free and thus convince some team to take him. But that’s almost certainly not going to happen until this Summer.
I’d hate to be the supporter of a club who are so desperate for a forward that they would take Chamakh and his enormous salary, his underwhelming performances, and the fact that he won’t be available to suit up for my team until February.
Oh wait… catch 22, I am a supporter of that club.
That’s the reality of Chamakh’s contract and form at the moment. Arsenal are paying him top dollar and he’s got a nice long contract and he’s in terrible form. Good luck trying to move that player in this economy.
That’s what makes Theirry Henry attractive; he’s better than Chamakh. I wasn’t joking yesterday on twitter when I said that Henry will score more goals for Arsenal in the month of January than Chamakh will. Because Chamakh will not be around to score goals! That alone is reason to take him.
But if I’m right that Henry’s salary is similar to what Arsenal would pay Chamakh while he’s at the ACN (clubs don’t pay salary during nationalism tournaments, right?) then it’s not just a wash it’s a huge upgrade. Just on the fact that Thierry Henry would be around The Ox™ and Walcott to instill the Arsenal way and impart a few striker’s tricks.
The other factors you have to add in are that buying in January is extra costly all on its own and that whomever we are going to buy must be willing to be a backup to Robin van Persie. So, to buy Olivier Giroud (who is having a career season and would be a huge gamble) the price has already been set at around £50m. That’s if Arsenal could do the deal.
Chelsea need a striker, REALLY BAD. You cannot think for a moment that if Arsenal do manage to convince someone like Giroud to play second fiddle to Robin that Chelsea wouldn’t just swoop and offer better personal terms and a real chance to play first team football. They beat us to Mata.
This is why Arsene’s long-term approach works and why the short-term buying of on form players in January at the most costly part of the season to play second string to Robin doesn’t. This is also why a two-month loan of a player who still has goals left in him makes perfect sense.
Taking Henry on loan doesn’t solve Arsenal’s long term problem at the forward position but like I have argued that’s something that, barring a Christmas miracle, will have to wait until this Summer anyway — and then, there’s still a huge IF about moving Chamakh.
Arsene will do a deal if the right player is out there so I’m not ruling out any signings this January. I’m just saying that Arsenal are stuck with Chamakh so, we might as well have Titi back to fill in until Chamakh returns.