Germany's national soccer player Mertesacker leaves a news conference in Gdansk

The Arsenal twenty: players leaving, injured, or lacking match fitness ahead of August 18th

Arsene Wenger has, for the first time in my memory, explicitly stated that three players are surplus to requirements at Arsenal prior to any official announcement from the club.

According to Arseblog News, the boss stated “Bendtner, Squillaci and Park will be on their way to go somewhere”. I think it’s safe to assume that there are deals done or nearly done if Arsene Wenger is making statements about a player’s imminent departure. Doing so in the absence of a deal would only lower the player’s value (if he has a value, ahem).

In the same quote, the boss also hinted that Andrei Arshavin could stay at Arsenal for another season. This news will make the two Arshavin-lovers out there happy.

Robin van Persie not withstanding, Arsenal’s summer transfer business has actually been pretty decent. It’s no summer of 1995 or anything, but if the three named above leave the club it will mean that Arsenal have shed Almunia, Squillaci, and Denilson; three hate figures among large segments of the fanbase. And if they can make deals for Bendtner and Park, it will add to the official offloading of Tom Cruise, Oğuzhan Özy, Monak, and Botelho. There are also strong links to Carlos Vela leaving the club, Chamakh making a move, and of course, Arshavin. Discounting the youth players, that’s 8 first team players Arsenal have cleared off the books in just one summer. If (when?) Robin vain Persie leaves and/or Theo Walcott moves that would bring the total to 10.

A ten player turnover for a club like Arsenal is just incredible and should it come to pass would be a clear sign that Arsenal are rebuilding. Santi Cazorla is strongly linked to a move to Arsenal and should the Gunners land him it looks like it would be an Arsenal record transfer — something in the £16-20m range depending on how you count it. Cazorla would add to the incoming Giroud and Podolski and Like A New Signing, Diaby.

One bit of worry for Gunners is the admission that Actual New Signings Poldi and Giroud lack match fitness and that they lack match fitness because the club bottled scheduling a friendly. Adding to Arsenal’s constant injury woes the club have admitted that Wilshere will not be available until October, Sagna hasn’t played since last season, Per Mertesacker hasn’t played competitive football since stepping in a hole at Sunderland away, Koscielny is not match fit, Rosicky was injured in Euro 2012, Ramsey is on team GB in the XXX Olympics, and Frimpong is still recovering from Frimponging himself whilst trying to Frimpong Joey Barton*. That’s nine more players who probably won’t be available for the first game of the season.

Part of the problem here is that Arsenal’s commercialization floodgates have opened. Rather than a bucolic training camp in the Alps every summer, Arsenal are now flying to China. Well, half of Arsenal are anyway. As the presumptive new face(s) of the Arsenal Per, Poldi, and Sagna have been away doing official business for the club in Africa. Making media appearances for Arsenal’s new Cell Phone partner and making a workout video for soft drink Malta Guinness.

It’s hard to get match fit when you are making videos for softdrinks partners.

Whether you agree with my “twenty players” number or not is almost irrelevant. The point is that it’s pretty clear from the summer’s activities that Arsenal are in the midst of a tear down and rebuild — both in terms of team composition and in terms of the commercialization of the club. And as with any construction project, the builders always leave a mess of sticks behind before final clean up. Sticks that people will inevitably use to beat the club with.

My hope is that during the rebuild, Arsenal put some work into shoring up the foundation of the club and bring in quality replacements for the folks who are leaving. Because with a solid foundation, people can beat the club with little sticks all day and the structure will be sound.

Qq

*Frimpong can be used like Smurf.

24 thoughts on “The Arsenal twenty: players leaving, injured, or lacking match fitness ahead of August 18th

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1NDAMGOBA VICTOR

    Wenger is experienced manager who knows well what is good for the team, i think we must look all discussed above from the positive angle,

  2. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

    I am alarmed by the Note: “Frimpong Can be Used Like Smurf”, after a lot of thinking, I realised that you meant literally, the Verb – To Frimpong. At first, I believed that you were advocating the use of the Defensive Midfielder himself, as a white-bearded, Blue faced, cartoon character.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Carl

    Its a zero-sum game. Either a club can tour a few countries or completely focus on its preseason. Previously Arsene Wenger would inculcate tactical changes for the new season in the camp but he would now have to make ongoing changes during the season.

    Other than the injured players, I think everyone will be match fit. There are still 20 days for the season to start. We got Per and Arteta up and running pretty soon last season. Giroud and Lucas are players with enough experience to work things out pretty quickly.

    I am quite sure these ads are directed under strict instructions that they cannot take more than a day or a couple hours each day to complete. Otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing Sagna, Szczesny, Song and Alex Ox performing the ballet :D

  4. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

    BTW, Vela is done and dusted.

    If RVP goes our potential first day starting eleven would see Song as the only member of the team which was in our 2010 – 2011 starting lineup. Indeed, we are a team in transition and will need time to bed.

    If we do get Sahin and Carzola it will be interesting to see how Arsene handles our team makeup with a gaggle of MF’s which also include Song, Coquelin, Ramsey, Arteta, Diaby, and the expected return of Rosicky, Frimpong and Wilshere from injury.

    Should be interesting.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I thought the deal was done too, but Vela’s still listed as an active player on the dot com.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        That’s a beautiful image. I can just see him pushing his little boat out, into the night, with a blanket for a sail, and Derek Jacobi doing the voice-over, “ninky-nonk,” etc.

        You know what? Depart, Derek Jacobi! Depart with your Oxfordian nonsense, and never return. And you too, Carlos Vela. How dare you make me think of Derek Jacobi!

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

        I hope Vela doesn’t turn out to be the Claudius we discarded, and score against us in a CL Final, so that one of us can point out that he “lost his stutter” all of a sudden. Vela has sailed in the wind, mang, may he now blow off course into a Guadalajara discotech with futuristic lighting.

      3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

        For some reason Vela was one of my favorites whom i thought was a sure thing for stardom. Having watched him play so brilliantly for Mexico at a tender age I still think he will come good, just not with Arsenal.

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Dick Swiveller

    This may be the natural optimism of a nascent season but implying we could start the new season without any of our other strikers would possibly strengthen our hand in terms of you know what; could it be a bit of a bluff on Wenger’s part?

    It is good to see more stuff going on as starting the clearing without (seemingly) any replacements in place was frustrating last season, still a work in progress but if RvP going were to help spread the goals around the team a little better we’ll be ahead of last season offensively imo, just a little worried about the defence.

    Shocked that Mertesacker can move like that too.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

      Totally true JV, except for my nephew who looks totally white but has a wee bit of the tar brush :)

  6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Mertesacker would look so at home in a design firm. And with that accent. “Here, I have this great idea to brand your company…website, ads, everything…everything is white, just white, okay? no logo, just blank space, okay? this is the future, forget about words and fonts,” etc.

    Clients would be eating out of his huge, tufted hand.

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    Construction/building metaphors — very nice! Put a smile on my face Tim. The video —that made me lol! Great start to the week

  8. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Your last point is a strong one. The commercialization floodgates have indeed open and it seems Arsenal is open for business.

    With Mad Money showing no signs of disappearing in West London or Blue Manchester, perhaps management feels pressured to leave no stone unturned in the search for incremental income

    Is there an official Arsenal painkiller (the red colour of the Tylenol bottle is suitable), for what maybe yet another roller coaster season?

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1buckagh

    Jesus! I thought, I was fit I’m out of breath looking at that video.
    I think this not fit business around the players is just a bit of bullshite.
    Wenger does have a sense of humor!!!!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

      It’s the new dance craze… it’s called “The Bale”. All the kids are doing it this summer.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

        on the “bale”..
        you’ve been faking it for some time..rolling on the grass like some one took your ankle out…what can I say..Karma is a bit of itch..

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  11. Vote -1 Vote +1STG

    some stats for you regarding our scoring and conceding of goals-
    Newcastle-shots on target 1 goals 0, Arsenal-shots on target 4 goals 0
    Liverpool-shots on target 8 goals 2, Arsenal-shots on target 6 goals 0
    Man U-shots on target 13 goals 8, Arsenal-shots on target 13 goals 2
    Swansea-shots on target 5 goals 0, Arsenal-shots on target 8 goals 1

    27 shots on target against 10 goals. Goal every 2.7 shots
    31 shot on target for 3 goals, goal every 10.3 shots

    Blackburn-shots on target 4 goals 4, Arsenal-shots on target 16 goals 3
    Bolton-shots on target 3 goals 0, Arsenal-shots on target 14 goals 3
    Spurs-shots on target 7 goals 2, Arsenal-shots on target 8 goals 1
    Sunderland-shots on target 4 goals 1, Arsenal-shots on target 14 goals 2

    18 shots on target against 7 goals Goal every 2.5 shots
    52 shots on target for 9 goals, goal every 5.7 shots

    Stoke-shots on target 2 goals 1, Arsenal-shots on target 5 goals 3
    Chelsea-shots on target 10 goals 3, Arsenal-shots on target 8 goals 5
    WBA-shots on target 4 goals 0, Arsenal-shots on target 7 goals 3
    Norwich-shots on target 4 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 14 goals 2

    20 shots on target against, 5 goals. Goal every 4 shots
    34 shots on target for, 13 goals. Goal every 2.6 shots

    Fulham-shots on target 6 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 12 goals 1
    Wigan-shots on target 4 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 10 goals 4
    Everton-shots on target 1 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 1
    Man city-shots on target 9 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 8 goals 0

    20 shots on target against, 2 goals, goal every 10 shots
    37 shots on target for, 6 goals, goal every 6.1 shots

    Aston Villa-shots on target 4 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 6 goals 2
    Wolves-shots on target 4 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 17 goals 1
    QPR- shots on target 3 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 1
    Fulham-shots on target 8 goals 2, Arsenal shots on target 10 goals 1

    19 shots on target against, 4 goals, goal every 4.75 shots
    40 shots on target for, 5 goals, goal every 8 shots

    Swansea-shots on target 5 goals 3, Arsenal shots on target 9 goals 2
    Man u-shots on target 5 goals 2, Arsenal shots on target 6 goals 1
    Bolton-shots on target 8 goals 0. Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 0
    Blackburn-shots on target 3 goals 1. Arsenal shots on target 11 goals 7

    21 shots on target against, 6 goals goal every 3.5 shots
    33 shots on target for 10 goals, goal every 3.3 shots

    Sunderland-shots on target 6 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 8 goals 2
    Spurs-shots on target 4 goals 2, Arsenal shots on target 13 goals 5
    L’poo-shots on target 4 goals 1,Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 2
    Newcastle-shots on target 3 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 13 goals 2

    17 shots on target against 5 goals,goal every 3.4 shots
    41 shots on target for 11 goals, goal every 3.7 shots

    Everton-shots on target 2 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 8 goals 1
    A.Villa-shots on target 2 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 12 goals 3
    QPR-shots on target 8 goals 2, Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 1
    Man City-shots on target 2 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 1

    14 shots on target against 2 goals,goal every 7 shots
    34 shots on target for 6 goals, goal every 5.6 shots

    Wolves-shots on target 6 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 7 goals 3
    Wigan-shots on target 7 goals 2, Arsenal shots on target 9 goals 1
    Chlesea-shots on target 7 goals 0, Arsenal shots on target 8 goals 0
    Stoke-shots on target 4 goals 1, Arsenal shots on target 10 goals 1

    24 shots on target against, 3 goals goal every 8 shots
    34 shots on target for, 5 goals, goal every 6.8 shots

    Norwich-shots on target 6 goals 3, Arsenal shots on target 13 goals 3
    WBA-shots on target 8 goals 2, Arsenal shots on target 8 goals 3

    14 shots on target against, 5 goals goal every 2.8 shots
    21 shots on target for, 6 goals, goal every 3.5 shots

    TOTAL
    194 shots on target against, 49 scored, goal every 3.9 shots on target
    357 shots on target for, 74 scored, goal every 4.8 shots on target

    If Arsenal scored at the same rate as we concede then they would of scored 91 PL goals this season

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