Towards the end of last season, when I watched our team play, without Henry and van Persie, I had a strong belief that the coming season we will be ready to launch a SERIOUS charge towards the Premeriship title. The team passed the ball well, and their ability to create scoring chances despite without Henry really caught me by suprise. All we needed was a better FINISHING. I thought van Persie and Henry would be able to address that.
Now Titi has gone, I have read many names being mentioned, Torres, Eto’o, Anelka, Owen, Babel…. I know everyone has his own favourite, those are all good players. Nevertheless, before we think about the replacement, let’s first ask ourselves – what do we really want next season? To finish above mid table? To finish within top 4? Or to WIN the whole thing?
Personally, if I have to wait another decade to see us lifting the title again, I won’t have a problem with it. But there are two factors here I think our team need to gear up and launch a serious title charge next season:
(1) After the departure of Henry, there are many people (fans, press, ex-players) who made it sound like “The Gunners are finished”. Now you heard all those talks that Wenger will leave, Cesc will leave. Reading all these, it made my blood boiled. I want our team to PROVE THE WHOLE WORLD WRONG.
(2) Without a doubt, Wenger holds the key of Arsenal’s future success. Doesn’t matter if he’s bigger or smaller than the club, keeping Wenger is a MUST. We need that stability in the club which has been absent since the departure of David Dein. And IF we can win something next season, the boss would be foolish to leave behind an up-and-coming team he had endured so much pressure and criticism to build up, and let someone else to enjoy the fruit of all his hard work.
In short, we need to bring in someone who’s going to make an INSTANT IMPACT.
Torres, Eto’o the likes, we saw what the could do in La Liga. Yet no matter who’s going to join Arsenal from an oversea club, you always ask yourselves TWO questions: (1) Is he up to the physical nature of the Premiership? (2) Even if he is, HOW LONG will it take for him to settle in?
The simple FACT is – apart from Patrick Vieira, I can’t recall any one of our key additions at the past to make an INSTANT impact as soon as they stepped on the pitch of Highbury (now Emirates). It took Pires, Henry one season to take off. Bergkamp hit his peak in his second season as well. Petit and Overmars spent at least half a season to adjust to the Premiership.
Talking about Petit and Overmars, if anyone remember – we started the season poorly on 1998 season, when the pair first arrived. Until it took an amazing winning run in the second half of the season for us to beat United to the title. Problem is – will our current bunch of youngsters have that ability to recover a 10-point-deficit in the league after a poor start?
Many people on site already pointed out the significance of a good start the coming season. As the past 2 seasons, our title chance basically gone by X’mas. And if you look back last season, Man U took the lead from the beginning to the end. Even a mega-million side like Chelsea couldn’t catch them up with all their experience.
So when we think about a potential replacement upfront to replace Henry, I believe the priority consideration is how quickly the guy will fit in. Personally, I won’t mind an Anelka return. Yes, he may be someone who likes to sulk. Yet after all the Vieira, Cole, Henry departure of the past few seasons, I no longer care much of a player’s image. At the end of the day, no matter what they say, what their public image in front of the camera, it doesn’t really make much a difference of what they had actually DONE. Action speaks louder than words.
One thing about Anelka is – his game is destined for the Premiership, just like Vieira and Henry. The power, pace and strength. And as I remember, like Vieira, he’s probably another rare player who did actually make an instant impact when he first played for Arsenal.
I can’t help but thinking, that deep inside, following his departure from Arsenal, then watching the rise of Thierry Henry, deep inside, the thought that “it could have been me” must have crossed his mind. Not too many players could have a “second chance” in their career, if Wenger is going to buy him, he’s going to get a “second chance”. Unless he’s really a stupid fool, he would have to make sure he’s gonna grab the chance with both hands. This is a guy, afterall, everybody used to believe he’s destined for stardom after watching him play. He’s a “natural” striker, with an uncanny ability of striking the ball with no backlift. Those snap-shots. Technically he’s as good as anyone as a striker. And he’s a selfish player, you can be assured that he will not try to “pass the ball into the net”.