Transfer Rumour Review: Phil Jones, Rodwell, Neuer & more
In the best part of the last week Arsenal have been linked with several players. I will not be able to discuss absolutely every player but these include Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell, Lukas Podolski, Manuel Neuer and Bojan. In the following piece, I’ll attempt to write a tactical assessment of what each player could bring to Arsenal, whether I see the deal happening and that player’s role.
Phil Jones (defender, 19, Blackburn) has been scouted by Arsenal’s chief scout, Steve Rowley, on multiple occasions in the last two seasons. Those of you who follow me on twitter know what a fan I am of Jones. He makes brave interceptions, telling passes and swashbuckling runs forward from deep. Jones is an honest, tough lad, playing for a team full of big personalities, while still living at home with his mum and dad. I can see Arsenal bidding but with Jones on a long contract and Rovers having wealthy owners, I see the price bring too high. In any case, I expect Chelsea to ultimately sign him as heir to Terry.
Jack Rodwell (defensive midfielder, 20, Everton) has parallels with Jones. Both young, big, English and can play in defence and midfield. Rodwell is the naturally better footballer with bigger potential, Jones has the bigger heart with leadership qualities and is more a defender by trade. Either would be worthy additions at Arsenal and take Diaby’s role as the midfield powerhouse or as an additional defender. However, I fancy United to sign him. If Jones is heir to Terry, Rodwell could be heir to Rio.
Podolski (forward, 25, FC Köln) has had mixed fortunes at club level. In 3 years at Bayern Munich he scored just 26 times in 104 games. He’s back at FC Köln now, and has 12 goals this season. Where Podolski has become known in England is through his performances for Germany. He has a remarkable 42 in 84 caps. I like Podolski and would advocate him as a good signing able to bring a winning German temperament, tournament of success, pace and a thunderous shot. This season I’ve been struck by Arsenal’s reliance on Walcott’s pace. Im a team of Cesc, Van Persie, Nasri and Wilshere; it’s appeared to me that too many players run towards the ball to gain possession whilst not enough run away to make space or receive the ball. Podolski, like Walcott, could make these runs. I see this being a good signing, where Podolski could score 15 goals a season in a fluid 4-3-3 formation on the left of the forward line. I personally do not see this coming off as Arshavin, Nasri, Vela and (eventually) Miyaichi all play that role. If a player leaves, this may change.
The papers reported Wenger had enquired as to the availability of Manuel Neuer (goalkeeper, 25, Schalke). He is a few years experience and development ahead of Szczesny, and in truth is right now far better. Neuer’s distribution is world class in accuracy and speed. A coach has once said he is such a good footballer, Neuer could play in the German 3rd Division. However, Neuer appears set for Bayern Munich and Szczesny deserves his number 1 spot. A better signing would be a 36 year old, Premier League-experienced ‘keeper able to keep the wheel on when the Pole is out.
Bojan (striker/winger, 20, Barcelona) being linked in the press with Arsenal took me by surprise. I hope it does not happen. Not a naturally quick or strong player, but blessed with a hunter’s instinct for goals, he lacks physical attributes to fall back on when form deserts him. Bojan is also very lightweight to play off the shoulder of rugged centre backs like Samba, Huth and Hangeland. Yes he may finish moves on warm days at the Emirates when we are 2-0 up, but take him to the North on a miserable night full of aggressive players and I suspect he’d be found wanting.
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