Arsene Wenger announced today that Thomas Vermaelen was out for the rest of the season. Just in case you’ve forgotten, Vermaelen is a gritty, unsmiling, physical player with a thunderbolt left foot and fantastic leap to win headers against players far taller. Beyond this, he is the Belgian captain and former captain when at Ajax so brings leadership qualities.
He caught Wenger’s eye during a preseason match between Arsenal and Ajax. He clashed with Van Persie, to which our manager admired his temperament.
In January, Wemger said Vermaelen would hopefully return in 6 weeks and therefore was able to bat away pressure to sign a new defender. Today, announcing he was out for the season he added; “I never expected him to be back before the end of the season”.
Has there been a miscommunication? It would appear not. Wenger has unfortunately, contradicted what he has said. Surely, if he knew Vermaelen would not return then Arsenal would have opened the chequebook and swooped on a Central defender. I wanted Gary Cahill at the time, now I feel Arsenal need a more aggressive leader such as Roger Johnson.
However, I can understand the desire not to add a Centre back to Arsenal’s wage bill for 3years or so at that point when the need for them may have only been a month before 4 centre backs may all have been fit, coupled with the emerging talents of Miquel and Bartley coming through.
However, this does not answer why we didn’t sign a defender on loan. Surely there must have been someone available to plug the gap.
The decision not to has been made and I don’t seek to use it to throw mud BUT it always feels like Arsenal are hoping for the best.
We WERE going after the quadruple, an unprecedented achievement had it been completed. Surely it was a proportionate gamble to make at least a loan signing.
The ethos at Arsenal regarding such gambles needs to undergo a seismic shift before we can realistically foresee having a squad to win a quadruple. ‘Treading Water’ or hoping on fitness of players to survive is not ambitious enough an attitude to deserve the rich rewards of wholesale success.
By ‘Red Detective’, follow me on Twitter @Detective82
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