Welcome to RedDetective’s latest edition of his Gooner Talk Transfer Rumour Review column.
The weekly feature promises to look at a handful of players linked with Arsenal in the past seven days, giving you the chance to have your say on which star you would like to see in a Gunners shirt.
Feel free to leave your transfer rumour views in the comments section below.
Gervinho (23, Forward, Lille):
Don’t be fooled by the name he isn’t Brazilian, he’s from the Ivory Coast. His real name is Gervais Yao Kouassi and he has exceptional ability. In fact Gervinho’s dribbling skill and step-over’s earned him the nickname. Like the current crop of Ivory Coast forward’s he has pace, skill and a wiry strong frame. A key asset that will ultimately earn him a move to a big club is his versatility. He also is in the same position that Ashley Young and Samir Nasri are, he has just a year left on his contract so this would be an affordable transfer.
From a tactical perspective, I regard Gervinho as a combination of Arshavin’s skill and Walcott’s power, although probably lacking the top class potency of both. Rumours say the Ivory Coast international will only sign for a team playing Champions League football, which would rule Spurs out of the running and push Arsenal straight into it. I see this one probably happening, if a certain diminutive Russian moves on since Gervinho is capable of playing on the wing.
Ben Foster (28, Goalkeeper, Birmingham):
Ben Foster is not coming to Arsenal. He could not hack England set up and did not excel at Manchester United either. Why on earth would a 28 year old decide to withdraw from England? To prolong a club career, he says. I think the truth is he knows he is probably third choice at best, lacks the talent to displace Hart and is intimidated by big personalities with bigger salaries (I do not do fence-sitting when I can help it).
Szczesny in comparison may well make just as many maybe more errors between now and his maturity in two or so years, but has a personality that dusts himself off. I consider Foster too much of a nice guy, easily bruised and hurt by criticism. He is looked after at Birmingham and should stay and become a club legend there. Foster, in conclusion, is a likeable professional and in my view a better player than Fabianski but were I him, I would not think coming to Arsenal with no guarantee of being first choice a great career move. Not going to happen.
Christopher Samba (27, Defender, Blackburn):
I used to have a controversial opinion that I would be too afraid to have voiced on Twitter for fear of being shot down in flames. I suspected at one time that Wenger detested the football being played by teams such as Stoke and Birmingham to the extent that he, in the privacy of his own home, would refuse to watch their football. I thought for this reason he had no appreciation for the value of the players and would not ever consider signing a player like Samba. I changed my mind when I heard Arsenal tried to buy Phil Jones, the more talented of the two centre backs at Blackburn. I consider Samba to be a player who plays the kind of football that Arsenal are incapable of playing. A rugged, efficient and physical game far removed from all things Wenger. Now it appears the rumours are Arsenal are considering a bid. I find this hard to believe. Why allow him to sign a new deal at Rovers, which will only serve to increase his value? Wenger could have moved to buy him in January as well.
I like Samba, and I think certain proponents of this type of signing have a good argument. He is big, maybe even if he were an amateur Rugby player, and would relish leading a backline at Arsenal seriously lacking in the bicep department. However, I do not see this transfer happening on two grounds. One; Blackburn have a lot of money and he now has a long contract. No reason to sell. Two; I have concerns about his distribution. He is not a natural passer from the back in the vein of Rio Ferdinand, Johann Djourou or Koscielny. The problem when you have one talented passer at centre back and another who is less capable is that attacker’s on the opposite team target the stronger player in possession to force him to give the ball to the weaker one. Leaving the weaker passer in possession with a high line forces that same player to hit a long ball, and in most cases in Arsenal’s case, this results in loss of the ball. One can easily see this formula taking place at Arsenal were this signing made. During the late 1990’s Chelsea had a slim, skilled passer of the ball called Frank Lebouef. Flawless in possession, he was harried on the ball he passed to his muscular partner at centre-back – Michael Duberry. Duberry would then receive the ball and hit it forward with little accuracy resulting in loss of possession. Therefore, for reasons mentioned I view the Samba signing as an unlikely one, and probably a player worth avoiding.
Scott Parker (30, Midfielder, West Ham):
I like him, and he might just be the poll winner if you asked every Arsenal fan who they would want of all the players currently being linked with the club. He is not a marquee, high value, shirt seller of a signing but undoubtedly would bring a forcefulness of character. Having played alongside John Terry and Alan Shearer, I have no doubt that Parker has learned and studied the leader he wanted to become. Parker is an immense character, a genuine man that stood up when the players in the team he is still contracted to – a decent squad – forgot they were professionals and lost their confidence.
Alongside Jack Wilshere he can play in front of Arsenal’s back four and replace Alex Song as first choice. Song gives away stupid fouls, and whilst he might have improved tremendously, he strikes me as a pedestrian paced and lazy character. Give Parker a contract and chance to do his UEFA coaching badges when he wants to. The player that Parker most reminds me of is not a midfielder but Carlos Puyol. At the minimum you are signing someone who lives properly, refuses to give up and demands total effort.
Unfortunately, recent information from Daily Mirror journalist John Cross would indicate Wenger has doubts about him and he is destined for Tottenham. In all likelihood Wenger does not want to add to his squad a player on the wrong side of 30 years old who would want a 3 year deal. This deal is unlikely to happen based on the rumours doing the rounds right now.
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