Tag Archives: Thomas Vermaelen

5 players Arsenal should AVOID signing today

Riyad Mahrez – I do not see the former PFA Player of the Year as Arsenal quality. If we sign him, it will be as a short term fix before we target better players last year (players who we perhaps missed out on this year). Mahrez will cost a big chunk of money, and command a high contract, yet he could be surplus in 12 months time and Arsenal will struggle to move him on.

Johnny Evans – £30m for 29 year old Johnny Evans? He might be Premier League experienced, but he certainly is not top class. Like Mahrez, you feel he is someone who would clog up the wage bill for years to come.

Thomas Vermaelen – It would just be a Wenger thing to do to let Shkodran Mustafi leave, to then sign the former Arsenal captain on loan from Barcelona.

Ross Barkley – We have just got rid of one overweight English “midfielder” who has flattered to deceive throughout his career. Why then spend big money on another?

William Carvalho – Long linked with Arsenal, he is now 25. Why have we not signed him in the 5 years we have been linked with him? Concerns of fitness and technique, that’s why. Nothing has changed. He is not good enough. Do not be tempted.


Five Thomas Vermaelen replacements

His bed is still warm, the soil on his grave not yet settled, but football is fast moving and with the season starting in 7 days and the transfer window closing in 22 days, the need to replace Thomas Vermaelen is immediate and necessary.

At last weekend’s Emirate’s Cup, Arsene Wenger was quoted as saying Arsenal will definitely buy one more player, maybe even two. It was widely agreed upon that the ‘definite one’ was a defensive midfielder. The ‘maybe two’ was a replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, were he to leave. And he has.

So who are Vermaelen’s 5 potential replacements?

Mats Hummels

Already been heavily linked with Manchester United this summer, the German international has it all. He is tall, strong, quick, brilliant game reading and good on the ball. He is on the way to becoming one of the best centre backs in the World.

At the World Cup, he ended up forcing Per Mertesacker out of the team. And that in there lies the problem. Would he be happy sitting on our bench? NO. Would Wenger buy him to replace Koscielny or Mertesacker? No.

The only way he would come in is if Wenger was planning to rotate his centre backs. That Hummels was coming in as a 3rd first choice centre back, not a 3rd choice centre back.

He would be a brilliant acquisition, but would mean a lot of squad management.

William Carvahlo

We have already been linked with William Carvahlo as defensive midfielder. Whilst I (like most others) have never seen him play, he looks brilliant on youtube videos. Actually, I have only seen him in one, that one where he cleans out two players in one tackle. But lets be honest, that’s all many of us know about him.

Reports are that he can also play at centre back. Now whether these reports are true, as no one has ever seen him play, remain to be seen, but if he does, it will give us an option. He becomes first choice defensive midfielder, and then acts as cover at centre back with either Mathieu Flamini or Mikel Arteta coming in to replace him in the middle of the park.

Of course, he could also be 4th choice centre back, with Calum Chambers coming in at first choice replacement, and him remaining in the midfield.

The problem with it is that we would have 2 utility players covering defensive positions. Chambers is currently 2nd choice right back and 4th choice centre back. Carvahlo will be 1st choice defensive midfielder, 3rd choice centre back. It would essentially leave us with just 6 defenders. Things could look different if we went and bought Khedira and Caravhalo however.

Fabian Schar

I have long been a fan of the young Swiss centre back for over a year, having seen him impress against both Tottenham and Chelsea as a 21 year old in the Europa League. Whilst he played at right back in both match’s, he showed the strength and composure to indicate he would become a very good centre back.

Since then, he has established himself in the Basel first team at centre back. At 22, and currently playing in Switzerland, he would certainly see a move to Arsenal as a step up in his footballing career, even if it is as 3rd choice centre back.

I was surprised that he did not play more at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, as Switzerland favoured Johan Djourou and Steve Von Bergen. He replaced the later when von Bergan has his cheekbone fractured in a challenge with Olivier Giroud. In the two games he did play, Switzerland kept a clean sheet against Honduras and lost 1-0 to Argentina. Schar was impressive.

Fabain Schar ticks a lot of boxes. He is good enough to be 3rd choice, at the right stage of his career to be happy as 3rd choice, and young and talented enough to be 1st choice at some point in the future.

Matija Nastasic

Manchester City centre back Matija Nastasic broke into their first team in the 2012/13 season, later to be named young player of the season. Since then, he has fallen behind Martin Demichellis, partly due to injury, partly due to Demichellis being a Pellegrini favourite.

With Manchester City set to announce Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala next week, it will see Nastasic relegated to 4th choice centre back. Add in the signing of Bacary Sagna, and Micah Richards unlikely to be sold due to ‘home grown’ reasons, it leaves Nastasic surplus to requirements.

Still just 21 years old, he already has a world of experience, having played 26 times in Serie A and 34 in the Premier League. Whilst he might not be happy being 3rd choice centre back at Arsenal, it is a proposition which is much better than being completely frozen out at Manchester City, for no fault of his own.

At his young age, he has his career ahead of him. He will get enough games at Arsenal, and a fair chance to challenge Mertersacker and Koscielny to be first choice, a fair chance he will never be given at Manchester City. He would be a realistic signing and, similar in the Debuchy signing, would be someone already adapted to the Premier League.

Daniel Agger

The Norwegian international has fallen out of favour at Liverpool. Last season he was named as Liverpool vice-captain, and quickly found himself behind Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure. Liverpool have since spent £20 million on Dejan Lovren from Southampton and £8 million on 21 year old Tiago Ilori from Sporting. Add in the returning Sebastian Coates from injury, Liverpool have an abundance of centre backs. This leaves Daniel Agger on the brink of leaving.

If we are looking for a straight replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, he is the man. 29 years old, slightly injury prone, tons of Premier League experience. Agger has paid 232 games for Liverpool, he would take no time to settle. The only downside is he has YNWA tattoo’d on his knuckles.

My choice? Schar if we are looking long term, Agger if we are looking short.


Community Shield, Besiktas, Thomas Vermaelen & New Signings

Community Shield

So the season opener is tomorrow with the Community Shield (or as I still call it, the Charity Shield). It is always an interesting game. For me, it is nor more than a glorified friendly. A chance to give the players a semi-competitive game before the real season opening next weekend.

Last season, we played 7 pre season friendlies, this season, due to the World Cup and Community Shield, we have played just 4. It makes sense then, to treat the Community Shield as a friendly. Interestingly, last season, our last friendly was on August 10th against Manchester City. The exact same date and opposition as this season.

The status of the Community Shield has changed over recent seasons. The change started in 2001, when Liverpool fans claimed they had won the “Quintuple” – League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, Community Shield & UEFA Super Cup. At the time, they were laughed at, as they had failed to win either of the 2 big ones, and had added two glorified friendlies.

Since 2001, things have escalated. Due to media hype, the game has grown bigger. Another reason is the rise of Chelsea and Manchester City. Where as Arsenal and Manchester United had won many trophies, the community shield was not considered a trophy, Manchester City and Chelsea fans, with their low trophy count, started to include the Community Shield as a major honour.

SkySports News and other media outlets then started to list the Community Shields under ‘trophies won’ columns, and a little look at the List of football clubs in England by major honours won will see Manchester United are listed as having won 60 trophies, yet it includes their 20 Community Shields.

To put it simply, tomorrow is a friendly, yes, it will be positive to win, but it means no more than the friendly with Manchester City next year.


They were my nightmare draw. A decent team, and a horrid journey. Whilst Arsenal travel well in Europe, I do not expect many to make the 2,000 mile £500+ flight cost journey to Istanbul. We should win, but the away match will be a tricky game. With them having already played competitive Champions League fixtures against Feyenoord, they will be a slightly bit more match sharp then us, and with Demba Ba upfront, they have goals.

An away draw, we should take them apart in London. Turkish sides do not travel well, so I would expect us to not only win at home, but also turnover any potential deficit from the home leg.

Thomas Vermaelen

So it seems like Thomas Vermaelen is off to Barcelona for £15million. A good deal for Arsenal, selling a player in the last year of his contract for more money than what we signed him. On the other side, we are selling a senior player, once more selling our captain. But at least it is not to Manchester United this time!

As with everytime a player leaves Arsenal, the mud slinging has already begun “he was useless” “he was not good enough” it shows the crass side of being a football fan. It is like being dumped by your long term girlfriend then sitting bitching about her bad points, which you quite happily ignored when you was with her. It’s petty.

Thomas Vermaelen’s Arsenal journey has come to a natural end. He has got himself a plumb move to Barcelona, and I wish him well. If Arsenal play Barcelona in the Champions League next year, I will applaud him, he deserves that.

New Signings

With the aforementioned Vermaelen leaving us, we are now at least 2 players short. A defensive midfielder and a centre back. Buy one player in the hope of covering both positions would be crazy, especially as our 4th choice centre back is also our right back cover. We need to go out and buy a Vermaelen replacement. Who it will be, no one really knows. We are now 50% there towards having a good summer. We now need that centre back, defensive midfielder and maybe even another striker.

Enjoy tomorrow