I reckon it's time to stop mincing around, this summer is a major crossroads for the club, the bull needs to be taken by the horns and we must push on. We simply cannot afford to have another disastrous close season where top players are missed out on and we are still panicking around in August with a squad that is not strong enough to launch a multi-pronged attack on all fronts.
The club needs to get a new managing director in who can bring in the men that Arsene wants and needs, ANR is right on this, however not with the rather stupid comments concerning Walcott never being a patch on Ashley Young. Flamini has gone, and there's no doubt that his contribution will be missed next season, although we do have some fantastic talent waiting to step into his postion.
As always the man known as Arseblogger has hit the nail firmly on the bonce, again, he rightly highlights Hleb's poor return over the last three years and thinks that we should get rid of anyone who is not 100% committed to the cause. I agree, Hleb needs to be shipped out, I suspect he will be and that Arsene is playing hard to get in order to extract a decent fee from the Milanese scummers.
So what should our plan for the summer be? I think we're reasonably equipped as far as goalkeepers are concerned, and Almunia has been one of the most consistent performers in the top flight this year. I see no problems at full back either. Arsene has already hinted that he wants to invest in a tall powerful centre back, and given our slight weakness defending in the air I think this will be a priority in the summer. Unfortunately for the lovely bloke that is big Phil, it appears that his time is up at Arsenal.
The midfield is a problem area. Flamini has gone, Hleb may well follow him, Eboue is not good enough to start, while Rosicky cannot stay fit for a full ninety let alone a full season. That leaves with only Cesc, Denilson, Gilberto, Song, Diaby, Walcott, Vela who have any top flight experience plus a few other youngsters who will be knocking on the first team door such as Traore, Gibbs, Wilshere et al. There are obviously some unknowns, such as where will Djorou play and will Toure be moved into the midfield if we bring a top centre back in from elsewhere? However it is clear to me that we need to bring in a top drawer wide midfielder who can score goals, such as Kranjar from Pompey, plus at least one more player of quality if Hleb is allowed to depart.
Up front I think we're pretty well equipped, assuming that Eduardo continues along his path towards a quick recovery and that RVP can stay relatively injury free for a whole season, as we have Adebayor and Bendtner who have come on bundles this season, plus Walcott who is able to play off a target man. Goals from our strikers have not been our problem this season, but a lack of goals from wide midfield and our propensity to leak soft goals have.
It's easy to sit on the fence and hint at solutions but much harder to come out with concrete plans, so here's what I'd do if anyone was stupid or mad enough to appoint me as Arsenal manager. I'd break the bank to bring in Micah Richards, he's a strong athletic beast who could help us become more formidable at the back. I'd make Pompey an offer they couldn't refuse for Nico Kranjar. I'd also be tempted to tease Antonio Valencia away from the JJB, he's quick, direct and would give us a bit of width down the right hand side. Having said that, Arsene will probably go out and buy three unknowns, then convert them into full internationals before September; stranger things have happened and reading Arsene's mind is not easy, after all if it was then he'd be easy to replace as our manager.