I have always like big Phil Senderos. It therefore saddens me to hear that he is on the verge of joining Everton. Everton have today confirmed that the two clubs are locked in negotiations. Obviously big Phil has only a year left on his contract and is not a first choice player, so the money makes definite business sense. Football is not just a business, it is more than that to us the fans, I am a little sad to see big Phil go.
Big Phil wore his heart on his sleeve. He was one of a rare breed. I remember one particular moment the season before last when he had been harshly sent off when virtually no contact had been made with the diving opposition striker, he took the poor refereeing decision on the chin like a true sportsman, he left the field with his head bowed, almost in tears at the fact that he had let the team down, mopping his brow with his shirt in a way that was designed to hide the immense upset that he felt.
Whatever his critics may say, big Phil was one damn good defender, of course he wasn't perfect but he did have some excellent runs in the side, the best of these being the Champions League run in 2005-6. Big Phil and Kolo formed the centre back pairing that kept a record ten clean sheets, unfortunately big Phil missed the final against Barca due to injury. Ironically he became a scapegoat for our defensive frailty when we lost the second leg of the Champions League semi final to Liverpool at Anfield in 2008. Phil was turned rather easily by Fernando Torres for one of the Liverpool goals, however how many of the best have been mocked by Torres in recent months?
Big Phil is a strong honest defender but is not the quickest on the turn, I still think that with just a little bit more luck he could have become a true Arsenal legend, sometimes an injury here and a bit of luck there can be the difference between making it and becoming a bit part player. That's life I suppose. I'm personally still a big Phil fan and wish him all the best wherever he ends up. It is strange that we are letting such a dominant player go when the thing our current side lacks is the power and the strength to defend aerial balls.
Our current squad does not lack attacking flair, we have several excellent strikers (RVP, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela) and several very adaptable attacking players (Arshavin, Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Diaby, Wilshere, Merida). It appears the Chamakh will not be coming as Bordeaux are being too greedy and holding out for a large fee when the player only has a year left on his contract.
The thing we lack is obvious when you compare our current crop to our recent title winning sides. How many players in the current squad are strong in the air defensively? I would argue that only out field players with this strength are Song and Djourou, Vermaelen possibly but I have not seen enough of him to comment. In days of old we had the likes of Adams, Keown, Bould, Campbell, Vieira, Petit, Edu, Gilberto who gave us that power to repel the aerial threat from corners, set pieces and hopeful long balls. If Arsene buys anyone before the season starts then I hope they can add to our ability to defend the aerial ball.