With the New Year finally here with it the much anticipated January transfer window where pundits are expecting Wenger to splash the cash to bring in the much needed quality to bolster the ranks at Arsenal and Wenger in his usually cunning attitude has come out to say he would only move for “exceptional quality” who will improve the quality currently available at the Emirates. But in reality, is there quality on parade at the Emirates? Of course, there are. If there aren’t, moneybags won’t be circling the Emirates like vultures looking for carcass to pounce on.
One of such qualities is English forward ‘Theo Walcott’. The English forward has been stalling on a new deal owing to some reasons but it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel as regards Walcott and a new Arsenal contract. In recent weeks, he has had forays in his desired center forward role duly delivering 5 goals in 4 matches and winning the penalty that gave maximum points at the DW stadium.
In the event of his departure, who are the candidates that could have been called on to replace him?
Malaga’s Spanish winger Isco is one. The Spanish diminutive winger is one of most coveted youngsters in Europe after strings of impressive performances in the Spanish La Liga and Malaga’s maiden UEFA Champions League campaign. He has notched 6 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions for Malaga (4 in La Liga, 2 in Uefa Champions League), he has also bagged 3 assists and attempted 49 shots with 16 been on goal. After the sale of Cazorla and Rondo, Isco was expected be the next big thing and he has not disappointed in that light. Landing him might be difficult albeit not impossible. Pellegrini branded Cazorla’s sale to Arsenal a gift and would be keen not to repeat the same infamous transaction with Isco. If Arsenal is keen on landing Isco, they might just have to part with as much as 18 million Pounds and would command not less than 50k Pounds per week in wages. 50k Pounds per week for a 4 years contract would amount to close to 10 million over the 4 years. Summing both up (transfer fee and wages) would amount to a little more than 28 million pounds.
Another candidate is Adrian Lopez. The Athletico Madrid frontman is a player similar to Walcott in the light that he can play on either wings or through the center as a striker. He is currently embroiled in a transfer impasse with Athletico Madrid and it seems Wenger wants to capitalize on that face-off to prise him away but how easy would it be to land him. Arsenal have been credited with a formal bid of 10 million Pounds but the Madrid club are currently insistent on the buy-out clause which is a little over 14 million Pounds according to several reports. If Arsenal is going to get him, they would have to make another bid which would be closer to his buy-out clause. Lopez is talented and has bags of potentials but his form has dropped in recent months so also has his playing time. In the event of a move to Arsenal, Lopez would be commanding wages in the region of 60k Pounds per week which amounts to 3.1 million Pounds. If he signs on for 4 years, that would amount to over 12.7 million Pounds. Adding that to the transfer fee, it could be close to 25 million Pounds ( if we pay the buyout price or 22 Million pounds if we manage to get him at 10 Million pounds).
Loic Remy the Marseille forward is another player that can quite replace Walcott at Arsenal. The French forward who was dubbed the new “Henry’ is adept at playing on both wings and through the center, strong and with bags of skills to spare. Reports have it that he is set for a 10 million Pounds move to Tyneside, hence, if Arsenal intend to hijack the deal, they would have to better Newcastle’s offer to Marseille. Hopefully, a 12 million Pounds offer could seal the deal if we are truly interested and the wages could be in the region of 60k Pounds per week. If he signs on for 4 years, that would be over 12 million Pounds in wages, adding that to the transfer fee, would be almost 25 million Pounds.
Keeping Walcott is the cheaper option since it would cost the club almost the same amount it would be spending on bringing in a new player to keep the English forward. The above mentioned players are very good players in their own rights but it would be too much expectation to expect them to hit the ground running. Since they are coming from another league, they would need adaptation time and that time could range from 6 months to 2 years. That’s the edge Walcott has over them. The English forward is playing at his peak for Arsenal now and if he maintains his current form (I sincerely hope the good form is not in a bid to get a good contract at Arsenal or attract offers from other top clubs ), then, keeping him is the cheaper option.
Like Isco, he can play as a winger, make assists and also score goals but unlike him, he can also play as a striker. Something Isco cannot do. As for Lopez and Remy, he edges them out since he already has a foretaste of the Premier League.
I am not saying we shouldn’t bring in new faces, am only saying safety first and that means keeping our best legs. A player that has 15 goals and 9 assists in all competitions this season is one of the club’s best player if not the best. Wenger could move for either Isco or Lopez to replace him on the wings and turn him into a full-fledged striker.
In other news, reports abound that Thomas Eisfield is set for loan move to Reading. This means that Wenger is preparing the youngster for first team football. The way he did for Wilshere. The German starlet is a talented footballer with a nose for scoring goals. He has been doing his thing with the reserves but was giving a first team foray during the Gunners’ Asia pre-season trip and even, made appearances in the Capital One cup competition this season. With his purported loan move to Reading, a Premier League side, he could just be making the penultimate step towards his big Arsenal break.
Arsenal seems to have pulled the plug over the purported imminent transfer of Crystal Palace youngster Wilifred Zaha. The player was seen as back-up option in the light of the departure of contract rebel but now that Walcott is close to reaching an agreement, it seems Arsenal don’t want to conclude the Zaha deal. After agreeing a deal with him, the club is pulling out of the deal. I berate the club for even attempting to back out of the deal. Keeping Walcott is important but we shouldn’t allow the chance to nick a talented youngster pass us by. If Zaha is talented which is clear owing to his pursuit by Manchester United and Tottenham. We should stop loosing players with huge potentials; it was the same way we lost Cristiano Ronaldo over the impasse of extra 500,000 Pounds. Need we talk about the huge damage he did to us while at Manchester United or the huge financial glut he brought to Manchester United when he moved to Real Madrid? Instead of bringing him as a potential Walcott’s replacement, he could have been brought in to replace Arshavin or even the ‘forehead’. He is certainly an upgrade to the Frenchman. I would say by backing down on the Zaha deal, Arsene could be letting gold slip through his fingers.
Written By Kolade Omotosho