It seems Arsenal’s tupsy turvy season is a cloud with a silver lining. Wenger has set machinery in motion to beef up the squad by targeting top players if reports are to be believed. While we are still grappling with the news of the club closing in on agreeing a deal for highly rated Marseille defender Nicholas N’Koulou, another ‘goodnews’ is hitting us like a thunderbolt. The media is reporting that Arsenal have turned their attention to Malaga’s highly rated Spanish international Isco. It seems Wenger is keen on a top creative player. In the winter window, news were rife that Wenger was closing in on Mario Goetze and had even agreed a deal, a record breaking one for the Dortmund man to move to the Emirates in the summer but it seems Dortmund are developing cold feet to allow their sensation depart and Wenger doesn’t want to be disappointed, he is lining up a good back-up and in Isco, that back-up isn’t a bad one.
If Wenger succeeds in pulling off a deal for Isco whether as a replacement for Goetze or in addition to him, it would be a huge coup considering the calibre of top teams jostling for the dimunitive midfielder’s signature; Chelsea and Manchester City.
In the event of Isco’s arrival, what does that portend for the team in terms of first team opportunities and tactical formation? Isco plays in the advance attacking role either on the wings or behind the striker and in the current Arsenal set-up, those roles are currently been occupied by Wilshere, Cazorla, Gervinho, Walcott and Podolski. Certainly, Wenger wouldn’t be willing to expend 30 million pounds on a player only for him to sit on the bench.
Adding a player of Isco’s talent to the crop of players we currently have would give us the quality depth we’ve been clamouring for. Tactically, the arrival of Isco could also signal a switch in formation. For years, Wenger has stuck rigidly to 4-3-3 formation. This formation has worked in it’s own little way but with it, we seem not to be getting the best out of our current players especially Giroud and Walcott.
Walcott has reiterated perpetually that he is a striker and wants to play as one not forgotten on the wings but the Englishman is too petite to play as a lone forward through the center. He has pace but too short to be an aerial threat for center backs. In the games he has played through the center, he has been easily curtailed. A classical example is the one against Bayern at the Emirates, he rarely threatened Dante. While Giroud who is often preferred as the lone center forward is strong and adept aerially but too slow to be a constant nightmare for center backs. Of the two strikers, Walcott has proved this season to be a better finisher owing to his ability to use both feet while Giroud has also proven himself as a striker capable of setting up others to score especially with his deft touch and sublime volley
If you can’t eat it in full, you can chop it in half. Since we don’t have one player that combines both qualities which are pertinent to succeed as a striker, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to play both together and synergise their abilities. The one formation that can achieve this is the 4-4-2. Walcott and Giroud can play through the middle with Giroud supporting Walcott while been supported by 2 traditional wingers. The arrival of Isco would help solve this.
This summer looks set to be one of Arsenal’s busiest in a long while both in players coming in and also going. In the attacking department of the team, there is bound to exodus; Arshavin, Chamakh, Bendtner. Hence, the arrival of Isco is more of a necessity than a luxury.
One player that’s likely to suffer dearth of opportunities if and when Isco arrives is Gervinho. The Ivorian has been blowing hot and cold since he joined in from Lille and most especially this season. I believe Isco’s arrival would be the needed motivation he needs to step up his game. I personally believe he is better than what he is offering Arsenal. A look at him playing for Ivory coast would give a perception that we have a different Gervinho in our ranks. I believe he is better than that and only needs a kick in the back regularly to be the player we want him to be. Isco is that man to do it.
In the same vein, Wenger has declared that Vermaelen and Szczesny are going nowhere. The media had been abuzzed by insinuations of an exit after the duo were dropped for the Champions League clash at the Allianz Arena. He also said no one is guaranteed of a place in the team as everyone should be ready to fight for a place in the team. Is this a clear indication that Wenger is feeling the strain and feeling let down by those he trusted? It seems Le prof is about dumping his calm and stoic attitude for Fergie’s hairdryer treatment? If that’s the case, it’s a good omen. I have always said it that places in the team should be on merit and form not on class or status. Let’s hope the team that files out against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium are filled with players on form and not those relying on past glory.
Written By Kolade Omotosho