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I have a chat with 15yearoldgooner

by on August 10, 2011
As always Sam, it’s a pleasure to have you here on the blog and we’re grateful that you’ve taken the time to answer these questions.
It’s my pleasure too mate, glad I can do something for you after all your help plugging and things! It’s the least I can do.

We spoke at the beginning of July about possible transfers in and out of the club, but it seems that our plans weren’t seen by the board as the club has taken a different route during the transfer window. I remember you said that if Clichy left then we would need a replacement and that the future of Tomas Rosicky may not be in North London, would you still agree with those sentiments?
So I guess that means they don’t read Savage Gooner? Gah. Actually, those two thoughts have changed over pre-season; it’s not been the most positive of summers on or off the pitch but two things that have pleased me have been the form of Kieran Gibbs and Tomas Rosicky. However, there are still concerns over their fitness and with the poor depth of our squad, something that’s become increasingly apparently during the off-season, means that we may need strong back-up in their positions.

We also spoke about possible targets. We signed which Gervinho which should satisfy the need for an attacking midfielder provided Nasri and Fabregas stay, but surely a striker and centre-back are required?
I think if we’d handled the situation with Bendtner differently we wouldn’t need a striker, but he’s not played at all in pre-season so he doesn’t seem at all ready to play, meaning we’re relying on the fragile van Persie and the horrendously out-of-form Chamakh for the time being, which isn’t good. I don’t see how Wenger is prepared to let Bendtner leave, certainly not without replacing him. Perhaps he has something up his sleeve. Centre back – definitely, we’re okay for a first choice but once Squillaci enters the equation things just go pear-shaped. Vertonghen would be nice, seeing as he can play in defensive midfield and left back if needed.

There have been a few outs and even fewer ins, we spoke about the need to strengthen the squad, how confident are you that Wenger will add to the squad and how important do you think qualifying for the Champions League is for attracting players?
I’m quite confident that he will because I don’t see how he could fail to do that, we all know that there are players out there who would improve the squad and ultimately that’s what Wenger wants. If we did keep Fabregas and Nasri and they managed to replicate some of their top form, I don’t think we’d need many additions – just a centre back and possibly a holding midfielder, because then we’d be pretty much the same as last season except defensively and offensively improved. People forget how close we were last season and I think with our defensive improvement (Szczesny, Vermaelen (like a new signing) and the new set piece tactics) we’ll concede less sloppy goals and with Gervinho we’ll be a lot more effective going forward. Not to mention the continued development of the players. As for qualifying for the Champions League, it’s massive – we saw with Liverpool how much difference Champions League football makes in being able to entice a player to join. Being in the Europa League isn’t exactly a brilliant help when trying to sign “super, super quality” players.

Much has been said about the futures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas over the summer, yet we’re still nowhere nearer an end to the sagas. Where do you think their futures lie? Can Cesc Fabregas still captain Arsenal when we all know that this saga could go on for another four years?
I think we could well see both of them stay to be honest. A lot of it depends on the buying clubs, Barcelona in particular in Fabregas’ case, but we may not find ourselves in a position where we feel willing to sell either of them. In Nasri’s case, we may not even be able to sell him, at least not for the right place – unless we want to cut our losses and sell for a low price. If they stay, they’ll need to win back the fans – Fabregas to a lesser extent – because there’s a lot of ill feeling towards them. Getting their heads down and working hard would probably solve that – there was a whole lot of animosity towards William Gallas when he was stripped of the captaincy, but I was amazed at how professional he was in doing his job well after that. I think Wenger will probably remove the captaincy from Fabregas; take the limelight off him a bit, even though it could well have a reverse effect.

Last season, we were so close and yet so far, as has been our recent trend. How do you think this season will go?
It all depends on these last few weeks of the transfer market. Our season could really go either way. It also depends on how well other teams go, because we might end up relying on some bad results from our rivals. I find it impossible to predict where we’ll finish right now, because we could end up selling two of our best players, but then again we could strengthen the squad. There are so many scenarios.

As always, the academy at Hale End churns out youngsters, who do you think could push their way into the first team this season?
Benik Afobe and Emmanuel Frimpong look the likeliest, as well as Henri Lansbury and Ryo Miyaichi, if they stay at the club. I’m really excited about Afobe and Miyaichi, because attacking players are usually the most exciting to see break through. I can see Kyle Bartley breaking through in the near future, but obviously not this season because he’s on loan at Rangers – sorry to disappoint you. I really wish he’d gone on loan to a Premier League club like Bolton, or even Blackburn. He needs more PL experience in my opinion.

One final question and I’m afraid it’s a toughy. Arsene Wenger has never been under so much pressure to deliver during his tenure at the club, with many billing this as his most important month during his time at North London. Do you think that a bad start to the season would make his position at the club untenable, or would you give him time and remind people that he’s won more trophies in his 15 years here than Tottenham have in 128 years?
I like how you squeezed that little statistic in there at the end! I think a bad start would make it really difficult for him, it just depends how the board react to the inevitable fan pressure as this is a new situation in that there’s never been any pressure on Wenger, at least not this much to my memory. It depends just how bad the start of the season was, and whether it was visibly his fault or if it was clear if it was the players’ faults. I’d still give him at least another year, although I find myself saying that every summer.

Once again Sam, it’s been a real pleasure having you on the blog and thanks again for taking the time to do this. With luck, we’ll see you back on these hallowed pages within a month or two.
Not a problem, I’ve enjoyed it. Hope so – you set ’em up, I’ll knock ’em down!

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