25 February 2013

£17.8 million

Wow--according to several reports out today, Arsenal has reported a profit of £17.8 million and is sitting on £123.3 million in cash reserves. Sure, the sale of key players has boosted these figures and is not a long-term strategy for raising cash (or winning games), but this is an impressive statistic that gives us something to think about for the summer--should we renew our pursuit of the likes of David Villa, or are there other priorities? I don't think we need such a high-profile signing. Villa is likely to cost a fair amount, maybe upwards of £14 million. The lure is there, sure. Who wouldn't want a striker who has scored as often as he has? On the other hand, he's 31 and is coming off of a broken leg, so I'd prefer that we look somewhere else--how about Benteke? He's 22 but is proving his worth, having scored 11 times in 20 games. With Theo Walcott coming into his own, and with our summer signings showing flashes of form, goal-scoring isn't necessarily our highest priority--we are, after all, the 3rd-highest scoring team in the Prem. Better instead to shore up our back line. We could go after Valdes or Reina--Reina's recent fade might make him more of a back-up than a competitor for the starter's role.

It's not just the keeper position that we should address; the backline could do with some sprucing-up. It's funny to talk in these terms when we have the 4th-lowest goals allowed in the league. As I said in my previous post about Szczęsny, we need some presence back there, someone who can intimidate the opposition. Of our defenders, only Sagna seems to possess any kind of visible fire or steel in his play. Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Miquel, they all seem like good players, but none of them seem able to summon the kind of intensity or strength that other defenders can. None of them seem able to intimidate opponents as Vidić, Terry,or Puyol might (whether this intimidating quality stems from skill or personal repulsiveness is another question. Mr. Terry, I'm looking at you, much as it pains me to do so). With that in mind, would someone like Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Amorebieta fill the bill? He seems a little too pretty. We've previously been linked with Etienne Capoue, another defender (and midfielder) who seems steely and flinty enough to give opposing forwards pause as they think about trying to get inside the 18. 
Most of the headlines that have come out on Arsenals' finances have been critical, pointing to past sales and Wenger's apparent refusal to splurge. Instead, I prefer to look at it as an early Christmas present, and there's nothing wrong with a little window-shopping, is there?