06 July 2013

"Gooner Rooney"? I don't know...

Look. I know that I might sound a little off my rocker for continuing to resist a move for Wayne Rooney. Given his tense history with David Moyes—one that includes Moyes suing Rooney for libel and getting a settlement of as much as £150k—a move away from Old Trafford seems more than likely for Wazza. However, I"m still not sure we at Arsenal should work very hard (or spend very much) to get him. In an exchange I had in another forum, I learned that he's not quite the prima donna or negative influence I had assumed him to be. In an interview earlier this week, Jack Wilshere said it would be "amazing" to have Rooney at Ashburton Grove. I'm going to have to go ahead and accept that at face-value—Jack has played with Rooney for the Three Lions and knows of what he speaks. It's not like he was posed a direct question along the lines of "should Arsenal sign Rooney?" In the interview, ESPN's David Hirshey says "rumor has it you might be joined by one more [British player]" and shows Rooney's autobiography to Jack. In other words, Jack was under no pressure to say more than was necessary, but he went on to say, "he puts his arm around you and looks after you."

a scene to be seen in the red-and-white next year?
So it seems I was wrong. It certainly isn't the first time. I've gotten used to it, in fact.

At any rate, there's been a good amount of talk, whether it's Gazidis saying "of course we could [sign Rooney]" or Wenger saying "who could turn [Rooney] down?" We've apparently launched a £20m bid for him, a figure I could certainly live with and not just because I still cling to the quaint idea that one shouldn't spend more than one has. Even if his eventual fee climbs to £25m or even £30m, I can live with it. After all, we are talking about one of England's best players and the Prem's 6th all-time leading scorer. At 27, he probably still has a few quality seasons in him. Does he have enough to be a 20-to-25 goal-scorer? Again, probably.

However, I'm still on the fence. I look at our squad, and here's what I see: Walcott, on the verge of 20 to 25 league goals. Cazorla, ready to build on his 12 Prem league goals. Podolski, with 11 league goals in spot-appearances. Giroud, with 11 league goals and ready for more. By and large, scoring hasn't been a problem, although we have been guilty of goal-orgies and periods of asceticism. We'd do well to spread our goals out a bit. We've already brought in Sanogo, scorer of four goals in seven appearances for France's U20 squad. He's a project, of course. On the other end, we have the impending signature of Gonzalo Higuain. He's hardly the proverbial bird in the hand, of course, but he'd likely go for 20 league goals in his first season. What I'm getting at is that, even without Rooney, we might go for 75 goals in Prem, if not more.

There is one argument I can admit in Rooney's favor: ferocity. Few in the Prem can match him in terms of pure desire. When he's engaged, there are few players more electrifying than Rooney. For as much as van Persie brings the bile to the back of my throat, I really can't stand how far backwards Ferguson bent to kiss his arse, so far, it seems, that he could kiss his own in the process. Seeing Rooney mope around as Fergie and van Persie's bro-mance blossomed was irritating; a diminished Rooney is a pain to behold. Say what you will against him shouting into the camera after his hat-trick over West Ham a few years back. There's a passion and an intensity there that, even if occasionally regrettable in its articulation, reveals a competitor who is irresistible.

If he can be had for under £30m, have 'em. Anything much above that, however, makes me worry. We have other needs to address, after all. I know we're flush and looking to spend, but would we be better served by moving for two or even three other players instead of this one?

Last but not least, this blog is up for a "Best New Arsenal Blog" in the YAMAs 2012-13 survey of best Arsenal blogs. Please consider voting for Woolwich 1886 in question #3. Thanks!