And it’s done – we have made our second signing of the summer in the shape of the French striker Olivier Giroud. Although the official confirmation was simply a formality, it’s good news that Arsenal wrapped up the signing soon after France were knocked out the Euros. It shows the club has planned this summer better than last, and is organising the transfers in a more efficient manner.
Some are saying that the signing of two strikers (Podolski and Giroud) represents a failure to learn from our mistakes – notably the 49 goals conceded in the last league campaign. Firstly, we should give Wenger the whole summer to make complete his transfer plans – we can’t say he isn’t concentrating on defence if he signs three defenders in August. Furthermore, part of the reason for our defensive lapses can be attributed to injuries (remember the full back scenario), poor tactics and certain players needing time to bed in (Mertesacker and Santos). This season should be different – Bould is around to shore up the tactics, the likelihood of another defensive injury crisis is quite low and the German and Brazilian are used to the Premier League.
I’m very excited about the signing of two top attackers. It puts us on a par with the other top clubs that have a host of world class strikers. If we keep van Persie, we could have the best attack in the Premier League. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves too much..!
Giroud’s record is on the Arsenal website – almost a goal every 2 games for Grenoble, Istres, Tours and Montpellier with 93 goals in 216 games. It’s pretty impressive, even in the French league. I won’t expect him to light up the Premier League immediately, but I hope he gets enough game time to show what he can do. Putting him up top as a centre forward, with van Persie playing off him, could be fantastic.
His addition to the squad further deepens our French network after it seemed we had shrugged off that stereotype since the Unbeaten season. With M’Vila another potential signing, we could have French-speaking players in almost every position in the squad. In fact, Giroud told the Daily Mail that one of his reasons for signing is the French connection at Arsenal:
“I’ve always dreamed of playing in the Premier League and Arsenal are a great club with many French players.”
Let’s hope he has a successful debut season at the club.
In England-related news, the tabloids are labelling Wilshere as the “English Pirlo” who can lead us to glory in Brazil in 2014. I don’t deny he’s a great player, but the media need to stop putting so much pressure on young English players. Rooney was supposed to light up the Euros on his return – he was one of our poorest players. Furthermore, England fans need to stop expecting success in major tournaments – England is a team of talented individuals but is yet to play in the synchronised, effortless style of the Spaniards, Germans, Croatians or even the Poles. Once Roy creates a real team, not a group of individuals, then perhaps we can win something. But let’s not put all the pressure on a young guy who has had one full season at club level and is yet to represent his country at a tournament.
Another frustrating thing about the “English Pirlo” title is this regular requirement to compare players. Diaby was labelled the “new Vieira” and Walcott the “new Henry.” Players need to be accepted as unique because there are so many attributes that contribute to a player’s success. No player is a carbon copy of any other and no player will play in the same team, against the same opposition, as players from past generations. It’s just not something that can be compared. Why can’t Wilshere just be an exciting youngster who will return from injury and hopefully play a part for England and Arsenal next season? Why does the media need to jump to the next tournament and cite some young Englishmen as future superstars?
And finally, with the signing of Giroud, the papers has inevitably stated that it means van Persie is off. With our Dutchman back from the Euros, hopefully contract discussions can get back on track and we will know the answer soon enough.