Following the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona, it is inevitable that a number of big newspapers and sports news channels will link Arsenal with a plethora of central midfielders this week. The name that has been permanently mentioned throughout the summer is Yann M’Vila, but Arsenal now seem to be much closer to signing another midfielder.
The big transfer news is that Real Madrid centre mid Nuri Sahin looks set to join Arsenal on a season-long loan, with a view to a permanent move. For those of you who dismiss this as pure speculation (we have been linked with a lot of midfielders in recent weeks), I think that BBC Sport will serve as a pretty credible source. The BBC hardly ever publish transfers that don’t happen. There is the odd occasion that they can get things wrong, but this is normally if a player fails a medical and is not any fault of their own. The Bundesliga player of the season in 2011 joined Real from Borussia Dortmund last summer for €10 million, but made only 10 appearances for La Liga champions. He will travel to London for a medical early this week.
Two weeks ago Jose Mourinho acknowledged that Sahin may be unhappy at a lack of playing time and admitted that the decision on whether to leave Madrid was entirely up to the player. However, the “Special One” then stated yesterday that the club would prefer to send him out on loan. I have added together the two quotes, but they read well together and you get the point.
“The point is, he’s a young boy, he wants to play every match. He wants to be happy to play, he wants to play to be happy. And in Real Madrid with Xabi Alonso, with [Sami] Khedira, with Lassana [Diarra], [Esteban] Granero, [Mesut] Ozil, the situation is not easy.
“If he stays, he’s not a problem for me, he’s one more solution. We leave [the situation] in his hands. Be happy. Decide what you want to decide, to be happy. If you decide to leave we are going to help you to leave. If you decide to stay, we are going to support you and try to succeed this season.” - Friday 3rd August
“The most important thing is that he is happy. The best for him and for Madrid is that he goes out on loan.
“Madrid don’t want to sell him. He needs to play and to prove himself.” - Sunday 19th August
Without Alex Song Arsenal’s midfield does look a bit short. Jack Wilshere does not come back into the team for another month and a half, and even then he won’t be fully match fit and, dare I say it, might not be as good as he was 2 seasons ago. Abou Diaby, meanwhile, has passed pre-season with flying colours, but it is difficult to say whether he will be fit for the whole season. Tomas Rosicky is out with an achilles tendon injury picked up at the Euros. Arsène Wenger has spoken about moving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into central midfield, but has also mentioned a new midfield signing (enter Sahin).
It is blatantly obvious that Sahin is not a natural replacement for Song. However, as I mentioned in my article yesterday, Song did not play a defensive role last season and saw himself as more of a creative player. Sahin fits perfectly in the hole just in between the midfield and opponents defence (what I now call the Cazorla role), and will add a completely new attacking dimension to the team. There is nothing to say that we won’t also sign a proper DM, but for now I think that most will agree that the Sahin signing will do very nicely.