The latest musings of Spanish Fry
Looking solely at the results and performances from this season it would be easy to conclude that it is essential for Arsenal to dip into the transfer market and make a number of big signings. What this conclusion doesn’t incorporate is the fact that – without spending a cent – Arsenal will be making a significant number of ghost signings in the summer. I of course refer to the players who have spent large amounts of the season injured and – should they return to fitness – will seem like new signings for the club. I thought it would be good to take a look at the players whose seasons have been severely hampered by injury and investigate the effect that their prospective returns could have on Arsenal’s 2007-2008 season.
Ghost Signing #3 – William Gallas
Since joining Arsenal from Premiership rivals Chelsea before the start of last season William Gallas has divided opinion amongst Arsenal supporters. Whilst consistently regarded as a world-class central defender, Gallas’ performances in an injury-plagued season have been nowhere near the consistent and dominating form he showed for Chelsea during their two title-winning years.
Indeed, Gallas’ influence has been so minimal that the general view around the Arsenal Football Club is that Arsene Wenger’s preferred central pairing of Gallas and Ivorian dynamo Kolo Toure just do not work together. I strongly believe that this is not the case, and that it is too early in their partnership to make this conclusion. What is required to improve the partnership is simple – more game time – something that has not been possible due to Gallas’ recurring injury problems.
Gallas more important than Henry
I have consistently stated on the Arsenal FC Blog and on other Arsenal blogs that getting Gallas fully-fit and prepared for next season is one of the most crucial factors in the club’s chances of success. Whilst many supporters will look at the absences of captain Thierry Henry and top goalscorer Robin van Persie as the main components to their disappointing season, I believe it has been Gallas’ inability to stay fit that has hurt Arsenal the most.
This summer will give Gallas the time required to work on his partnership with Toure and this alone should get him back to the form that saw him so dominant in his time with Chelsea.
Read previous columns by Spanish Fry here