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 #1 – Fredrik Ljungberg
I’ll kick things off with Swedish attacking-midfielder and Arsenal’s Player of the Season from 2001-2002, Freddie Ljungberg. There has been whispers that Ljungberg may be on his way out of Arsenal at the end of this season but I can confidently predict that this will not be the case. Arsenal is Ljungberg’s home and as the most senior player in the squad – in terms of length of time with the club – he will want to remain a leader for the younger Arsenal players.
Unfortunately this season – as with the season before – Ljungberg’s performances have been severely effected by consistent niggling injuries. There was a time – and it wasn’t so long ago – when Ljungberg was absolutely unstoppable. His trademark runs into the box brought him goal after goal and he had an uncanny ability to score big goals in crucial matches. For proof of this, just check out the video below.
The truth is that Ljungberg’s potential contribution to the Arsenal cause is grossly underestimated by both fans and the media. The reasons for his mooted performances in the past couple of years have directly been a result of his inability to stay fit for an extended period of time. As such, it is not unrealistic to expect that if Ljungberg – who is still only 30 – can shake off his niggling injuries then he can have a similar impact as players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have had for Manchester United this season.
Whilst I agree that there is still a desperate need for the club to sign an out-and-out winger to inject some much-needed pace and directness to the Arsenal attack, I get the feeling that if Ljungberg could shake off his injury problems, he might be the man to provide this injection.