Reyes joins Atletico, not Real
Arsenal have finally offloaded Jose Antonio Reyes to Spain, with the left-footed winger joining Primera Liga side Atletico Madrid for an undisclosed fee. The move will have come as no surprise to Arsenal supporters with Reyes consistently emphasising his desire to stay in Spain after a year on loan with Atletico’s fierce rivals Real Madrid. It had looked all the way like Real Madrid would sign Reyes but with Atletico upping the bidding to a reported £8.5 million a late change was in order.
When it’s all said and done, £8.5 million is a fairly good piece of business by the Arsenal board for a player who has been hell-bent on leaving the club even before he set foot in Madrid on his season-long loan. There’s no questioning that Reyes is a fantastic footballer but he struggled to adapt to the physicality of the Premiership in England and will not be missed by many Arsenal supporters. Hopefully his departure will open up the door for Arsene Wenger to bring in another wide player that, in my opinion, the club desperately lacks going into next season.
Chelsea’s Diarra to Arsenal?
He might not be a winger, but one player who Arsenal are being linked to today is Chelsea’s French midfielder Lassana Diarra. He is apparently unhappy with the lack of first-team football he has been given at Chelsea so far and does not want to sign a new deal with the club. Unsuprisingly, it is reported that Wenger is very interested in the player and is looking to bring him to Arsenal.
Quite how Diarra thought he could displace the likes of Frank Lampard and Michael Essien is beyond me but you can’t criticise a player of his calibre for wanting first-team football. But with Cesc Fabregas, Gilberto Silva, Abou Diaby, Denilson and Mathieu Flamini fighting for the midfield positions at Arsenal I just don’t know how is going to find it here either. Maybe he should think about joining Fredrik Ljungberg at West Ham instead.
Emirates Cup round-up
I just thought I’d finish by including a quick wrap-up of my thoughts on Arsenal’s performances in the Emirates Cup over the weekend. All in all I thought the boys did superbly well. Wenger was able to experiment with a number of different players and tactical formations and on the most part, performances were encouraging. I raised some queries over the lack of width in the first half of the PSG game but moving Emmanuel Eboue to the right seemed to fix that problem. Alexander Hleb did exceptionally well in a more central position and I thought Bacary Sagna slotted in nicely at right full-back as well. He looks a no nonsense type of defender and I expect him to be the regular starter in this position on day one of the Premiership.
What was perhaps most encouraging was the performance of Phillipe Senderos. He looked sharper than I have ever seen him before and more than capable of slotting into the starting team when required this season. He’s obviously been working on his pace in pre-season and should be given credit for his efforts. The only player who disappointed me over the weekend was Denilson. I mentioned in the aftermath of the PSG game that his touches and passing were a little below what I expected but it is still pre-season and he should sharpen up over the course of the season.
Will Wenger ditch the 4-4-2?
It is clear that tactically, Wenger has some decisions to make. He has been a strong advocate of the traditional 4-4-2 for some time now but I just feel the current crop of players are suited to a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 setup. I think the players showed in the second half against PSG and the game against Inter Milan that the side works well playing with an attacking midfielder playing in the hole behind a lone striker and two out-and-out wide players.
This formation requires strong forwards to play the lone roll and I believe Arsenal has these type of player in the form of Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Niklas Bendtner. It would then allow the likes of Hleb, Tomas Rosicky and new signing Eduardo da Silva to roam in around the front man and provide the explosive dribbling to create space for the players around them. Regardless of the formation Wenger chooses to play, I think that the weekend has shown that things look quite promising going into the new season.
What do you think?
Have your say on Reyes, Diarra or the Emirates Cup by leaving a comment.