Monday, August 4, 2008

Hold on a second ... Indeed.

The news that Arsenal could formally launch a bid for Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso started floating around a short while ago. It seemed that were Liverpool to pick up Gareth Barry (the law is on the books, by the way, that anytime this transfer is mentioned, the writer needs to call for its merciful end as the most protracted transfer saga of the summer), Xabi Alonso would be surplus to requirements at Anfield.

So the logic, as it stands, sell Xabi to fund the Barry purchase. Arsenal need a midfielder, Arsenal love a good passer, Xabi is a good passer, Arsenal should buy Xabi and plop him right in next to Fabregas to create a forward-thinking midfield unlike many others in the world.

Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Theo Walcott.

Ahem. Consider my throat cleared (dog).

So why the tone of hesitation? I've just one question ... Can he tackle? Ok, more than one question ... Will he track back? Will he cover Cesc's voyages upfield? When Theo lets his speed out (as he did so notably against Liverpool toward the end of last season), will he slot over to hold the empty space?

Or maybe I should ask how his noted upfield vision would work with a team that uses transition so powerfully, and began to almost artfully insert the long ball as a tactic with Adebayor playing a fine line against the oppositions offside trap.

The deal's not been done yet. Arsene, it seems, is trying to get Rafa to lower his price. Can't blame him, 18 million pounds is a hefty price - and would set a new bar for Arsenal. Rafa has seemed to play a fairly good game of hardball in his time in England though. Will it come down to how much he wants Barry to finally join his squad?

And if Arsene makes the move ... will he be able to find defense cover? A holding midfielder that he can count on? Does Diaby, a player we've long thought would be in the mold of Patrick Vieira, have enough to not only make an impact, but do so consistently and with fitness from week to week?

This is the delicious part of the transfer market, not just plucking players, but opening so many more questions about how a simple move like adding a world class talent to a midfield can utterly change the dynamic of a team.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your analysis of Alonso. I think someone like Miguel Veloso would be a better fit.

Although I do rate Alonso very highly, Aragones knew that pairing Alonso and Fabregas together was a dangerous ploy because both are attack minded.