By Avenell Dave
There’s been a healthy debate going on between me and my fellow Addicts over the last few weeks.
The arrival of Thomas Vermaelen suggests a defender may be on his way and as we discussed here last week, that probably means more than just Big Phil Senderos.
Reports today suggest that William Gallas is angling for a move, despite statements to the contrary.
There are some of you who believe this is all mischief making – but in fact, in many cases, it’s ass-covering on the part of the player.
I suspect Gallas himself doesn’t know where he will play next season – and if it is to be at Arsenal for one more year, he can’t really say he wants out openly.
Remember, Alex Hleb made statements about his commitment last summer and within days he was off to clean boots at Barca.
There’s no doubt that Gallas was our best defender last season, chipping in with vital goals and shoring up a defence that was lacklustre for much of the campaign.
The stats say that our defensive abilities dropped significantly once he got injured and keeping him, with all his experience, would make a lot of sense.
But a man deposed as king doesn’t often remain in the royal court, and Gallas has had to eat a lot of humble pie.
He ‘s one of the highest paid players at the club, has fallen out with Kolo Toure and Samir Nasri at the very least and with only a year left on his contract, it makes sense to sell him now.
There is a lot of talk of us buying another defender, such s Naldo from Werder Bremen, and that may well be so – because with Toure and Alex Song off for the African Nations Cup in January (why oh why doesn’t that competition get moved to a fallow summer such as this one or the one after next??), being left with Vermaelen, Djourou and Silvestre will not be enough.
Signing a player with real height and aggression is just what Arsenal needs in defence and the current crop are not going to be quite enough, I fear, however well Vermaelen turns out.
We’ve lost Bobby Pires, Edu, Sylvain Wiltord, Mathieu Flamini and others to expiring contracts and the least we can do, with money so tight at Arsenal, is get something back for a player who needs to be playing week in, week out, ahead of the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer.