The World Cup is over - what IS Wenger planning?

By Avenell Dave

The good thing about Arsene Wenger being at the World Cup in South Africa is that he has been able to look at potential signings at first hand.

It means he's been able to keep a closer eye on Cesc Fabregas and perhaps even meet his captain.

And it may give him food for thought about a Plan B when the neat intricate football he loves to play doesn't work.

But the problem with our manager being at the World Cup as a pundit is that he has said that he doesn't like to sign players on the basis of a World Cup (and there are numerous examples of players who shine for a month and then fade when consistent club form is demanded, particularly at the top level).

Yes yes, I know he signed Gilberto Silva on the basis of the World Cup but there is an exception to every rule.

While Twitcher Harry is stalking Joe Cole, Wenger is watching a final that ends what for me has been another disappointing World Cup.

Not since 1990 has there been a tournament that really came to life and even that one had a poor final.

Fair play on the Gooners who went out there and congratulations to Spain for lifting the trophy yesterday - even though the sight of Xavi's smiling face makes me retch - but in all honesty, my mind has been on waiting for the season to begin again.

So we've signed two players based in France and Wenger has said that he is after at least one more defender. It seems clear that he decided Sol Campbell wasn't worth retaining, even though he would have provided some cover for Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, who look to be our first choice partnership next season.

Let's hope Koscielny is brutal, measured but a real trojan who knows when to pass and when to hoof and doesn't mind getting his head kicked if it means preventing a goal. The sort of defender we have missed for a while.

Even though Arsenal denied Wenger's comments about Manuel Almunia, the rumours of a goalkeeper haven't gone away and while no one in their right mind would sign the Spanish waiter, Mark Schwarzer seems to be the leading, underwhelming and overpriced contender to replace him.

If Wojciech Szczesny is the man Wenger is waiting for, he has to start giving him the Carling Cup games, which would leave Lukasz Fabianski in limbo with Schwarzer the number one.

The thing about Schwarzer is that he wasn't a bad keeper a few years back but at his age, his reactions aren't that great and he's not going to give us what Edwin van der Sar has given M*nure.

At the other end of the field, I was really hoping that Carlos Vela would come good at the World Cup. Sadly, injury and a lack of form prevented him from standing out and you wonder how many chances he will be given.

With Eduardo linked with moves away and his mojo clearly gone, RvP having played last night and never reliable for more than a season and Nick Bendtner claiming he's not fit and that leaves Maroune Chamakh as the only fit forward we could rely upon at the start of the season.

Has Wenger decided to play Theo Walcott there for good now? Will Andrey Arshavin still be asked to fill in? Methinks we need another forward or at least to push Benik Afobe or someone else into the first team reckoning.

Which just leaves us with midfield. I was cheering Holland all the way last night - those gobshites at Barcelona claim not to want to tap Cesc up or let things go public in one breath and then claim that he is already planning this summer's return.

I don't blame Cesc for getting impatient at the lack of progress Arsenal are making and that his heart is in Cataluna but he should at least come out and say it and push the transfer through.

I don't want him as our captain anymore. I want our captain to be someone who is committed to the club in the LONG TERM, regardless of Cesc's platitudes after the game last night. Thomas Vermaelen should take over - it HAS to be someone committed to the cause who has the respect of the rest of the team.

Until we know what Cesc is doing, we can't think about how many players will come in to replace our most important creative outlet. See how he changed the game when he came on? And yet still Spain don't start him, just as they won't at Barca either.

There is so much to ponder, so much to anticipate ahead of our tricky opening at Anfield next month.

One thing's for sure, there will be plenty of ups and downs and if the club are to start justifying the season tickets, we need more than just a couple of new faces.