Do Arsenal REALLY need to strengthen this season?

By Avenell Dave

So Xavi opens his hyena mouth again and gets us all agitated.

It’s all been said and done before. Xavi has nothing better to do than woo Cesc, even though the Arsenal captain hardly featured significantly for Spain.

Maybe he just wants Barca to buy Cesc and then watch as his little protégé spends the next three years mainly on the bench, giving him a bigger ego than he has already.

The changing of the squad numbers provokes some interest – Carlos Vela is clearly still in Arsene Wenger’s plans despite spending half his Arsenal career on his arse or injured – and that goes for World Cup duty with Mexico as well.

The fact is, we were short last season and have let players go.

We need to strengthen not just for the good of the fans and the club, but to ensure players start to feel something even deeper for the club to ensure that losing our top talent is less likely.

Cesc is an exception because of his allegiance to Barca, but others have moved on to clubs where they had no affiliation. If we had been winning things, their departures may not have been so likely.

Take Mathieu Flamini for instance, the all action midfielder who proved to be the perfect foil for Cesc.

He was a one season wonder in many respects, showing glimpses of his talent when acting as a makeshift left back but really coming into his own in what proved to be his final season before benchwarming on big money at AC Milan.

There are reports on the internet that Newcastle and Villa are in for him and whatever happens, he won’t be returning to Arsenal, I am almost certain of that.

But we do need some back-up for Alex Song in midfield. Sometimes he needs someone alongside him to provide additional cover, and he needs a rest. Denilson just doesn’t fulfil that role.

If Eduardo leaves, we’ll still be a striker short and with Vela, RvP and even Nick Bendtner all struggling with injuries regularly, we cannot rely on Andrey Arshavin to fill in again.

I’d love to think rumours of Loic Remy or someone similar – a tall and pacy frontman were true because we’re still lacking firepower.

At the back, we need a miserable and remorseless centreback to complement Thomas Vermaelen and I don’t think Laurent Koscielny is necessarily going to answer all our prayers.

Is Mark Schwarzer the man to fill the goalkeeper’s jersey – even for one season? I sincerely hope not because we need someone who is going to do a job for us now and pull off world class saves on a regular basis and my only memories of the Australian are of the number of hammerings he’s suffered both against us with Boro and Fulham and for his national team.

Of course you might think we have enough decent players coming through not to need big name signings.

I remember feeling a little despondent in Austria a few years ago and then Wenger announced he had signed a German goalkeeper who I recalled had failed in Italy. An unbeaten season later and who would have guessed how well we would have done?

Will Henri Lansbury or JET step up? Will Jack Wilshere prove to be our Lionel Messi?

Will someone wake me up?

Five weeks of the transfer window to go and we’ll have to wait to see how the summer sales pan out.

It’s about time we strengthened and showed we’re not just here to make up the numbers. The gap between us and the sides coming up in the top six is getting smaller and smaller and with Citeh’s unlimited funds, how long can Arsene keep the miracle of Champions League football happening?