Arsenal were thought to be on the verge of signing a big, strong, tough tackling defensive midfielder in the summer, with Yann M’Vila and Etienne Capoue two of the favourites. The window opened and closed and Arsenal, despite having money to spend did not sign an enforcer.
Arsene Wenger had said that he would only buy a player who would improve the squad, so does that mean he thought there were no defensive midfielders good enough? Or did he think that Arsenal do not need such a player?
Wenger has spoken about the changing nature of the game of football in England and in Europe and he seems to be suggesting that the make up, playing style and physical attributes of midfielders is evolving.
“There is less space available, so accuracy is key. Secondly, because there is a smaller space, the shorter players, the very agile players, are becoming more important and the taller players less so.”
Look at Arsenal, operating with 5ft 9in Mikel Arteta as the deepest lying midfielder. What ha lacks in aggression or physical strength, he more than makes up for in technical ability, vision and movement. Who is his closest replacement? Francis Coquelin is only an inch taller than Arteta and, while he has a more all action style, he is becoming more of a ball playing midfielder all the time.
Is Abou Diaby and his long legged, Viera like style becoming the exception rather than the norm? Diaby, despite his size has always been more of a technical player anyway. Cazorla is our snallest but also our best player.
“They are not destroyers anymore, they are players that the game starts from and the quality of their passing has become very important.
“You saw it during Euro 2012, with guys like Pirlo playing in that position.”
So Gooners, it looks like the rumours about M’Vila or somebody like him were way off the mark. Where is Paul, anyway?