Florent Malouda and Franck Ribery are two quality French wingers who left their old clubs this summer to go play for bigger teams (sorry Lyon, but you’re not there yet). The French connection (although with Henry gone is that less relevant?) plus the fact that Arsenal clearly need a quality wide player meant that these two were going to be linked with Arsenal for all that they were worth (13m pounds for Malouda, 20m+ euros for Ribery (I think)).
On the other hand, if you go by Arseblogger’s numbers, Arsenal have 12m extra from their transfer activities in recent months.
And it’s not as if those two are shite players (unless you consider that first-choice wingers for the French national team are shite – in which case why is the first-choice center-back and striker painted with a different brush?) – Malouda has shown in pre-season, Community Shield and on Sunday against Birmingham City that he’s a fast, powerful and talented winger. Ribery – from all that I’ve seen of him during the World Cup and then last season, is a quality player as well.
Plus with Henry going there was always going to be money available for wages and it’s not as if Ribery or Malouda were going to demand Henry-esque wages.
Need a winger – check.
Have the money – check.
Good player available – check.
Money for wages – check.
So why didn’t Arsenal move for either player?
Seeing that Arsene Wenger conducts his transfer business secretly, I suppose that if he had actually gone after either player, we wouldn’t have heard of it until he actually got them.
In that case, I’d rephrase the question – why didn’t Arsenal get either player?
Not good enough for Arsenal?
We’ve already established that as bogus – come on, if Malouda or Ribery had been playing on the wings for Arsenal against Fulham, Arsenal would have scored at least 3 goals thanks to the countless direct runs and crosses.
Outbid by the competition?
Possible, but with the money available to Arsenal it’s not as if Arsenal would have been unable to match whatever Chelsea or Bayern Munich were offering. Arsene has the authority and Arsenal have the money to go after big transfers, and both M and R would have given the side valuable experience as well.
Player chose the competition?
Possible, but isn’t this partially up to how much the club wants them?
I know that I’m just thinking out loud here, but the fact that Arsenal haven’t picked up a good wide player this summer is worrying – some may argue that neither R or M fit Arsenal’s style of play but that’s bullshit – hardly any player ever ‘perfectly’ fits the system from the go. They adapt, and these two would have adapted as well.
With 17 days to go, I doubt that Wenger would sign anyone else, but hey, Wenger’s always surprised people with his transfer moves and I wouldn’t bet against that happening again by the end of the season.