Le Boss, I’m telling you, Mourinho’s ego is thiiiiiis big.

The Nuri Şahin deal is done if this Daily Mail article is to be believed.  It’s believed to be a loan with the option to buy of some sort, possibly the €14 million mentioned in the article.  With all transfer stories, I’ll hold out calling it a done deal myself until I see it announced on the official site.  But it does look, however, as if Turkish international, Şahin, is an Arsenal player as of today.

Şahin is a player Wenger has courted in the past from his days at Borussia Dortmund & is a deeper-lying creative midfielder who actually may be both more creative & defensive than Alex Song.  At least in terms of actual statistical output, if not an actual defensive midfielder or one with a more physical physique (à la  Song).


Better defensive stats than Song last time Şahin was a regular?

This article in the Belfast Telegraph also makes that point that the German-born Turk may be an upgrade in both facets of midfield over Song.  Although that’s not news to us who think Song’s departure & what it’ll mean to Arsenal is being overstated by both pundits & certain sections of our own fanbase:

Replacing the Cameroon international with Sahin should mean a more stylish Arsenal side this season. Song was only nominally a defensive midfielder, able to push opponents off the ball with a shrug of his broad shoulders, but not always astute enough to stay close to them. Some of his best contributions at Arsenal, especially in recent seasons, were moments of quick flashes of inspiration.

But Sahin is different. He is an orchestrator, stitching the patterns of play from the heart of the midfield. He is much more authoritative than Song, happier to show for the ball and take responsibility for starting attacks. His passing, over long and short distances, is exceptional. He knows when to retain possession and when to risk it in pursuit of goals. Sahin’s approach might be best described as Spanish, in terms of his care of the ball and imagination with it. He is not dissimilar from his new team-mates Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta, and they should be able to strike up the natural combinations which intelligent footballers can find in one another.

If Şahin is to slot straight into the midfield in Song’s spot & accompany Arteta & Cazorla, that is surely a very creative & technically gifted midfield.  But will that trio be able to stand up to a season’s worth of physical rigors that we know the Premier League demands?  The old “can they do it on a cold night in Stoke?,” mantra.  On the face of it, probably not.  However, if Arsène Wenger does go with some sort of midfield combination of Şahin-Arteta-Cazorla (along with Wilshere, Rosičký, Diaby & Ramsey) does it mean a complete shift back to a technical, possession based system where you attempt to make rugged physical midfielders & defenders chase you & hopefully tire out or get burnt with a Barcelonaesque “tika-taka” quick passing game?  The 1982 Brazil World Cup side also featured a midfield entirely composed of creative type of players but Arsenal are not on the level of Barcelona & Brazil ’82, obviously.  But could we be on the level enough to challenge for the Premier League by the end of the season with that sort of midfield?


Şahin had 30 appearances, with 6 goals & 8 assists for Borussia Dortmund in 2010/11

It all remains to be seen & Wenger has already hinted at a lineup (& possibly slight stylistic) change from the opening match against Sunderland, as Le Boss was not pleased with the speed of passing in the game.  Could Şahin’s signing (& maybe Yann M’Vila’s too) signal that switch?  Of course, the signing has to be made official & all.

On to other rumors  for Arsenal signings today- firstly with a believable one- & it includes us being told we can sign Lucas Biglia from RSC Anderlecht for €8 million.  If Wenger goes the cheap route Biglia may be the one to come in in place of a proposed M’Vila signing.  In a less believable possible signing, at least for me, Fernando Llorente may be coming to Arsenal although Chelsea are also interested, but only if Bilbao’s €36 million buyout clause is met.

As for players leaving & not coming because they signed elsewhere, Russian mercurial maestro, Andrei Arshavin is rumored to be off to Zenit again & as much as I’d like the diminutive attacker to remake himself at Arsenal, getting his £70k a week salary off the books will go a long way to being able to sign someone like M’Vila & Şahin.

Despite talks being in “advanced” stages at one point, Belgian striker, Kévin Mirallas, has opted to sign for Everton because of the club’s & Davis Moyes’ enthusiasm & the promise to be able to play games more regularly at Everton.  The striker was quoted as saying:

‘I had a possibility of playing more games and longer periods with Everton. A number of clubs were showing interest in me and my discussions with the manager here were very important.

‘From the word go I was really impressed by the extent to which the manager wanted me here.

Fair play to Mirallas & it’s actually a little bit refreshing to see someone snub us for a club that may be viewed as being a step beneath us (that is not a knock at you Toffees, I respect Everton & the job Moyes has done considering the financial issues they’ve had in recent years) & looking to play & build something somewhere that doesn’t involve Russian or Arab megabucks.  In fact, good luck, Kévin.  I hope you score bags of goals.  Except against us, of course.

Well, that’s your post for this evening.  What’s left of my Arrogant Bastard ale is beckoning me to finish it off & the siren song of Football Manager 10 is also calling out to me.  My Bristol Rovers face Nottingham Forest in the penultimate match of our Championship season & we’re chasing Ipswich for the second automatic promotion spot.  To the beer & game!


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