The season is practically over and everyone is in the future planning mode. Most of it includes discussions about transfers and the squad for the next season. I have been thinking about our squad for next season and one point stands out. We need to factor in the impact of injuries when we think about the squad.
We’ve all seen the problems faced by Rosicky and Eduardo in their comeback attempts. I don’t blame either of the individuals but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that they haven’t been close to their best. Next year we have Djourou and Ramsey who will be returning from similar long term injuries and I think it’s imperative that Arsene does not include them in his plans.
I’m not saying they shouldn’t be in the squad. Djourou is a good player and can take his place in the 25 as a homegrown player and Ramsey is anyway U-21. My point is that we cannot take the risk of expecting a consistent contribution from them in the coming season. It would be prudent to assume that both of them will have some niggling injuries during the course of the season and we will need a bigger squad just to accommodate these expected strains and pulls.
Ramsey is anyway going to miss the first couple of months of the season but there has been talk that Djourou could be promoted to a starting role. Some fans have based this on his form prior to his injury. If Gallas signs an extension then the obvious centre back pairing will continue. It’s something I don’t like but that’s a discussion for another day. If the Frenchman does leave the club when his contract expires we will certainly need a player like Vermaelen who is ready to take a starting role.
If it were up to me I’d also have another signing who could be a backup for centre back as well as defensive midfielder so that we have the much needed cover in both areas. I hope Le Boss doesn’t repeat the same mistake he made with Rosicky and Eduardo. If he’s hoping for a big season from Djourou then we just have to be prepared for another campaign where injuries rob us of a fighting chance.
Of course, there is a possibility that the Swiss international recovers well and the same goes for the young Welshman. Both of them could go on to make big contributions for us next season. We will certainly know more about Djourou after the World Cup. I don’t deny the possibility of that but when we are planning for the future can we really count on this possibility, especially given the fact that we have precedence to the contrary?!
By having three central defenders who are out of contract at the end of the season we have put ourselves in a very difficult spot. If they all leave – Campbell might not be fit enough to be a big player for the whole of next season, Silvestre isn’t valued anyway and Gallas’ mentality is always a doubt – and if Djourou spends a lot of time in the treatment room then we are left with just one proper Centre Back.
I know that’s the worst case scenario and it’s not likely to happen and Arsene has already said that he will sign someone if Gallas leaves. My main worry is that Arsene has been erring on the side of caution for far too long and might once again risk a smaller squad than what we actually need. If it were up to me I’d consider Djourou and Ramsey as bonus players but would not include them in my plans for the season. Do you think we can count on them?