With Jamie Vardy’s arrival now almost a certainty, it remains to be seen how the newly-rejuvenated Arsenal social media team are going to announce it, after winning the Internet over with the way they made the signing of Granit Xhaka official.
Having wrapped up two top-notch signings much before the commencement of European Championship, Arsene Wenger’s transfer activity is finally similar in tune to that of the Emirates Stadium faithful’s anticipations. However, by the looks of things, the shrewd Frenchman looks certain to add highly-rated Ricardo Rodriguez to the roster, with Kieran Gibbs expected to exit the club in search of first-team minutes.
Monreal cut a fatigued figure towards the end of the last season, with his deputy in Gibbs starting only three Premier League games; signing Rodriguez could ease the pressure off Monreal’s shoulders as the Swiss could be rotated, thereby ensuring that Wenger could field either of the two left-backs without any dip in the quality.
The 66-year-old gaffer hardly makes earth-shaking changes to his tactics as he only prefers making minor tweaks to the system, with the overall skeleton of his team remaining fairly similar over the years. However, given the transfers, he could be readying the club for a wholesale change to the structure of the first-team.
Will Arsenal have more than one Plan A?
Provided Olivier Giroud and Monreal retain their spots in the starting line-up, the Ashburton Grove club will retain the system they employed in the relatively successful 2015/16 campaign, with Monreal being the more conservative of the two fullbacks and the midfield playing off targetman Giroud. However, should new signings Vardy and Rodriguez replace them, Wenger ought to make tweaks to the system to capitalise on his new acquisitions’ traits.
Vardy embodies the dreams of Arsenal supporters as he boasts solid dribbling, ability to get behind defenders, and lightning pace. On the other hand, Rodriguez will essentially be a more robust Hector Bellerin on the other side of the pitch; with two attacking fullbacks and the wealth of central midfield talent, Wenger could forego the thought of signing a winger.
Arsenal can espouse a 4-4-2 setup, with Mesut Ozil and Xhaka on the top and bottom of the midfield diamond and Santi Cazorla, Mohamed Elneny, Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi, and Aaron Ramsey fighting for the other two spots.
Alexis Sanchez could partner Vardy up front, with the Chilean playing a deeper and more creative role.
Will Arsenal regain their lost glory?
Against less than stellar opponents like West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth, Arsenal will definitely run riot with this formation, provided they break the backlines that are bound to sit deep against such an unorthodox attacking line-up.
On the contrary, against the Manchester Citys and Barcelonas, the Gunners might be forced to bring forgotten heroes Francis Coquelin and Monreal back into the mix to address the defensive vulnerability.
The arrival of Xhaka, Vardy, and Rodriguez might as well serve as the response for older Arsenal fans’ pleas for a revival of the pacey, counter-attacking football that defined the early Wenger years.
With the British media speculating that Wenger may extend his stay beyond next season, even the most loyal detractors of the manager will change their colours if the manager recreates his old laurels with the aid of the new signings.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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