Good morning all, I hope you enjoyed the extended weekend if you are based in England, if not well yesterday was a bit of a washout for me so you need not feel so aggrieved – I walked around a garden centre and bought a water feature, it’s not Rock and Roll, but it’s my life. Thanks for the support.

So where are we? Before the Bank Holiday weekend it appeared that Yaya Sanogo has visited London Colney, completed a medical and penned a 4 year deal to join us when his contract expires on the 1st June. I always apply a certain rule of thumb when a player is signed that I haven’t seen anything more than YouTube videos of. The rule is this – If the player is decent on Football Manager – then generally that is a fair reflection of his talent. The Football Manager stats database is built up on “scout reports” from the developers vast network of player profilers and it is quite reliable. Sometimes a bit of hyperbole can take a decent player and turn him into a “Wonderkid” and certainly Sanogo was put in this category (if my memory is correct) along with the likes of Oscar and Bojan Krkic, but it is important to counter that with Bojan Krkic, the Barcelona striker who was “the next big thing” has faded recently, but the lad has time on his side and he is currently on the books of Roma (although he spent last season on loan at Milan).

Yaya Sanogo

So there are warning signs to heed, but he is a player who comes with a reputation and in France there were an awful lot of teams who wanted to sign Sanogo but it appears we got ahead of the chasing pack and made significant contact in January to confirm the details of this transfer.  That is why we played hardball with Barca over Villa – we wanted him, but not at any cost. Arsenal were already negotiating with Sanogo and were confident of bringing him over to us in the summer.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that Sanogo is as good as Villa, he is an entirely different player. Sanogo is a quick, strong player who looks to make runs between the centre-backs and get on the end of chances, Villa is a more team-work based, technical player who gets in the right place at the right time but both have an awful lot to offer.

It is heartening that we were planning this summer’s transfer business in January and that we are being busy early on when arguably the best signings are made. We cannot be fooled into thinking the last-minute transfer activity of seasons past is good enough and it was good to see us off the mark early last season.

Looking at other areas of the team, ti is clear that Arteta, whilst being integral to our success last season will not be able to continue to perform at that high level consistently for a whole season. Arteta is getting older and we need to put in place a replacement and also have a youth player learning from both so that we have continuity of players for each position. I would like to see Frimpong given a shot, but bring in another experienced player. We need Frimpong to learn the more tactical side of the game. He is currently a real bruiser, a tough-tackling, energetic battering ram but sometimes you need to defend with brains and not brawn. Coquelin has a better understanding of this, but I have heard he is looking for a transfer to get first-team football.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, you don’t need to spend 30 million on a defensive midfielder. Change Vermaelen’s role and bring in another centre-back. The reasons for this are sound, firstly Vermaelen is good at reading the game and making that early interception to win the ball. He is also reasonably paced and can move the ball well whilst on the run. It would also give us even more strength in depth as Vermaelen can play on the left or in the centre of defence as well as midfield so with the addition of an extra centre-back and we can happily move on Squillaci and Djourou without any real worry. For the incoming centre-back I would happily take Iggy Miquel being promoted and given a real shot. If we don’t do that soon he will go somewhere else.

If Arsenal take the above path, we will have shifted some dead-weight off of the wage bill and saved us purchasing a new defensive midfielder.

Exciting times.