Three In, Three Out: Arsenal & Aston Villa

By Chris Wright

With the transfer window just beginning to creak in the wind (of change?), we at Pies reckon it’s high time to start speculating and hypothesising on the ins-and-out, quite literally, of this summer’s prospective transfer activity.

We’ll be doing things alphabetically over the next couple of weeks, mulling over the three players that each Premier League side should ditch and the three they should go all out to bring in over the close season – two clubs at a time.

First up, Arsenal and Aston Villa…


Three out…

Manuel Almunia – Lucky to survive the chop in January and has since fallen behind an ancient German relic in the pecking order due to injuries and a collapse in confidence. I’d happily put everything I own (which, granted, isn’t an awful lot) on the exasperating Spaniard not being at the Emirates next season.

Seb Squillaci – It became rapidly clear that the Squillaci is just not quick, strong or technical enough to cope with the rigours of the Premier League – he’s a worry at best and an outright liability at worst. The Frenchman will be 31 by the time next season rolls around and should, if Arsene Wenger has anything about him, be long gone by then.

Andrey Arshavin – There’s a few competing for this last spot (Bendtner, Eboue, Diaby, Denilson, etc.) but, lovable as he may be, ‘patchy’ just doesn’t seem to cover it when it comes to describing Arshavin’s ridiculously porous form. The Russian is now just days from his 30th birthday and gets the nod as it may just be worth Arsenal’s while attempting to cash in on him this summer while some schmuck is still willing to pay over the odds for a sporadically work-shy Boy Scout.

Three in…

Jan Vertonghen, Ajax – Seems like the perfect, tailor-made centre-back pairing for the almost fit again Vermaelen. Taller and positionally a tad more flexible than his compatriot, Vertonghen is also more than comfortable on the ball – a trait that seems to always pique Arsene Wenger’s interest.

Thiago Motta, Inter Milan –  Would probably be available on the cheap(ish), hugely experienced and a destructive midfield enforcer well versed in the dark arts of footballing bastardry.

Falcao, Porto – Has the striking chops to play the pre-injury Eduardo role – a keen, clever, dynamic poacher with a steady stream of goals almost guaranteed. A record-breaking season in Portugal is unlikely to have gone unnoticed in European scouting circles so the Colombian’s potentially astronomical price tag may be prohibitive – especially if Arsene Wenger’s track record is anything to go by.

Aston Villa

Three out…

Nigel Reo-Coker –  Clearly just not worth the hassle anymore. Nigel Mediocre has been existing on nothing more than massively inflated wages and a thin sliver of unrealised potential for years now. Capable of putting in a decent shift on his day, but it always seems that a prolonged spell of contract hissy-fitting is never more than a few months away.

Stephen Ireland – A signing that could and should have been inspired, though it’s now obvious that Ireland has come to the end of the road as far as Villa are concerned. Needs to leave in search of the molly-coddling he seems to need to function properly.

Robert Pires – Again, there are a few names vying for the last spot (Salifou, Heskey, Beye, Carew etc) but if Villa are to truly haul themselves out of the mire and get back in and around the top six, then it isn’t going to be by employing middle-aged Frenchmen to occupy spaces on their bench. Harsh perhaps, as I’m sure Pires as offered several guiding hands over the course of his brief stint, but if a coaching role isn’t being lined up then ties need to be severed to make way for younger models.

Three in…

Kyle Walker, Tottenham – Walker has been on loan at Villa since January and the young full-back has been so impressive during his time in the West Midlands that he even managed to earn himself a couple of England call-ups. Spurs already have a couple of options at right-back, so a permanent switch to the Villans may be in order for 20-year old Walker to keep his exemplary momentum up.

James Milner, Man City – Maybe Scott Parker would be a better bet as, granted, there’s not much chance of this one happening. Milner’s churning work-rate in behind Villa’s three-pronged attack has been sorely missed this season. Seeing as though a return for Milner is frankly a bit optimistic – maybe a flutter on Oscar Wendt? The FC Copenhagen left-back is being tailed by all and sundry but would certainly fill a gaping hole in Villa’s starting XI.

Kim Kallstrom, Lyon – Slightly older than Milner, but not a bad alternative if Man City won’t play ball. Box-to-box, thundering long-range shot, classy delivery and not afraid to get stuck in if needs be – maybe Gerard Houllier could use some of his old connections to pull a nifty little acquisition out of the bag?

Right, there you go folks. Please feel free to leave your own ‘Three In, Three Outs’ in the comments box below…

Posted in Arsenal, Aston Villa, Opinion, Transfers & Rumours

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  1. Dan says:

    You have clearly not watched more than a handful of Villa games this season. Reo-Coker has been a standout. The only reason he is wrangling is because he sees Dunne on 60k not caring, Beye on 45k for sitting in the reserves, Ireland on 70k for being an egg on a coathanger, Aggy on 70k for patchy performances, Warnock on 45k for being the worst left-back since Wayne Bridge… the list goes on. Why should NRC accept 30k for a vital role when those schmucks get so much for no passion. He is a dedicated professional and his attitude when O’Neill was a div to him was exemplary. If only there were more true footballers like NRC.

  2. Hirsty says:

    If Arsenal go yet another season without buying a top class keeper it will be the exact same story all over again. They should use all their money at once for Igor Akinfeev or Manuel Neuer.

  3. Nuno says:

    Really, Chris? Almunia out and no GK for Arsenal? Are you just asking for comments on this?
    And quite honestly, the chances on Falcao going to Arsenal are just about the same as Milner returning to Villa, as Porto will certainly inflate his price, especially if they win the Europa League, as it is hugely likely to happen.
    Arsenal should definitely buy themselves a good keeper (de Gea wouldn’t be cheap, but he’s young and very good; same goes for Neuer, stated in the previous comment.
    But as I see Fabregas finally leaving this season (I’d love to see him go to Real, just to annoy Barça and their “ADN players”) they could get themselves enough money to spend in a ‘keeper and midfielder… (the midfielder being, of course, a 10 year old french kid)

  4. Al says:

    @ Hirsty – seconded and I’d throw in Stekelenberg too

  5. Jimbo says:

    Eduardo wasn’t particularly great even before his injury, and for Arsenal, Falcao wouldnt’ be either. This guy’s a waste of money waiting to happen in the Premier league – these days, most strikers need to do more than simply act as finishers, and at Arsenal that’s true more than anywhere else.

    Squillaci has barely played for Arsenal since Christmas, and when he has, his performances have been reasonable. A lot of the pre-Xmas jitters were also due to playing with the rash and disorganised Koscielny, who has escaped this season with altogether too much credit.

    I’d much rather see Chamakh shown the exit door than Squillaci, but I wouldn’t mind if all 3 players we signed last summer were booted out of the club.

  6. Chris also says:

    I don’t see Falcao as strictly a poacher – he’s better than that. He does need good service from the wings and preferably a constant partner like Hulk who has no qualms about charging forward and that’s not really Arsenal, is it? I’d actually love to see what he could do in the EPL, just not sure if he’s what’s needed at any of the clubs that can afford him.

  7. Nick says:

    I’d rather see Bendtner out than Arshavin. Wildly fluctuating form or not, would I be right in thinking that he’s the top assister at the club this season? No mean feat if so.

    Not an Aresenal fan, but Wenger must surely be running his eye over Yann M’Vila at Rennes? Young, destructive defensive midfielder. And French! He looked mightily impressive against the England nonsense that we served up in the recent friendly. Either him of Blaise Matuidi. I’d love Daniele de Rossi to come and he may yet feel forced out of Roma. Imahine him patrolling the park and barking out some much needed bollockings

    How about Buffon in over the summer? Only 33, so you could get another 5 years out of him, and I’m sure he’s out of contract in the summer.

    Left field choice, but another Wenger possibility could be Pappis Cisse. He’s having a cracking season in the Bundesliga

  8. Chris says:

    @Nuno: Got a feeling Szczesny is 99.9% certain to be the Arsenal No.1 next season.

    Beg to differ re: Falcao. From what I’ve seen of him this season, the guy looks like he could score goals anywhere. One of the most naturally gifted out-and-outers that I’ve seen in a good few years – though his price is sure to be astronomical.

  9. Seb says:

    You are a dense tabloid headlin reading sky watching mug obviously.

  10. Seb says:


    Are you for real? Sign an even younger keeper than Czszesney??? Thats hilarious! What are you basing that one? Oh yeah, fantasy footbalol manager. Where all the armchair “fans” live.

  11. Chris says:

    i must say in villas case its more like 6 in and out…

    out: reocoker, pires, ireland, carew, beye, dunne, warnock, salifou, heskey

    in: we need a new centre back, left back, right back, creative mid…
    then another decent striker or two and another experienced cm

  12. D says:

    Yea got to agree with Chris. Szczesny is going to be number 1 cause thats just how Wenger works. He isn’t going to be spending money where he thinks he doesn’t need to. But I don’t think Arshavin should get the boot unless the offer the great. As said, top assister and the games he comes off the bench he seems to work a lot harder.

  13. TJ says:

    1) Dan is right.

    Reo-Coker has been probably our second most consistent player this season after Downing. One of the very few who can be said to have had a good season. His passing, previously a massive weakness, has improved a lot – he plays the simple percentage passes now which is exactly what everyone wanted him to do all along. We would be foolish to get rid of him, because he will walk away for free having cost £8.5 million + probably the same again in wages, if recent rumours to be believed to a champions league club like Napoli or Valencia.

    Agree on Ireland and Pires. I thought Pires was brought in to play 10 minutes a season and spend the rest of the year coaching. In reality he’s just hindered the progress of the fantastic young central midfielders we have like Bannan, Delph, Gardner or even Herd and Hogg.

    Walker’s England call was premature. He is great going forward but an absolute liability defensively. I think he’d be expensive for us to sign, but maybe if he sorts his defending out he’ll be one of the very best. LONG way to go though.

    Milner’s not coming back. “Churning work rate” is a bit harsh as he hit over 10 goals and 15 assists and was generally man of the match in every game – our Lampard/Gerrard.

    Kallstrom is only linked because of the Houllier-Lyon-France thing, and he used to play with Makoun. Doesn’t have what it takes to fill the key creative central position. Squad player.

  14. Rob says:

    If there’s one keeper Arsenal shouldn’t be spending money on it’s De Gea. They already have a 20 year old keeper who’s just as good. If they can get an experienced player like Buffon or Given on loan or a short term contract they should go for that and send Szczesny out on loan somewhere for a year or two while he develops.

    As for the other two positions they’re weak in – central defence and centre forward – perhaps Cahill and Cavani might be (admittedly expensive) options? They’re going to be linked to all and sundry this summer but Le Arse are a champions league club and they do need to splash some of that money they’ve built up, before they fall behind teams like City and Liverpool who will be spending.

    Villa’s transfer targets are going to depend on who leaves. They’ve got a much stronger squad than their league position would suggest, but with the rumours swirling around Young and Downing their first priority’s got to be ensuring there’s creative support for Bent (and Agbonlahor, if his form picks up). The defence is too good to be that bad again next season. More than anything, the key signing’s going to be the next manager.

  15. Jordon says:

    @TJ agreed that Walker is terrible in defence. He’s been decent in the second half of the season for Villa though. He might turn out to be like Bale though, you put him in LM and he rips it up, plus he won’t have to defend as much.

  16. jamie says:

    @TJ … I’ve never heard a Villa fan speak so much sense. Boing.

  17. Papi says:

    Arsenal would probably need more of a link-up player than Falcao. Someone to suit their passing game.

  18. tomo says:

    aston villa will rarely keep anyone born outside the west midlands. It is a second rate city and players on massive wages wont be commited. Develop the youth policy and play more young ones.

  19. FREDDY KOIGI says:

    Why would Arsenal need Falcao for heaven’s sake?, Don’t they have too many of those small attackers already?.

    Why not go for the likes of Alvaro Negredo?, Mirko Vucinic? e.t.c

  20. youreds says:

    Reo-Cokehead has been very good this season, the man in the Villa out pile should be Petrov, who is diabolical.

  21. Gilly says:

    David de Gea’s far better. For a start he’s great at stopping shots and great at catching or punching crosses. Szczesney’s great at stopping shots only. Arsenal need to sell Bentner and Vela and get Benzema. They need to Denilson and get M’Vila too.

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