If You Spend Too Much Time in Bolton, You Start to Look Like the Locals

Jack Wilshere wants regular first team football next season with a Premiership club.

Bolton are offering him such a wish.

Arsenal are looking for a centre-back – preferably an English one due to UEFA’s homegrown player rule, which only affects clubs playing in the Champions or Europa Leagues.

Bolton have Gary Cahill – an Aston Villa cast-off who failed to make the England World Cup squad. This lowers his price in the transfer market.

But what’s the going rate?

Chris Smalling, who has only played 13 times for Fulham and four times for the England Under-21’s, cost Manchester United 8 million pounds plus a further 2 million depending on appearances for United and England.

Smalling is 20, while Cahill is 24 and only has one England Under 21 cap but over 80 Premiership appearances.

Understandably, Bolton do not want to lose their best defender, just like Arsenal don’t want to sell Cesc Fabregas. Sometimes, you just have accept defeat and try to get the best compensation package from the resulting transfer.

The possible key to the Cahill transfer is if Arsenal loan Jack Wilshere to Bolton for another season.

The Gunners are in danger of losing their creative midfielders with Fran Merida signing for Atletico Madrid, Fabregas wanting to sign for Barcelona, and Aaron Ramsey eight months away from a possible first team action.

If Fabregas leaves then his departure will leave Arsenal with only three attacking central midfielders:

Nasri, Rosicky, and Diaby.

Arshavin could play in that role but his tracking back and marking-up are weak, while Rosicky is too injury prone and lightweight, especially in away games.

The other two players whom I failed to mention are Henri Lansbury – who has just spent a season on loan in the Championship with Watford – and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (JET). However, even though Arsenal rate both players highly, they’re both inexperienced at the Premiership level and will probably only be used as Carling/FA Cup players or sent out on loan again.

Wilshere is seen as a better fit for the attacking central midfield role. He has an eye for a through ball, he likes to “get stuck in” and has shown with Bolton that he can take the physical demands of the Premiership.

If Fabregas stays at Arsenal, then the Cahill deal looks likely with Wilshire heading off to the Reebok Stadium. If he leaves, then Wilshere will probably stay and fight for his first team place. But Wilshere will demand to be loaned out – Newcastle also want him – unless Wenger can give him first team guarantees.

The centre-back position is now a game of poker. Four senior centre-backs are out of contract in a month. Silvestre and Senderos have not been offered new contracts. Campbell and Gallas have, although the latter will probably reject it. This leaves Vermaelen and Djourou as Arsenal’s two most experienced centre-backs. This helps Gallas and Campbell’s hand with both players wanting better contracts.

Campbell is now considering a move to Celtic who have offered him a two year contract. However, Campbell would rather stay another year at Arsenal but wants guarantees of more playing time and better bonuses. If Campbell and Gallas both leave then Bolton have the upper hand at the negotiating table regarding Cahill. Wenger, therefore, might decide to go abroad in order to obtain his centre-backs and thus retain Wilshere. It’s interesting that Newcastle are offering Steven Taylor as bait for Wilshere.

The signing of Chamakh has helped Wenger’s hand in the strikers department. Wenger tried to sign the Moroccan last summer to replace Adebayor. Both players have a lot of similarities in playing style but Chamakh is a cross between Bendtner and Adebayor. Bendtner showed against Barcelona that he’s not world class – even though he thinks that he is. His ego is big and it’s not just due to the young Dane wearing pink boots or insisting on having the No. 52 shirt.

In Denmark, Bendtner is a huge celebrity due to his romance with multi millionaire Danish Princess, Caroline Fleming who is 13 years his senior. She has two children aged six and three from her previous marriage which netted her 400 million pounds. Bendtner often stays at her Valdemars Castle, which has four museums and 21 art galleries within its walls. The Danish striker is madly in love and will not be happy unless he starts as Arsenal’s central striker. Being a sub and sleeping in Valdemars Castle don’t quite match up.

What doesn’t help Arsenal with regards to Bendtner is that his dad is his agent, plus he’s Denmark’s only goal threat in Group E where they will face Japan, Holland, and Cameroon. If Bendtner has a good World Cup, his ego will grow, thus hiding weaknesses in his game. His first touch is poor – not as good as Chamakh’s – and his chances to goals ratio is average.

The truth is that Chamakh is a better more experienced player than Bendtner and also has less of an ego. The fact that he has played six seasons in Le Championnat and is fluent in French will help him fit in faster. He is currently looking to buy a house in the Hampstead area, and with Morocco not involved in the World Cup, he has nothing to distract his move.

Bendtner is useful. He scored vital goals when Van Persie was injured. He’s also getting better but I see danger signs. It wouldn’t surprise me if he demands a move next summer. However, I can only see Aston Villa or Everton coming in for him unless he improves dramatically. If he does improve then a club like Bayern Munich would fit his style and suit his ego.

But dating a Princess doesn’t make you a King, while scoring against Stoke, Wolves, and Hull doesn’t suddenly turn you into Michael Laudrup.

Keep it real, Nicklas.

Keep It Arsenal


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