Can Arsenal Finish Fourth Next Season?

The summer is always a horrible time for an Arsenal fan because there’s all kinds of rumours flying around about who will come in and who will leave, and most of the time all of these “transfer targets” never actually happen and we bring in a former “Invincible” that doesn’t cost anything or a French player from Ligue 1, who will struggle to adapt to the Premier League.

On the plus side though they’re usually pretty cheap.

The transfer sagas over Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri seem like they will never end, and most Arsenal fans are no longer bothered if they stay or leave. If they stay then it will be the same old story (finishing fourth is a trophy) but if they leave then Arsene Wenger will be forced to rebuild this team.

Or so you would think.

If Fabregas and Nasri join Clichy on the way out then Wenger won’t bring in proven quality to replace them, you can trust me on that one.

Last summer we lost Eduardo and Gallas and brought in Koscielny, Squillaci and Chamakh. The season before we lost Adebayor and Toure and only signed Vermaelen. And before that we lost Lehmann, Flamini, Hleb, Gilberto and Senderos and replaced them with Ramsey and Nasri, as well as bringing in those two valuable additions Silvestre and Bischoff.

Arsenal have a track record of completely underwhelming summers, so expect exactly the same this year.

Arsenal will replace Clichy with either Gibbs, Traore or someone else from the reserves. Ramsey will be seen as the main candidate to replace Fabregas and Nasri’s departure can be compensated by other wide players in Walcott, Rosicky and Arshavin.

But this brings me onto my main point, can Arsenal finish fourth next season?

We are told that we are consistently “punching above our weight” but surely that has to end sometime? While all of our Premier League rivals are getting stronger, we are trying to compete on a shoe-string budget. Manchester United have spent big already, investing in Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David de Gea. Liverpool have bought Jordan Henderson after spending big on Suarez and Carroll in January, and you can be sure Manchester City’s spending won’t be restricted to just Gael Clichy.

Chelsea and Tottenham have yet to make big signings yet but you can be sure they’ll be spending big over the summer.

So where does that leave Arsenal?

Next season could potentially be the most competitive in a long time with Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool all having aspirations of challenging for the Premier League title.

Will Arsenal still be among those Champions League places?

Will We Actually Miss Gael Clichy?

It looks like Gael Force Clichy will be moving to Manchester City, as they try to collect all of our back four from The Invincibles season. Sol Campbell is a free agent so the only stumbling block would be his outrageous wage demands, and there are rumours going around that they are trying to coax Lauren out of retirement with a very lucrative pay-as-you-play deal.

All kidding aside though, will Arsenal fans miss Gael Clichy?

There’s no doubt that he always gives 110% but he is prone to making fundamental mistakes. He gets up and down the left flank well but as everyone knows his crossing is awful. The whole point of an attacking fullback is that they either have an eye for goal of that they can at least cross a ball. Clichy has neither of those qualities.

Sagna’s contribution in the final third is not much better but he has made some assists over the course of last season and he is a much more solid defender.

But who will Arsenal use to replace Clichy?

The press are talking about Jose Enrique from Newcastle (who I don’t rate at all) and Everton’s Leighton Baines. Baines would be a fantastic acquisition but the problem is he’s English and actually a decent footballer so his retail value will be close to around £14 million which is well out of Arsenal’s spending league.

Predictions?

Arsene will not spend any money and hope that Kieran Gibbs doesn’t get injured. The poor kid will get injured two games into the new season and then we will use Thomas Vermaelen as a make-shift left back for the rest of the campaign, while Squillaci will contribute to Arsenal’s worst goal-difference in 30 years.