Panic at Emirates reflected in ill-advised Cabaye bid

Posted by John Cross

The panic has well and truly set in.

You can almost hear the alarm bells ringing at Arsenal from a mile off. The transfer window is closing in. Less than two weeks until it closes.

And, frankly, Yohan Cabaye is not what Arsenal need, in my humble opinion.

That's not to say he is not a good player. He is top-quality, classy, a proven international who has vision and is a good passer.

-Report: Newcastle reject Gunners bid
-Video: Cabaye out of opener
-Video: Time to spend money, Arsenal


Trouble is, Arsenal have got enough of those already. And quite apart from looking like a panic buy, this deal has danger written all over it.

Why? Because Arsenal, even with their new riches, cannot compete financially with the other interested club.

And furthermore, French international Cabaye, 27, would prefer to go to Paris Saint-Germain over Arsenal.

Arsenal have already had a bid of £10m turned down for Cabaye and the knock-on effect is more criticism of Arsene Wenger for being skinflint and afraid to pay the market value.

They have already had enough of that with Liverpool's criticism of Arsenal's tactics over Luis Suarez and their ill judged £40,000,001 bid which ended up alienating everyone and making any deal seemingly impossible.

Now they are at it again. If Arsenal really value Cabaye -- who joined Newcastle from Lille for £4.75m two years ago -- as a £10m player, then is he good enough to get in their team? Arguably not, at that price. Clearly, it's all about starting low and building up. But you also risk annoying the other club so much that they end up refusing to sell.

Arsenal will no doubt go back again with an improved bid and, for the sake of their reputation, cannot afford to miss out on another target after Suarez, Luiz Gustavo and Gonzalo Higuain. They will become a laughingstock.

The other worrying aspect to this deal is that Arsenal reportedly made their bid on Friday, after learning that Mikel Arteta would be out eight weeks.

In fairness, Arsenal did look at Cabaye in January and are long-term admirers. But going for a player after another gets injured smacks of a panic buy, which are often disastrous.

The really surprising part is most Arsenal fans would argue that what they really need is a midfield anchorman -- a big, physical presence to shield the back four.

The really noticeable thing about Aston Villa's 3-1 victory on Saturday -- apart from the fan unrest and almost open revolt -- was just how easy the visitors ploughed through Arsenal's nonexistent midfield.

Look at Gabby Agbonlahor and his run that led to Villa's first penalty. He ran from deep, unchallenged through the middle of the pitch and straight into the box, where he was upended by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Arguably, Arteta would have stopped him if he were playing. Arteta has been superb for Arsenal, but he's not a classic midfield holding man. Far from it. He's more a No. 8. And they miss his presence from that role. In fact, he's rather wasted as a holding player.

Wenger's vision is to have three small, mobile passing midfielders who can play good football and pass their way through the opposition.

But the trouble is, they already have plenty. Jack Wilshere, Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla. Even youngster Gedion Zelalem is coming through.

Cabaye would be a welcome addition. Would he get in ahead of Wilshere, Arteta or Cazorla? That's a fair question.

Arsenal need depth and quality, having off-loaded so many players and only signed rookie French striker Yaya Sanogo this summer.

But surely there are other priorities. A new keeper, defender, holding midfielder, wide man and top-quality striker.

Trying to sign Cabaye and, in the process, getting involved in another ugly transfer tug-of-war where they could miss out is probably the last thing they need.

Good player, but a bit of a bizarre choice with panic timing.

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