Arsene Wenger’s dislike for the January transfer window coincides perfectly with the announcement that Arsenal have recruited former West Ham head of sport science Andy Rolls. Wenger has a preference with sticking with the group he assembled the prior summer, and with the club’s poor injury record, making behind-the-scenes additions is arguably a smarter course of action than simply dipping into the transfer market.
It’s long been a criticism of Wenger, that perhaps training needed to be altered to ensure muscle injuries, which have been the norm, do not crop up at various and often important points of the season. Every club suffers injuries, but the alarming regularity of those at Arsenal over the years simply can’t be down to misfortunate.
Andy Rolls will arrive at the club in February as a physio, with Colin Lewin remaining as the club’s head of medicine. There may be a temptation to question to merits of appointing Rolls, such has been the poor injury record at West Ham in recent seasons, with Andy Carroll the primary topic of discussion.
The difference, however, is that Carroll has been the unfortunate recipient of ankle and other bone injuries, with Sam Allardyce admitting late last year that the forward was well behind schedule to return. Arsenal’s issues, as was the case most notably this season with Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey, has been due to strain on the muscles, especially with the latter, who it can be argued was played into that now infamous “red zone” this season by Wenger.
What is promising is that regardless of West Ham’s injury history, Arsenal are looking to address what at times have been season-damaging injuries. A club of Arsenal’s stature likely would have done all the necessary checks to ensure Rolls, who is highly rated, was the right man to come into the club. There shouldn’t be a great deal of concern at this appointment.