Baros and Babb show why Wenger is right to show transfer caution

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes to bring in his targets before the World Cup in South Africa begins and insists that he will not be tempted by any of the impact stars of FIFA’s flagship event.

Le Professeur has warned that buying a player off of the strength of a good tournament is unwise as it does not as players cannot be judged on three weeks of football and their prices will inevitably be hiked up should they have a successful campaign in South Africa this summer.

The Gunners’ chief made a point about flash in the pan players when he said: “the World Cup will not affect our recruitment,” Wenger then added: “It is dangerous to buy on the back of a World Cup. The prices are artificial and you have to bear in mind that anyone can have three weeks of glory.”

Many fans may point toward a certain diminutive Russian (who sounds a lot like a certain meerkat from a famous TV advert) after he made his name in Euro 2008. However, Wenger did not sign Andrey Arshavin until transfer deadline day January of 2009 giving him a chance to have a prolonged look at the 26-year-old, who also impressed for his former club Zenit St Petersburg.

Wenger argues that some players can impress during the World Cup simply because they are fresh from not playing for the whole season and the quality of a player must be judged on his consistency.

“Overall I feel it is very dangerous to buy on [the strength of] the tournament because sometimes there are players who are fresh and have not played the whole season.

“To have 10 years of success is quite different. With the season drawing to a close, people are inevitably looking to discuss our transfer targets” said the Arsenal boss.

Wenger’s point about flash in the pan players could be true in regard to someone like Milan Baros, the Czech Republic striker, who won the Golden Boot after scoring five goals during UEFA’s Euro 2004 tournament and helped his side into the semi-finals. Although the forward was part of Liverpool’s successful Champions League campaign following his international heroics he ended up being marginalised by his new manager Rafa Benitez and the player was sold to Aston Villa in the August of 2005 and has since been moved from club to club.

Remember Phil Babb? I expect everyone remembers his eye-watering nutcracker collision with the post following Pierluigi Casiraghi’s goal for Chelsea against Liverpool at Anfield (oh how I laughed). Anyway, Babb had quite an impressive World Cup in 1994 (you know the one, we weren’t in it) and played in every game for the Republic of Ireland side, who got into the final sixteen of the tournament. Two months later the defender signed as the most expensive defender in English football for Roy Evans’ Liverpool side and although he played regularly he wasn’t so impressive and left on the Bosman ruling during Gerard Houllier’s tenure as Liverpool chief.

Anyway, back to Wenger’s transfer plans. Arsenal have recently written off over £133 million in debts and after selling Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City the north Londoners should have a fairly healthy transfer budget for the coming season.

The Gunners definitely need to strengthen in my opinion and they need to mix some experience with the array of young talent that they amongst their ranks. The return of Sol Campbell goes some way to prove this point as he has been a level head in the Arsenal back four following injuries to key defenders and has even been tipped to possibly make a surprise appearance in the England squad which is due to compete in South Africa this summer. The young Arsenal players can learn a lot from players like Campbell and I think they need to add more experience as well as continuing their search of the world’s best young players.

One player who Wenger is said to be keen on is Marouane Chamakh, the Bordeaux striker who is available on a free transfer this summer. If Wenger can acquire the signature of the 26-year-old Moroccan would be a good start, but many Arsenal fans will feel they need even more additions.

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