Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Arsene Wenger Loaned out Johan Djourou

I was very unhappy when I heard that Arsene Wenger had loaned Johan Djourou to Birmingham. As an Arsenal fan, I really like to see the Arsenal youth develop at Arsenal, the club which probably has the brightest young prospects in world football. I was not the only one who was shocked and disappointed when Djourou was loaned out. Djourou is one of the most promising young central defenders in the Premiership (alongside Micah Richards of course) and as such I was hoping to see him get some games this season.

However Wenger defended the decision yesterday, saying "I knew when Djourou left that Alex Song can play in there and Gilberto has played in there already,” said Wenger. “I wanted him to be experienced. I know Kolo will go in January [to the African Nations Cup] and I want Johan to play."

It is good to see that Wenger has him in the plans for the time that Kolo Toure is gone, although I suspect that we may see a lot of Gallas and Senderos if neither of them is injured. What worries me is the talk of Song and Gilberto in the central defensive position. Alex Song should be nowhere near the field until he gets some more experience, as he is not at all up to Arsenal's high standards. For some reason Wenger has faith in him, so I feel he deserves a chance, but that chance should not be in the heart of our defense - a defense which gave up more goals by far than any of the other top four last season. Gilberto on the other hand is a hard tackler, and would make a good defender. However, we have nobody who can effectively replace him in the defensive midfield role, where he shields our defenders better than anybody else. For this reason, I think that Djourou should have remained in our squad - not to mention his height: at 6 ft 4 in he would be very useful in defending set pieces and crosses.

While nobody could have foreseen the injury of William Gallas (despite his injury proneness last season), I still think that it was foolish to let Djourou go. He may get more experience at Birmingham, but as he is one of our brightest prospects for the future, I would like to see him fashioning a partnership with Gallas and Toure, and maybe even Senderos.

I just can't wait until I get to see Djourou play in Arsenal colors in January (not that I want Toure to go or anything - he's a quality defender)