With less than 24 hours remaining in the European football’s summer transfer window, reports have emerged in the British press that Arsene Wenger is trying to sign Chelsea’s Michael Essien on a season-long-loan deal.
Arsenal’s recent goal-scoring troubles have overshadowed the fact that there is a big Alex Song-sized hole in the central defensive midfield for Wenger to fill before today’s 11pm deadline. While Cheick Tiote or Yann M’Vila would have been the ideal long-term fix for the problem, Essien’s arrival at Emirates Stadium wouldn’t be all that bad either.
The Ghanian, whose footprints were a common sight on his opposition numbers’ football socks during his prime, has now been branded a past-his-prime player due to his injury problems. He isn’t the kind of tough-tackling and marauding midfielder that he used to be a couple of seasons ago but he is still capable of doing a decent job for Arsenal.
Essien’s decreased sense of venturing-forward could be just what Arsenal want in the defensive midfield position, as our back four haven’t had a proper shield in years. As good as Song was, he wasn’t a traditional holding midfielder and his attacking nous used to leave our back line exposed frequently.
Many Arsenal fans may not be too excited with the prospect of borrowing another one of Chelsea’s rejects but they should remember that Essien is still only 29 and he looked pretty decent in the Blues’ pre-season campaign. Moreover, remember the kind of stellar production we got out of Yossi Benayoun last season when he emerged as one of our most consistent performers in the second half of the season.
The Bison’s knees may be a bit weak, but he is still better than our best in the holding position. If this deal goes through on the final day, then we’ll have an experienced winner on our hands and that’s the kind of player we’ve been lacking since Thierry Henry left these shores.