While everyone else was marveling at a wonderful performance from Bayern last night Arsenal fans had another reason to keep a very close eye on Barca’s woeful Champions League exit.
This is because for the latter part of the game all five of the players that have been linked with the club in the last few months were on the pitch at the same time – a very rare occurrence.
It gave Arsene Wenger a chance to have a peek at how a new Barca flavoured Arsenal might look next season and the results don’t look too pretty. Would this lot be an upgrade on what Arsenal have now? Mmmm.
The worst performer was Alex Song. In for Javier Mascherano he simply didn’t look that interested. His distribution was poor, he seemed off the pace and in truth his body language betrayed what an awful few months he has had in Catalonia. He looks like a player who has completely lost any self-belief.
Alexis Sanchez didn’t seem to much better either. He huffed an puffed on the left for the last part of the game to little avail. Again his link up play was poor and he seemed also to be lacking in confidence.
As for David Villa, he looks a shadow the player that has been terrorising defences for years. He created little and apart from a very good header that went just wide he barely hit anything that was remotely near the target.
Apart from picking the ball out of the net three times- none of which were really his fault, Victor Valdes had an ok game. And as for Cesc Fabregas, he was one of Barca’s better players on the night looking a lot more comfortable in the middle than out on the right where he was stationed for part of the game.
If last night is a barometer for how the players are at the moment, and let’s remember the were up against a very good Bayern team, Wenger won’t be convinced and will need to look elsewhere to offload some of their squad players.
Fabregas would always be welcome back and life might end up being a lot easier for him in London too, and Valdes would be a significant upgrade on Arsenal’s current keepers.
Barca screwed up badly by not selling Villa to Arsenal in the window. It would be astonishing if the 31 year old ended up as Arsenal’s marquee signing ahead of say Stevan Jovetic. He would be a useful addition to the squad but he as gone from being a must buy to a luxury and Arsenal won’t pay Barca anything like the money they want for him.
I also think Wenger will pass on Sanchez, and as for Song, well much depends on how damaged he thinks the player is following his season in Spain. He doesn’t resemble the cocky £15 million Arsenal reluctantly let go last summer.
In the great tradition of Arsenal and Barcelona, I think we might see some rather mickey taking offers coming in this summer. The irony is that it won’t be Barcelona saying no thanks unless they get players on cut-price deals, but Arsenal looking for bargains.
So which is the Barca quintet would you sign?