Newcomers boost Arsenal's hopes
By the time defender
It was after that fourth game, a Champions League-qualifying victory against Celtic, that Wenger spoke of the Belgian's "football intelligence," an intangible quality he had also spotted in
Another English club had scouted Vermaelen at every match the previous season, but decided to spend more than twice the price on another defender who had Premier League experience. "Thomas is a fantastic leader, you can see that," said Wenger, whose decision was vindicated when Vermaelen was voted to the Premier League Team of the Year.
One year later, Wenger has again raised eyebrows with his latest center-back signing,
"I didn't hesitate when I heard of Arsenal's interest, but it is the only team I would have moved for," he told the French newspaper
While Vermaelen was at least a Belgium international, Koscielny is a far more unknown quantity, not yet an international of any sort (he qualifies for France and Poland).
"He has a real charisma and gives off a feeling of strength and serenity," Lorient scout
He is not tall, like Vermaelen, but has excellent anticipation and is rarely forced to dive in for a tackle. Koscielny has called himself "a footballer, not a defender," and is fortunate that Lorient coach
"I never saw him lose a one-on-one last season," Gourcuff said.
Koscielny played on the left of the center backs for Lorient but may start the season on the right for Arsenal. Wenger, who has already released
He did just that with his other major signing so far,
As it is, his addition gives Wenger flexibility in attack as Chamakh has the tactical awareness to fit into any system.
"He offered us a lot of options, and is superb at holding the ball up," Bordeaux coach
Under Blanc, Bordeaux played away matches using a 4-5-1 and home matches with Chamakh alongside another striker.
"I don't mind playing on my own or with other strikers," Chamakh told
Arsenal might also expect to start the season fresher than many of its title rivals. Only two of its players, Spain's
Wenger has also suggested that he is looking to replace
Wenger gave playing time to all three reserve goalkeepers --