Arsene Wenger is considering changing to a 4-3-3 formation this season to accommodate his young attacking talents in what would be a radical departure from the Arsenal manager's usual 4-4-2 system. Wenger used the 4-3-3 formation in the weekend's two Emirates Cup games and has worked extensively with the players on that style during pre-season in Austria.
The new approach would be much more similar in style to the one used to such great success last season by Barcelona and would be spearheaded by a single centre-forward in either Robin van Persie or Eduardo da Silva. Although it would be a culture shock for a team accustomed to playing 4-4-2 under Wenger, it explains the Frenchman's confidence at allowing Emmanuel Adebayor to leave the club.
The feeling at Arsenal is that Wenger will give the system a more exacting test by using it against Valencia in the friendly on Saturday and if he feels that his players have sufficiently adapted then he will use it against Everton in the first Premier League game the following week. It would mean keeping Andrei Arshavin on the left wing and using Theo Walcott on the right of an attacking three.
In terms of the midfield three, Alex Song would be favourite to play the holding midfield role behind a pairing of Cesc Fabregas and one from Denilson, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Fran Merida of even Jack Wilshere who impressed over the weekend against Atletico Madrid and Rangers. The concern for Wenger is the defensive aspect of the formation.
Talking about the change to his team's formation on Saturday, the Arsenal manager said: "I wanted to see how it works because we have many offensive players and maybe we have to tighten up a bit in midfield to keep balance between offence and defence. But I wanted to see how it works in a game and I am quite happy with it." He mentioned the importance of the "tactical cohesion" in his programme notes for the weekend.
The weakness is where Wenger finds a holding midfielder as an alternative for Song who is still some distance from establishing himself in that position. Abou Diaby can play that role and there are still the rumblings about Patrick Vieira returning. However, it is understood that despite Wenger's cryptic answers on the subject he has made no move to sign him.
He has been priced out of any move for Daniele de Rossi, the Roma and Italy midfielder, who at a valuation of around £30m would not be viable for Wenger. His move for the Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh is starting to gain momentum with the player giving an outspoken interview in L'Equipe yesterday outlining his desire to leave.
The 25-year-old has been the subject of one offer of around £6.5m from Wenger which has been dismissed outright by Bordeaux who have priced the player at £15m but would probably settle for closer to £12m. Chamakh, who was pulled out of a friendly on Sunday against Villarreal said it was his "dream" to join Arsenal.
"I am angry, I am even disgusted [with Bordeaux]," he said. "I don't understand why people are doing this to me. I believe I deserve more consideration. I am a year from the end of my contract and the club [Bordeaux] wants to make it all about money."