North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal are both reportedly on the lookout for new ball-winning midfielders with Aston Villa’s Nigel Reo-Coker linked to Spurs and Brazilian Felipe Melo to the Gunners. However, for a mere £4m there is the perfect player available this summer and that’s the Danish hardman Christian Poulsen.
The Juventus midfielder has suffered from a poor first season in Serie A where he has failed to establish himself as a fixture in the first eleven and the club are trying to offload him with German outfit Hamburg and Turkish side Fenerbahce showing a strong interest.
In January he was strongly linked to a loan move to Fratton Park but the player himself rejected any move. He said, “As far as I understand, there has been interest from several clubs, but it is nothing I have considered,” Poulsen told Onside.dk.
“I signed a four-year contract and I am happy to be at the club. I have no plans to run away after six months.
“I have the patience and confidence that I will get enough playing time at the club.”
However, the 29-year-old Dane may not have a choice this summer as he has not enjoyed the best of times since joining the Turin giants in the summer amidst protests from the clubs fans. He is also one of the club’s high earners so new Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara may want to offload the midfield man to lower the wage bill.
There’s no doubting the Danish international’s pedigree after an impressive career which has now spanned four countries. However, Poulsen only made 23 league appearances this season (14 starts) and has not had the impact he was hoping for in Serie A.
Poulsen faced a difficult start to his Juventus career after his own fans displayed a banner that branded the midfielder ‘rubbish’ at the club’s pre-season training camp in Pinzolo. Much of this ill-feeling towards the Dane is due not only to his high wages which are only surpassed by Buffon, Del Piero, Trezeguet, Amauri and Nedved but also due to past incidents with Italian players and clubs.
Poulsen was involved in an incident with Roma’s Francesco Totti at the 2004 European Championships which ultimately led to the Italian receiving a 3-match ban after being caught on camera spitting at the Dane. Totti gave a full public apology but still claimed that Poulsen had provoked him. There was also an incident with AC Milan in the 2005/06 Champions League whilst the Dane was a Schalke player. Poulsen was heavily criticised by Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti who branded him a ‘coward’ for his rough marking of Kaka in the first match between the two teams. In the second game Poulsen was once again involved in controversy after Gennaro Gattusso goaded him at the final whistle as Milan won 3-2.
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These are not the only incidents in the Juventus midfielder’s career which includes stamping on Spurs midfielder Jermain Jenas’ head whilst with Sevilla and punching Sweden’s Marcus Rosenberg in the stomach in a Euro 2008 qualifying match. The Dane was subsequently red carded and a penalty awarded which led to a supporter running onto the pitch and attacking the referee who subsequently abandoned the game. The match was thus awarded as a 3-0 win for Sweden.
So Poulsen may come with a reputation which is backed up by the number of cards he has received in his career. In 111 League appearances in the Bundesliga, the Dane hardman received 34 yellow cards and 4 reds. In Spain he also received 18 yellow cards in just 62 League appearances.
Despite his poor discipline at times, the Danish star is also a winner. He’s won the Danish title, the German League Cup, the European Super Cup, the Uefa Cup and the Copa Del Rey. He has also been crowned Danish Player of the Year twice in 2005 and 2006.
Poulsen has made 63 appearances for Denmark (5 goals) and played in the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. His aggressive style makes him a perfect candidate for a defensive midfield role at both North London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham.
The Gunners have superb attacking qualities but have been criticised for lacking the steel which the Dane would undoubtedly bring alongside the guile of Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal have lacked a ball winner since Mathieu Flamini left the club last summer and have not boasted a genuine midfield hardman since the days of Patrick Vieira. Poulsen may not be the type of player that Arsene Wenger usually prefers but if he feels his youngsters need a ‘minder’ then the Dane would be perfect.
If Harry Redknapp was to partner Wilson Palacios in the centre of his midfield with Poulsen then Spurs would have changed from being relatively powder-puff to having one of the most fiercely competitive midfields in the Premier League. This duo would also free up the talents of Aaron Lennon and Luka Modric in more advanced roles. He also fits into Redknapp’s category as a player in his ‘prime’. The Danish international will have a point to prove after such a poor season and at such a low price-tag would surely be one of the bargains of the summer.
So would you like to bring the hardman Dane to your club in the summer? Could he be the one player that would enhance your team’s performance next season? Let’s hear your views.