Deadline day came and went and, despite the numerous rumours and wishful thinking Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger brought in just one player on the cusp of the deadline.
Nacho Monreal is not a striker, nor a defensive midfielder, nor a centre-back – all of which were positions many Arsenal fans were crying out for re-enforcements to be brought in.
Monreal is, however Spanish international left-back – technically gifted, defensively capable, with experience at both club and international level. He comes in as a clear replacement for Kieran Gibbs who was injured in Wednesday evening’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
It now seems he may be out for more than the three weeks initially estimated – possible a couple of months on the side-lines is what he and the club now face.
Whilst fans will feel a little more assured going into a spell where they face Bayern Munich in the Champion’s League along with Tottenham and Everton in the Premier League fight for top four, there will still be a number of concerns and reservations over this squad’s ability to achieve this season’s objectives.
However, with the new sponsorship deal with Emirates announced late last year and the profit made in every other transfer window for the past few season, Arsene Wenger has what many are calling a ‘war chest’ at his disposal this summer.
Everyone knows January is not the most opportune time to do the bulk of transfer business and I suspect the boss will spend big in the summer window. Rumours of him travelling to Germany to negotiate transfers of certain German international were probably too far-fetched to be realized in January.
However, despite his miserly characteristics, I have reason to believe that Wenger really will spend a vast amount of money in the summer – not the vast amount of money the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea have spent recently but I believe he will spend.
Why? Simply put, because he can. The manager has had the stadium deal shackling him to a large extent in the last 7 years – co-incidentally, pretty much the same period in which Arsenal have won nothing.
Wenger is, in his philosophy and approach, economical anyway – he simply doesn’t believe in spending too much but I think even he recognizes that he simply doesn’t have enough quality within his ranks this season and hasn’t since even before the departure of Cesc Fabregas, if he’s honest.
Let’s not forget Wenger loves technically gifted players – he has always tried to bring in the very best quality and I would expect that’s what he’ll do in the summer. He’s probably getting quality withdrawal symptoms at the moment.
If, and it’s a big ‘if’, this current group of players can just dig deep and, at the very least, make the top four, Arsenal will have enough money to lure the very best players to the club.
The problem is, if they can’t offer Champion’s League football next season, they will be more limited in the players they can bring in and, more crucially, the money they can afford to spend.
Arsenal fans should, in my humble opinion, back the manager, have a little faith and keep their fingers crossed they can force their way into the top four. A run in FA Cup wouldn’t go amiss but, at this stage, the league has to be the priority. Wenger will spend in the summer but he runs the risk of it being too little too late by then.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge