So far, this summer hasn’t gone to plan for Arsenal – the Gunners have yet to spend a single penny on buying players in for the new season, despite the club’s insistence it would and could get big deals done for quality players.
For the first time in a long time Arsenal have gone into a summer transfer window without agonizing over which players they could lose and, furthermore, they finally have to cash to splash around.
The club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis insisted the club were capable and willing to compete with the ‘big clubs’ of Europe – the likes of Bayern Munich – and could, if necessary, pay wages of more than £250,000 a week for the right addition.
However, so far their only new arrival is 20-year-old Ligue 2 striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre and deals for Gonzalo Higuain and Bernard have seemed to evaporate into thin air.
The Gunners have, subsequently, moved for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez but, as yet, to no avail and with the new season starting this month, as well as imminent and crucial Champions League qualification play-offs, the fans are more than a little bit concerned.
The summer that showed so much promise has so far failed to deliver but could it be that Arsenal’s new buying strategy – paying big fees for big names on big wages – is the problem?
Is there an argument to be made that Arsenal should revert to their default position in recent years and spend a little more wisely on up-and-coming players who are keen to improve?
Firstly, the less reputable the player, the more likely they will be to sign for a club that hasn’t won a trophy in 8 years and especially if their current club is not included in the Champions League – that is Arsenal’s main appeal for players at present. That is what they are offering Luis Suarez, after all.
Players already playing at big clubs – the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United; the clubs that usually occupy a place in the top pot in the Champions League draws – are less likely to come to Arsenal unless they’re not getting regular access to the first team at that club.
That was the reason Higuain wanted to move and Real Madrid were willing to sell – ultimately, to Napoli. For Arsenal’s recent purchases Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, coming to Arsenal was a step up from Montpellier, Koln, and Malaga, respectively.
Ought Arsenal be looking to bring in similar standard players from clubs with similar statures – after all, those three performed exceptionally well and made an impressive impact on the team overall.
All three were keen to work hard, impress the fans and the boss and that paid dividends in the end. Rather than trying to sign Wayne Rooney or Luis Suarez, why not enquire about Michu or Stephan Kiessling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Christian Benteke?
If the Gunners hadn’t been so preoccupied with trying to sign a big name, they could have moved for players like Wilfried Bony, Jackson Martinez, Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Jozy Altidore.
At the beginning of the summer Arsenal fans were crying out for the club to buy a big name player but now, with just weeks left to go until the new season, I wonder whether they’d take just a very good signing? Or any signing perhaps.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald