As we head into the final days of this summer’s transfer window, Arsenal have yet to spend any money on transfers, much to the despair of their fans.
The club went into this summer off the back of a frustrating and disappointing season, only narrowly qualifying for the Champions League play-offs and yet again failing to bring silverware back to the Emirates.
However, there was a feeling of excitement, positivity and hope back in July that the club’s fate was in their own hands – manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis had all but promised the fans that big signings lay in wait as the club prepared to spend their ‘war chest’ on quality additions.
Those promised have still not yet been delivered to the fans – Arsenal have operated with indecision, mismanagement and misjudgment on a number of their intended deals this summer. Deals for Gonzalo Higuain, Bernard, Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney, Lars Bender and Luiz Gustavo are now dead in the water as Arsenal begun the season with a threadbare squad and only Yaya Sanogo as consolation.
Now the Gunners are reportedly hopeful of bringing in Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema as well as Mesuit Ozil and Angel Di Maria but if this summer’s previous record is anything to go by, I doubt Arsenal fans will be holding their breath.
At this point, after so much talk and so little action, I wonder whether even a ‘marquee’ signing like Benzema could even solve the Gunners’ problems now. Firstly, the player himself doesn’t seem all that keen on leaving the Bernabeu at all and I have serious reservations about whether the club should be wasting precious time on haggling with Real Madrid over a player who may not even be interested.
Perhaps quality additions like Ozil or Di Maria may go some way to restore the fans’ faith in the manager and the board but, at this point, it looks highly unlikely that Arsenal will be able to bring in all the quality they need in all the positions they require.
Whilst the press seem preoccupied mostly with the Gunners’ need for a top striker, the fans know the club needs a goalkeeper, a central defender, a defensive midfielder, and an attacking midfielder as well as a striker – at this point, even signing Karim Benzema may not be enough to secure them a top four finish or a trophy.
Arsenal actually require a £40 million striker less than any of those other positions – Olivier Giroud has scored in every game he’s played so far this season after an impressive pre-season tour. They have Lukas Podolski and even Theo Walcott who can operate as central forwards if need be.
Deploying right-back Bacary Sagna as a central defender appears to be Wenger’s solution to his defensive frailties at present – Arsenal have gone into the new season with just one fully fit and available centre back in Per Mertesacker after injuries (and suspension) befell Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen. Even if they were fit and available, find me another club in the Premier League who has less than four centre-backs registered.
Synonymously, find me another club that has less than three goalkeepers registered – find me another club that at 2-1 down on the opening day of the season, threw on a player who had just stepped off a flight from Ecuador after spending the summer on international duty after playing almost every minute of every Premier League game last term.
Find me another club that would play Aaron Ramsey at centre-back with ten men on the pitch and bring on Lukas Podolski for an injured right back-turned-centre-back in the 90th minute.
Find me another club in the top flight of any European league that is as unprepared as Arsenal Football Club and then consider whether one top quality striker like Benzema is going to solve the problem. If anything, that will only serve to sweep the problems under the rug for another season.
image: © Jan S0L0