Arsenal complete most successful transfer window of the Emirates era
Morning all and welcome to the day after the night before, in which Arsenal finished the first transfer window since I can remember where Arsenal fans are reasonably happy with the business that has been conducted all summer.
Yesterday the arrivals of David Luiz and Kieran Tierney were confirmed in the afternoon and so it means we have:
Every summer that I can remember Arsenal have always had issues in certain positions that we all thought needed addressing, yet every summer since we moved to the Emirates we would either only partially address it with a cheaper option, or we’d not address it at all. I’m not going to turn this into a Wenger-bashing blog, but I might have a few spiky words for Gazidis, because he was the deal maker and under his watch we perennially underperformed in terms of assessing weaknesses. That wasn’t all down to him and Wenger was a chief challenge in that regard because he would veto deals based on price, but Gazidis oversaw it all and as I said on Twitter last night, he managed in one full summer to do the business where Gazidis repeatedly failed.
This was the best transfer window Arsenal have delivered since Sol Campbell popped his head around a PR branded wall.
It wasn’t all plain sailing and of course for a big chunk of the window it was maddening to see what felt like Arsenal-of-old dallying on deals, but it’s about the destination and not the journey and this destination and where we are at now is in a far better position than where we were.
We had a lop-sided, underperforming, bloated wage bill of a team and in this summer we have readdressed a lot of that. Big names have come off the wage bill and we’ve recouped enough cash (if you include the sell-on fees we received from the likes of Bennacer who joined Milan this summer) so that our overall outlay this summer is around the £45million mark.
The deals have been savvy. Where we’ve had to spend big they’ve been staggered, where we’ve had to sell the decisions have been made, which is why we now find ourselves looking a lot more like a team geared up to challenge for the top four this season than we were at the end of the season.
Of course a few people were a little upset by the sale of Iwobi to Everton but if you’re going to get north of £35million potentially up to £40million for a wide player who scored just six goals and got nine assists in over 50 games, then you’ve got to take it, which points to a ruthlessness about this Arsenal regime that I like. We have young and impressive players in the team coming through in that wide forward role. Reiss Nelson needs to be given the opportunity to prove he can do it and Buyako Saka needs to believe he’s next in line after Nelson. The same of Iwobi made total sense but above all it proved that Arsenal are no longer a sentimental club. We are in the business of trying to win and for too long we’ve kept some players beyond their ‘cycle’ and lost money.
This deal comes at a good time for Arsenal because let’s face it, Iwobi had stagnated, with little end product and a frustrating ability to dribble in to trouble. Nelson is younger and will have similar games but what we have to hope for is that he also has games in which he shows that the faith in him was not misplaced.
The David Luiz signing I’m still not convinced about. Is he better than Mustafi? Possibly. Is he more of a leader? Most probably. Will he make mistakes and have brain farts? I suspect so. But for £8million it is a punt that is worth having I think. He could turn out to be a shrewd short term signing, even if I am yet to be convinced.
Now the business off the field is done though, it is up to Unai Emery to build a team that can compete at the top, because it’s all on him to deliver and that is a little pressure I hope he can handle. The side has had quite an overhaul and if you think of the signings from last summer too it is quite feasible to have the following side out next season:
- Bought in a left back to challenge as the number one choice for the future and now
- Bought in a centre half with experience and pedigree
- Bought in (and admittedly loaned out) a central defender who was touted as a big prospect across Europe
- Bought in a clever midfielder with brilliant front to back transitioning skills to replace the Ramsey hole
- Bought in a very good looking wide-forward in Martinelli who looks like he could be a special one for the future
- Bought in a big name wide forward who had a stormer last season and we all thought was so far beyond us in terms of price range in Pepe.
Of those only Özil and Lacazette you’d count as Wenger signings (Bellerin being a youth product) and so the new manager can hardly complain that he hasn’t been backed or they aren’t his players. The players have had a year under Emery to understand his ‘way’ and so now he must deliver.
I have quiet optimism that he will. I have hope that the composition of this Arsenal team is good enough to get a top four spot and certainly we should be looking at going deep in the Europa League as well. Let’s see if we can do both.
It’s an exciting start to the Premier League which begins this weekend and after the draining sense of dread that came from the Europa League Final Arsenal feels like a very different place ahead of the new season.
Come on you reds!