Arsenal transfer window overview by KM
Hello fellow gooners and congratulations on our two shiny new signings! We actually signed some fresh faces and some of them are likely to improve our squad! Add that to the fact we secured our first win of the season and it doesn’t look all that bad! So here is my overview of what we did this summer.
We added a total of six players, four of which will have their role in the squad. On Tuesday we announced the signing of Spanish striker Lucas Perez and German world-cup winner Shkodran Mustafi, both coming from La Liga. We tried to sign Mustafi earlier in the window, but stalled negotiations finally got to a positive end for us, and he and Perez are players that address key areas we needed to improve.
The key question of whether and where they will play is a tricky one to answer. Mustafi is expected to be the Boss’ new CB partner, but he could also cover at RB if Bellerin needs one. With Per’s long term injury I really hope Mustafi gets his feet right and they form a solid CB partnership, but young Rob Holding’s performances have been decent so far and I expect him to keep his place for our home game against Southampton, due to the fact Mustafi is out with Germany on international duty.
For Lucas Perez though it’s another story, because he will have 10 days to meet up his new team mates and with Giroud travelling with France I could see Perez leading our attack against the Saints. As Arsene said, he’s a gamble signing, but one worth taking. We failed to sign Vardy, who was our number one target, due to his release clause, and he was good last season, but after we failed to sign him and didn’t want to cough up money for Lacazzete, even it’s plan C at least we did add a striker after all!
As I already mentioned, Rob Holding has made a good impression. The same goes for our first summer signing Granit Xhaka! He had a solid performance against Watford, but his biggest contribution will be the quality of his passing. Coquelin is still a bit raw and sometimes he’s too much on the edge of seeing red, and you’d never see the kind of precise long passes out of him like the ones Xhaka produced at the weekend. Another plus is his size, because our squad is typically short, but now we may finally get that defensive rock, that also has the eye for a pass.
On the leaving note, “hit the road Jack” is the theme of our transfer deadline day and I agree with this one. We have Cazorla and Xhaka who look like first choices right now, Elneny and Coquelin as backup and Ramsey is to return. With Jack’s fitness I hardly find place for him in the side and the qualities our other options present right now seem more valuable to the squad. I know he’s Arsenal through and through, but Diaby was also a talent, but never managed to get enough games.
And we have to be ruthless if we want to succeed. Mourinho is at United, so is Pep at City and Conte at Chelsea. And they are ruthless with players, who have far more trophies and experience behind their back. He’ll most likely join Palace on loan, and if he doesn’t make it there through a full season, where he dominates a lower teams midfield I hardly see him coming back. Will we make a move on deadline day? Not really. If Sturridge is available I’d consider it, but with the money we already spent, I don’t see it.
So did we do well? I’d say that if you look at areas where we needed improvement and the names we added I’d say had a B+. We are taking a risk with Perez and we’re hoping Theo will finally produce a fully potent season. He’s trying to save his career by accepting he’ll be a winger, and he needs to produce more cover for Bellerin.
The full backs at the moment don’t have any challenging cover, but it looks like we have the makeshifts to get through it, but the real concern was the timing of the moves. Xhaka was a great start, Mustafi is a good player and Perez is a wildcard, but with the Euros and the extended breaks in mind, we should’ve been prepared for the start of the season and we weren’t. We have a 5 point deficit that already applies pressure on us and we should’ve dealt with that in the window specially after Per’s injury.
Despite rating this transfer window as a B considering all factors, it is an improvement over last one. This could be Arsene’s last season and with the growing frustrations I feel like he was under more pressure to achieve something than he was last year. He has to target the 80 point mark, because it’s been literally ages since we got to it and our CL record is poor. Last year we had a group similar to this one and we barely made it through. This year PSG is not Bayern and they didn’t start the season too well. The other two teams need not to be underestimated! Again, last year is a reminder, but Arsene needs to consider at least trying to win the group and getting past the round of 16.
Performances will be key this year and could determine Arsene’s future. Let’s wish our new signings some very good luck and hopefully we break a few hoodoos this season!