AN OBJECTIVE REVEW OF OUR 2014 SUMMER TRANSFER WINOW by Uche
Hello there friends. How are you doing today? If you are still hung over from Arsenal’s ‘disappointment’, it is time for you to start cheering up. If I told you that we actually had our best transfer window in like forever, you wouldn’t believe it. It actually took me a while to figure this out as well, so believe me when I say that I write this article as a neutral and not as an AKB (Arsene Knows Best). I will like to begin by identifying the causes of our disappointment and there are two main reasons for this. High expectations and Arsenal Football Club’s poor public relations. Let me explain.
Believe it or not, we have six new players in our squad. They may not exactly be the players we had hoped for (Falcao, Reus etc) but five players were bought in this transfer window (Sanchez, Chambers, Debuchy, Ospina and Welbeck) and a sixth one came back from a three year loan spell. Yes Joel Campbell is a new signing in every sense of the word because up until now, he has never played for Arsenal. So that is six new faces in our squad. That is not bad at all. Hector Bellerin has also been training with the first team so I take it that he has been promoted as well. So make that seven new players. But you wouldn’t know this because our manager and the club he represents do a terrible job of explaining these details to their fans.
Blame it on negligence or arrogance but the fact remains that our public relations department is doing a terrible job of selling our progress to our fans. Have you guys ever considered that Isaac Hayden can be brought in to do a job at center back when injuries hit? That must be the reason Wenger never feels pressured to finally get us adequate cover in center back. But he never communicates this to Arsenal fans so we keep feeling like we are short at the back. But when you consider that we have Metsesacker, Koscielny, Hayden, Chambers, Monreal, Gibbs, Debuchy and Bellerin, that is eight players for four positions – two in each position. The names I just listed are a nice mix of experience and promise which is not bad. But Wenger just fails to communicate his thinking to the fans.
Now if you are doubting whether we have made progress in this transfer window, let me make it very clear to you. I will begin by saying that we are still short of one ‘established’ central defender and defensive midfielder, even though we can make up the numbers from our academy. But then focusing on only these two deficiencies will not allow you to see the improvements we have made in other areas. Let me start from the small improvements and gradually work up to the big ones. In the goal keeping department, we lost Lukas Fabianski on a free transfer but then replaced him with David Ospina, a world class goal keeper who had an incredible world cup. Folks, that is an improvement. Once upon a time, none of us trusted Fabianski to take our dog for a walk. We even went as far as naming him Flappy Handski for his terrible performances in goal. Of course he improved towards the end of his stay in Arsenal but when judged on overall performance for the period he was with us, David Ospina is an upgrade without a doubt. So we did well in goal keeping.
In central defense, we replaced Thomas Vermealen with Calum Chambers. While Vermaelen has more experience than Chambers, early performances so far indicate that Chambers is an improvement on Vermaelen. Chambers is getting his first call up to the national team and has been voted man of the match several times for the few games he has played so far. Wenger never trusted Vermaelen one bit all through last season but the boss just cannot wait to give Chambers a game. In fact, the boss is so determined to field chambers regularly that he has got his name penciled down for three positions in right back, central defense and defensive midfield. If nothing else, such vote of confidence indicates that Chambers is an upgrade on Vermaelen and we all love Chambers for his solid performances so far. So again, we have done well in our only central defensive signing.
In right back, we replaced Bacary Sagna with Mathieu Debuchy. While it is a bit difficult to determine whether Debuchy is an upgrade on Sagna or a like for like replacement, one can argue that the fact Debuchy benches Sagna in their French national team is enough evidence that he manages to edge our former right back. So again, that is a third transfer victory for Wenger. But you wouldn’t know it because the boss lets his deficiencies dominate his strengths. Even though Carl Jenkinson has been loaned out and we all worry that Debuchy has no cover, we have Hector Bellerin who was amazing in preseason and particularly good in going forward and linking up with our intricate attacking play. But rather than remind our fans about this, Wenger is out there mouthing off as if we are a bunch of idiots.
And it is in attack that we have made the most progress. Last season, we had no pace and we also had a shortage of central strikers. Giroud, our only senior striker, started off well and did just okay generally speaking, but the lack of a capable deputy saw his efforts begin to diminish. And then what happened this summer? We signed Alexis Sanchez, a world class striker, Danny Welbeck, a young but promising central striker and also welcomed back the brilliant Joel Campbell, a brilliant and tricky forward who can play on the wings or as a central striker. And guess what folks? Sanchez, Welbeck and Campbell are not replacements! They are brand new additions to the squad because Podolski remains with us. Even if one manages to argue that Sanchez and Campbell replaced Bendtner and Park, well, they are still upgrades, aren’t they? And we still have Walcot to come back to the side.
So all in all, we have not done badly in this transfer window at all. I am angry that we are still short at the back and in defensive midfield, quality wise. But all in all, we have a better and pacier squad than we had last year while keeping our best players as well. Arsene Wenger is chronically annoying and full of himself but the truth is that nobody is perfect. Unfortunately for Wenger, he always allows his imperfections to dominate his achievements and that is why a perfectly decent transfer window ended up looking like the worst we have had in a while.
So folks, if we can manage to ignore our annoying manager and focus on the squad he has built, I think we will all be happy at the end of the day. By the time Walcot comes back into the side, definitely, Wenger will put him at the right flank thereby moving Sanchez to the center of attack. I have every reason to believe that by the time Sanchez beds into this team, he will be as lethal and menacing as Aguero and Costa. So far, Sanchez has had two clear goal scoring chances in his last two games and he scored both. That is clinical. That is the front man we have been waiting for and we signed him.
Guys, we did not get Cavani or Falcao but we got Sanchez and also got Welbeck to back him up when we need a big target man. Seriously, that is not bad at all. Peace.