What is wrong with Arsenal’s transfer strategy? by Pierre
The negativity surrounding Arsenal has become overwhelming, in part and justifiably because of the massacre at Anfield. There are no explanations, excuses, special circumstances to overlook it. However, this is one of 38 games, so let’s not talk relegation and other stupidities yet.
As for the transfer window, it has been overwhelmingly described as a failure: disaster, amateurish, clueless, and many other adjectives have been used. However, what were the objectives for this transfer window:
* Keep hold of your stars: Check. Alexis and Ozil are staying
* Sign a world-class striker: check. Arsenal broke the transfer record to sign Lacazette, who has scored over 30 goals for the past 3 years for a club that doesn’t dominate its league.
* Bring some more muscle: check. Sead Kolasinac is not only a beast, but he was in the Bundesliga team of the season and he was free.
* Do the transfer business early: check. We got Kolasinac for nothing and Manchester City spent roughly 127 million on full backs, including 27 for a substitute. We also got Lacazette early and paid a record fee for him.
* Get rid of the deadwood: check. Sanogo gone, Gibbs sold, Jenkinson loaned out, Perez loaned out. Szczesny sold (neutral, he does have potential but was not needed anyway), the Ox sold (he hasn’t proven himself, wanted very high wages, and was sold for 35 million, neutral), Gabriel sold (neutral, could progress further but will never be a top central defender, just a squad player), Campbell back on loan (not needed), Perez on loan (was unused so we might as well have someone else pay his wages)
Where is the disaster? It would have been nice to bring in one or two more players (world-class center back and holding midfielder) but this team is definitely stronger than last year’s. Walcott is much maligned but he did score 19 goals in 37 games last year, so he may not be a starter but he is certainly very useful. Chambers had a very strong season at Middlesbrough (look at the results with and without him on the team last year) and also for the England U21 team, and he will be on the first team. Wilshere has managed to play 27 games and has at times shown that he still has it, besides no one will ever accuse Jack to lack the fight. One dark spot: Debuchy is still on the payroll (because no one wants to pay his wages), but he was once an excellent player (he started for the French national team ahead of Sagna at the World Cup) but has had two gruesome injuries.
So Arsenal is still an excellent team (that won the FA cup, beating Chelsea and Manchester City in the process) and drawing conclusions from one horrendous game is premature. The Manchester clubs certainly look very strong on paper, but one finished 3rd, just three points ahead of Arsenal, and the other one was one place behind Arsenal. They have spent ungodly amounts of money but nothing less than winning the league will be considered a good season, and one of them won’t. As for Chelsea, they brought in Morata, Rudiger, and Bakayoko who are all excellent players, but they also lost Costa (well not quite), Matic, and John Terry, who was no longer at his prime but had a huge influence in the locker room. Is that a stronger team than last year?
So before you bury Arsenal, Wenger, Kroenke, Walcott, Ramsey, Wishere, Ozil, Xhaka, etc. let’s watch a few more games. I hope Arsenal returns to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Cech, Bellerin/Koz/Mustafi/Kolasinac, Ramsey/Xhaka, lacazette/Ozil/Sanchez, Giroud.