Revisiting the recruitment plan by D$
In April, just before Arsene Wenger announced he would retire, I posted an article about how we should rebuild and targets we should look to recruit (in defence, midfield and GK) and I would like to revisit it now. Of the list of players I mentioned in that article, we signed one – Lucas Torreira. He is a player I have admired for a while so, obviously, I am very satisfied by his acquisition. He has added everything that I mentioned in the article – great closing speed and tackling, as well as good quality on the ball and passing range.
Besides Torreira there were some other midfielders that I had suggested. Pablo Fornals continues to impress in La Liga and I think it is only a matter of time before he is signed by a ‘big’ club. He seems to still fly under the radar at this stage, aside from when he got a bit of social media exposure when he scored a fantastic long-range lob and then performed an audacious piece of skill in a match against Athletic Bilbao. This is only a snapshot of what the boy is capable of and I really hope we consider him in the next transfer window.
We recruited Sokratis at the back and I have largely been pleased by his performance. However, in the article I had recommended an emphasis on youth as this should be a part of a greater transfer strategy – building towards having a lot of great players reaching their peak at Arsenal in a few years. I don’t know if Sokratis (or Lichtsteiner) will have much value in a few years but in the short term, he is great. Interestingly, In the article I had mentioned Clement Lenglet who was signed in the summer by Barcelona. Although he has only featured 3 times for them, he must be a great prospect to be recruited by such a great club. I had also mentioned Issa Diop who was picked up by West Ham. After a few shaky performances early (he isn’t the finished article yet) he has recovered to put in some great performances and many had him as the Man of the Match when West Ham beat Man Utd a few weeks ago. At just 21, it is clear that he will develop into a world-class defender. Çağlar Söyüncü was recruited by Leicester City and although is highly thought of, he hasn’t featured yet, so it is hard to judge if he up to the standard.
With regard to goalkeepers, I was endorsing Alban Lafont in the article whom I see as a ‘keeper with great potential. We ended up with Leno who is a little more advanced in terms of experience and development. Leno has been great so far so I can’t complain.
As with every transfer window, I am left wondering if this was a case of the fish that got away – I suppose time will tell with regard to some of these prospects. However I think it is still worth discussing our goals and philosophy to achieve these goals. Sokratis and Lichtsteiner were good signing but won’t realistically be able to challenge for the title whilst these players can still have an impact on matches. They may well contribute to getting us into the Champions league next season, which would be a great achievement. But is this really the goal? I for one want us to aim to win the league, and for this we need to build a team over a few seasons.