The question as to whether Arsenal can still attract and sign world class players, is a debate that has been doing the rounds for quite a few years now.
With the Gunners failing to impress on the biggest scales both domestically and in European competition, it has meant that Arsenal have found it increasingly difficult to attract the very best. Instead the Gunners have managed to attract a few players considered to be of high quality, based on the club’s history and reputation, as well as Arsene Wenger himself.
The likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have both identified Wenger and the club’s reputation as reasons for signing for the Gunners, even when Arsenal were largely failing to impress in terms of success. But with Ozil and Alexis still yet to commit to new deals and rumours that they just don’t see the club challenging for major honours, where do the Gunners stand in their attempt to sign top quality stars?
Arsenal legend, Sol Campbell, who was very much a top class player of his day, reckons Arsenal can still attract the very best players, it’s just that they are harder to find.
Campbell said: “They might be rarer, but they are out there. Look at [Alexis] Sánchez. Those characters do still exist. There will be players who have the tenacity and have the skill but are at the wrong club.”
“You’ve just got to find them and you might have to be a bit cleverer or pay a bit more for them.
I agree with Campbell in the sense that signing a truly world class player has become much tougher in recent years; but I think that’s applicable to most clubs, rather than just Arsenal. Not only are there less truly world class players available, possibly because it’s a term that is just thrown around these days, but we are also seeing that with increasing finances in football, transfers for the world class players are becoming quite extraordinary.
Arsene Wenger has never been one for splashing the cash in major transfer deals. He really broke the Arsenal transfer record by a significant amount when he signed Ozil for £42 million in 2013. Since then his transfers have always been for larger sums than the Arsenal fans are used to, but I reckon that it’s more to do with the prices of players these days, rather than Wenger’s attempt to sign more world class players.
Finances in football are only going to continue rising and if the Gunners want to be able to sign players with the quality and reputation of Alexis and Ozil, then Arsenal not only need to be willing to pay the demanded figure, but we also need to put the club back on the map by winning major honours.