Do Arsenal have a transfer plan or just ‘opportunities’?

Are Arsenal just Opportunistic? By Galen

One of the best things about Mr Wenger is that the media or fans never know what he is up to. Arsenal football club have got a reputation and a history of being very secretive in their dealings. Today I want to ask the Arsenal fans if we have a clear transfer plan or if we are just very opportunistic?

Santi Cazorla – In my humble opinion he by far the best midfielder At Arsenal football club. He came at the club after we had lost Cesc Fabregas and the team was crying out for creativity. But was he really a target? Cazorla was never a target of our scouting team but once Arsenal football club knew that Malaga was in crisis we took full advantage of the situation, and signed Cazorla for peanuts. The Malaga manager Mr Pellegrini said at the time: “Economically, the club had to make a change based on what had been proposed [there was a lot of financial trouble – owner threatened to pull out over TV money] and we had to sell Santi Cazorla.

“Santi’s case was inexplicable. It was a time of acute crisis in the club. The departure of Cazorla at the time and at the amount that was agreed was a blunder.”

Mesut Ozil – This is the signing that surprised me more than any signing in our club’s history. Ozil again was never an Arsenal target. Truth be told we had Cazorla already not forgetting Rosicky, Jack and Ramsey who could all be very creative. What surprised me the most was that the team was crying out for a striker at the time, then Real Madrid signed Gareth Bale. The arrival of Bale meant a Real player had to go. So once again we were opportunistic and paid a transfer record of £42.5m for the signing of Ozil. Was Ozil really a transfer target at the start of that season? The answer is NO. Wenger said at the time. “You can’t say no to a transfer like Ozil when a player like that becomes available on the market.”

Alexis Sanchez – Call me biased but for me he was the signing of the season, and if we had done better as a team he would have been voted Player of the Season. But again his transfer was very opportunistic. When Barcelona signed Suarez (el Vampiro) we knew that they had to let go of either Sanchez or Pedro. Once it became clear that it was Sanchez we had the resources be opportunistic and pounced on the transfer. But this transfer was perfect.

Petr Cech – It was again another opportunistic transfer. The moment the Belgian kid Courtois returned from Madrid and was made first choice keeper by Jose, we knew Cech was up for the taking? Was Cech really a transfer target? No But we were ready to pounce on it once he told Chelsea he wouldn’t be happy to be on the bench.

Debuchy and Chambers – I was not only surprised by these transfers but I was also angry. The team was crying out for a CB after the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona. What did we do? We paid £12m and £16m for two right backs, when what we needed the most was a CB. Do we even have a transfer plan at Arsenal ever?

This is what Louis Van Gall had to say about transfer targets. “I look for the players who fit our profile. Then I say to Ed [Woodward, executive vice-chairman]: ‘I want that player first and that player second [choice]’. Then we go to the third when they [first and second] are not available. I am not buying, I don’t spend the money. He is negotiating, I am not.”

I believe that is how most football clubs operate. Jose Mourinho needed just ONE transfer window to create a title winning side. Thats all he needed. ONE transfer window to identify the players they need to fill in the cracks.

Being opportunistic could be great when you get a Sanchez. But its not everytime that it works. Right now fans are hoping Madrid buys a striker so that Benzema will become available for us to pounce on. But what if Madrid don’t buy any striker? So if Mario Gotze becomes available from Bayern, we should just sign him even if we clearly don’t really need him?

We have had cracks to filll in the striker and defensive midfield position for ages, but we keep on ignoring these positions. We are waiting for something opportunistic to pounce on. So if nothing happens in another club we may do nothing ourselves.

The rumours from Spain are that we want to sell Nacho and buy another LB. Do we need to be investing in a new LB as one of our signings? We need a striker and DM and we are linked to a left back for the last two weeks. I pray Nacho stays and we focus on what we really need. Thats how we got Chambers and Debuchy when what we needed was a CB like Paulista or Miranda.

Do we have a clear transfer plan? or we are just opportunistic?

BY Galen Sona

Tags Cazorla Ozil Sanchez


  1. I think there’s no actual plan. Prof is just watching and waiting for a favourable “coincidence”

    1. Good god I actually agree with you for a change…..

      Excellent analysis Galen, nice of you to notice the pattern and not simply hero worship because of the names involved. I agree in many aspects, although I do think Wenger AT TIMES identifies, and pulls the trigger….he certainly is far too open to reactive purchases.

      Ozil…….I loved this guy more than any other outside the Arsenal team before we signed him, but hand on heart to this day there is NO reason why we should’ve paid 42mil for an AM the season after Santi had his blistering debut. THE very definition of incremental “improvement” (if any at all given Ozil’s inconsistency at Arsenal). We were desperate for a CB/DM/ST that window and we landed a 40+mil AM. The epitome of this entire critique with Arsene. We got Ozil because Wenger loves Ozil and he was available as collateral in another deal, rather than us needing Ozil.

      Wenger is a visionary, but sometimes he’s completely oblivious to the clear deficiencies in his squad. The team has started taking shape the last few years, but we seem to be taking the long way in getting there. 16mil for Chambers last year (4th choice CB, who I rate), was that a better signing than a bonafide DM? or established CB? I don’t think so, with a DM/CB the first half of the season it’s likely we wouldn’t have dropped so many points.

      I’m hopeful he’s going to get it right this window as there’s only a couple of clear areas to address. But as Galen mentions you can’t help but compare to other approaches and wish for some more clinical dealings. We don’t have the money City/United/Chelsea do, that’s just a fact, so we need to take care with how we use it. But we’re perhaps the only team that come the end of the window you wouldn’t be surprised to see do a deal for a high profile player whose needs are questionable. I could genuinely see Arsenal buying Gotze last minute, could you see our rivals do similar even with their ridiculous resources? Would Mourinho buy Lewandowski just because he became available? Again, I don’t think so.

      Nevertheless,pPlenty of time to do right this window, got my fingers crossed but a flicker of deja vu in my mind. I’ll reserve my judgements until the window slams shut and all has played out.

      1. beautiful just beautiful! if more people thought like ypu we would have gone very far in the epl by now. I also did not understand the Ozil not saying it was bad just that..was that £40m fresh from Suarez rejection too hot to be left in the bank for a proper deal? we overpaid for ozil in my opinion..he was going to leave anyway.

    2. T leaves me feeling bad n small abt us…….y always depend on other clubs’ decissions?
      surely how shall we compete with them on the pitch?????

  2. Sometimes I just wish the world has billions of women and only 500 men in it (and I happen to be the most handsome of the men). Then the women will be begging us to service them and just keep them as wives and promise to be financially responsible for our living.

    1. Arteta after signing an extension, he gets injured again. it seems these guys are just using us to make money… we should’ve release Arteta and Flamini.

  3. I don’t think Wenger has a plan,a man with a plans acts quickly and efficiently to get their known targets but he’s dithering as usual,if anyone thinks this squad will win the title they are delusional!

    1. lots of downvotes gonna come on your coment lol.. but the truth is bitter.. we arent gona win with this squad and you have to accept it .. I am guessing another battle for fourth again this year.

      1. Dee@ease, signing new faces isnt the only course of action for planning. Removing players is one, another one is our youth players being a year older and maybe ready to take up squad position. Introducing new faces to the fitness and injury set up is another plan. P Cech was a plan which came off. There are also new tactics and ideas which to plan for. Building on players confidence and leadership qualities is a plan. I’d say people out there who have management experience could come up with many more actions which I am oblivious to.

        I would be very surprised if the manager of Arsenal hasn’t been planning all summer long, or any manager for that matter.

  4. Arteta after signing an extension, he gets injured again. it seems these guys are just using us to make money… we should’ve release Arteta and Flamini.

  5. I’m dying here. All these beautiful faces of gorgeous Russian babes. Damn it, Putin!!! Stay away from my favourites!!!

  6. Thomas Vermaelen affair was the best thing done last summer. Remember when all people here were crying to put Vermaelen in the CDM position after the game at Anfield. Wenger patched and improved that by acquiring Chambers from Soton. As an added bonus, Chambers can play RB along with his natural CB and CDM position.
    Factor the fact that we have sold and injured Vermaelen who never played a game in more than a year and you will ses that this was (after Sanchez deal) the best deal of last summer for us.

  7. I believe Arsenal ace spoken to a few players. Arsenal have moved on current players and moved quick to bring in others. I believe the ones they want, they currently have the clubs waiting to resolve there business!

    Let’s see when the window closes


    1. I was going to reply to the first person who mentioned Lacazette but surprisingly was not mentioned so decided to just reply here buddy.

      I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say we will not be buying Lacazette. Not when we have a young player with similar attributes to the Frenchman. Yeah, Chuba bubba. Wenger will say why not just give the player my backing and total faith, he will show him he believes in him by not signing a young striker. If he is to get one it will be a proven star and a seasoned player.

      That is the type of manager we have, when he says he has faith in his players he shows them that faith. Many times Wenger has been written off with people saying you’ll never finish here or they wont win this or that. It was said before almost every title Wenger brought home and it was said about CL places for four years straight and it was also said when he mentioned how we could go a season unbeaten. He does indeed come off stubborn on occasion but this could be due to his loyalty and faith, which is why the players love and respect him so much and hopefully they will repay that faith by giving everything to prove him right.

  8. So Far!…… Cech Transfer was just an opportunity………call me deluded but Listen to this 1st

    (1) if Mourihno or Abrahmovic had the power to stop him, They would.
    (2) Cech only wanted to stay put in London.
    (3) He was just available and for a very Low fee…..who Loves cheap things better than the Arsenal? L()L
    (4) How many other Top champions league eligible teams submitted bids for him?

    1. Actually Mourinho did want to stop him, it was Abramovic that said Cech could go wherever he wanted to but Cech had a year left on his contract

    2. Opportunities aren’t random ! Ask any business man, you can’t take advantage of opportunities if you’re not prepared to, and you can’t be prepared to if you haven’t made transfer plans

  9. One of the few good articles I have read recently. Couldn’t have say it any better.

    I don’t wanna raise my hopes and end up disappointed. I’m just watching and hoping we get the players we want. 1/2 players. We don’t need over hauling Wenger…

    Anyway, hopefully’ we get the wenger ‘surprise marquee’ signing that we need. Until then, I choose not to worry too much.

  10. The truth is that we would have won 3bpl and maybe a semifinal CL spot if not for wengers stubborness, wen we were deficient in obvious areas he just ignored them and hoped for the best…and it dosent work that way…now we need just 2 players ONLY…a good CDM no mata who and a very good CF…

  11. Muzzi Ozcan keeps proving himself wrong…….. “it’s a matter of days” he said…… Almost two weeks now…… Its easy for anyone to just come up and say Arsenal will make a marquee signing and then it just happens coincidentally…… Then he takes a cheap credit

    1. He said he’d “update in a matter of days”, then he said “talks still ongoing I’ll update whenever possible”….

      At least get direct quotes right instead of making up what someone’s said. Muzzi Ozcan however dubious you feel he is has been spot on with several of the summers dealings way ahead of time.

      He’s an Arsenal fan, knows the secretive nature of Arsenal and to my reckoning doesn’t want to A) jump the gun, as big deals are always on a knife edge B) spill the beans on an Arsenal deal and get blacklisted by the Arsenal corporates who he may have to deal with in the future.

      He’s a business man with a reputation to uphold, not some Journo trying to boost his following.

  12. Good question.

    Personally I think it’s more opportunistic than anything else.
    The Jose Mourinho example is in stark contrast to the approach we seem to take. Between January 2014 and July 2014 ( January transfer window of 2013/2014 season and summer transfer window preceding 2014/2015 season) Mourinho got the core of his squad. He bought Matic in January, brought Courtois back from loan and purchased Costa, Fabregas for the starting 11 and Remy and Luis as depth.

    As far as this so called spine we keep hearing about as much as it pains us to say, that’s a perfect example of it right there. ST, DM, CM, GK. The rest as they say is history, Chelsea flew out of the blocks and no one could catch them.

    The comparison is apt because it’s not only a glaring example of what we keep hearing pundits speak about but it also speaks to the benefit of geting your transfer business done early. It made no difference whether the rest of the league knew or not no one could stop Chelsea.

    Now the problem we as fans have is that there are issues in the team that need addressing and we inexplicably wait either till last minute to sign such players or we choose to paper over the issues. Now as I’ve said before I don’t think playing the waiting game does us any good and there are more benefits to be reaped from getting players in early, getting them settled and having a good pre season.

    Wegner addressed th GK issue fair play, but truth be told as far as developing a trusted core we had more pressing concerns. Namely a striker and a DM. A lot of people have faith in Giroud, that he is capable of bagging 20 plus goals a season and while he has never given me that impression why not alleviate the burden on him? The top 10 teams have an easy time shutting him down why not add a different dimension? It’s been 2 years since we’ve scored against Chelsea at all. Moreover Giroud never has scored against them.

    Why tempt fate at all, we can’t escape injuries, no club can and while we shouldn’t purchase players specifically with injuries in mind adding quality depth serves its purposes. We had injuries last season but that shouldn’t equate to us losing to Swansea, Southampton, Spurs and Stoke. That reflects poorly on our depth and our transfer policy.

    Similarly Aguero went out injured and City’s title challenge fizzled, but Chelsea lost Remy, Costa and even Drogba, but they had a strong core, decent depth and as a result they kept winning.

    I think we need to re evaluate our approach to transfer windows, having in mind a clear vision as to what we need and who’s available, get business done early and look at tactics while having a fit settled squad. I think we lose more than we benefit waiting till the last minute.

  13. Sayin that I also think wenger has the toughest coaching job and decision…at arsenal we hav players with great potentials like ox gnabry chambers akpom wilshere ramsey coq,…buyin anyone wud mean selling them n selling this guys wud rilli be a huge mistake
    We need a CF n a CDM wenger

    1. Selling flaming and arteta to buy a 2nd choice cdm?
      Selling welbeck and sango to buy a WC striker.

      Simple… Don’t see why he can’t do that.
      3 years and still no replacement for rvp.
      Still no replacement for Gilberto Silva (Coq is there but he wasnt part of wengers plan.)

      His transfer business is really not pleasant. But let’s see what he will do this year. I would really like to compete for the title again and therfore we need to strengthen

  14. After the Invincibles Wenger
    believed he was untouchable
    and lived in a dream world
    where he was a law unto himself.
    He bought any one and any
    body with little or no plan at all
    and on the field he had no tactics just
    let the players decide for themselves.
    Top 4 became the goal.
    But after the 8-2 and the
    thrashings in 13-14 he has started to change.
    Ozil and Sanchez are good investments
    but failure to buy a DM and CB last
    summer cost us our title chances.
    Financial sustainability has been more
    important than winning major trophies
    for 9 years but there is talk of
    those years being over now.
    Time will tell.

  15. I stopped wondering bout what we do and what we don’t..aye if you keep thinking bout arsenal’s transfer activities you’ll be digging your grave. At the end of the thousand articles we publish,whatever Wenger says is final. I stopped worrying bout it, I just want BPL back.. at least i would scream at the pays off better than having no one to scream at for us not signing a WC striker

  16. Wenger has no plan. Remember when he went with 3 cd and no cdm into last season?

    And we only did buy welback coz he became available in the last minute.

    Hope the next manager is someone who has a plan before the window starts.
    Let’s see how this window goes and if/who Wenger buys.

  17. Good article… why do we complain too much. For the years have been supporting Arsenal have never heard Wenger say what he is looking for in the market, it’s always “i have very good players who can challenge for the title. If a player is available who can improve our quality we will certainly get him”. Keep calm, lets keep waiting, all the words you’re calling Giroud won’t make Wenger buy a striker…again the grass is not always greener on the other side. Last year i heard people calling wenger words when Balloteli joined Liverpool,now some want wenger to sign Chicharito,Austin,Lukaku,Dzeko (i don’t rate them higher than Giroud) just because we need a striker.

  18. Good article article. Wenger stumbles upon players, or panic buys. He panicked into Welbeck, Arteta. He cheapskated into Flamini. Although he is a great coach, he has “transfer paralysis”. His great fear is to be favourites to win the league. He cannot handle that. He has to come from behind. Then if it doesn’t work he wil use the “Excuses”. “We were unlucky with injuries”. “Too many games”, “Internationals” etc. There is no plan. That is why Mourinho called Wenger “a specialist in failure”. Like I say Wenger is a great coach, loyal to the players. But he is so conservative with his management and insane belief in team cohesion that we are always two quality players short of a challenge. He is remarkably like “Mr Bean” in his bumbling and even looks like him.

    1. He is the guy who said in a press conference before the 2003/04 season that he will be going undefeated next season

      but you are right, he is really afraid of high expectation. #Sarcasm

  19. It is good to see that alot of us Arsenal fans are started to see things really clearly with regards to our weak transfer policy. There are a lot of gullibility amongst many of our Arsenal fans who defend the rubbish with regards to not signing quality with consistency. It breaks my heart when I see Arsenal fans standing outside Emirates stadium on the deadline day like some lost children waiting for a signing only to be told that we have bought nonsense like Danny welbeck. And on top of that the nerdy fans with no football brain decide to rejoice and celebrate such wack signings on TV, sky sports to be exact. Making us all look silly and desperate. Everyone with half a brain knew welbeck was a reject and is and always will be a basic Manchester reject boy.
    You have the likes of Jones town fan who comes on here and loves to defend garbage players and lack of signings. I love this club but our manager and and many of our fans are pathetic

    1. Ahh bless – a broken heart. Thanks for the mention. Apologies for thinking differently to you, though this was a forum for opinions. But guess what, what I think and what you think makes no difference to anything – it would go some way to mending your broken heart if you could grasp the reality.

  20. He is the guy who said in a press conference before the 2003/04 season that he will be going undefeated next season

    but you are right, he is really afraid of high expectation. #Sarcasm

  21. Just a show and nothing else.
    “Secretive” for what purpose? We are not a major European player in football (based on results)… Wenger is always talking about price inflation… He is the one who got Welbeck for £16millions and Chambers for aboutt

  22. Hahaha you guys are funny, all cry babies, i lost faith in Wenger after he sold RvP, but Ozil and Sanchez showed me that he wants big trophys, and i trust his decision, all those players came cuz of him, do you think Cech would sign for Arsenal if we wouldnt compete for major trophys, many agents saying we will sign BIG BIG name in august, how do they know that? probably cuz they know something is happening behind scene, so just relax and enjoy Asia cup, Wenger probably has 2 or 3 more seasons before his retirement do you seriously think that he wont do everything to win again EPL and maybe UCL ?

  23. (Sorry, and I continue)

    And Chambers for about the same price… How do you call that? Good business, flair or just total hypocrisies…?

    There is no title challenge in the near future because we do not have the “people” (squad, staff, hierarchy and manager) for it…

    As for the CL, really! Do we really need to talk about something that is totally unreadable and just in the domain of fantasy…!

  24. I read this article and I face palmed. When you’re using the signing of Debuchy and Chambers as the worst possible signings I know you’ve gone off your rocker.

    At the start of the transfer window we had 1 first team RB in Jenkinson. Bellerin had not played yet and was unproven at premiership level. Cue signing a young but fairly experienced Chambers who could cover multiple positions and signing one of the most sturdy RBs in the PL for the past few years. Instantly we could loan Jenk to get him his much needed game time without risking our RB position, we had additional cover in CB and a fantastic talent for the future. Of all Wenger’s signings, this was CLEARLY the time he had a plan.

    That said, I do not think Wenger is all about the plan. Alexis, Ozil and Cech are all purchases of opportunity rather than necessity. BUT Wenger has also had plans, they’ve just not always worked out. RVP left – he signed Giroud (a top goalscorer from France) and Podolski (a consistent goalscorer). He also added Cazorla, replacement for Cesc/Nasri who was the first great AM to appear on the market for a reasonable price. Last year you saw us buy in Ospina, Chambers and Debuchy all to directly replace players we’d seen leave and all improvements on their counterparts.

    Wenger knows he needs players but there is a bottom line he won’t cross because we cannot do it financially – sometimes I think he’s made a mistake on cheap shots he should have gambled on (should have taken the risk on Wanyama and Alderwereild if you ask me) but generally he’s also dodged some HUGE big budget bullets (I remember the huge uproar that we were letting Spurs get Soldado…). What is hard for Wenger is that to improve the team he needs to buy great quality players but often we are priced out because the player/team/rivals put blockades in the way. The opportunistic signings are a sign of seeing the best quality at a rate below what it is worth and knowing that this is our best chance to add the best quality to our team. Ignoring these signings mean we can only get players who are just off the peak and that means never stepping up our game.

    We need signings. Wenger will be out trying to make them happen. That does NOT mean that they will necessarily be the player you want or even the position you want – if the right signing isn’t there, we CANNOT make it happen by sheer force of money. Man Utd spent over £150m last year on signings. That’s why Van Gaal can just name players and see if he can get them. There’s NO business acumen there. We cannot do that, so stop believing we can.

  25. I for one have grown to understand that whatever you say can’t change wengers plans of the season wether “buy a cdm or a striker” so. If he sees a striker and someone we need to take us forward be rest assured he will get one and he is not an oportunist as some of you think he is a chase player so he can say that matinez is a great. Player and. Everyone. Will say that arsenal are after matinez so matinez will be. Bought by another club and the media will saay arsenall have lot out but in actual. Fact we where never intrested so to me wenger knows what he wants and he willl get what he wants

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