Arsenal’s Transfer Window Pain
This Is The Öne
This signing is significant – it shöws that Arsenal are willing tö pay big för wörld class, readymade talent rather than relying ön Wenger tö unearth gems (Koscielny, Sagna) develöp fröm within (Gibbs, Wilshere) buying pötential and nurturing (Walcott, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain) ör resurrecting careers öf players that have seemingly plateaued at club level (Mertesacker, Podolski). .
£42.5m has smashed Arsenal’s transfer recörd. “It’s cheap!” Said Wenger disciple, Damien Comolli. “Don’t sell Özil!” Demanded Madritstas at the Bale unveiling. “Come and join us; help us win trophies. Aha,” said Agents Per & Poldi.
This signing is nöt önly a statement öf intent, it’s a signing that shöuld see Arsenal clöse the gap further ön the töp three title chasers. Özil is nöt önly öne öf the möst effective playmakers in wörld föötball, he’s the right age – at 24 he’s experienced, yet hungry för success and has his best years ahead öf him.
Özil alsö prövides plenty öf öptions för Wenger. His best pösitiön is at the peak öf the midfield three, but like Cazorla he can alsö start fröm a wide pösitiön. He can play as a Nö.10, in the höle and cöuld even play as a false 9 if (Dennis förbid) Giroud is unavailable – he’s that gööd.
The pull öf London, playing at öne öf Europe’s best mödern stadia and the Premier League are factörs, but make nö mistake aböut the main reasön för Özil leaving the world’s biggest club for N5:
“I am thrilled to be joining a club of the stature of Arsenal,” he said, “I am particularly looking forward to working with Arsène Wenger.”
“Wenger gives me the faith.” – Mesut Özil, Arsenal’s No.11
From the outset of the transfer window, it was made clear that Arsenal were after a striker, and having failed to bring one in it is disappointing, regardless of signing such a world class player in Özil. Jovetic was a long-term target until oil money was thrown at him. Then we had the Higuain debacle, with Real Madrid delaying the deal and then increasing the price; by which time Arsenal became aware of the infamous Suarez clause and decided to pull out. I’m sure Higuain would have been a huge success at Arsenal, despite his game not fully suiting the current strategy. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Being led up the garden path by Suarez’ agent, Pere Guardiola, was hugely disappointing and inept on the (handsomely rewarded) executive team’s part and was the catalyst for the heel dragging that ensued. Arsenal Football Club should not be strung along like that – especially in public.
The interest in Rooney was legitimate – as was the early bid – but Arsenal backed off due to a gentleman’s agreement. Mourinho’s first interview upon his return to the Premier League included an intriguing soundbite:
“[Wenger] is a nice guy,” Mourinho said. “I respect him a lot and I will show my respect always. I wouldn’t bet for one single problem between us. I have had a chance to meet him much, much better when I left England. I started meeting him at the Euros, the World Cup. We had dinner.”
Wenger and Mourinho actually had dinner just prior to that interview and decided not to get in eachothers way during the transfer window. Chelsea’s top target was Rooney, while Arsenal’s was Suarez and so an agreement was made. As it turned out, both players were using the two clubs to expand their wallets – Rooney, who wants a contract extension at Old Trafford and Suarez who was lifting his skirt for the Bernabeu. We were naive.
As deadline day drew closer, the Press were briefed by Arsenal on Dzeko and Draxler. Both distractions for fans and other clubs while the Özil deal was sealed.
Fallback options were limited and didn’t convince enough for Arsenal to sign. Michu is a player they like, but Swansea were quick to put a large ransom on his head. Mourinho reverted to type by playing silly beggars with Demba Ba as the window slammed shut. Chelsea did not want Ba to go to Arsenal despite the player being very keen to sign. I wonder if the gentleman’s agreement will be broken come January.
Winging their way in?
Arsenal were close to signing Angel Di Maria but Carlo Ancelotti demanded that he keep the Argentine, despite the club wanting to sell. Real Madrid were also willing to let Benzema go for the right price, but changed their mind towards the end of the window.
Hold the Midfield!
There was serious interest in Fellaini, Gündogan, and failed bids for Lars Bender and Cabaye, until an old hero entered the fray. Flamini impressed so much in training that Wenger could not resist resigning him.
Prior to that, Gustavo opted to stay in Germany, not because of money but as Wenger would not guarantee that he would be a starter.
A late enquiry for Morgan Schneiderlin was rebuffed by Southampton.
Backup at the Back
Ashley Williams was the early defensive cover target, but £10m was deemed too much for a fourth choice centre back. Sakho was also an option but by that time Wenger was content with what he has.
Wenger will use Sagna as cover, with Flamini able to fill in at fullback if absolutely necessary. Right backs were also considered, with Juanfran watched closely.
Keep on keeping on
Arsenal’s strategy for recruiting a goalkeeper changed during the window. This was less of a shambles than other areas as Szczesny’s form and attitude impressed so much that a number two was sought after more than a new number 1. Initially, Julio Cesar was the front runner, followed by the more expensive Begovic, though the Bosnian’s volatile character put Arsenal off as much as Stoke’s asking price.
Fabregas’ supposed interest in a move to Manchester United was posturing from Darren Dein to sound out Barca as to how important they deemed Cesc, moving forward. Wenger contacted Cesc and was assured that he was committed to Barca but if the feeling wasn’t mutual, he would only sign for one club: Arsenal.