Transfer Window: What Lack of Deadline Day Activity Means for Arsenal's Season
A distinct lack of activity on the final day of the transfer window is likely to have several significant implications for Arsenal's season.
An absence of new recruits is likely to have many Arsenal fans incensed at Arsene Wenger and the thrifty policies of the club's board. In truth, it did feel somewhat strange and even a little annoying, to see so much activity from some of Arsenal's fiercest Premier league rivals, without any incoming moves from the Gunners.
However, that is an easy trap to fall into when following developments on the last day of the transfer window. The feeling that others are getting stronger, while your club is being left behind, is an easy emotion to succumb to.
Yet it is important to try and apply a certain amount of context to final day dealings and transfer activity in general. When considering Arsenal's decision not to add on the final day, an easy place to look is in the direction of North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
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Spurs were one of the busiest clubs on deadline day, pushing through high-profile deals for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey, according to Sky Sports. They also reportedly came close to acquiring Porto scheme Joao Moutinho, according to another report from Sky Sports.
Add those additions to the signings of Emmanuel Adebayor, Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen and there's no denying Spurs have been active, and successful, in this window. However, that number of additions indicates only one thing: new manager Andre Villas-Boas wants to overhaul his squad.
That's the key point. A new manager wants his own team. It's clear that Wenger doesn't want to overhaul the current Arsenal squad. The Frenchman is obviously content with his existing options.
The natural question to arise from that is should he be? In a sense, the answer is immaterial now that the transfer window has slammed shut. However, there's no denying Wenger has taken a massive risk by sticking faithfully with what he already has.
In particular, the decision to not sign a midfielder rates as a cause for concern. That means Arsenal are now relying on a group containing injury-prone duo Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky.
It also means gambling on a successful return to fitness for Jack Wilshere. Given how much time he's missed, it's hard not to believe that he will not only have to be re-integrated slowly, but that he is also at a high risk to suffer some initial setbacks.
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That would leave Arsenal again relying on big performances from Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin for key games. That plan didn't exactly rate as a success last season, but Wenger's faith in players like Coquelin and Ramsey is just the point.
The Gunners boss clearly doesn't believe that there are players available, better than Ramsey and Coquelin, worth paying a fee for. Like it or not, it's his call, but it is certainly a risky one.
It's risky because at the first sign of trouble, Wenger is sure to be heckled from the gallows for his frugal approach. Indeed, Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph, is already reporting that fans are questioning Arsenal's deadline day behaviour. This ongoing problem is made worse by some of Wenger's recent statements that seemed to directly imply he still intended to make moves in this transfer window.
This author doesn't believe those statements are media spin designed to offer false hope. However, they do still create clear lines of division between Arsenal and those who feel the club should invest more to compete at the top levels of the game.
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"Spend more," certain sections of the supporters and pundits will say. In response to which, Wenger will no doubt point to the near £40 million paid out to sign Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski. No additional recruits only increases the pressure on this trio to quickly succeed.
The problem is those deals were done so early, they have become a distant memory for some, certainly after two goalless draws to begin the new season. Ironic, given how Wenger was chided for waiting until the last minute to upgrade a year ago.
Another issue is that the near £40 million was recouped by the sales of Robin van Persie and Alex Song. Those sales created the impression that Arsenal had the monetary power to be serious players at the end of this transfer window.
Yet their main aim was balancing the books. Achieving a symmetry in the club's financial dealings, is the Wenger model. Again, like it or not and there are certainly negatives and positives to the approach.
The extent to how either the negatives or positives define the rest of Arsenal's season will ultimately determine how the club's static end to the summer transfer window is judged.
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