Arsenal FC: Was the Transfer Window a Success or a Failure for the Gunners?
On a day of major signings, Arsenal were fairly quiet. While Clint Dempsey packed his bags for White Hart Lane, Charlie Adam signed for Stoke City and Dimitar Berbatov was transferred to Fulham, Arsene Wenger showed that he is content with the current state of affairs at the Emirates, as the Gunners sit in the middle of the table with two points, no goals conceded and no goals scored.
It didn't seem like the Frenchman feels any sense of urgency, since he kept his list of summer signings at Lukas Podolski from relegated Cologne, Olivier Giroud from French champions Montpellier and Santi Cazorla from newly-rich Spanish side Malaga.
Looking back on the last few months, the biggest question will obviously have to be whether the most was made out of the summer or not.
If you look at the signings made, then yes, all three are great players.
Podolski, the German who made a verbal commitment to the Gunners a long time ago, has over 100 caps for his international team. Over the years, Podolski has shown that he is a talented yet mature player with great vision, as well as a powerful left foot.
Giroud fit the Arsenal bill well because he not only blends in with the passing system at Arsenal, but also brings new qualities to the table, such as long-range shooting ability, aerial ability and strength. Additionally, pure finishing is something that Wenger is going to need given van Persie's departure.
Cazorla was absolutely brilliant in the first game against Sunderland and quite good against Stoke. The little guy has plenty of energy about him and controls the game wonderfully, using dribbling, vision and pass execution to make him one of the most exciting players at Arsenal in the last few years.
But then if we make the picture a little bigger and look at all of the Arsenal transfers—which means looking at the sales too—the summer seems like less of a success.
The two most decisive ones were the departures of Robin van Persie and Alex Song.
The Dutchman's move to was not only a huge blow in itself, but to add insult to injury, it was to bitter rivals Manchester United. Van Persie may not have been the offensive spark, but he was the finisher, the ruthless goal-getter who is dearly missed, as two games have gone by without a goal.
He scored 30 Premier League goals last season, winning not only the Golden Boot, but the best player award chose by the players of the league, as well as the writers' association. This was one of the biggest moves of the entire window.
Another shocker was the Alex Song to Barcelona deal. What a mess! Song seemed to have been shipped out of London because of his attitude problems (showing up late for practice, etc.), but afterwards said that he didn't want to leave at all.
Anyhow, his commanding presence in the midfield isn't something that you come across every day, and Diaby, the replacement so far didn't show that he is as good on defense, or on offense for that matter— the Cameroonian had started to show great vision in his last year at the club.
Neither of those two holes in the squad have been completely filled yet, despite the fact that both Giroud and Podolski are very capable footballers. Neither has proven to be great in the Premier League left, but they have time to adjust.
Now, if we look at the even bigger picture, it isn't looking good at all.
The biggest part of the transfer window is to keep up with the other Premier League teams, and Arsenal aren't doing too well in that respect. Other teams have really used this window as an opportunity to sign big names.
Chelsea broke the bank to buy players like Oscar, Marko Marin and of course, the supremely talented Eden Hazard. They spent Abramovich-esque sums of money, and it really has given their squad some real depth, and the young Belgian from Lille is turning out to be a wonderful buy, pairing beautifully with Fernando Torres.
Manchester United haven't really gone crazy in terms of spending, but Sir Alex Ferguson has brought in quality to Old Trafford. Of course, Robin van Persie was bought, and he scored a beautiful goal against Fulham. Also, Shinji Kagawa, a key part of Borussia Dortmund's 11-12 Bundesliga title, was signed in order to strengthen the midfield, an area which was said to be very weak for the Red Devils.
Tottenham also had a surprisingly active window, bringing in Emmanuel Adebayor permanently, and also getting Clint Dempsey (for a surprisingly low fee of £6 million), Gylfi Sigurdsson, Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris. This strengthens almost all aspects of their team, and they may even still get Joao Moutinho.
Manchester City didn't really sign as much as usual, but, well, they are still City. They are already quite star-studded. Their signings of Scott Sinclair, Javi Garcia, Maicon, Matija Nastasic and Richard Wright are quite big, but not up to the Manchester City standard.
If you compare Arsenal to these teams, their personnel aren't really up to any of the others', except for maybe Spurs.
More signings could definitely have been made this transfer window. Midfielders such as Nuri Sahin, Michael Essien, Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote were linked to Arsenal, but nothing was done. Plus, strikers Robert Lewandowski, Edin Dzeko and Demba Ba were rumoured into the Emirates, but Wenger didn't want them.
Are the Gunners going to be able to compete with these teams? I don't really see that happening.
Sorry, Gooners, but it looks like it will be just another race for fourth place.
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