6 Reasons Arsenal's Failure to Sign a Top Name This Summer May Not Be so Bad
The transfer window is arguably the most exciting time of the year for fans around the league.
There is the hope and optimism that comes with the possibility of a new beginning. A chance to be in with the good, and out with the bad. Countless names are thrown into the rumor mill, connecting all the top talents around the world with just about every team imaginable. For one or two months, all the trials and tribulations of past seasons are forgotten.
Who doesn't love the transfer window?
Arsenal fans. That's who.
For fans of the Gunners, the transfer window has been anything but good to them. In actuality, it's been more akin to burning for eternity in the fiery pits of hell.
Yup, it's been that bad.
Arsenal fans have been accustomed to watching young talent develop—Ashley Cole, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas, and Samir Nasri—only to watch them leave during the next transfer window.
This summer's go around was no different. In fact, it might just be the hardest of them all.
In August, fans watched in despair as manager Arsene Wenger and the Gunners said goodbye to arguably the greatest player ever to wear an Arsenal jersey in Robin Van Persie. That he was sold to rival Manchester United only made it hurt worse.
Throw in the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona and the Arsenal faithful were left searching for answers.
Wenger did bring in the likes of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, and Santi Cazorla. However, none of them are considered a true top-flight name.
But while many in North London are ready to sound the alarm, I believe that Arsenal are better off.
Here are six reasons that Arsenal's failure to sign a top name this summer may not actually be so bad.
1. Shows Wenger Has Faith in His Current Crop of Players
If it ain't broke, why fix it?
That's a philosophy Wenger seems to be employing as he decided against bringing in any late-window acquisitions. It show's Wenger is confident in his team's ability to succeed.
After eight games, he has every reason to feel that way.
Before falling to Chelsea over the weekend, the Gunners began their season 4-3-0. It was a stretch in which they put the ball in the net 17 times while only allowing four against them.
The last time Arsenal pulled off a similar feat was during the campaigns of 2008-09 and 1998-99.
Sometimes when you bring in new talent, you risk the possibility that those players might not fit into your style of play (see Jose Antonio Reyes).
As of now, Wenger is more than alright with waiting for the right opportunity to make his move.
"We have good players," Wenger told the Daily Mail. "And to buy one more, we have to get one out. We want to spend our money in the right way."
It's a philosophy that could aid Wenger in turning one of the most traumatic transfer windows into one of the most glorious seasons in the club's storied history.
2. The Signings of Podolski, Cazorla, and Giroud
The departure of Van Persie and Song would hurt just about any team. Especially when you take into consideration that the duo combined for 37 goals and 22 assists in all competitions for Arsenal last season.
Losing both your top scorer and top distributor in the same transfer window is a tough pill to swallow.
As a result, fans and media members alike called for Wenger to open up his wallet and bring in some top names.
While short-term memory loss is a common occurrence after such a traumatic event, these fans seem to forget the signings of Podolski, Giroud, and Cazorla.
Podolski will be the one who will garner the majority of the spotlight.
Left with the difficult task of replacing Van Persie's 30-goal output from last season, expect the German international forward to be highly scrutinized during the season. His play is going to be under the microscope day-in and day-out.
Luckily for Podolski, he possess the talent to be just as effective.
Last season, the 27-year-old netted 18 goals and seven assists in 28 games for FC Cologne of the Bundesliga.
This season, in seven games for Arsenal, Podolski has three goals and an assist.
Podolski has been electric for the Gunners and has already proven he is one of the top players at the club. He has made the transition to the English league look almost effortless.
With Song's defensive midfield presence gone, Cazorla has attempted to pick up some of the slack.
Thus far, the former Malaga man has been fantastic.
He stood out as a key player during the team's first two games, helping the Gunners register back-to-back clean sheets. He followed those efforts up by netting a pivotal goal against Liverpool at Anfield, leading the Gunners to a 2-0 victory.
He's begin to really click in the Gunners offense, developing a great connection with Mikel Arteta in the midfield.
Then there's the case of Olivier Giroud.
At a prize tag of 13 million pounds, Giroud has the potential to become a bargain for Wenger—he's just not shown it yet.
Last season for Ligue 1 club Montpellier, Giroud led the team with 21 goals and nine assists in 36 appearances. He was a large reason why the team went on to win the Ligue 1 championship.
Though he's been scoreless in six appearances for the Gunners, he's shown flashes of his dangerous attacking presence.
Most notably was his opportunity against Chelsea over the weekend.
With the Gunners trailing 2-1, Giroud broke open and had a one-on-one with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech in the 92nd minute. He quickly dribbled past Cech to his left before sailing a shot wide at an open net. It was a goal that would have proved huge for Arsenal.
But with the scoring pedigree Giroud possesses, it won't be long before he finds his mark and rewards Wenger for his faith.
3. Allows Young Players the Opportunity to Develop
Sometimes the most successful way of bringing in top talent is to actually develop that talent yourself. Just look at what Barcelona have done with Lionel Messi, and Chelsea with Frank Lampard and John Terry.
Arsenal has gotten in on the action as well.
At the age of nine, Jack Wilshere was brought into the Arsenal Academy in 2001. It was a move that paid off, as Wilshere made his debut with the first team in 2008.
Since then, Wilshere has gone on to become one of the most prolific players at Arsenal as of late. His play has won him accolades such as the PFA Young Player of the Year as well as Arsenal's Player of the Season.
It's a chance the now 20-year-old sensation might not have seen had Wenger favored a more buy-first mindset.
With other youngsters such as Carl Jenkinson and Ignasi Miquel on the roster, expect these players to see more time on the field.
Jenkinson has been phenomenal for the Gunners thus far. His excellent play hasn't gone unnoticed, as England head coach Roy Hodgson has suggested that the 20-year-old could get a chance at reserve right back for England during their World Cup qualifier against San Marino in October.
Miquel is also coming along well.
The Spanish Youth international started in Arsenal's 6-1 victory over Coventry City in the Capital One Cup. He showed great poise in defense and even found the back of the net.
The development is key, as having young homegrown talent costs much less money than what is required in bringing in a top name talent from another club.
Plus, when they eventually leave, which almost seems like a certainty in Arsenal these days, the squad can get reimbursed with a hefty sum.
4. Use First Half of Season to Asses What Team Needs
Following his lack of last-minute deals, Wenger made it clear that there were no names available that would have improved the current talent of his squad.
It's a move that makes a lot of sense and prevented the club from spending money rather foolishly. Why purchace a $800 pair of Prada sunglasses when your $100 pair of Oakleys is doing you just fine?
But more importantly, the lack of any further acquisitions allowed Wenger the chance to sit back and assess what it is that his team really needs. Then he can go out and pursue those needs during the January window.
Furthermore, this move also allowed Arsenal to see some of the question marks on their team play out.
For starters, there were the players recovering from injuries—Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere.
According to Wenger, his decision to sell Song to Barcelona had a lot to do with his confidence that Diaby would return back to fitness.
It was a gamble that backfired as Diaby pulled up limp after only 17 minutes against Chelsea. He suffered a thigh sprain and is expected to miss at least three weeks of action.
That will only increase the pressure on the return of Wilshere.
Wilshere, who missed the entire 2011-12 campaign, is coming back from a stress fracture ankle injury. He underwent successful surgery on the ankle and has since returned to training with the first team.
Wenger expects the 20-year-old English international to play a key role in the Arsenal attack.
There was also a question on whether Gervinho and the newly acquired Podolski could produce enough firepower up front in the absence of Van Persie.
Thus far, the duo has shined, combining for seven goals in all competitions.
While Wenger took a couple of risks, they’ve seemed to pay off so far. He’s had a couple of downfalls, but the January window is quickly approaching.
When the window opens up again, expect Wenger to be on the prowl for some new names.
According to rumors, Yann M’Vila, Maarten Stekelenburg, and former Arsenal-killer Didier Drogba are all names on Wenger’s wish list.
5. Chance to Raise the Stock of Players on the Way out
With a need to buy more players during the upcoming window comes the need to sell more players.
To ensure that they get the most bang for their buck, it’s now Arsenal’s job to try and help raise the stock on some of their possible departing players.
But most notably, there’s the Theo Walcott ordeal.
Since declining a reported 75 thousand pounds-a-week contract, Walcott hasn’t started one game all year. Wenger has even gone as far to issue the 23-year-old forward a two-month ultimatum. Otherwise, he just very well could also be on his way out.
Wenger might be doing himself a favor if he begins to play Walcott a little bit more than he has. It might just help avoid speculation that the bridges are burned between the two parties.
After all, a player who is seen as an outcast on his current team only lowers the amount of the bid.
6. Save Money
Nobody wants to spend money just for the sake of spending it.
If Arsenal were to have signed a top name striker it would have been more of a knee-jerk reaction to losing Van Persie than it would have been in targeting the team’s needs.
Wenger seems confident that the earlier signings during the offseason have covered all the essentials for his teams. As a result, when deadline day arrived he was more than happy to keep his wallet closed while the rest of the league splurged like there was no tomorrow.
It’s a strategy that has definitely increased his wallet size.
To bring in Podolski, Giroud, and Cazorla, Wenger had to dish out 40.5 million pounds.
On the other hand, the departures of Van Persie, Song, and several other players brought in 44.2 million for Arsenal.
That is a profit of nearly four million pounds.
Add that to the club’s reported 37 million pound profit before tax in 2012, and Wenger and the Gunners are looking good for a January window splurging.