Arsenal Transfers: Should Gooners Be Worried by Lack of Big Signings so Far?
The transfer buzz around Arsenal has turned decidedly low-key. Bit-part players are shuffling out, and Arsene Wenger has signed a typically unheralded young prospect, but none of the Gunners' rumored headline-making moves have materialized as of yet.
So is that reason to let doubt creep in? Well, maybe and maybe not.
Most of the latest Arsenal news involves departures of minor players. Per The Independent, Swiss center-back Johan Djourou is heading back to Germany, where he spent the second half of last season on loan, to begin a season-long loan spell with Hamburg. Djourou joined the club in 2004 and has dealt with injuries and loss of form over the years. This is his third loan move, and it's hard to see him returning to manager Arsene Wenger's plans.
Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror reports that Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner is also heading for Germany, with a £3 million permanent transfer to Eintracht Frankfurt imminent. Bendtner, 25, joined Arsenal in 2005 and scored 43 goals in 157 appearances, per the Mirror, but he hasn't played for the Gunners since August 2011 and had to go to make space—let's hope—for new arrivals.
Meanwhile, backup keeper Vito Mannone is on his way to Sunderland in a £2 million deal, per the Daily Mail. Those departures come after the club released other disappointments like Andrey Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci and Denilson.
All those moves should be taken as positives for Arsenal in the sense that they cleared unnecessary salaries from the books and, in some cases, brought transfer fees into the club. At the moment, though, the only arrival is of a similarly low-key variety.
On Monday, the club finally announced the signing of France Under-20 forward Yaya Sanogo, who was a free agent after leaving Auxerre.
“Sanogo is a good young signing for us. He has shown that he has potential with his recent performances for Auxerre and also for the France Under-20 side," said Wenger, per Arsenal.com. "We are looking forward to Yaya joining us and continuing his promising development.”
For now, though, that's all fans should expect from this signing—development. Elsewhere, the transfer talk has quieted down somewhat.
Arsenal remain interested in Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain but are struggling to agree to a fee with Real, per Goal.com. Signing Wayne Rooney from Manchester United "would be amazing," according to Jack Wilshere, per The Guardian, but Rooney's situation at United remains unresolved. Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier, meanwhile, has told Le Parisien (h/t Sky Sports) that Lyon turned down Arsenal's offer for him.
Signing even one of those players would be good for Arsenal. Signing two or more would be excellent. But for now, they remain mere possibilities.
It's a dilemma Arseblog addressed in a Wednesday post:
Things look a bit quiet on that front, really, but the glass half full side in me is assured because that’s the way we do things and we’re keeping it all under wraps like super quality top super secret exceptional quality secret agents.
On the other hand, there’s a nagging voice inside me which is getting a bit louder and tells me that all the players we’re after will be bought by Man City, Chelsea and possibly PSG and that in order to use our cash this summer we’ll make a Papier-mâché player out of used bank notes.
Meanwhile, B/R's Ryan Bailey writes off Arsenal as a title challenger in the Premier League next season, largely because of Wenger's inactivity in the transfer market.
(S)o far this summer, Wenger has behaved in a typically Wenger-esque manner, signing French U-20 striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre.
A few miles down the street, meanwhile, Tottenham have laid out £17 million for Confederations Cup star Paulinho.
After a decade of falling behind in the title race, Arsenal simply must spend, if only to instill a belief that they are taking the domestic league seriously.
He's right about that, of course. After last season, when Arsenal needed a late surge to pip Spurs to fourth place, Arsenal's squad clearly needs strengthening. So far, that hasn't happened.
But the summer isn't over, and a lack of transfer stories in the media does not necessarily mean Arsenal and Wenger haven't been busy. If, by the time August arrives, the situation is the same, then it might be time to worry.
For now, though, patience is probably the best strategy.
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