Just a few weeks ago, there was a Q&A session that was held with Arsenal’s Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, and if my memory serves me right, the orator blew his trumpet about how the club was beginning to reach the upper echelons in flexing its financial muscles, as the club has always been on spotlight for its thrifty nature in the transfer market.
He boldly spoke about the club’s transfers, competing with the juggernauts of European football, winning trophies, changing the wage structure, Arsene Wenger’s future and the whole nine yards.
A faction of the Arsenal faithful were elated and had a renewed sense of optimism, while another faction took it with a pinch of salt, believing that Arsenal was never going to change.
If I tell that I was part of the latter lot, I’m one hell of a liar.
The Press delved into this bit and published a million and one articles linking Arsenal with some top quality players, which made the fans drool faster than a dog expecting its next meal. The days of waiting turned into weeks, and the Asian Tour became a welcome distraction as waiting for a transfer to happen at Arsenal was no different from waiting for Marouane Chamakh to score a goal.
Speaking of goals, Arsenal’s forwards have definitely found their scoring boots in the Asia Tour with Olivier Giroud leading the pack with an impressive five goals in two games, albeit against weaker opposition, as all his haters have been quick to point out. The youngster, Chuba Akpom, has been in fine form as well, with Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and the Ox all getting in on the goalscoring acts.
With this probably in mind, Arsene Wenger has had deep thoughts and believes that he’s ready to stick with his current crop of players. According to Goal, Arsene Wenger has hinted to the expectant Arsenal fans that no new signing will be coming anytime soon.
“The competition in Europe is very hard at the moment, there’s a lot of money and not many players. We work hard but we are not close to signing anybody.”
Well, as gutted as these quotes from the boss makes me feel, it’s not as if he and the Arsenal hierarchy didn’t try to delve into the transfer market this summer. It’s not as if it’s a grocery store at the end of a street where you can go and any point in time to pick what you want.
There was a period when the buzz around Gonzalo Higuain was so much that Arsenal fans couldn’t even hear the buzz of real honey bees. The player wanted out and it was believed that Arsenal made a bid, but Real Madrid got greedy.
Higuain checked all the boxes for the kind of striker Arsenal fans craved. He's handsome, technically proficient, would blend into the team, scores goals for fun and of course, he scores more goals for fun.
With Arsenal not coming close to Real Madrid’s evaluation for the player, the Higuain flames started dousing till there was nothing left to even start a new fire. Out of the blue, the player revealed that Chelsea wants him, while Napoli intends to use him as a replacement for the departed Edinson Cavani, and like Arsenal, they also have loads of money in the bank.
Then, of course, there was the story from Goal about an audacious £30 million bid for Luis Suarez that was rejected by Liverpool. The thoughts of a player like Suarez joining Arsenal has come with mixed opinions, but from my research I’ve found out that a considerable chunk of Arsenal fans don’t want to see the Uruguayan wear the sacred Red and White because of the excess baggage he carries.
Suarez’s talent is undoubted in the world of football, but his diving theatrics, row with the English press, racism incident with Patrice Evra and the world-famous biting chronicles make him one hell of an enigma. I’ve done my bit on him, and this interesting piece by @Omomo14 on Arsenal Vision (a pro-Suarez Gooner) cited more reasons than one why Suarez would be a perfect fit for Arsenal. However, Liverpool’s gaffer, Brendan Rodgers, has told Arsenal to back off, putting it mildly.
Somewhere in Florence, a young Montenegrin is about to join Manchester City, and he has even voiced his opinions why he chose the Etihad as his new destination. Trust me, he didn’t say anything about money, and I believe him.
So much focus has gone into looking for that centre-forward for Arsenal that everyone has neglected the fact that there are still some key strategic positions that are in dire need of reinforcements. According to Goal, Arsenal’s skipper, Thomas Vermaelen, will be out for three months with a stress fracture in his back, but there has been no talk of a new defender coming in.
Instead, the boss has been busy trying Bacary Sagna and Chuks Aneke in centre-back positions during the Tour.
With age and fatigue slowly creeping in on Mikel Arteta, the Gunners folded their arms as the Guardian reported that Asier Illarramendi joined Real Madrid. The Guardian also reported that the Gunners had an £18.5 million bid for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender rejected.
To mitigate any potential loss for Mikel Arteta, the boss continues to try out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle. Optimization at its best.
Arsenal’s first Premier League match against Aston Villa is just a month away, but there has been no real transfer activity into the team with the exception of a young injury-prone forward that joined as a free agent. Meanwhile, the Arsenal hierarchy is very busy clearing out its deadwood.
Dear Arsenal fans, even if we continue to hope (in futility), I hate to break it to you: Arsenal is not spending anytime soon, as the manager had clearly stated.
The writing is on the wall.
This article is also featured in Toni Okike's Arsenal blog, Gooner Daily.