A summer of frustration continues for Arsenal—which is pretty much the opposite of this clip of the "Summer of George."
First it was missing out on Gonzalo Higuain, who made the move to Napoli in late July and just poured salt in Arsenal's wound with a marvelous performance against Italy on Wednesday.
Now it's Luiz Gustavo. The current Bayern Munich midfielder may not be as much of a household name as the first two, but the circumstances surrounding his potential snub are just as disheartening.
The Guardian's David Hytner has the report:
Wolfsburg have moved to beat Arsenal to the signature of Bayern Munich's Luiz Gustavo, with reports in Germany stating that the club have agreed a €20m (£17m) deal for the Brazil defensive midfielder.
Arsenal valued the 26-year-old at around £14m but appear to have been unwilling to go much higher, allowing Wolfsburg to seize the initiative. The German club have been long-term admirers of Gustavo.
Gustavo is—or I guess, would have been—the ideal Arsenal target.
Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey have held down the defensive midfield positions admirably, but neither are on the level of the 26-year-old Brazilian.
He is strong. He is aggressive. He makes tackles. He makes interceptions. He has a high work rate and good stamina. He is versatile, able to play left-back, center-back or even central midfield at a pinch. He has thrived at Bayern Munich and received plenty of action with Brazil's national team.
There is little doubt that he would be a consistent fixture in manager Arsene Wenger's starting XI, giving the Gunners that extra boost of talent and physicality that would instantly improve the team.
Losing out on him is demoralizing.
It's not demoralizing just because some other side is out-bidding them. It's demoralizing because that side is offering just £17 million for a world-class talent, and Arsenal—despite making zero major signings so far this summer—are unwilling to improve their offer by a measly £3 million.
The need to run a business efficiently is important—and that's exactly what Wenger does. His ability to constantly stay in the black yet always build top-four squads is absolutely commendable.
But, at some point, if you want to take that step back to trophy territory, you have to spend over your valuation once in a while. You have to open up the wallet if it's going to make your squad better.
Losing out to Wolfsburg, last year's 11th-place finishers in the Bundesliga, does not scream elite.
There's still time left in the transfer window, and Wenger has promised activity, but this looks to be another discouraging loss in what is quickly becoming a maddening summer in Arsenal.