The transfer of Luiz Gustavo to Wolfsburg is a blow to Arsenal, but it is a scenario that has an all-too-familiar ring to it for Gunners fans.
Wenger highlighted Gustavo—a defensive-midfielder adept in the art of shielding his defence while also possessing the quality to make an impact in the final third—some weeks ago.
It was widely reported that the Gunners had tabled a £14 million bid and that confidence was high that a transfer would be pushed through before the start of the Premier League season on Saturday.
Gustavo seemed taken by the prospect of moving to Arsenal. In a piece in the Daily Telegraph, the Brazilian said:
I have heard about the Arsenal interest. It's a big club we're talking about here so of course I'd like to play for them.
Arsenal play a very attractive brand of football and are in the Champions League.
They also have a very clever manager in Arsene Wenger. Even when Bayern beat them in the last Champions League [on aggregate] you could see they are not pushovers.
A deal has been struck before Saturday, but sadly for Arsenal fans it takes Gustavo from Bayern Munich to Wolfsburg.
Gustavo will soon forget about not heading to Arsenal, but it may take Gunners fans a little longer to shake off the setback.
Wolfsburg’s official website confirmed the player had signed a five-year deal but did not divulge details of the package.
The Independent’s Jack De Menezes claims the fee was in the region of £17 million. If that is the case, had Wenger dipped in to his transfer kitty and pulled out an extra £3 million he would in all probability have got his hands on an established Brazil international who has a goal of securing a place in the national side ahead of next year’s World Cup finals.
Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, Gustavo will be breaking down opponents in the green of Wolfsburg and not their red and white.
Gustavo may have been forced to take on a bit-part role at Bayern last term, but they are the European champions and had Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger at their disposal last term, while they have since added Thiago Alcantara to their ranks too.
It’s no surprise he wanted to move on and that he had Arsenal in his sights, but his decision to spurn the North Londoners' advances for, as mentioned earlier, a side that finished 11th in the Bundesliga last term has caused some puzzlement.
Gustavo wants to be playing regularly with a World Cup on the horizon; he will get that at Wolfsburg.
He would also have had that opportunity at Arsenal as, for all the craft of Santi Cazorla, industry and drive of Jack Wilshere and potential of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Gunners have had a void in the defensive-midfield area since Alex Song’s departure.
Gustavo is far from the finished article, he is certainly not in the same bracket as Arsenal great Patrick Vieira, but he would have been a step in the right direction.
He will, though, remain in the Bundesliga, and Wenger’s transfer kitty, which is a sizeable one according to the Daily Telegraph, remains untouched.