Grading Arsenal's Transfer Window

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2013

Grading Arsenal's Transfer Window

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    The transfer window is finally closed, and Arsenal can begin to assess their activity.

    Having secured Mesut Ozil on the final day of the window, The Gunners now have the marquee signing they have craved for more than a decade. However, is that enough?

    Go to the next slide to begin a position-by-position report on Arsenal's transfer dealings.

Goalkeepers

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    Arsenal entered the summer with question marks over Wojciech Szczesny's first-team place. The Pole had been unceremoniously dropped from the side last season, and only an injury to understudy Lukasz Fabianski had allowed Szczesny to reclaim his place.

    Vito Mannone was sold to Sunderland, and Arsene Wenger was faced with a choice over whether to bring in an established name to replace Szczesny or an up-and-comer to challenge him.

    In the end, Wenger opted for the latter. On deadline day Arsenal pounced to sign Emiliano Viviano on loan from Palermo.

    Viviano, an Italian international, will provide experienced cover for Szczesny. However, should the Pole's performances plummet, he'll be ready and motivated to step in and claim to No. 1 spot for himself.

    The addition of Viviano and the improving form of Szczesny leave Arsenal's goalkeeping position in a stronger state than last season.

    Grade: B

Defence

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    Towards the end of the 2012-13 season, Arsenal's defence began to take on a formidable shape. The partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny formed a reliable core, while the addition of January signing Nacho Monreal provided flexibility at full-back.

    Arsenal will be relying on the same personnel this season. The concentration of quality is higher, but there is less depth. Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou and Andre Santos have all been moved on, while Ignasi Miquel has joined Leicester on loan in search of first-team football.

    Arsenal fans will be particularly alarmed at the club's failure to sign a new centre-half. With Thomas Vermaelen absent through injury, Koscielny and Mertesacker are the only fit senior centre-backs available. Bacary Sagna has shown himself to be competent in the role, and keeping him this summer was certainly an unexpected bonus. However, fielding Sagna in the middle means weakening the right-back spot.

    If either Koscielny or Mertesacker picks up a serious injury, The Gunners may yet come to regret not signing a central defender.

    Grade: C

Midfield

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    Arsenal's midfield is now one of the strongest in the Premier League.

    The Gunners kept all of their key midfield players, and added two more to provide depth and variety.

    Mathieu Flamini returned to the club on a free transfer, adding versatility and energy to the squad. Flamini will provide a reliable alternative to the ageing Mikel Arteta, as well as offering emergency cover in full-back spots.

    Arsenal's major summer signing was that of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. Ozil is a truly world class operator, and his arrival has provided a huge lift to everyone at the club. The prospect of the German playmaker combining with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere is truly mouthwatering.

    Grade: A

Attack

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    It is staggering that Arsenal allowed deadline day to pass without acquiring a centre-forward.

    The Gunners spent much of the summer chasing the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, but ultimately failed to add an established striker. Only the unproven French striker Yaya Sanogo was added to the attacking ranks.

    With Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho both having departed the club, and Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu-Young so far out of favour as to be almost irrelevant, it leaves a huge burden on Olivier Giroud.

    Giroud has started the season in fine form, and will without a doubt thrive on improved service from an Arsenal midfield enlivened by the arrival of Mesut Ozil, but he can not be expected to play every single game across four competitions.

    This is an area of the squad Arsenal may be forced to readdress in January.

    Grade: C

Overall

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    This was undoubtedly a landmark transfer window for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.

    Signing Mesut Ozil is an utterly transformative moment for the entire club. Arsenal have smashed both their transfer record and the existing preconceptions around the club.

    In one deal, Arsenal have changed their image from parsimonious puritans to major market movers. Not since the arrival of Dennis Bergkamp in 1995 have Arsenal landed such a universally acclaimed talent.

    However, Arsenal fans will worry that one huge deal is not enough to balance a decimated squad. Arsenal let 12 players leave this summer, and have brought in just 4 replacements.

    The decision not to sign a striker could prove particularly costly. Olivier Giroud has started the season terrifically well but a change in form or fortune could be just around the corner. With Lukas Podolski already sidelined, Arsenal may find they lack the finishers required to convert the chances Ozil will undoubtedly create.

    Ozil is a tremendous acquisition, but Arsenal fans will wish he had been accompanied by a couple more high profile additions.

    Overall Grade: B