Arsenal fans are hoping Arsene Wenger will pull another rabbit out of the hat in the final days of the 2014 summer transfer window, but the Gooners shouldn't expect a scenario similar to the one that saw Mesut Ozil move to the Emirates in 2013.
Olivier Giroud's injury had plenty of fans and pundits believing the Gunners would move for a new striker, but Wenger was quick to shoot down those rumours. He referred to deadline day as a "poker game," per BBC Sport:
I will be actively involved on the final day of the window and I will be on alert until the last minute of transfer deadline day.
Many clubs are on the market and everybody knows each other. The last few days are a poker game.
There's a lot of lies there in the few days, everybody is interested in the same player even if you're the only one who wants the player.
[...]If I give you the number of strikers I have at the moment, it's absolutely unbelievable.
We have (Yaya) Sanogo, (Alexis) Sanchez, we have (Theo) Walcott, we have (Lukas) Podolski, we have Giroud who will come back during the season and I forget maybe one or two. (Joel) Campbell can play centre forward as well.
Of course, fans know better. Just because Wenger says he won't be moving for a new striker doesn't actually mean he won't. The French manager has always been cryptic in how he approaches the market—2014 shouldn't be any different.
Last year, the transfer of Ozil completely came out of left field. Wenger sensed an opportunity and pounced, and fans are hoping he'll do the same thing in 2014.
But Ozil presented a unique scenario in 2013, one that will be very difficult to find again this year. The key is value, and as of right now, there appears to be little value left on the market when it comes to strikers.
The likes of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani, two players often linked with Arsenal, simply don't fit the club's wage structure. As reported by Goal's Stephen Darwin, Wenger himself ruled out a move for a player of such caliber.
Take those two attackers out of the equation, and you're left with a group of strikers who simply don't present an upgrade on any of the players already in Arsenal's squad. The same goes for centre-backs, an area where the Gunners could still use depth.
Transfer deadline day's purpose for top clubs is to fill out the ranks. If a player like Ozil becomes available, teams will pounce. But normally, most moves made on the final day of the window are under-the-radar signings that add depth to areas that still need strengthening.
That doesn't mean no new players will arrive at the Emirates—but another major splash like Ozil is highly unlikely.
Sporting's William Carvalho is still the most likely target for the Gunners, after weeks of speculation surrounding his future. According to Record (h/t to Metro), the Portuguese youngster could be available for £24 million, the same bid the club originally turned down just last month.
That's value, and exactly the kind of deal Wenger has grown famous for. Carvalho fits a clear need, has tantalising potential and will help this team win both now and in the future.
Fans will gladly take a last-minute deal for Carvalho and call this summer transfer window a rousing success, and they would be right. Arsenal added talent, potential and depth to a squad that came very close to the top of English football in 2013-14, and things are looking up for the Gunners.
But while you can never say never in football, the chances of Falcao, Cavani or Marco Reus joining the club before the end of the window are almost non-existent. Fans expecting Wenger to once again shell out £40 million or more on a world-class player will, in all likelihood, be left bitterly disappointed once the clock strikes midnight.