Grading Arsenal's Transfer Window Signings
The chaos of the transfer window has finally subsided and it's time to look back on one of the most prolific summers during the Arsene Wenger era.
Though the frustration of not buying a central defender or defensive midfielder may temper fan enthusiasm and leave people with a feeling of unfinished business, there was still some excellent work done this summer.
Let's grade the signings of Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers, David Ospina, Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Debuchy.
No one really talked about Mathieu Debuchy very much this summer, largely because his signing was a foregone conclusion and he will probably not be at Arsenal for very long.
The Gunners obviously needed a replacement following the departure of Bacary Sagna to Manchester City, and ideally one who could perform at a high level for a couple of years without preventing the ascendance of the club's talented youth to the first team.
At 29 years of age, Debuchy fits that criteria perfectly, and he arrived for a relatively meager fee with prior Premier League experience. He seems to have settled in just fine.
Calum Chambers looks like an extremely exciting prospect, but Arsenal and the club's fans have to be careful not to ask too much of the 19-year-old immediately.
He has looked exceptionally composed at center back and has yet to put in an extended shift at his natural position of right back. However, he has only played a few games against non-elite opposition and still could be molded by Arsene Wenger into a defensive midfielder.
So while Chambers shows immense promise, admiration should be reserved.
David Ospina's grade is lower than it will eventually be because the Colombian goalkeeper has not yet been in Arsenal's squad.
Ospina picked up an injury at the very end of his nation's World Cup run and thus has been unavailable for selection ever since his transfer.
Such is Ospina's demonstrated quality that he will no doubt succeed when called upon for cup duty. However, until then, we cannot definitively pass judgment.
With the exception of Alexis Sanchez, all of Arsenal's signings this summer have been replacements for outgoing players.
Signing the Chilean represented an uncharacteristic splash for the normally conservative Arsene Wenger, and it was a real commitment to revitalizing the team's attack. After a little initial awkwardness, Alexis is beginning to come good.
No one has been able to contain his boundless energy recently, and he has two goals in his last two games. One can already begin to see him settle into his role as Arsenal's do-everything attacker.
That's tremendous value for a little over £30 million.
Although he was not the striker Arsenal fans most wanted, the Gunners desperately needed a forward, and Welbeck will add industriousness and a turn of pace to an anemic front line.
While Welbeck's stature makes one wonder whether he will succeed as a lone striker, the Englishman possesses a tremendous work rate and works to create chances for those around him.
Though £16 million might seem a bit much for someone who scored 20 goals in 92 Premier League games for Manchester United, that is a modest fee for a 23-year-old English player bought from a direct and fierce rival.
Gunners fans can take solace in the fact that they caused United fans a good deal of grief, and it will be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger molds Welbeck in the months and years to come.
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