Transfer Window Slams Shut: Arsenal Fail to Sign Mark Schwarzer
The deadline day of summer transfer window saw Birmingham City make decent signings which nobody would've predicted a day before. Interestingly, Alex McLeish also signed ex-Arsenal midfielder Aliaksandar Hleb on a loan deal. A big coup for a team like Birmingham City.
Sunderland made a top signing in Asamoah Gyan for a club record transfer fee of £13m. The other big profile signing was Robinho to AC Milan, a deal that resulted in Marco Borriello's departure to Roma on loan from Rossoneri.
Meanwhile, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger failed yet again to bring in a top-class goalkeeper.
The Fulham keeper, Mark Schwarzer, was on the verge of move to the Emirates but didn't come to fruition solely because of the lack of replacements at Craven Cottage. David Stockdale's injury didn't help either.
First off, Wenger shouldn't have left it this late. The current first-choice, Manuel Almunia, is indecisive and lacks organisational skills. He's not authoritative and flaps the ball far too many times paving way for stunning goals like that of Danny Rose's.
A top-team competing in the Champions League needs a better netminder than a dithery Almunia.
With cash in abundance, where did Arsenal go wrong in their pursuit of a new goalkeeper?
Fingers will be pointing at Wenger for being stingy and not meeting the plausible valuation for his targets. What would've happened if his earlier bids were close to the £4m asking price of Fulham? It would've forced Fulham to sell with nothing really to hold on to.
However, Wenger left it too late to the extent that Fulham couldn't find a replacement.
Who are the losers here? Arsenal, Wenger, and Arsenal fans.
In the course of the season Almunia is destined to make crucial mistakes which might prove costly, particularly against top sides.
Wenger had plenty of options to consider before the end of the summer transfer window. Italy could have proved the best hunting ground for a new goalkeeper had Wenger shown any kind of ambition to win silverware.
The Bologna keeper Emiliano Viviano has all the potential to don the jersey of a top European side. And Bologna's massive debt means the club would be forced to sell if the price is right. Wenger could've easily secured Viviano for £5m to £8m.
And still if you aren't sure of Viviano, I would advise you to watch the highlights of Inter Milan's 2010-11 season opener against Bologna. You would immediately know why it ended in a goalless draw.
The other option was Roma keeper Doni. Although he's currently down the pecking order at Roma, his quality is unquestionable. An injury dislodged him from the No.1 spot at Roma, and presently, he's struggling to win back his position. One would say, an ideal scenario to sneak a deal.
He would not have cost Arsenal much. And considering the fact that now Arsenal are left with the same old flops, it would've been worth a gamble. As the adage goes, try and fail but never fail to try.
The Italian club Clagilari's custodian Federico Marchetti was the other possibility. A bid of £10m would've forced Cagilari to sell, when you take into account that the player had already handed in a transfer request earlier in the summer.
But what was the money on Wenger making that lucrative a bid for a goalkeeper?
In the end, Arsene Wenger's parsimonious attitude ensured that Arsenal are left with a mediocre first-choice goalkeeper, who was never good enough to be a first-choice at a club like Arsenal in the first place.
Time and time again Wenger proved that he has a blind spot for goalkeepers, and he underlined that fact once again with his parsimonious attitude taking the front seat.
Even the most fervent fan of Wenger wouldn't be in a position to explain what made Wenger to stick with his "tried-and-failed" options. Cash is not the stumbling block here. Maybe arrogance and childish stubbornness.
Criticism where it's due. Wenger must take responsibility and quit Arsenal if eventually the goalkeeping situation is what's going to cost Arsenal the title this season.
Wenger's dream of ending the trophy drought this season with Almunia is a hallucination.
Until Arsenal (read it as Wenger) sign a top-class goalkeeper the jigsaw remains incomplete. You know what I mean. God, save Wenger from further goalkeeping blushes. It's more of a hope than expectation. But I, like most fans, know what is eventually going to happen.
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