Arsenal FC: Transfer Deadline Flurry at the Emirates but Are Gunners Fans Happy?
Arsene Wenger was forced to show up his hands in the transfer market after the embarrassment at Old Trafford last weekend.
The Frenchman responded by signing five players in the last two days of the window, which was a surprise given the time Arsenal generally take to sign their targets.
It just shows that if you're willing to sign players it's not that tough to play with your money in the transfer market.
The first observation is Arsenal and Wenger never had a plan about how to approach the summer transfer window.
They responded to a humiliating defeat and, luckily for the fans, it happened days before the conclusion of the window.
Whether Arsenal would have signed so many players if they hadn't lost by that margin is anybody's guess.
It has turned out to be blessing in disguise and now we finally have a decent enough squad to play with.
Tottenham clearly lost the plot this summer and now Arsenal just have to fight off Liverpool for a place in the top four.
Which was the best deadline day Arsenal signing?
While it looks a daunting task given the form of and acquisitions at Liverpool, after the flurry of signings on the deadline day Arsenal have a very good chance of overcoming the Red battle, especially if the core of the team stay injury free.
That takes us to the new signings. Some are elated that Arsenal bought so many players in two days.
At the same time many are sad that the "marquee" signing never arrived, while others are relieved that Arsenal spent some cash finally amid pleas and dissent.
The five players that will make up the new look Arsenal are: Park Chu Young, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Yossi Benayoun and the deadline day transfer coup, Mikel Arteta.
Notably Benayoun is on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea.
The gamble out of the five is Park, not because of the transfer fee involved, but if it backfires Arsenal would be left with only one quality centre forward.
All the others are fairly safe bets. So what to expect from these signings? I will give my opinion on these signings as objectively as possible.
Park Chu Young:
The South Korea captain will wear the No. 9 jersey. The one who donned that number last time around was a fan favourite at the Emirates, but left the club without realising his full potential out of sheer misfortune.
Let's hope that's not the case with Park. What Park brings to the side is leadership, energy, stamina, pace and never-say-die attitude.
Like his compatriots, Park is a hard-working player, unlike many of the current Arsenal players.
Park has the ability to score from direct free-kicks. He's also a good header of the ball, standing tall at 6' with good strength.
The South Korea captain also has the vision to deliver killer passes. The area where he lacks is in finishing. He can be sloppy in front of the goal at times.
That said, in my opinion, this is an improvement on Chamakh and Bendtner.
He puts in more effort than the aforementioned as well as has better ball control and vision.
A 10+ goal a season striker, I don't have to tell you Chamakh will be the third choice behind him provided he acclimatises to the pace of the league, which I am sure he will, not least because his IQ is 150!
That said I've my own doubts about whether he will succeed as a lone striker, as he's more of a second striker.
Everyone knows what Benayoun is all about.
Good stop-gap until Arsenal sign...who? Mario Goetze or Eden Hazard?
Benayound is accustomed to the demands of the league having had spells at West Ham, Liverpool and Chelsea.
The previous move to Chelsea was a disappointing one, as the player suffered an Achilles injury and new boss Andres-Villas Boas deemed him surplus to requirements at the Stamford Bridge.
The fact that teams like Liverpool, Tottenham and Lille were interested in securing a deal for the Israel international speaks volumes about the talent he possesses.
Benayoun had a productive spell at the Anfield and the highlight was his great understanding with Fernando Torres in the final third, which was one of the reasons why Chelsea signed him.
Is Benayoun a good signing?
He's comfortable on the ball, has quick feet and is a good finisher.
He's a good squad player and was used as a super-sub at Liverpool. Wenger can do the same, provided he stays fit.
That's the concern here as the Israel captain is injury prone.
Fans shouldn't expect too much from a 31-year-old player returning from an Achilles injury, though he would be a nifty back-up option.
He will chip in with assists and a fair share of goals, and has the creative spark to unlock defences.
The important thing is he keeps possession well and contributes defensively more than Arshavin does. I expect Wenger to use him more on the left flank, rotating with Gervinho.
Santos made the move from Fenerbahce.
This is a good signing to compete alongside Kieran Gibbs for a place in the starting 11. Santos will go straight into the first team.
He's from the Brazilian school of fullbacks which means you should expect great technique, galloping forward runs, good crossing ability and long-range shooting ability. The 28-year-old Brazilian does provide all that.
He's also physically strong with great pedigree. I would say he's a good signing.
He's an efficient player in the final third, unlike Gael Clichy. It's not a foolproof signing, though.
He does make his fair share of defensive errors. Notably, Santos lost his place in the Brazilian squad due to his erratic defensive display.
As an attacking fullback his positioning isn't the greatest. Another criticism levied at him is the occasional lapse in concentration.
On a more positive side, his delivery from free-kicks is very good. Good signing, but fans must be a bit cautious with this one.
This is the signing that fans and ex-players alike have urged Wenger to make for a long, long time.
Finally the 6'6" German is here and a player of his pedigree will go a long way in plugging Arsenal's leaky defence.
He's experienced and has over 70 caps for Germany. He knows how to defend. He's tall, strong and a no-nonsense defender.
Mertesacker wins a big percentage of the aerial duels, not a surprise given his height and presence.
A massive threat from set-pieces in the opposite box, a leader at the back and a great personality on and off the pitch.
Youngsters can learn a lot from him and his organisational skills will come in handy defending set-pieces.
A tidy passer, Mertesacker commits very few fouls and is composed on the ball.
Moving on to the weaknesses, everyone knows his biggest weakness is lack of pace.
Lack of pace immediately means it could take a bit of time to adapt to the Premier League.
Arsenal's high line of defence means his slow turning could be another issue. In short, he will relish battles against the likes of Kevin Davies and Andy Carolls of the League, but could struggle against the Sergio Agueros and Luiz Suirazes.
Overall an excellent signing.
Before I begin I must tell you that I am a fan of Arteta, which doesn't mean I am going to describe him in superlatives, overlooking the cons.
He will wear the coveted No. 8 and will play the No. 10 role on the field.
Arteta is a proven Premiership player—which means gold here. No adaptation time needed.
He will go straight into the starting 11. Arteta's strength is passing. He's an exquisite passer of the ball with great close control and diverse passing range.
It's very difficult to dispossess him and he happens to be one of the most fouled players in the League. He doesn't drive forward like Cesc Fabregas does, but instead plays more centrally.
He's also a good long-range shooter. And it also goes without saying that his delivery from corners and free-kicks is topnotch.
The only concern here is his fitness. Arteta is prone to injuries and Arsenal's success this season hinges on his fitness. Undoubted quality, but it remains to be seen whether Wenger can keep him fit by rotating his squad. A very important signing under the circumstances.
Those signings have certainly lifted spirits, but Arsenal failed to get their first-choice targets because of sluggish approach.
Benayoun is a panic buy. This summer window should be a lesson and this is exactly why I said back in July that major signings should be completed before August.
Arsenal were offered Sebastien Coates, now a Liverpool player, earlier in the summer but turned him down.
For years Eden Hazard has remained Arsenal's top target. This was probably the last time Arsenal could have signed him.
Next year Lille may well auction him and Zinedine Zidane is a big fan of his. So you know where he's going next summer.
Arsenal may renew their interest in Mario Goetze again next year, having had a reported bid of £20 million-plus turned down by Borussia Dortmund.
On the more positive side, Arsenal still have a massive figure left in the kitty which can be used in January to pick up a bargain or two. Yes, you got it right. Gary Cahill!
That's the end of another intriguing and high-octane transfer period. Back to football again. The dealings on the last two days may just save a few blushes.
Are you happy and satisfied with Arsenal's dealings on the deadline day? Or are you disappointed because you expected bigger names to arrive?
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