Despite No Deadline Day Transfers, Will Arsene Wenger Work Wonders?

Serge WickerContributor ISeptember 2, 2008

Midnight last night saw the end of a frantic transfer deadline day, one of the most exciting of all time, with Manchester City seemingly bidding for half of the world, Robinho snatched from Chelsea's grasp, and Manchester United finally capturing Dimitar Berbatov right at the death.

However, the night remained frustrating for some football fans. Newcastle only managed to draw in two players, not the five previously forecast by the press, one of which was only on a year-long loan. West Brom only managed to sign the hilariously named Ryan Donk on a loan deal, while injury plagued West Ham did not buy one single player despite losing McCartney to Sunderland.

But, it came as absolutely no surprise to me that I stayed up until midnight to hear no news of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger signing anybody.

Despite all the criticism Mark Lawrenson, Alan Hansen, and even the former Gunner, Lee Dixon, have thrown at him over the last few weeks, Wenger still bought nobody.

Now, there have been many times in the past couple of years when you have seen the Arsenal manager cut a frustrated figure on the side of the touchline, but his determination to keep to his "spend no money" policy has to be admired.

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Despite the lack of any new players, especially when many seem to be leaving the club, Wenger has time and again formed a fantastic team, feared worldwide for their creativity and flowing football.

AC Milan were defeated at the San Siro by Arsenal last season, the first time any English club has triumphed. Juventus and Real Madrid have also fallen to the London club, and Barcelona were the only team capable of stopping Arsenal's romp in the 2006 Champions League.

But surely Wenger had to buy somebody? Alex Hleb went to Barcelona and was replaced by the quite magnificent Samir Nasri.

Thumbs up there.

But Gilberto Silva and Flamini, both defensive midfielders, left the club for a total of £1million and the largely unknown Portuguese Under-21 midfielder Amaury Bischoff is the only one who has been brought in to fill their roles.

Impressive Welsh youngster Aaron Ramsey was signed from Cardiff, but he is not a Flamini type of player and this will mean a lack of the tough tackling that Vieira, Gilberto and Flamini historically provided.

But the biggest surprise was the signing of Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United before the loaning out of Phillip Senderos to Flamini's new club, AC Milan. Added to that, Armand Traore headed for Portsmouth, and even Justin Hoytes left for Middlesborough—not a bad thing, but it does leave the Arsenal backline dangerously thin.

But does this worry me, as a lifelong Arsenal fan?

Yes, it does.

Despite the fantastic performance against Newcastle at the weekend, I am starting to doubt Wenger. Van Persie got a knock in that game and although it didn't look too bad, any little bump seems to get the Dutch sharp shooter injured.

Although Senderos, Traore, and (particularly) Hoyte are not very good, they are at least better than nobody, and I don't think Arsenal can cover the loss of those three with only Silvestre. Equally, Diaby, Rosicky and Van Persie are all injury prone, whilst Eduardo's return is forecast for November at the earliest.

I know that Arsenal will still be in the top four, but I agree with others that to challenge for all the trophies, we must have a stronger squad than the current one. Even just Xabi Alonso to strengthen the midfield and provide cover for the back four or a reliable, experienced centre back would have done the trick.

For now, Arsenal will keep up the good work as best they can with Fabregas pulling the strings and hard workers Denilson, Nasri, and Walcott looking for space, but I can bet that there will be a frustrated figure on the touchline a couple of times this season, wishing he had better finishers than Adebayor and Bendtner—and a better stand-in defender than Johan Djourou.