Well the transfer window closed last night and unlike windows of the past, Arsenal were doing business all the way until it slammed shut. Four players were confirmed last night as having signed, with Park announced the day before. It was clear from the start of the season that Wenger had to act to change our fortunes and only time will tell if Le Professor has bought correctly.
The first three signings, Park, Santos and Mertesacker were players that we should have secured before the season started.
A centre-back was a priority all summer, several names were linked and we made two bids for players, Jagielka and Cahill. Everton wanted £18M for a 30 year old defender with little international experience, so Arsene moved his attention to Cahill. An offer of £6M plus Bendtner was made, this was ridiculed by Bolton who wanted £17M for a player in the last year of his contract and with a handful of international caps. Rightly so Wenger made a move for German international Mertesacker and secured a player who is one year older than Cahill, but has 75 caps for one of the top nations in world. The fee £8.8M! The Neanderthals in the British media say he is too slow and we should have gone for Cahill or Jagielka or Dann. Mertesacker was not bought to win the 100M at the forthcoming Olympics, he was bought to defend, to make challenges, win headers and tackles. A player does not represent Germany 75 times if is he no good. This was a great move by Wenger. My only question is why could we not have bought him a month ago?
When Clichy left, no Arsenal fan shed a tear, we knew in Gibbs we had an adequate replacement, in fact Gibbs will go one to become a great left-back. However, we thought Wenger will buy Enrique, we needed cover and competition at left-back, but Arsene though Traore was capable to cover at left-back. This was surprising as Traore had been converted into a left sided midfielder by Arsene. Wenger soon saw the light and on Sunday night news broke that were in talks with Brazil international Andre Santos. We secured a strong, attacking full-back for £6.2M, this is good business, his record at Fenerbahce is one goal in five games. Santos has again been slated by the blinkered British media as non-entity, who is he, if he was any good he should be playing La Liga or Serie A. I believe Santos will be the player to bring the best out of Gibbs. Another great purchase by Wenger but one that should have been concluded once Clchy left.
Search for a striker should have started in May when Wenger allowed Bendtner to leave. It ended with the acquisition of South Korea captain Park Chu-Young for a fee around £2.6M from Monaco, though in the process we upset Lille!
Having sold Nasri and Fabregas, much to Wenger’s surprise, though everyone else knew it would happen, Wenger had to move in for a midfielder or two. Rumours were abound with bids made for Hazard, Martin, M’Vila, enquiries for Vargas and Montolivio, but these were young players, big money was required and a bedding in period. So Arsene looked closer to home, he turned to Chelsea and Everton. Inquiries were made for Arteta and Benayoun and after some brinksmanship the players were brought in one on a four year deal and the other on loan (due to work permit complications). Arteta and Benayoun will bring experience, graft, inventiveness and goals to our midfield. Both players will be good signings for Arsenal.
Interesting Arteta took a pay-cut to join Arsenal, what is that about, Arsenal are massive payers overall, but when it comes to our top players we are reluctant to offer big money.
Now that the window has closed and Wenger has his squad for the season, we can now focus on getting our season started and start to move up the table. A good run of results could see challenging by December, but we need to keep players fit, stop picking up silly red cards and start to take our chances.
On the departure front, youngsters Joel Campbell and Henri Lansbury went out on loans, whilst Gilles Sunu joined Lorient on a permanent basis. Niklas Bendtner was unable to find the “big” club to play for and has joined Sunderland on loan. Bendtner will do well at Sunderland as he will be playing regularly as the main striker, this could work well for Arsenal as his value can only go up. Worryingly for Arsenal fans is that Almunia is still at the club as is Squillaci.
Arsenal cannot stand still however, new contracts must be offered to van Persie, Walcott and Vermaelen otherwise we will be in for a nightmare summer in 2012. Arsenal must re-evaluate their transfer policy and in particular the way we complete transfers, I am referring to the two that got away Ricardo Alvarez and Juan Mata. Arsenal also need to re-asses their wage structure, not every player in the squad is worth £50K -£60K a week, we need to reward some players with £100K plus a week contracts.