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Arteta and Benayoun Join as the Window Closes

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.

Will Wenger Add Cahill, Malouda and Fellaini?

It appears that both Park and Santos have been signed subject to work permits, which we need confirmed today.

Arsenal are in advance talks with long-term transfer target Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen, with a fee in the regions of €10M having been agreed. Mertesacker is 6’ 6”, which will help us at both ends at set pieces. The German defender is 26 years old (27  in September) and has played 74 times for Germany.  This is the experienced tall commanding defender that we have been crying out for, his critics talk about his pace, but how quick is Djourou and how effective is Djourou?

Arsenal have made enquiries about Benayoun and Malouda, I expect one of these two to join Arsenal.  Malouda is a more direct player with an eye for goal, whilst Benayoun is a creative player but is injury prone.

It is possible that Wenger could conclude four deals for £25M, leaving the Cesc transfer fee free for two major signings.

With the arrival of Mertesacker, does this signal the end of the Cahill deal?  Gartside must have regretted his comments over the week-end that infuriated Arsene Wenger.  If Gartside had kept quiet and merely told Arsenal that £6M plus Bendtner was a non-starter but can we talk about cash plus a loan deal, then Cahill could still be an option.  Bolton’s problem is that Cahill is in the last year of his contract, if he refuses to sign a new contract, then Bolton will lose the one major asset for nothing and this is a club with major financial problems.

I still believe that Wenger fancies Cahill, but he refused to pay £17M for Cahill.  Wenger’s valuation is probably around £10M.  Unless Spurs step in and offer Bolton £15M for Cahill, I can see Wenger renewing his interest in Cahill tomorrow, but this time he will not be desperate for the player as he would have secured Mertesacker.  Bolton will be negotiating from a position of weakness and the deal could be clinched for around £10M.  If this happens, this is typical Wenger, the artful poker player, always ensuring that the cards are stacked in his favour.

Wenger’s pursuit of either Malouda or Benayoun is a sign of defeat in the purchase of Hazard.  Lille were always reluctant to sell both Gervinho and Hazard in the same window, so this is a player that goes onto the backburner and the pursuit starts again next summer.

Arsene will turn his attention north, and in particular Everton. The targets are Arteta, Fellaini or even Rodwell. Rodwell will be a typical Arsene move, a young player, someone who will be in demand in a year’s time from Manchester United, but the cost will be £20M, which will concern Arsene. Arteta is a player whom we made a bid for in the past (probably £6M!), he is creative but as with so many of our players on the small side.  The one that I would like to see is Marouane Fellaini.  He is young,  23 years old, tall 6ft 4” and is a solid midfielder.  Fellaini cost Everton £15M three years ago and Everton are trying to extend his contract, however a bid from Arsenal around £20M could tempt cash strapped Everton.  Everton have not spent any money this summer meaning Moyes has been unable to strengthen his squad,  £20M wil lalow the Everton manager to go into the market at this late stage.

If Arsene finishes August with Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Malouda, Cahill and Fellaini, then Arsenal fans will be looking forward to the Swansea match on 10 September, the doom and gloom of August will be behind us.

Park and Santos Signed – Mertesacker Too? Medicals for Hazard & Cahill?

The 8-2 defeat at the weekend has forced Wenger into the transfer market, rumours are flying around everywhere.

Two deals that are virtually done will Park Chu Young join Arsenal from AS Monaco.  Park is South Korea’s captain and a striker who does not have an impressive record in club football.   Park was due to join Lille when Wenger hi-jacked the deal, the fee has been reported as anything from £2.6M to £10M.  The second signing is Fenerbahce’s Brazilian left back Andre Santos for a reported £6.2M.  As always Arsenal have remained silent over both deals.

Everything else is wild speculation.

L’Equipe is announcing that Arsenal have signed Per Mertesacker.  The article reports that the players was signed last night.

Numerous reports have stated that Arsenal have made inquiries about three Chelsea players, Benayoun, Malouda and Alex.  Malouda is the player that Wenger should aim to buy from Chelsea.

The Arteta/ Bendtner swap is being rumoured on plenty of sites.  This will be a good buy for Arsenal, Arteta is a creative, combative midfielder, though prone to injury, so will be a perfect Arsenal player.

Speculation is rife that Cahill and Hazard are due for medicals today or tomorrow at Arsenal, I suppose if a rumour is repeated often enough, people will take it as being the truth.  Hazard will be a difficult  transfer to complete as we snapped Park from under the noses of Lille.  The deal may be sweetened if we allow Joel Campbell to go on loan to Lille.  The Cahill saga will drag on and unless Wenger buys alternatives, and L’Equipe claims we have, then Wenger will be castigated ifwe do not buy Cahill.

It is going to be a helter-skelter couple of days, but what Arsenal fans must be asking is why were these players not brought in before the season started?