It’s not time to panic, the transfer window does not officially open until 1st July, the season only finished 4 weeks ago, however, signs of a busy summer as stated by both Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, we not seen.
Matters started well with Arsenal rumoured to have agreed a deal for Argentine winger Ricardo Alvarez. This was followed by reports of our interest in Christopher Samba and Gervinho being widely mooted in the media. This was then followed by claims that Arsenal had agreed to signing of Southampton youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Apparently we matched Blackburn Rovers’ valuation of Phil Jones, £16M, but he opted for Old Trafford. The early signs were good, Wenger was making “positive” inquiries and was prepared to spend money on players.
Then this week, when expected to see Arsenal announce the signing of Gervinho and Samba, we are confronted the same old problems.
Last week Lille allowed Gervinho to discuss terms with Arsenal, we even had reports that a £10.6M fee had been agreed, today we read that Lille want £14M. Arsenal are not prepared to pay this sum for a player with one year left on his contract, so we have impasse. Does this sound familiar? Wind back the clock to 2009 and the Chamakh saga, where once again we valued a player in the last year of his contract a few million pounds less than his club. The result, no signing and regretting it when our strikers couldn’t score.
Chris Samba was widely reported as a done deal, his club stated that he wants to play for Arsenal; he wants to play Champions League football. All the omens were there, except now it appears that Blackburn value Samba at £12M and we value him at £10M. Blackburn are also stating they have no need to sell Samba.
Ricardo Alvarez came out of left field, a player so far below the media radar, he was on the floor! From reports stating that he was available on a free transfer, to Arsenal men going out to discuss and close the move to a position that Velez Sarsfield want £12M for the player and now other clubs hovering around.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was reported to have agreed a deal and the transfer was to be announced on 1st July. Then reports started to emerge that the clubs had not agreed a fee, Southampton want around £12M (this appears to the sum for any transfer this summer), Arsenal offering £10M.
This sounds like the same summer transfer activity, plenty of links, fans hopeful that this is the summer when Wenger spends and strengthens the squad, only to realise that the manager and board will not spend the extra £2M-£3M per player to secure the signings we need.
There is plenty of time before we start bombarding the forums and radio call-ins over the lack of transfer activity. What we fans want to see is some decisiveness in the transfer market, the sort of activity that we saw in Wenger’s first summer in 1997 when he bought 7 players to transform the squad.
Things can change so quickly, within a matter of days, so it is not all doom and gloom yet!
Manchester United and Liverpool have already made a big start to their summer spending with the signings of Phil Jones £20 million Ashley Young £15M and Liverpool buying Jordan Henderson £20M. This came on the day that we bought our first signing- no not a big name player but a 19 year old from Charlton for £1 million.
Big players have been linked with us over the years and nothing has come of it because we have refused the asking price or is they are just ‘not the right player for the job’. However this summer sees a change on arsenals philosophy in the transfer market. It seems Wenger is willing to spend big!
We appear have signed Gervinho from the French champions Lille for a reported £10.6 million. Gervinho is a versatile player who can play on the wing or up front with Van Persie.
Chris Samba is another player we have been rumoured to have signed for around £9 million. The 27 year old has made it clear he wants to play for us and Blackburn have even acknowledged this . He is a very physical no nonsense player who will sort out the defensive problems we have had over the last few years.
Cahill another long term target is next on Wenger’s shopping list, with Gazidis having met with the Bolton chairman and discussed the move. Cahill is only 25 years old and the Bolton and England International defender is a great player to have in defence being a powerful and composed player the sort we need in our team. His buyout clause is £17 million however we are apparently looking at spending £15 million instead. Arsenal are now favourites to conclude this signing.
Another player who we are heavily linked with is Jose Enrique who would be a good replacement for Gael Clichy who seems to be on his way out. The price we are going to get him at is around £8 million which is a reasonable price for a very physical and technically gifted left back.
The final player we are very close to signing is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin. Various sources say that we have agreed personal terms with him and we are waiting till the 1st July to announce this. The cost isn’t a small figure but £12 million. This price tag is quite large especially when you think that he is only 17 years old. It shows the change in policy from Wenger in spending big money on players.
The cost of these 5 players comes to over £50 million. A massive jump from our normal spending of £10 million and shows a real intention for next season.
Hopefully our spending doesn’t stop here and we go on to buy some more players to add quality and strength to our squad.
As the transfer rumour season gets under way, the press is busy slaughtering us for our lack of activity.
Well let’s look at what has happened so far.
Liverpool have spent £20M on an England u-21 international, a player who is not as good as either Wilshere or Ramsey, so what did they expect us to do, spend money for the sake of spending money?
Manchester United panicked and bought Phil Jones from Blackburn Rover for £16M. This is a player who is another England under-21 international, what surprised me was that we offered £16M for this player. I would prefer to pay that sort of money for Gary Cahill, who is 25 years old, played nearly 200 Premier League games and is an England international that to me is value for money.
Manchester United then bought Ashley Young, a good player sometimes for £16M and paying him £130K a week. Why would Man Utd pay such high wages for a player who will score 5-7 goals a season?
Meanwhile at the Emirates we have secured the services of 19 year old right-back Carl Jenkinson for £1M and he club has secured the services of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton for £12M(The Mirror), but because it is Arsenal, Wenger is being slaughtered by the media because he has not purchased a “marque” signing.
The next seven days will be crucial for Arsenal. In this time Wenger will sanction the sale of Fabregas to Barcelona, this in turn will allow Nasri to stay at the Emirates. We can also expect to see the signings of Sambas and Cahill confirmed by the club.
TalkSPORT are already announcing that we have signed Lille striker Gervinho, the jury is be out on him as to whether he is another dud or an inspirational signing.
So all is not doom and gloom at the Emirates, and this time next week the media will be waxing lyrical at Arsenal’s re-building program.