I’ve been wanting to write something on Arsenal for a few weeks now, but I’ve not quite managed to figure out what I want to write about.
Suarez? Our quite remarkable lack of transfer activity? The youth coming through? Even as I write this I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this actually.
I think I’m going to examine how the remaining few weeks of this transfer window could pan out, and the possible ramifications of our actions, or quite possibly inaction, in these next few crucial weeks.
Where to start? Well, Suarez seems like the most logical place. I’m not going to go through the whole saga (it’s really boring me to death now) but where it stands now, I just can’t see it happening. John W Henry has made it unequivocally clear that Suarez won’t be going anywhere this summer, and whilst this may well be posturing of the highest order, trying to get a better fee, I suspect he really means it.
If the situation gets even uglier for Liverpool (I don’t know what Suarez could do, maybe… bite Brendan Rodgers? Yeah, that should do the trick) and we come in with a late, probably quite desperate £50m bid, having failed to secure any alternatives, there is just the smallest chance a deal could happen. But it’s doubtful.
The hardest thing to fathom as an Arsenal fan this summer is the lack of transfer activity trying to strengthen other areas of the squad. Yes, we need more than just a striker. There were reports that we had a bid for Lars Benderrejected, which would suggest we have identified the position as an area of need. But since then, not even a whisper.
Whilst the hope that we would conclude three or four big signings before the season started has clearly dissipated (it dissipated quite a long time ago, actually), there is still time to add the required quality, and quantity, of player before the window shuts.
Wenger has come out and said the club is working hard on deals, and whilst my patience is wearing increasingly thin, I am willing to hold off on any scathing criticism until the window is firmly shut. Many blogs and podcasts have already lost it, claiming we should have got our business done before the first game of the Premier League season. Ideally, yes, that’s what would have happened. But now, as long as the right players are signed, I’m happy enough.
It’s clear, to most of us at least, that Arsenal need a striker, creative midfielder/winger, defensive midfielder, central defender and an experiencedgoalkeeper. So basically, an entirely new spine of the team. That would be five signings, FIVE. I don’t think even the most optimistic of Arsenal fans expects that to happen.
At this point, I’d be happy with three. Well, not happy, satisfied. Happy would have been if we’d signed quality players for all the positions above, therefore turning us into genuine title contenders.
We’ve definitely missed the boat on that count – which is a great shame. With all our new ‘financial fire-power’, we have the resources and we *had* the time to conclude the deals which could have made us a genuinely potent force. That time has passed.
Even if we did sign Suarez, and a couple of other players, the start of the season will, once again, feel disjointed. Add to that the increased strength of City and Chelsea, and any chance of a title challenge feels very, wildly optimistic.
It looks very much like fourth place will yet again be the limit of our ambitions, and with Spurs strengthening significantly, even that is far from certain.
I’ve become more and more unhappy and ranty as I’ve been writing, realising more than ever how good this summer could have been, how good this season could have been. I really hope Arsene proves me, and a whole host of other people, wrong because if he doesn’t it will be very, very difficult to justify extending his contract beyond its expiry this summer.
Right, back to Twitter to find out about any impending transfers. I won’t hold my breath.