Not so long ago, Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said the club is ready to spend big, thereby raising expectations in supporters and eyebrows in observers. Today, it is increasingly becoming the case for the latter.
Arsenal missed out on Gonzalo Higuain, who moved to Napoli instead.
The club is finding it hard to bring in players, notwithstanding their value, during the current transfer market. The latest example of Bayern Munich’s Luis Gustavo joining Wolfsburg for a reported fee of around €20 million serves as a timely reminder to the struggle which Arsenal faces when it comes to their transfer business.
Arsenal coveting Gustavo was no secret, and indeed, they made all the right moves by sounding out the player, who was clearly a fringe player in Bayern’s title winning side. With the player himself fancying a move away from the Bavarian giants, it was a simple situation which required another club to step in and offer him more playing time.
“I need to play, play, play,” Gustavo was reported to have said after securing the switch to Wolfsburg. Arsenal is no doubt in need of a player who wants to play, play and just play for them. A club in touching distance of assuring Champions League football (they play Turkish old-timers Fenerbahce in the playoff round) should surely succeed in luring players like Gustavo, but sadly, that is not happening.
When it became clear that Real Madrid were willing to part with Gonzalo Higuain, the Gunners knew they had a man to bring home. Media reports indicated that the player was interested in moving to Arsenal (a fact corroborated by his father), and later he was supposedly seen jetting into Heathrow for talks with the club. It all was destined to end in a fairy tale move for the player, but the destination was not London but Naples. He sealed a £34.5 million move to Italian side Napoli, who to their credit, were runners-up to Juventus in last season’s Serie A.
Another high profile pursuit of Liverpool’s controversial hit-man Luis Suarez is fast becoming a blur. A record bid of £40 million plus £1 has already been rejected, and it seems unlikely that the Anfield club will part with a star player who is capable of lifting them to the Champions League spots.
“What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?” – this tweet of Liverpool’s owner John Henry, while being seen as a response to Arsenal’s attempt to buy Suarez, is in danger of becoming a taunt.
Arsenal have in the past been dictated by Arsene’s admirable perch for grooming youngsters and ushering in a wave of new and upcoming talent, but recent signs coming out of the club indicate that the club is looking to change, and for the better. A resurgent Chelsea with a ‘wiser’ Jose Mourinho back at its helm, a ‘holistic’ Pellegrini leading an expensively assembled Manchester City, and yet another ‘great Scot’ Moyes trying his hand at last year’s champions Manchester United, along with Andre Vilas Boas’s ‘promising’ Tottenham side, all pose a stern test to Wenger’s humble (if I may use) Arsenal side.
Two days back, Wenger, in a supposed assurance to fans, said, “I cannot certify what the number [of players coming in will be], but we will be active until the end, that is for sure.”
With the end of the transfer window fast approaching, he and his club will do well to hasten up.