Blog by: Abhishek
Edging closer to the close of transfer window, unofficial media sources all over the world had already declared a sensational capture by Arsenal. Even though excited, the Gunner fans refused to believe anything until they heard it from the club.
Finally,the moment arrived. Mesut Ozil was confirmed and announced as an Arsenal player minutes before the window shut close. Club’s most expensive signing, one of the best players for his position, ‘der Rabe’ had become Arsenal’s new number 11.
All the Ozil frenzy and celebrations aside, has Wenger done a good business in the transfer market?
DEFENCE – 2/5
Finding an established and experienced goalkeeper to take charge of the Gunner’s goalpost and simultaneously mentor Szczesny was of immense importance.
Throughout the summer, Arsenal reportedly made inquiries for many world-class keepers like Cesar, Reina, Begovic, Guaita and even Casillas. But the club’s attempts to sign any of these players were repeatedly knocked back.
The deadline day saw Arsenal bring in
Almunia Viviano. The Italian international, who was a regular feature for Fiorentina last season, is clearly not the first choice addition to the goalkeeping department, but indeed a good one. Viviano is expected to provide competition for the number 1 spot, rather than taking over it upon arrival.
Swansea skipper Ashley Williams was strongly linked throughout the summer to the North London club. A switch sooner or later seemed very likely. But the grit and will of Swansea to hold onto one of their better players paid off in the end, with Williams staying put at the club.
Surprisingly, even with Vermaelen out due to injury, no addition was made to the team for this position which may hurt Arsenal later in the season.
MIDFIELD – 4.5/5
A statement of intent. A statement of ambition. A world class signing that has catapulted Arsenal from being the ‘ones who would lose out on top 4 this season’ to ‘title contenders’.
The arrival of Mesut Ozil into the Arsenal fold has sent ripples of fear and excitement across the Premier League. Arriving at a club record fee, Ozil will add the much needed sharpness to the Arsenal attack. His style of playing is coherent to that of the Gunners, and if his record of the highest number of assists in the last 3 years is any indication, he’ll be the heart of this Arsenal team in no time.
A key position that Arsenal were expected to strengthen over the summer was of the defensive midfielder. Despite being linked heavily to Gustavo, Pogba and Kondogbia, Arsenal failed to add any of them to the team.
Arsenal instead resigned Flamini and brought him back to the club for his second spell. Flamini has been given a warm welcome on his return by Wenger, who has even gone on to ascertain that Flamini is a better player now than when he left the club 5 years ago.
Even though Flamini would provide a good backup, an addition of a top class defensive midfielder would have added a much needed steel to the Arsenal midfield.
ATTACK – 1.5/5
Failure to add a goal-scoring machine to spearhead the attack has been a disappointing event for Arsenal. It’s a key area, which has been acknowledged by Wenger himself as a weak spot.
Giroud has been good for Arsenal, but he lacks that killer finish and most importantly, a competition for his spot in the team. Linked to some of the giants of the game like Rooney, Suarez, Benzema and Higuain, Arsenal failed to sign any of them. Demba Ba’s loan deal failing out at the 11th hour hit hard on any chances of landing a quality striker.
Backup would be provided in the form of Yaya Sanogo, a French youngster signed on a free transfer. Sanogo is an exciting prospect for the future, but expecting him to step up and perform straightaway in the EPL is too much to ask.
Also returning to the club are Bendtner and now oblivious, Park Chu Young.
Bendtner was minutes away from being a Crystal Palace player when he was recalled after Ba deal fell through. He should now put aside his arrogance and work his way back in the club’s pecking order.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, Arsenal seemed to have done a decent business in the transfer window. In my opinion, the following would be the standout talking points in this window –
1) No major Arsenal player has left the club.
2) The deadwood is gone which is a major plus. Arsenal have been able to free up their wage bills by a huge margin by shipping out players that weren’t adding much value to the squad.
3) No addition in defence. With Vermaelen out injured, it is surprising that Arsenal let both Djourou and Miquel go out on loan. We have seen the consequences of having no cover already, with Sagna having to stand in for a couple of games.
4) No top quality striker signed.
5) Mesut Ozil! The solitary big name signing, but definitely the strongest contender to be the signing of the season. His arrival to the Emirates has lifted not only the mood around the club but also the quality of the squad by some great standards.
Further addition of 2-3 players would have definitely made Arsenal instant title favourites. But credits must be given where due, and Wenger has outdone himself in the transfer window.
Facing the brunt of Arsenal fans up until the deadline day, Wenger has delivered on his promise to land a game changer for the club.
Ozil’s move to Arsenal can prove a stepping stone for Arsenal as they turn a corner in their transfer policies. Wenger has taken a small gamble here by not signing a striker or a defender in this window, but if the current squad stays fit, boosted with the addition of Ozil, they can have a strong run moving ahead in the season.
And come January, Wenger can plug in the gaps and make Arsenal a force to reckon with.