With Tottenham’s spending having reached £49million so far this summer on Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli, Arsenal supporters are becoming more frustrated by the day with the club’s lack of activity in this transfer window.
The Gunners narrowly edged out their North London rivals Tottenham last season for the final Champions League spot, with a near flawless end to the season but as things stand it could be difficult to repeat this season.
Meanwhile, across London, the new arrivals at Chelsea have indicated a shift in the club’s transfer policy, with Mourinho looking to create a balance between buying ready-made stars and promising youngsters for the future like Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and bringing back Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku from loan spells.
Over in Manchester, City’s disappointing defense of their league title has led to a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini and nearly £100 million spent so far this summer on bolstering the squad. With Pellegrini and Txiki Begiristain’s knowledge of the Spanish league, Sevilla has lost both its stars Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo to the Etihad. Brazilian powerhouse midfielder Fernandinho was brought from Shakhtar Donetsk for £30 million and young Montenegro striker Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina.
Apart from the arrival of France U20 forward Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre on a free transfer, Arsenal are yet to add anything to their squad. In fact the squad has been significantly depleted. However, this is not through the loss of a key figure like the previous three summers, but through a clear-out of the deadwood that has been floating around the squad for near five years. Among these departures are squad members such as Maroune Chamakh, Sebastian Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin and Gervinho – all of whom filled in when the starting eleven was hit by injuries. Getting these players off the wage bill is only a step forward for the Gunners if they can reinvest correctly.
At the weekend, Arsene Wenger had this to say:
“Yes, of course. I am confident. Why should I sit here and say to you we can absolutely not win the title with the players we have?”
It is hard to interpret what way Wenger sees the current situation; his squad from last season finished fourth, 16 points off runaway leaders Manchester United. Yet he believes this reduced squad can make up that ground? Regardless of the fans opinions of Gervinho and Arshavin, both scored a few important goals and a couple of assists in close victories.
Before the start of the transfer window, there were plenty of top quality strikers known to be on the move in Europe, yet the Gunners missed out on a host of targets. Jovetic, Soldado, Negredo and Wilfried Bony have all made moves to Premier League teams.
It was well known that Pep Guardiola wanted to implement his own style with Champions League winners Bayern Munich, and that striker Mario Gomez would be surplus to requirement. Yet he somehow slipped under the Gunners radar and joined Fiorentina for a fee of €20 million.
With the majority of top targets already at new clubs, Arsenal will find it difficult to recruit a top class forward to take the weight off the shoulders of Frenchman Olivier Giroud. Liverpool have rejected two bids from the North London club for their talisman Luis Suarez, and this could prove a complicated saga that will no doubt run till the end of this window.
There are two alternatives that are yet to be linked with Gunners. The first is Jackson Martinez of FC Porto. The 26 year-old had a tremendous season with 34 goals in 39 appearances, and with Porto traditionally known as a selling club, a fee could definitely be agreed. Another is the Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling. The German finished as the Bundesliga top scorer with 25 goals, one ahead of the much coveted Robert Lewandowski. At the age of 29 Kiessling is in his prime and at 6ft 2in, could adapt quickly to the Premier League.
Time is running out for Arsenal to spend their war chest of £70million. Only 27 days remain until the transfer window shuts, while the 2013-14 Premier League season kicks off in just 11 days. Wenger better get a move on. Otherwise, there are going to be a lot of protests from Arsenal supporters if results don’t go their way.