Welcome to Arsenal, plethora of players
Well, that was exciting wasn’t it?!
After the rapid purchases of messrs Park Chu-Young, Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker, we still needed at least one creative player. As the day progressed, we seemed to be running out of options. Rumours surfaced before being swiftly denied, and it looked as if time was slipping away. Yossi Benayoun had been linked, but surely we wouldn’t settle for him and him alone?
And then, hope. Mikel Arteta was the one who we were looking to solve our problems in the final third. It was on. But then it was off. Then on again, and you guessed it, once more, in true deadline day fashion, it was off.
Benayoun was still edging closer, and fans couldn’t believe that Yossi Benayoun would be the sole addition to our midfield. A good player yes, but we’d lost the most valuable (if not the best) midfielder in the world. Benayon alone just wouldn’t do.
As it ticked closer to 11pm, we were getting desperate – wantaways Modric and Meireles were suggested (well, mainly by me) but they didn’t seem too likely. With just over an hour to go, it was too late to secure anyone from overseas. So it was Arteta or nothing.
I won’t bore you with further details, as we all know what happened. We got our man, as well as the handy capture of Benayoun on a season long loan deal. I think the two of them will fit in very well here – Arteta gives us the creativity through the centre which we so desperately needed, while Benayoun offers the same from out wide, as well as being an option in the middle.
As for the other trio of Mertesacker, Park and Andre Santos, they’ll also bring a wealth of experience in together. 26, 26 and 28 respectively, they’ll undoubtedly have a lot of wisdom to pass on to the younger players and help lead the club onwards.
It’s an exciting new era for the club, and we look to have gotten the balance right between potential and experience. Hopefully with our late activity we’ve gotten the fans back onside, and everyone at the club will be pushing in the same direction.
Mertesacker, given that he’s reportedly on £80,000 a week, will most likely partner Vermaelen, with Koscielny a very capable third choice – I’d imagine Laurent might be quite disappointed at being pushed out of the starting line-up after his impressive performances of late, but that’s football. Some may suggest rotation, but in defence you need consistency for solidarity and we’ll need a first choice pairing to be successful.
I’d worried about Mertesacker’s apparent lack of pace, but others have reassured me that his defensive prowess, as well as the help of others around him, will make up for any mobility issues. He’s definitely going to excel in the air especially, from set pieces in particular – offensively as well as defensively. For £8 million he seems a great bargain.
Park Chu-Young is an interesting one – nobody seemed to know much about him when he first broke onto the Arsenal rumours scene. We can only go by what French experts have been saying, and the reports have been fairly encouraging. If they’re right, he won’t be a superstar, but he’ll work hard and play an important role in our squad.
Again, the fee that we paid is a massive snip if he is as good as people suggest – £3 million is a pittance in the current market, so it’s already looking like a shrewd move. He’ll take Bendtner’s place in the squad, hopefully as second choice, given Chamakh’s lack of form. Hopefully added competition (despite the loan of NB52) will also help Chamakh get into gear again.
Intrigue surrounded our other recent purchase, Andre Santos from Fenerbahce. He’s not exactly a household name, but it seems like he could be a bit of a liability defensively. He’ll provide a threat going forward, that much is certain, the only question is how well he’s going to do at the back.
His acquisition should help with easing Gibbs into the team though – I’m sure Santos will have some knowledge to pass onto Gibbs and it means there’s not much pressure on young Kieran.
All in all, not a perfect window, but satisfactory.