Looking back at the transfer window
We’ve just seen off yet another transfer window. A fairly successful one in my opinion but you’d never think that listening to talk surrounding the team. As annoying as it sounds, it’s not much of a stretch to say there’s just no pleasing a lot of Arsenal fans.
“Sign early so we aren’t left stranded like last season!” were the shouts. And sign early Arsène did. Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud offset van Persie’s departure long before the Dutchman’s inner child idiotically opened its mouth. In losing one well rounded striker, we gained two, who when their skills are combined, could potentially be just as good. Add to that, the ever versatile Santi Cazorla who is about as two footed a player as you can get, can play all over midfield and fits into Arsenal’s passing system so well.
With that out of the way, we needed something new to complain about. “Offload all the deadwood!” and Arsène obliged for the most part. The new players’ versatility allowed Wenger to get a few players off the club’s books. Manuel Almunia, Carlos Vela, Park Chu-Young and Niklas Bendtner have all left the club whether permanently or temporarily. There’s still players to take off the wage bill but it’s a step in the right direction so far.
Of course, that’s not good enough. The lack of a defensive midfielder at the club caused another stir as nothing materialized over Deadline Day. Alex Song suddenly went from being everybody’s favourite scapegoat a few months ago to an indispensable kingpin in our midfield. When in truth he actually was the liability that many accused him of being. No big club these days seem to have a classic destroyer in their midfield.
It should be worth pointing out that for most of last season, Mikel Arteta was often the deepest lying midfielder. He was always looking to provide cover for Song and succeeded in preventing even more errors from leading to goals. We’ve seen the same pattern in the opening two fixtures of the season. Arteta has sat back and dictated the pace of the game from deep. It allows him the time and space to play the ball out as he pleases. My favourite comparison to our current situation is Andrea Pirlo as Juventus’ deepest lying midfielder. He has the physical presence of Arturo Vidal in support but a player like Arteta is more than capable of handling himself, allowing Diaby to get forward more freely. And what’s it done? Two clean sheets in two games. Two games where we’ve more or less been in control for the entire ninety minutes. But again, we focus on the negatives.
How dare a largely brand new front line fail to instantly gel and score hattricks at will?! Now we need new strikers to replace our new strikers!
Looking at the bigger picture can sometimes be difficult in football. Especially when everything within the sport is so short term. The summer has in fact been a successful one.
The only real worry from this window is the continued lack of depth that has left us so threadbare in seasons past. Even though Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun picked up a lot of the slack towards the end of last season it took just a small layoff for Arteta to throw a spanner in the works. And with his ever-important role in midfield, especially this season, another playmaker would have made things a little more comfortable. That’s why Nuri Şahin joining on loan would’ve capped a very good transfer window for Arsenal but we can’t dwell on that.
Even though we have lost two important players, the club has managed to spread its talent around the park. Instead of relying on a single player to produce every week we can finally see a collective effort from this team. It just needs to be given a little bit of time. So if it’s not too much to ask, let’s stop acting like this is the worst summer in Arsenal’s history.