Well Gooners, It is currently 02:45AM EST and we stand at the precipice of yet another English Premier League campaign.
I would like to be able to recap a summer window of business both practical and exciting. It would be a pleasant fiction, but alas this is Arsenal and if Arsenal is anything they are consistent.
Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League in every season of Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal’s Dean of Football, consistency.
Arsenal has retained the same coach, Arsene Wenger for twenty consecutive seasons, consistency.
Arsenal has managed to bewilder and disappoint the fan base with an unfocused, impractical and ultimately unsuccessful transfer policy for five consecutive summers, consistency.
The Premier League season kicks off five hours from now with Champions Leicester City hosting recently promoted Hull City. The Arsenal begins the 16/17 campaign with a visit to Anfield to take on the Reds in Manager Jurgen Klopp’s first full season in charge of the Liverpudlian side.
As kickoff draws near I am filled with apathy and resignation as I recollect on the disaster that has been the past two summer transfer windows. I envisage all the possibility that existed during the summer of 15’ after the Petr Cech signing and how a complacent failure to act, directly resulted in the Arsenal surrendering the title ten months later to an inferior side.
After Arsenal announced the 35 million pound signing of Borussia Monchengladbach Swiss midfielder, Granit Xhaka, I found myself filled with boundless enthusiasm. The financial restrictions are off, I told myself, and Gazizids told us so. The stadium is almost paid off; we qualified for Champions League again and are teeming over with 150 million from a new Television deal. Sky is the limit I thought. We finished second last season, our highest in 12 years, and had it not been for a few unfortunate injuries to Santi, Jack, Welbeck, and the Ox we would have been a shoe in. This is our season. I knew it.
Xhaka is an excellent signing. He brings several new aspects to our midfield including size, strength, aggression, and leadership, having captained BM at the spry age of 23. We had started off the summer with a signing of intent; perhaps after years of empty promises and deadline day capitulations, the storms were finally in our rearview. It was right at that very moment when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a rogue wave as it clocked me off of my cloud back to reality.
Did you forget about 15’, about all the signings that were to follow Cech? Did you forget that out of 20 sides in the Prem only one spent less than the 10 million pounds we spent, Norwich, who like most sides who spend 9 million in the summer window, don’t live to penny pinch during the next. We finished second in the table, and second in the cheapskate sweepstakes. Fast forward to opening weekend 16’ and despite losing two center backs to pre season injuries, and watching our competition load up on big talent both foreign and domestic I am resigned to the fact that under Wenger, I will never associate the summer transfer window with joy or hope, only with jealousy and consistency.
We have two and a half weeks left in this transfer window and if I had to make a prognostication, this would be it.
“Arsenal sign 32 year old former French International defender, Jeremie Mathieu from Barcelona for 8 million pounds”
I would like to believe that Arsenal will finally pay the very reasonable 25-30 million for Shokdran Mustafi, the 25-30 million for City outcast, Wilfried Bony, and even a 10 million dollar outlay from the corporate coffers for Hoffenheim center back, Fabian Schar, but I won’t, because I know Arsenal and one thing Arsenal is, is consistent.
I realize this is not what Gooners want to hear. It is certainly not what I want. However, I would rather know the reality of the situation, and sadly the reality is: No new striker, depleted central defense until January, depleted midfield, depending on positive contributions to the side this season solely from Xhaka and the Academy during Wenger’s Penultimate season.