By Austin Williams
I have been following anything and everything Arsenal for the past five years or so, and for at least that long the transfer policy has seemingly been the same. The fan base cries out for a marquee signing, the board brags to the media about how much money they have to spend, and then Arsene Wenger allows for speculation and drags everyone along denying any direct links to players yet still not totally confirming or denying anything substantial.
This goes on continuously throughout the transfer window, and then miraculously, Arsenal end up signing a player(s) that hasn’t even been linked to us. The most recent example of this clearly being last summer’s transfer window, and the signing of Real Madrid star, Mesut Ozil.
I followed the transfer window last summer extremely closely and never saw or heard one little sniff of a rumor about Ozil possibly coming to Arsenal, in fact it was a couple of his teammates, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema who were supposedly coming to the Emirates. Everyone knows, at this point that we did in fact sign Ozil for a club record 42.5 million pounds, while Di Maria and Benzema are still at Madrid. The arrival of the young playmaker was heralded as the next generation’s Dennis Berkcamp, and sure enough, his arrival thus far has been able to propel the Gunners to the top of the table.
Thusly, here we all are yet again, at the January transfer window, with all the same questions piling up. Do we have enough quality? Do we have enough depth? Arsene Wenger himself surely cannot go on pretending we have enough centre forwards, especially after the loss of Theo Walcott for the remainder of the season. Thankfully, Wenger came out recently and acknowledged that Walcott’s injury has accelerated his interest in potentially making a signing this window.
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As per usual with Arsenal FC, the list of players we are not linked with is much shorter than the players we are. However, an article on JustArsenal.com would have us believe that Arsenal are 2/1 favorites to sign Atletico Madrid goal machine, Diego Costa. Well I say keep your hard earned money in your pockets and don’t bet on anything.
If you recall again back to last summer’s transfer window, Arsenal were bookie favorites to sign then Everton midfielder, Marouane Fellaini. Why we were favorites is still a mystery to me for two simple reasons; one, he already lived in the Manchester area, and two, his former boss David Moyes, is now managing Manchester United. My point being, the bookies don’t seem to know who Arsenal will be signing next, any more than my cat does, if we sign anyone at all.
All that being said, I would absolutely love seeing a young talented player like Diego Costa come to Arsenal. Dimitar Berbatov is another player who we have been linked to who I think could be a fantastic back-up/alternate to Olivier Giroud. One other player who no one seems to rate that highly or even talk about, is Javier Hernandez of Manchester United. I believe he could provide the Arsenal squad with the clinical finishing touch that we can sometimes lack.
His movement is not anything incredible, he is caught off-side rather frequently trying to play off the last defenders shoulder, however, Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott did not have the movement that they each possess now when they first came to Arsenal.
The last issue I would like to point out is why it seems to take the entire transfer window to ever get a deal done. I really have no idea. I suppose it’s some sort of negotiating strategy that either Wenger or the board want to employ. All I can say is as a fan, it’s bloody frustrating to have to watch other top clubs like Manchester City do all their deals early and often (Jovetic, Negredo, Navas) while us Gooners have to keep hitting refresh on the transfer news website. Barcelona were also able to secure the signature of Neymar long before deadline day, I’ll grant you Neymar to Barcelona was a foregone conclusion, but so was Bale to Madrid and that took the entirety of the window as well.
Regardless of timing I think all us Gooners are well pleased with the signing of Ozil, and we will all be singing Wenger’s praises once again if he can bring in another great talent at the close of the month.
In Wenger I trust.