As September came to a close, we can reflect on what has been an exciting month for the Gunners. Nothing but wins in all competitions and sitting pretty at the summit of the Premier League bodes well for the season ahead.
Despite the breathtaking signing of Mesut Özil on transfer deadline day, many fans including myself still found the summer window underwhelming as whole. Certainly the signing of the German star is monumentally amazing on many levels, but Arsenal required more depth in a lot of areas especially after failed attempts to sign Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney.
Three other signings made up the rest of the activity, two free transfers and one season long loan deal. Out of the three only one has made an impact this season, but it’s been quite a substantial impact at that.
Mathieu Flamini’s return to the club has been nothing but exceptional. He has made a real statement for his inclusion as the first choice defensive midfielder with some stellar performances that has seen the experienced Frenchman barking orders around the pitch, providing a solid shield for the defence and getting his hands (or feet) dirty. We have missed this type of player, he adds some much needed grit to our midfield. A smart acquisition, even if it was by pure coincidence.
Transfer windows are not always about the signings, but also selling. We managed to sell/release a whole host of first team ‘deadwood’ players that were draining our wage bill. The likes of Denilson, Santos, Squillaci, Chamakh and Arshavin just to name a few left the club in the summer. Apart from failing to sell Park and requiring to keep £52k-a-week Nicklas Bendtner, the summer was a success on that front.
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Speaking of the Dane, if we really wanted to stretch for more positives we can even use Wenger’s ‘like a new signing’ philosophy with mr Bendtner. The striker has shown in the past what he can do, and despite two consecutive poor seasons away on loan marred by injury and off-field antics, at international level he has a superb record. For being 8 months out of the game his performance against West Bromwich Albion was positive and helped re-establish a connection with the Arsenal faithful. He certainly has some work to do, but he essentially is like a signing – a season loan loanee if you like with his contract set to expire next summer.
But back to the club record signing. Even though the stars seemed to align on that front with Bale leaving to Madrid, signing Ozil has boosted not only the fans excitement and expectations but raised the level of the players around him. He brings out the best of his team mates, allowing other players more freedom as the opposition will focus on closing him down and taking some of the creative burden off others.
Olivier Giroud is certainly benefiting from Ozil’s arrival, while Aaron Ramsey has continued on his fine form from last season and has been stellar this term with more freedom and less pressure on his shoulders. The likes of Walcott, Podolski and Cazorla will be chomping at the bit to get back in an Arsenal shirt to start scoring, and they will get plenty of opportunities with Ozil around.
So back to the original question, has the past summer transfer window been a success? On a whole, no. The squad is still thin on numbers especially up front, but hopefully they can get by with Giroud (touchwood) staying fit. Sanogo is one for the future but is too raw a talent just yet, personally I’d rather see young Akpom in action more anyway. In defence Arsenal needed at least one extra player or perhaps choosing not to loan out Miquel. But regardless Wenger has done extremely well with his two midfield signings, it makes up for the failure to land a striker.. Partially.
With the stacked midfield there are plenty of options for Wenger to utilize such as deploying Ozil as a false 9 should it come to that, or Flamini slotting in at the back. Wenger has been saved the wrath of the Arsenal faithful with those two signings, costing a total of £42m. Not bad business in the end.
What are your thoughts Gooners? Looking back now do you think the summer was a success? Comment below…