. Arsenal FC had a decent start to the transfer window, having secured the services of veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech from cross town rivals Chelsea FC.
However, at the end of transfer deadline day, when the transfer window slammed shut, the business of the club bizarrely was still the same. The Gunners were the only club in Europe’s top 5 leagues to have not signed a single senior outfield player. A famous troll doing the rounds on social media platforms read- even FC Barcelona has signed more players than Arsenal FC and the former is serving a transfer ban.
The business done by the club has been underwhelming to put it in a dignified manner; however, the addition of Petr Cech can prove to be the game changer, or so Arsene Wenger believes.
Fans and pundits had opined that the Gunners were short of a world class striker and a good defensive midfielder from assembling a squad capable of mounting a genuine title challenge. The deadline day disappointment among the fans reflected on the club’s failure to strengthen these positions. After all, when they can see the glaring shortcomings, why can’t Arsene?
There was also money available that could have been used to strengthen the key positions, but it was not invested towards ending the 11-year league drought.
It could be that Wenger believes that this squad has it in itself to go the distance, Most would disagree, but the Frenchman is a far better judge of his troops than us. Judging the manager would be fairer in May and for now, we can assume that he didn’t sign a new player as he was confident in his existing players.
We take a look at how the Arsenal FC squad looks after the closure of the transfer window:
The only position in which Arsenal FC strengthened was the goalkeeping department, where they have signed a match-winner in Petr Cech. Signing Cech, from one of his main rivals and spending close to A?10m for a 33-year-old earlier suggested the return of a ruthless streak in Wenger, which was also seen in the the loaning out of Wojciech Szczesny.
Szczesny, who had slowly made a name for himself as being famous for his off-field antics rather than his on-field performances, was loaned out to Roma to sort his head and concentrate on getting his career back on track. The move also highlighted that Arsene was reluctant to stagnate the growth of the Pole by keeping him at Arsenal FC, where he would have been third choice.
After a shaky start to life in Arsenal FC’s colours, Cech proved his mettle against Liverpool FC where he pulled off a couple of stunning saves. The Czech international will surely save some points for the Gunners over the course of the season.
The Gunners have the right mix of defenders in their ranks but question marks remain over the ability of Calum Chambers at the heart of defence, when Koscielny and Mertesacker are unavailable as was evident against Liverpool FC. The promotion of Hector Bellerin has proved pivotal and the Spaniard has made the right-back spot his own. Gabriel has been impressive when he has been given the opportunity. Nacho Monreal has been formidable at left-back and has kept Kieran Gibbs out of the starting XI so far this season.
The Gunners have good depth in defence for the ongoing season. It should not be a point of concern barring unfortunate long term injuries.
Since the emergence of Francis Coquelin as the destroyer in Arsenal FC’s midfield, the Gunners have looked a more balanced side. However, in the event of an injury or suspension to the Frenchman, the North London outfit do not have quality cover for the defensive midfield position. Mathieu Flamini has been below par whenever he has been given the opportunity and question marks remain over the fitness of Mikel Arteta.
There is also Jack Wilshere, who is expected to return from yet another injury after the international break but whether the Gunners can count on him to be fit for the length of a season, remains to be seen.
The North London outfit would have benefited from signing a defensive midfielder who is more comfortable on the ball and can orchestrate passing from deep. This addition would have enabled Aaron Ramsey to start in the midfield double pivot, where his box-to-box style of play is best utilized.
Arsene Wenger has gambled on the fitness and form of his midfielder. He would be hoping that the medical team can keep his midfielders fit for the duration of the campaign, if his side are to challenge for top honours.
The Gunners have a decent attack, but they are probably a world class striker short from having an elite forward line, the kind that win you championships. A 30-goal-a-season striker would not only have reduced the goal scoring burden on the industrious Alexis Sanchez, but also have given the Gunners an outlet to bury all the chances created by their midfield.
The lack of such a presence in the team could hurt Arsenal FC as Olivier Giroud for all his strengths can perhaps never reach that level. However, if the dealings of the transfer window are dissected, an inference can be drawn that not many world class strikers were on the move and it was probably a result of this that Manchester United splashed a huge amount of money on an unproven 19-year-old.
Arsene Wenger has cited the same reason for the club’s failure to recruit a striker and he may be excused, for once he might have a valid excuse. However, there were reports of the Frenchman balking at the A?50 million asking price for Edinson Cavani and if he thought that the Uruguayan fit the bill and could have pushed Arsenal FC to the next level, he should have matched the asking price and signed the striker.
Arsene Wenger had said in a recent interview that he was ready for a last minute gamble. But not signing a striker and a defensive midfielder are probably his biggest gambles. He has put his faith in the group of players at his disposal and come the end of the season, he should be judged on whether or not he was correct with his assessment of his players as against to judging him on the back of a perceived failure in the transfer window.