The Hard Tackle analyses Arsenal’s transfer business and gives its verdict of the North London club’s performance in the summer window.
The 2017 summer transfer window was one of the most eventful ones in recent memory as several big money moves had us stretching our imagination beyond points we never deemed possible. Some moves extended till the deadline day, while others simply failed to go through.
At the end of it all, Premier League clubs shattered the cumulative summer transfer record once again, with a combined spending of an eye watering £1.4 billion. Amidst all this, The Hard Tackle takes a look at how Arsenal fared this summer in what was a topsy turvy window for them.
INS: Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac
OUTS: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wojciech Szczesny, Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs, Jon Toral, Kaylen Hinds, Chris Willock, Yaya Sanogo, Lucas Perez (loan), Carl Jenkinson (loan), Joel Campbell (loan)
MVA (Most Valuable Addition): Alexandre Lacazette
For the longest time, Arsenal was a club that was known for prolific strikers – powerhouses that they could boast of in their squad. Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie were two of the biggest exponents of the same, with the duo often bidding to win the Golden Boot. Upon Van Persie’s departure, though, it all changed for a while.
Olivier Giroud may boast an impressive scoring rate, but the Frenchman has always been a figure of inconsistency at Emirates. Therefore, the move to break their transfer record to sign Lacazette was one that was long overdue as the powerful striker’s all-round game suit’s Arsene Wenger’s style of play perfectly.
The start to his Arsenal career has been solid so far, and the early signs point towards the Gunners’ search for an elite striker being finally over for good.
Shrewd Work (A Departure That Is Ideal For All Parties): Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arsenal may have succeeded in keeping one wantaway player on board, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain brought the curtains down on his spell at Emirates. His career at the North London club never really managed to take off, and the Englishman had become a utility player who often flattered to deceive.
There’s still a risk that his move may come back to haunt Arsenal, But, selling a player – in his last year of contract at the club and clearly wanted to make the move – for £40 million is definitely a smart piece of business by Wenger.
For the player, the move represents a chance to start afresh, with a clean slate, although it remains to be seen if he is indeed deployed as a central midfielder by Jurgen Klopp. The Liverpool manager though, may just be the elixir Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to revive a stuttering career.
The Big Miss (A Player Who Should Have Left): Alexis Sanchez
The biggest newsmaker of the Premier League this summer was undoubtedly Alexis Sanchez. The Arsenal talisman had looked set to leave the club, with Manchester City reportedly prepared to pay as much as £60 million to secure his services. Wenger, though, stood firm and managed to keep hold of his prized asset.
On the face of it, it was definitely good work from the Arsenal manager as Sanchez’s qualities on the field are second to none. However, off it, his attitude has been questionable over the last six months, and all that negativity could potentially affect the dressing room environment adversely to the point that their season goes haywire.
Moreover, with Arsenal likely to lose Sanchez for free in twelve months’ time, they may come to regret their decision to firmly keep hold of the player this summer.
Final Verdict: POOR
Arsenal did well to acquire Lacazette and Kolasinac just weeks into the transfer window. But the last two months were nothing short of underwhelming for the North London club, although the business they conducted on deadline day was some shrewd work.
However, there’s still a lingering feeling of what could have been. The addition of a defensive midfielder and a centre-back could have transformed Wenger’s squad manifold, adding solidity and steel to the spine of the side.
And the decision to back out of Thomas Lemar’s pursuit shows a lack of intent at a time when there’s uncertainty following a shoddy start to the season. Not exactly a resounding failure for Arsenal, but Wenger and co. could certainly have done a much better job.