Well everyone, Transfer Deadline Day has come and gone, and unless there is some sort of secret deal brewing behind the scenes, Arsenal have only managed to capture Danny Welbeck. Let me repeat that; Arsenal’s only signing of the entire day, was Manchester United squad player and questionable England international Danny Welbeck.
When I say it out loud, or even type it into this piece, it makes my blood absolutely boil. Some will say that the signing can be seen as a good one – many will cite Welbeck’s pace, the fact that he has seen time and scored goals for United, that he is an international and that he wanted to come to Arsenal. I will now counter those notions with the following; 1. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell all have pace, 2. Walcott has been great for the club and scored more goals while Campbell did a job on United in the Champions League as well as done brilliantly this summer for Costa Rica in their run in Brazil, 3. Francis Jeffers and many other undeserving players were England internationals as well and 4. him wanting to come to Arsenal does not mean we should have settled.
As I wrote in a previous article today, there was no reason for Arsenal to ever let the type of strikers that were available this summer to slip through our fingers. More to the point, even if Giroud was fit right now, to have Yaya Sanogo be the number two striker at the club, is absolutely insane at the very least. Let me quickly break down the striker options at the top six clubs in the country at current;
Arsenal’s striker options in comparison to their rivals
Arsenal: Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Yaya Sanogo
Manchester City: Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko
Chelsea: Diego Costa, Loic Remy, Didier Drogba
Liverpool: Mario Balotelli, Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert
Manchester United: Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie
Everton: Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto’o
If you can look at that list, and seriously tell me that our strikers can actually compete with the clubs who we will be in a Champions League dog fight with or a title chase against, you’re having a laugh. Not only would Olivier Giroud not be the leading striker at any of those clubs (baring maybe Everton), but all of those clubs have second striker options that are largely better than our first – this is a completely unacceptable state of affairs.
More over, why did we even need to go after Welbeck at all? He is a near identical player to Joel Campbell (who still is not being given a chance), as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with less end product than him. We have Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez as well, so how many speedster wingers do we need? And as for his goal scoring record, it’s awful – 26 goals in 113 appearances for United, where he is usually being used as a winger. So you mean to tell me that we solved our striker issue by bringing in a player who rarely ever plays striker? Brilliant.
What the 16million pounds paid for Welbeck could have gotten us instead
– Loic Remy x 1.5 (moved to Chelsea for 10million pounds)
– Mario Balotelli (moved to Liverpool for 16million pounds)
– Samuel Eto’o (moved to Everton on a free)
– Alessio Cerci (moved to Atletico Madrid for 14million pounds)
– Ciro Immobile (moved to Borussia Dortmund for 17million pounds)
– Adrian Ramos x 2 (moved to Borussia Dortmund for 8million pounds)
To sum up the Welbeck insanity, I will turn you to Arsenal Fan TV and A Bergkamp Wonderland if you want many opinions summed up best. Beyond the deal for Welbeck, Arsenal supporters should be even more upset about the lack of business in other areas of the first team; no significant movement for a center-back or a holding midfielder – this smacks of massive mismanagement by Arsene Wenger and the board.
In regards to a holding midfielder, Wenger may have been quoted in saying that he feels the future of Calum Chambers in the long-term was in the holding midfielder role, but that could all be smoke and mirrors to deflect the fact that he had no plans to ever go after one. We failed in a bid for William Carvalho, we did not truly go after Sami Khedira or Morgan Schneiderlin, and we had an apparent slight interest in Geoffrey Kondogbia and Maxim Gonalons; nothing happened, not one thing.
This now means that, for the duration of this season, we have Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini as our holding midfield options, and neither is at the level that can inspire us to a real title challenge, or stop us from getting absolutely trounced by our rivals.
As for central defense? Well, no moves for Matija Nastasic or Celtic’s Dutch international Virgil van Dijk, means that we only have three first team center-backs and a total of just seven defenders for a campaign that, all told, see us face 50-odd matches. Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Debuchy and Hector Bellerin are the only defensive options at the Emirates.
Koscielny, if you’ve forgotten, picked up a knock at the weekend against Leicester City and who knows what that’ll mean, Gibbs is crocked as usual, Monreal is our fourth-choice center back and Bellerin will only be called on if Debuchy can no longer lift his legs from having to play each match without rest – we are one or two major defensive injuries away from being in a massive pickle.
All in all? This was a complete and utter failure of a transfer window for a club and fan base that was promised we would push on and well and truly challenge for the league and on other fronts. If you look at the transfers made, they’ve really been replacements, not moves made to improve;
- David Ospina in for the out-going Lukas Fabianski
– Calum Chambers in for Thomas Vermaelen
- Mathieu Debuchy in for Bacary Sagna
– Alexis Sanchez in for a position we didn’t truly need a player in for
– Danny Welbeck in to solve the striker crisis; he’s been used more as a winger than a striker
When you take into account just exactly how our closest rivals have strengthened (must I really do into that list, must I?), how does Wenger truly expect us to press on? The truth is, we have not improved nearly as much as we were promised or we all hoped we would.
As it stands, the club and Arsene Wenger have a lot to answer for, especially if this all really and truly comes back to bite us in the butt during the season – well, and truly, it’s hard to have faith in a manager who can sit here, having done what he has done in this transfer window, and claim we are good enough. Wenger needs to wake up or finally step down before irreversible damage is done.