When Arsenal signed Granit Xhaka for £30 million last month, the air of expectancy once again swooped around the Emirates as the predatory Jamie Vardy was swooped upon soon after. However the Gunners had bitten off more than they could chew with the Foxes front-man electing to stay with Leicester City. Since then, the European Championships have played out and the rumour mill has died down a little. Gunners fans will certainly be hoping for Petr than last year with the anticipation of Cech’s arrival soon dampened when no further signing was lined up. And with Xhaka helping to bolster the midfield, surely now Wenger can fix his continually unfinished puzzle by acquiring for the two positions his team are severely lacking.
Olivier Giroud undoubtedly silenced a few critics over the Euro 2016 period with some impressive team-orientated performances for France. He showed that, when the team play to his strengths, he can be a real asset. Unfortunately, it’s a case of round holes and square pegs for Giroud at the Emirates for they don’t have anyone to run off him, in behind, to utilise his excellent knack of flicking the ball on. Alexis Sanchez could be deployed just off the Frenchman though that would put Mesut Ozil’s nose out of joint, and then you’re asking Arsenal to alter their brand of football to get the most out of a striker they’ve never really warmed to anyway. Giroud is a good striker, but he’s not really an Arsenal striker and this has been proven with Premier League returns of 16, 14, 16 and 11 in the last four seasons hardly outstanding when playing in a team that creates so many opportunities.
Flutters of a move for Gonzalo Higuain shouldn’t be fanatical by any stretch of the imagination, however Juventus aren’t messing around this summer and look to have won that particular race. Mauro Icardi would certainly be an interesting swoop. A maverick with good movement and profligacy in front of goal in a defensive-minded Inter Milan setup, Icardi seems to represent far greater value for money than the ludicrously overpriced Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon. But it seems that in this inflated market, virtually everyone will see their valuations rocket and Wenger must not allow himself to be deterred as it will only lead him down the road of frustration once more. If you know how to place a bet you should try your luck on seeing who the clubs next signing might be.
In all honesty, the proposed move of Nevan Subotic to Middlesbrough shocks me. £9 million for a 27 year old title winning centre half is a bargain in today’s climate. Albeit the Serbian has lost his way a tad over the past few years with injuries, £9 million hardly represents a risk and during Jurgen Klopp’s earlier years with Dortmund, Subotic and Hummels formed a formidable duo at the heart of the defence. He offers experience that Gabriel doesn’t have, bullishness and a yard of pace that Per Mertesacker massively lacks. Certainly there are others out there, Kalidou Koulibaly was imperious for Napoli last season and fits the credentials of a powerful, commanding centre back that Arsenal crave. But the Serie A outfit are tough negotiators; some sources are quoting they value their defender at £50 million.
Arsenal have only been a few pieces of the puzzle from seemingly completing a title winning formula but there seems to be something always holding them back. Nervousness, that when all is done, they still cannot finish the job. Yet with time running out, Wenger must get those players on board or risk his Arsenal legacy morphing into ifs, buts and maybes in a chasm of disappointment and frustrations.