Arsene Wenger is known for being conservative but shrewd when it comes to the transfer market. But with a solid squad now at his disposal, now is the time to take a ruthless approach and send a firm message to the rest of the Premier League.
In the last two summer transfer windows Arsenal fans have been treated to a marquee signing in the shape of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Both signings are a good example of the shrewdness and patience of the club, because on both occasions the club were in a position of leverage as it was well known that the selling club wanted desperately to free up finances for big name targets of their own. In the case of Ozil it was Gareth Bale’s £85million move to Real Madrid, and with Sanchez it was Luis Suarez £65million move to Barcelona.
Both deals represent great value for money in the current transfer market, even if Ozil’s form has somewhat stuttered in comparison to the high flying Alexis who was as good as anyone in the Premier League in his debut season. This season will be the first that Ozil will have a full pre season at Arsenal and at only 26 years of age the German world cup winner certainly has time on his side to prove his doubters wrong. If the former Madrid man can keep himself injury free, expect him to be a constant figure in the Arsenal side next season in his favourite ‘Number 10’ position.
With Petr Cech already signed and sealed, and Gabriel Paulista six months Premier League experience under his belt, The Gunners are already looking more solid at the back. In midfield Francis Coquelin provided the blueprint of what’s needed to play in the holding role of that midfield, whether or not he’s destined to keep the position his own, only time will tell. And up front neither Olivier Giroud nor Danny Welbeck has the fans majority backing when it comes to being that world class striker they long for.
So where does that leave Arsenal in this current window? The general feeling among fans and pundits alike is that their just two signings away from mounting a serious title challenge. Defensive midfield is is an area that has looked suspect for Arsenal for many years now, and although Francis Coquelin’s incredible form was a pleasant surprise to many, he’s probably better suited as an invaluable squad member rather than a starter. Arsene Wenger couldn’t have a better player sat on the bench to come on for the last twenty minutes, defending a lead, and help shut up shop. Something they don’t have at the minute.
Morgan Schneiderlin looks tailor made for the Arsenal midfield but it seems likely now he will join Manchester United. It has been widely reported that Arsenal were interested in the French international and perhaps the reason his move to United has somewhat stalled is because there is still an interest their and the Southampton man is weighing up his options before signing anything. Players like Schneiderlin, with his Premier League experience are few and far between and Arsenal would be wise to just meet Southampton’s valuation and make Schneiderlin a top earner at the club.
In The Gunners attacking midfield trio of their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation they have an incredible array of extremely talented and creative footballers. They finished last season with Alexis, Ozil and Ramsey occupying those positions and the three worked fantastically together, all willing to interchange positions and intelligently create space for others off the ball. With quality midfielders like that, surely the cherry on the cake would be a world class striker to convert the chances they create.
Giroud and Welbeck are both very good players, and at Arsenal would be invaluable squad members in a title challenge. However if a world class striker is to be brought in, surely there would be no place for both of them at the club, not unless Theo Walcott was deemed surplus to requirement. Business wise Olivier Giroud probably has the highest valuation of the three, and given his off field problems and family issues with life in England, Arsenal could choose to cash in on the big man and free up some funds to be spent on an upgrade.
World class strikers are not easy come by in the modern day game. It may be easy to identify one but actually prizing him away from his current club can be tricky, with the selling club often demanding outrageous transfer fees as well as bonus payments depending on appearances, goals scored and honours. Fortunately for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, there seems to be patterns emerging similar to the ones that opened up doors for the transfers of Ozil and Sanchez.
Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Robert Lewandowski’s futures have all been cast in to doubt by the press at some stage in recent months, and even though it is unlikely all three will move club this summer, it’s just as unlikely all three will stay put. Arsenal need to be ready to pounce when the time comes and be ruthless when it comes to getting the deal over the line quick. Wenger and the Arsenal board should not hesitate in breaking the transfer record to bring this type of player to the club, because not only will they be securing a world class player, they will be securing an almost certain sustainable title challenge both in the Premier League and the Champions League.
By Neal Martin
Follow on Twitter: @NealKnows