Transfer Deadline Thoughts
A win and two transfers in just a few days? I don’t believe it. Seriously, I feel like I am going to wake up and see Almunia in goal and Chamakh as striker. Now I know our situation isn’t that bad but after the less than stellar start to our season it was starting to border on absurd that we were going to go into the season without reinforcing the squad in key areas again. Xhaka was welcome as was Holding but we were still so light in options, both on offense and defense, that gooners everywhere were imploring the club to spend money. With the transfer window closing we got two more players, Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi. The Mustafi chronicle was one I honestly was going to leave us burned as the deal appeared to be dead in the water when Valencia said he wasn’t for sale. Perhaps, losing Mertesacker and Gabriel to long term injuries or shipping four goals in our opening match was the catalyst we needed to get the wallet opened and money spent. At £35 million, he is our most expensive defender to date. Unfortunately for the club this was going to be an area we had to spend big. While Holding is a capable backup player, his inexperience at the top level means he needs to be eased in the squad. Chambers looked lost in the opening match and a loan spell at Middlesboro will do him some good. Regular first team football will hopefully get him to the place that Wenger wants him. Sending out a defender is a gamble but Wenger is clearly looking at a Mustafi/Koscielny center back pairing with holding as a backup. Mertesacker and Gabriel will come back when healthy but at least this was we have reliable cover and won’t have to rush anybody. Just as important as a defender was a striker and after several seasons of failing to sign the elusive 20 goal scoring striker, we nabbed Lucas Perez from Deportivo la Coruna. Grabbing 17 goals in 36 appearances last season was obviously the main draw for him and we will hope to see him continue that form into our season. An older player at 27, he looks to be a capable and reliable squad player. We have yet to see how Wenger will line up our forwards after his acquisition but I look forward to seeing how he will be utilized. With Theo’s effectiveness waning, Perez will give us options not just in the number 9 role but also on the wings. I would like to Wenger divert from his usual 4-2-3-1 formation and try a 4-4-2 with Perez/Alexis and Giroud as a striker pairing. I feel like we can be predictable in our line up and having multiple game plans can throw a wrench in the opposition setting up against us. We have players like Sanchez, Theo, Ramsey (when fit), Ox and now Perez, who can play in a couple different positions and give us options to set up differently. The more we are effectively creative, the better we will be at dealing with various teams. Only the manager knows how he will employ his players and we can only hope that they are used effectively. With the new signings also comes the news of Jack Wilshere being sent on loan to possibly Bournemouth or Roma. When this is published I am positive that loan deal will be completed to one of them. Wilshere is a great player, and one I rate highly for his tenacity and skill but also a player I feel is going to be surplus soon. Jack has been around a long time as an academy player. Wenger and the fans clearly want him to succeed. I am not so sure that this Arsenal team fits him anymore. For so long Wilshere has been the player that was promised to be a midfield dynamo, a future captain and more. Unfortunately he spends so much time on the operating table and on the injured list that the team has moved past him. He cannot improve his game because of the major setbacks that his injuries creates. I often compare him, unfairly at times, to Abou Diaby. Diaby was a midfielder who looked to be a real driving force for years, but suffered so many injuries that he was never able to get back to form and continued to cost us money while not contributing as a player. Jack is approaching that level in my opinion. He appears in bright flashes, reminding us the player that is there, but never staying healthy long enough to make a difference. Another reason Jack is such a fan favorite is because he is one of us, a gooner doing what 99.9% of us never get to do, play and score goals for his team. It’s something we can vicariously live through so it is special to see a player like that come through the youth system and really connect with the fans in a way some players can’t do. It’s moments like the now infamous bus chant singing along with gooners about what we think of T*ttenham that endear a player to fans and make them a favorite. Wilshere’s talent only makes us want him to succeed more and be a homegrown player that is a leader. As the years have gone on, he has stagnated slightly. Since 2010 he has made 101 appearances in the league and scored 6 goals. His appearances have dropped consistently since 2010-11. 0 in 2011-12, then 25, 24, 14 and 3 in the following seasons. So yes, he has played more than Diaby but each season his involvement gets smaller and smaller. It’s sad to see because there isn’t a gooner around who doesn’t like him but I have a hard time seeing where he will fit in the squad if he can’t stay healthy. Should Wenger leave at the end of the season and Wilshere misses games at his loan club due to injury, it may be the end of his career at Arsenal. I hope that doesn’t happen but he is going to need a big season to help him maintain a place at Arsenal. So with the exception of Wilshere going out on loan, the transfer window will close without much shock. Gnabry signing a permanent deal at Werder Bremen was a bit of surprise to me as I liked him a lot and thought he had potential but his potential was wasted on the bench and with players like Ox ahead of him it was tough to see him getting higher in the pecking order. I wish him luck in Germany and hopefully we will see good things from him in the future. International break being in full swing means there is not much else going on. So we will have to wait a bit to see our new signings in action wearing the red and white. Oh to be a Gooner.
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