‘Same old Arsene’ seems to be the cry from Arsenal fans sick of seeing their manager dither in the transfer market whilst their rivals spend.
The signing of Granit Xhaka seemed to be the start of a summer of spending with Arsenal looking to reinforce their position as title challengers but it was a false dawn and with the season kicking off soon, the grumbles are becoming more audible.
With Chelsea spending big on Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante, City recruiting Ilkay Gundagon and Nolito, Jose Mourinho teaming up again with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan it’s crucial Arsenal and Arsene Wenger show their intent as soon as possible, and add to a side that finished 2nd last season.
Is it a worry? If I was an Arsenal fan seeing all my rivals active in the transfer market, especially with Wenger’s lack of spending in the past decade, I would be. Arsenal’s problems are more than evident, with striking reinforcements as well as a central defender needed.
We quizzed some fans and the answers varied from ‘concern but not worried’ to ‘just go out and sign anybody’. As expected there isn’t a uniform response but you get the feeling that fans are increasingly losing faith in the man that brought Arsenal to the pinnacle of English football.
Gonzalo Higuain has been mentioned as a potential and realistic target for the Gunners, although they’ve failed to act on their interest. Particularly perplexing given that Napoli have admitted they would be reluctant to sell to rivals Juventus, who’ve also expressed their interest in the player, and instead would prefer to sell the Argentine to Arsenal.
Napoli’s asking price is big, exceeding the £60m mark (when you include striker Olivier Giroud in the deal) but such a big signing is somewhat of a necessity with clubs such as Liverpool, Everton, West Ham and Southampton looking to break into the top four and United under Mourinho looking to get back to past glories. They can’t afford being left behind.
The need for a striker has been made even more urgent given that Arsene Wenger is giving Olivier Giroud extra time off after a gruelling Euro 2016. This could mean that Wenger’s side are left without a recognised striker for the season opener at home to Liverpool and potentially the following game away to champions Leicester City.
You would like to think that the board have learned from the mistakes of last summer, where Petr Cech was the only recruit meaning Arsenal were the only side in the top five European leagues to not sign an outfield player, it saw a backlash from Arsenal fans demanding activity in the window.
We’ve seen in the past that the lack of strength in depth has cost them dearly; it was on Valentine’s Day this year when a last gasp Danny Welbeck header against Leicester put Arsenal in the driving seat for the title but a lack of cover in key areas again proved pivotal as they fell away.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will surely be flabbergasted if the club don’t go big this summer considering the extra revenue the Premier League sides receive with the new TV deal, they have the ability to spend what they wish. A lack of activity may see the better players ask questions as to why, they aren’t doing so.
A key summer in transfer window for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, will it be same old same old story or will they go the extra mile to give them the best possible chance of keeping touch with City, Chelsea and United.