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Restocking the Arsenal

If everything we are hearing is true within the next week, we could be looking at an Arsenal squad that could have real potential to challenge for more than just the FA Cup.

If everything we are hearing is true within the next week, we could be looking at an Arsenal squad that could have real potential to challenge for more than just the FA Cup.

Just in case you’ve been living in a cave, sticking your fingers in your ears or covering your eyes, let’s run down what we think we know:

  • By all accounts within the next 24 hours to few days Arsenal will announce the signing of Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez,
  • Similarly, Arsenal are close to if not already signed the replacement for departing RB Bacary Sagna. Strong word is out that we are signing the player who has forced him out of the French National Team starting spot, Newcastle’s Mathieu Debuchy,
  • Arsenal are also said to be looking to add QPR’s Loic Remy IN ADDITION to Sanchez which would give the Gunners 3 different options up top,
  • Additionally, there are links to a midfield transitional replacement for Mikel Arteta. The players being mentioned are  Lars Bender, Sami Khedire and Morgan Schneiderlein, and
  • Finally, backups are being sought out for GK and CB to insure a depth.

Add all the player activity to today’s excitement around the Puma kit launch and these are certainly exciting times to be an Arsenal supporter. When you look at the package completely – commercial and player upgrades without significant losses, you have to ask yourself where does it leave Arsenal?

Now before we take one step further, as always we urge caution. No transfer deal is final until you bloody well see the man holding up a shirt. But at least a few of these “rumours” seem to have enough credibility behind them to let us dream a little. So let’s dream a little, shall we?

Like Old Times:
When Wenger arrived and through the hey day of his early years here, Arsenal were blessed with an abundance of grit and talent that catapulted them to successes on a regular basis.  The squad was a virtual who’s of who of talent who had you salivating every time they stepped onto the pitch.  It all culminated in that glorious invincible season and ended with the 2005 World Cup.

Since then the cabinet has been bare. As Arsenal moved to structure itself ahead of the coming dynamic changein football, difficult decisions were made. The move to the Emirates meant an increased focus on youth rather than older, experienced players. The hope was there was enough talent to nurture through that Arsenal would only have to add a player or two here or there to remain competitive. And while they maintained a level of competitiveness over time, it wasn’t enough.

Finally, as new commercial deals came in and freed Arsenal from the chains of its past, a dynamic shift occurred and it started before last season but we’ll use the signing of Mesut Ozil as the impetus for this discussion.

The transition to older professional and reliable talent happened with the signings of Mertesacker, Arteta, Podolski and Cazorla. And when they happened they weren’t seen as much to be overwhelmed about.  However, last season Arsenal moved to solidify the team with securing new contracts for its core of british talent. Additionally, it added the signing of world class midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Fast forward to this season and based on the news, it seems like Arsenal will once again be chock full of talent to make you salivate every match day.  Granted we won’t know anything until a team actually takes the pitch the dynamic that is being created is one that is moving in a trajectory we can all appreciate.

What seems to be happening is that, now out of the gloom of the lean years, the prudence by which Arsenal undertook their operations is paying off dividends. We all laughed when Ivan Gazidis that when the time came Arsenal would compete with the biggest clubs in Europe. And again, its still early but the talent that is being assembled in the last two years specifically surely points to that.

The signing of Sanchez alone is a tremendous feat. After his performances in the World Cup and his return last season for Barca he can be the dynamic presence up front we haven’t had. He is versatile and can play pretty much anywhere in any of the systems we might employ.

Furthermore, he was the fourth best score producing forward in La Liga last season. His stats would put him in a similar place in the Premier League.

The move for Debuchy, a DM (or B2B MF if you wish) and an additional striker, clearly looks like Arsenal believe that they have an opportunity to get back to being regular staples in the title hunt.  They’ve maintained a core of brilliant British talent who are showing their own mettle. They’ve added veterans who work together for the club and team and they are supplementing that with some of the best talent available in Europe.

The names may be different (Except one) but it certainly resembles the makings of the early Wenger years?

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

So if this all comes off who gets the accolades? This blog has been critical of the dynamic duo of Ivan Gazidis and Dick Law and some stories related to earlier transfers.  Others often wondered how did Gazidis, the former deputy commissioner of the MLS wind up with one of the best jobs in global football without much background doing so.

Well, the stories emanating from all over are the Ivan Gazidis is the driving force behind a lot of these machinations to these deals.  As a matter of fact putting the stories together it’s begging to look like that the triumverant of Gazidis, Law, and Wenger are becoming a formidable negotiating force in these deals.

If I were guessing, Ivan is driving deals likely working alongside Wenger on players who would fit Arsenal. Ivan drives the communications and when interest is solidified it is Wenger who takes the player aside to sell him and close the interest in the club. Former players laud Wenger’s persuasive abilities.  Once Gazidis and Wenger have their way, Law comes into finalize the formalities. Recent reports in Spain suggest Law made the transactions for Sanchez easy.

In the lean years, the biggest complaint was that David Dein was gone and didn’t give Wenger a suitable foil or partner in the business dealings of the club. The picture that emerges now is that the combination of Gazidis and Law are giving Wenger what many feel he has missed and it is bearing fruit in signings like Ozil and Sanchez.

Throw in how Gazidis has handled turning Arsenal’s commercial fortunes around and Ivan Gazidis is going to force a lot of naysayers, myself included, to really grovel and ask for forgiveness.

Final thoughts

Nothing has been announced. Even though as recent as an hour ago when I was writing this, Lee Dixon on his official twitter account said he had spoken to Wenger and the manager was excited about the signings of Sanchez and Debuchy. Well, if that’s not confirmation I don’t know what is.

Still, even after they have signed the games have to be played. Anything can happen but after the glorious day in May when our trophy drought clock was reset to O Days, hope continues to shine and things certainly look a far sight better then they did last season when we lost to Villa 3-1.

So give us your thoughts? What do you think this all means for Arsenal? Can they win the title with the team they are reported to be assembling? Can they make a serious run the Champion’s League?

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