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Transfer Window

The comings and goings of Arsenal FC – Deadline Day wrap up.

Well, it’s over. The madness that is the summer transfer window is done. And Arsenal come away from it having been one of the busiest teams in the final days of the window. But how did we fare? Was it a success, did we improve or are we still the team that left Old Trafford with our collective egos and tails between our legs.

Well, it’s over. The madness that is the summer transfer window is done. And Arsenal come away from it having been one of the busiest teams in the final days of the window. But how did we fare? Was it a success? Did we improve or are we still the team that left Old Trafford with our collective egos and tails between our legs.

Rather than churn out a missive as soon as our business was done, I’ve spent some thinking about these signings and whether or not they really bring anything to the squad. I also wanted take a look around and see how gooners were generally feeling about it. In general, the sentiment is a feeling of relief that Arsenal got the business done and shored up key points of the team.

But the question remains are we any better today than we were on Sunday afternoon?

The truth? I don’t know. I like everyone of our signings right down to Yossi Benayoun. Alot of people were puzzled by his signing but I like his experience and his intelligence. He also seems to come up with critical goals when they are needed. So all in all a good buy. But if I am honest Benayoun and the four other signings aren’t going to win us the league. At the very least what these signings have done is put a finger in a cracked dam. It now allows the team time (hopefully) to settle down, get back to a winning way and preserve the team’s status quo.

And honestly that was what this was about. It wasn’t about winning the league in my opinion. It was all about preserving our place in the “elite” of the Premier League. It likely keeps us in the hunt for that coveted Champion’ League spot. I also think it keeps us at pace with Liverpool and Chelsea. United and City right now seem to be a tandem unto themselves in terms of talent and ability. Though I still think United wins its 20th this year.

We are good enough now to at least have a fighting chance. After Sunday I would’ve been hard pressed to say we’d finish in a Europa league spot. Now I think we have a good chance of retaining where we are in the league hierarchy. Also based on squad movements, I do think we can finish higher than 4th and beat out Chelsea. Yeah, I know some of my readers don’t think so. But I disagree.

Chelsea did good business with Mata and Lukkau but their defence is still a big issue and it is showing signs that the age and make up are issues. Liverpool was also very shrewd with its dealings and in my opinion adding Craig Bellamy was a masterstroke – given that £35 million dollar wonder boy Andy Carroll is starting to look like a Torres-esque like dud. They’ve added some good players like Adam but they’ve also added some unknown entities. And let’s be fair, against us they didn’t cause us any trouble until we were down to 10 men.  Had Frimpong not Frimponged himself I think the score would’ve been a 0-0 draw.

So it looks like for now we’ve managed to stave off the decline of a great club. What we do moving forward is really the question. If we struggle the boo birds and the Wenger out brigade will once again find their voice.  If this revamped Arsenal squad doesn’t deliver the goods then there will be even more questions asked about whether or not Wenger should go. As it is, I think with these additions he has at least bought some time.

So let’s take a look at the 5 newest additions to our team. In this case, we’ll layout their strengths, weaknesses, playing style and give you someone else’s impression of them.

Mikel Arteta:

Strengths: Arteta is a visionary with the ball at his feet and, at his best, has operated as the creative hub. The Spaniard’s set-piece skills are largely unmatched in England and he possesses a fierce shot, as well as being able to dart away from his markers.

Weaknesses: Arteta is susceptible to a physical approach and has suffered with injuries, while he can also slow down the play with his sideways passing.

Style: Influential, creative, dynamic, a cultured midfielder.

Quotes: “People said they think he’s played safe. I don’t. I think he’s kept the ball for us. People talk about Iniesta with 95 passes and something like 94 were accurate. You have to keep the ball and Mikel can keep the ball for us. He’s very comfortable on it.”  David Moyes, February 2011

Club Number:  8


Per Mertesacker:

Strengths: At 6′ 6”, Mertesacker is an obvious asset in the air and plays a vital role in swatting away set-pieces. As well as being a commanding influence thanks to his big frame, Mertesacker is also a very clean player and went 31 games without a booking following his Bundesliga debut.

Weaknesses: Mertesacker sometimes needs a more vocal influence alongside him in defence and can be a bit static at times.

Style: Imposing, reliable, dominant, an accomplished centre-back.

Quotes: “Per was convincing at the World Cup and anyone who plays such a strong tournament at such a young age can strengthen us. He has enormous potential.” Thomas Schaaf, August 2006.

Club Number:  4


Andre Santos:

Strengths: With the ability to both defend well and get forward and help with attacks, Santos is the definition of the modern full-back.

Weaknesses: Concentration and temperament have been an issue in the past and he has been guilty of some high-profile mistakes based on a lack of defensive nous.

Style: Fast, strong and with plenty of stamina, a modern full-back.

Quotes: “He’s quick, he’s strong and he’s good going forward. He doesn’t score but he can setup and he can cross the ball nicely. He is a good attacking left-back.” Tim Vickery, August 2011

Club Number:  11


Ju-Young Park (Park Chu-Young)

Strengths: He has prowess from dead-ball situations, good movement and his ability to out-sprint even the most speedy of defenders is impressive.

Weaknesses: Still must add consistency to his game and struggles in one-on-one situations

Style: Powerful, quick and incisive, a natural predator.

Quotes: “He knows that he must always be available. He is also remarkably strong in the air, despite his average size. He has very good timing.” Former Monaco coach Guy Lacombe, 2011.

Club Number:  9

FYI: The boy must be happy playing for Arsenal. He scored a hat-trick – a golazo, a header and awkward angle shot.


Yossi Benayoun

Strengths: His vision on the ball means he is useful in many areas in the midfield or in a more forward role, and he has shown an ability to deliver crucial goals.

Weaknesses: Can sometimes be seen as a little lightweight, being of slender build. Can be inconsistent and sometimes waits for things to happen, rather than being the instigator.

Style: Skilful, quick-thinking, with neat finishing.

Quotes: “I didn’t realise how good he was until I trained with him day in day out. With the injury he picked up last year, he was quite unfortunate really because I felt as though he had a lot to give to the Chelsea side this year.” John Terry, August 2011

Club Number:  30

The ones that got away:

Inevitably with the transfer window you start getting information about the deals that could’ve but didn’t happen. In each case it looks like that some of the players we did get this transfer window were second choices as some other deals did not materialize.

Eden Hazard

France Football is reporting that that Lille did receive a €30 million Euro bid for Eden Harzard and that in principle the fee was fine for the French champions. The only issue was time to find a suitable replacement for their number 10. There had been a lot of speculation that Arsenal’s move for Ju Young Park would damage the relationship between the two clubs. It doesn’t seem to be the case. Furthermore when Lille signed Joe Cole on loan, it had been reported that Liverpool had negotiated a right of first refusal on signing Hazard next year. Both the club and the player have rejected that idea.  It is now widely believed that Arsenal will either try again in January or wait until next summer to sign a player Wenger has been watching for the last two years. The only stumbling block – Real Madrid. He is a favourite of Zinedine Zidane.

Yoann Gourcuff

‘I had a call on the penultimate day of the transfer window [from] Gilles Grimandi for a loan deal,’ Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas told RMC. Lyon howevr seems intent on giving Yoann some time to recover from his injury and return to his form that made him a hot property. Gourcuff had a stop and start season last year and seemed to struggle working with Claude Puel. Certainly, if he does not have a better experience with Lyon this season he is someone who could be watched for a move in January or next summer.

Mario Goetze

German paper Bild reported that Arsenal tabled a £35 million bid for Dortmund’s extremely talented young star. The German side much like French Lille didn’t seem to have a problem with the fee but did not want to weaken their side, especially to an upcoming  Champion’s League opponent. Another one to watch for in the upcoming transfer windows.

Elijero Elia

The press are also reporting that Holland winger Eljero Elia has revealed Arsenal had expressed an interest in him  before he a move to Juventus. The 24-year-old, who had grown dissatisfied at Hamburg, rejected the possibility of a move to Galatasaray, as well as a host of clubs from England, where Holland coach Bert van Marwijk was keen to see him go. Elia told “My agent did have contact with Arsenal, but it took too long. I had no contact with Arsene Wenger. That’s pretty damning to let a talent like this guy especially since it seems like he would’ve come had we made an offer. Definitely an opportunity missed.

Marvin Martin

This is the guy who is currently pushing Samir Nasri out of the French side and is one of his country’s brightest talents. Reports are that Arsenal did in fact submit a formal bid of £12 million for the player which was short of the €20 million (about £17.5 million) the club valued him at.

The blame game:

So who bares the blame for missing out on these targets? Is it Wenger, the board, the management executives? To understand it you need to understand the roles of everyone involved. Wenger acts as an advisor by identifying the targets based on scouts recommendations and his own perceptions. He may make calls to leverage some of his influence and contacts, especially in France.  It is left to Ivan Gazidis and his crew to do the actual business part of it. So you have to ask yourselves did we miss out because we didn’t effectively identify the issues and needs for the clubs or did our business team mismange the timing and way the deals were handled. We just don’t know that much. What does seem clear is that the way the last days of the market were handled the entire management of the club from the top down completely misjudged the market and thought it would a lot easier to sell and buy.

The ones that gladly got away

Nicklas Bendtner (loan) to Sunderland. 

Nicky and his dad spent the day very busy people. It started in the morning with Stoke only to have Tony Pulis say no. It moved quickly to Bendtner staying and Chamakh going on loan to Grenada. The Grenada deal fell apart and Nicky went on loan to Sunderland for a season long loan.  Nicky immediately turned to the press reaffirmed his path to super stardom and sound said he hopes to never return to Arsenal. I don’t need  to tell you what I think of that.

Aarmond Traore to QPR (£1.2 million) 

In their version of Survivor, Arsenal quickly voted the Swiss defender off the Colney island after his dismal performance against Manchester United.  His move to the other side of London started off by his imploring QPR fans to not judge him based on the United performance. That’s true there are so many other bad performances to judge him on.

Henri Lansbury (loan) to West Ham

Lansbury is subject of much debate with Arsenal fans as the lad is clearly talented.  The problem is his attitude and inconsistent performances on the pitch. Whether Lansbury ever wears the red and white of Arsenal again remains to be seen. It will clearly depend on how he performs at West Ham. His performance for Stuart Pearce for U21 England team was a good start.

Anyway, the team is set. Some of the deadwood is gone. Some of our best players are gone. But this is the squad we have now and we have to hope that the mix is right. I’m kind of glad the international break is here as it will allow the players a week to assimilate into the club and hopefully be ready to go for next week’s tie against Swansea.

Until the next article – Stay Goonerish!!!


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