“Benzema Transfer Complete!” “Arsenal bid 50 Million for Star Stiker–not Benzema!” “Big European Club (or at least the 3rd club in Istanbul…) in for Ozil!”
Where does this stuff come from? Why is there a market for it? What the hell is going on here?
What is TRULY going on at Arsenal? Are we done in the market and set for the season? Other teams are signing players (and winning their matches), mustn’t we match them?
What is Wenger Thinking?!?
We have to wait until Monday for our next (big, huge, season-defining) match, so maybe it’s a little early to start dissecting that one. (So, instead, we can–try to–dissect the torture, er, transfer window…) It will be a big one, of course, as Liverpool are a strong team and will want to take advantage of our wobbly–if not non-existent–home form. At the same time, as they already sit on 6 points, having eked out a couple of 1-nil victories in their first two matches, it’s one they will probably approach with a nothing-to-lose mentality. Arsenal, on the other hand, have no such luxury and, must approach it as (another) “Must-Win” match.
Why? Because of our “inactivity” in the market and our millions of pounds in the bank. If we’re so good, the logic goes, why aren’t we crushing our (lowly) opponents OR improving the team through the market?
The answer is…wait for it…because…the logic is flawed.
Unfortunately, the team with the better individuals doesn’t always win AND stocking up on even more good players doesn’t always translate to instant success. (It’s also bad for the game, but maybe that’s another topic entirely…)
The best example might be in our own team! So far we’ve made one signing, goalkeeper Petr Cech, and what has he done? Cost us points! How many more signings (and how many more points dropped) can we afford?
I jest, of course, but I do believe there is some truth in there. Signings in the transfer window can add quality and competition for places (depth) but they cannot be seen as ends in themselves. Players are humans, after all, and–no matter how much they cost–they come with human frailties. It should also be noted that players who transfer–at least from the biggest clubs–do so because they’re not having success (or getting enough playing time) at those clubs.
Cech has looked less than fully confident and goals against have been the result. Talk from the defenders is that they need more time to work together and learn how to play as a unit. The talk in pre-season was that Cech would net us a dozen extra points. The talk now is that he owes us 15.
Like I say, when you look at it this way, it’s not about all that money in the bank, it’s about dropping points by trying to integrate new players (people, with their proclivities and personalities)… The season has barely started, but, again, how many more signings can we afford?… 😀
It’s always tempting to believe a new piece to the puzzle will solve our issues. But is that really what’s going on here? What about some of the (other) pieces we’ve retained?
They may be less exciting, but could the contract extensions–or players we’ve kept–be puzzle pieces which might just work a treat? Theo Walcott was the big one, but his extension was announced alongside one for Santi Cazorla. Last Spring, Captain Mikel Arteta, despite a campaign mostly lost to injury, also had his contract extended. My hunch is that all three of these players will play significant roles for Arsenal this season. (Jack Wilshere, another mooted for a huge money move and Tomas Rosicky, gaining further football years through injury, could also contribute if their fitness issues resolve.)
Already, Santi has looked very good reprising his deeper lying role next to Francis Coquelin at the rear of our midfield, and, when Coquelin looked a worry for a second yellow card at Crystal Palace, bringing in Arteta to play alongside Santi seemed to settle things and allow us to see out the victory. Walcott has yet to feature as a starter (and didn’t add much as a substitute in the disappointing opener vs West Ham) but the Liverpool match might be his chance. It’s pretty amazing to think that we’ve got a player who would have commanded a large fee (on top of the large salary he has garnered) biding his time and waiting for his chance.
In other words, it may be boring, but (I believe) this Arsenal team is not far off. Do I think we could add quality and depth and competition for places by dipping into the market? Yes, yes I do. Maybe. Probably (in a position or two, but perhaps at the cost of squad unity and confidence). Should we be freaking out just because Chelsea and Man City are completing deals (Pedro Rodriguez and Nicolas Otamendi were just announced–so much for ‘financial fair play” rules) and Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs are sure to roll the dice again before the window closes? No, I don’t. Is change for the sake of change what supporters need? Is the grass always greener?
In truth, I think it is possible to burn your lawn by adding too much of the rich stuff. Thank Dennis the deadline day is (finally) in sight. If we can find value for money for players who will add REAL quality and depth to the squad (and fit into the strong team dynamic) there could be a trigger (or two) to be pulled. Otherwise, I say it’s time to stand behind the team as it’s already comprised (including new signing Cech and the lads who’ve had their contracts extended) and shun the hit-whoring sites ‘announcing’ (or announcing announcers announcing) about the new mega-signings.
In other words let’s just focus on the football, boring as it may be. It’s a long season and one which can only be played a match at a time. As we’ve seen, there will be disappointments and there most certainly are no guarantees. Transfers are the ultimate distraction and the balm or medicine (or suppository) supporters seem to require these days. I’m not buying it, and I hope AW isn’t either. Only 11 days of the Torture, er, Transfer window remain, and I cannot wait for it to close.
But that’s just me. What say you on this Thursday? Do we need a torpedo (of a signing–or two, or three) to spice up things–or can we take the torpor? Is the squad strong enough or must we add to it? What’s your take on these dog days of August, the window and the season in its nascent stages? It’s already been a long week and we don’t play again until after the weekend. Help a Gooner make it through…