Monday, August 15, 2022

Another Mistake From Arsène? Have Arsenal Left It Too Late In The Transfer Market?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

After yet another defeat in the opening day of the season, something which has now happened for the third time in four years, the question marks began emerging inside the minds of almost every Arsenal fan. Have the Gunners left it too late again in the transfer market? One, that will come back to haunt them at the end of the season if they once again fall short of the top spot, worryingly, the answer to that question can very well turn out to be ‘YES’.

Last Sunday, the team after a good first half, capitulated in the early part of the 2nd half, it looked really grave for the squad at that time as Liverpool went 1-4 up. To their credit, the team fought back to 3-4 and finished the game strongly but at the end of the day, they had to leave the field without any points. In the points table, it is all that counts.

It looked so different when Granit Xhaka was brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach for a hefty fee of £32m much before the transfer window opened. Wenger also activated the release clause of Jamie Vardy and it seemed that the manager has finally learnt his lesson and is planning to get his team sorted out along with the potential recruits pretty early this time around. Signing Xhaka was supposed to be the answer to the problem which persisted from the time Patrick Vieira left for Juventus, a proper defensive midfielder with proper ability on the ball and leadership qualities, while a bid to sign Vardy showed the intent of acquiring a good finisher with pace upfront.

The two problem areas were finally being acted upon it seemed then. While the inclusion of Xhaka, was a big boost for the squad in terms of providing the options in the deep midfield, the Vardy deal ultimately didn’t happen and the club were aware of it during the Euro Cup itself. There was enough time to look for an alternative striker, but the club and the manager failed to do so.

Recently, the defender situation has been a major headache, frankly, Arsenal were in need for a quality center back even before Mertesacker and Gabriel got injured but like the striker transfer saga, Wenger also dithered over adding a defender to the squad. When the situation got desperate, the club were in more trouble, as the potential sellers were fully aware of having an upper hand in any transfer dealings now, slapping unrealistic valuations on the players targeted by the North London club. Now, there’s no option left but to overpay.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 15, 2016. / AFP / IAN KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 15, 2016. / AFP / IAN KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The biggest problem at Arsenal and with Wenger has been the inclination towards settling for a valuation of a transfer target which is concurred by them instead of the club which is selling. In today’s crazy world, it’s next to impossible. There’s no way you can get in a player with top class potential for under £10m, something which Wenger always looked to do. The situation at Arsenal at the moment will not allow him to develop another potential signing within the range of £5-10 m into a world class performer in 3-4 years’ time.

The squad needs some instant solutions, tailor made fixes in the form of players who will just come in and start banging in goals or delivering 8/10 performances week in week out. The club had plenty of chances to secure that kind of transfers earlier and even this season but they failed. After years of good business, it won’t be a crime if the management shells out some extra bucks for a player who would actually make that difference the club’s failing to for the last 8 years.

Wenger might well go and surprise everybody again this year on the deadline day with some big name signings, if he does that, it would definitely be good for the team, something which the squad desperately needs, but even then people would be asking, why didn’t he do that earlier? For this year, every dropped point would come back to haunt the team and they are yet to open their account.

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