All Guns Blazing: Arsenal’s transfer window was neither a disaster nor good enough

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline against Liverpool. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gestures on the touchline against Liverpool. Picture: Nigel French/PA - Credit: EMPICS Sport

In our weekly Arsenal fan’s column, Alex Bellotti says that Arsenal’s lack of spending means Arsene Wenger must greatly develop the players at his disposal.

On recent transfer deadline days, it’s become a bit of a tradition to see Arsene Wenger embark on a mad trolley dash for players. Some signings have been desperate (Andre Santos), some inspired (Mesut Ozil), and this time around, there was an expectation that Arsenal would surely pull something out of the bag.

Instead, we are left with just one senior signing – albeit an astute one in Petr Cech. The facts are stark: out of the five top leagues in Europe, we are the only club not to have signed an outfield player all summer; in the Premier League, we’ve even been outspent by Watford.

While the majority of Gooner voices seem to be cracking with frustration – many boiling into anger – I don’t think our summer business needs to be classed as a complete disaster. Neither, however, is that to say that we shouldn’t have done more.

You only have to look at the fortunes of Tottenham and Liverpool over the last few years to see the danger of reckless spending. When the former sold Gareth Bale, they hilariously said ‘We’ve sold Elvis, and bought the Beatles’ – the resultant ‘band’ instead established themselves as something closer to Busted. Similarly, Liverpool’s ridiculous turnover in recent seasons has often left their team looking like strangers on the pitch (well, I suppose they are) and it’s quite evident in their complete inability to string together any lasting chemistry.

The problem is that in the opening games of the season, Arsenal’s supposedly settled, cohesive squad have also looked like strangers. The plethora of missed chances by our forwards have only accentuated the idea that we need to recruit in that area; Francis Coquelin’s contribution to the team is growing by the day, but should he be suspended or injured, there seems no one else with the legs to carry out that role.

I understand that world-class options are hard to come by, but with a manager renowned for his ability to bring in and nurture rough diamonds, it seems odd that he hasn’t found one or two players of that variety.

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Instead, Wenger has once again clawed pressure from the jaws of early summer success. Like last year, hopes of progress are being replaced with the fear that we’re standing still while others are moving forward. If we are to have a successful season, he will have to develop the players at his disposal at a rate we have never seen, even by his high standards.

Follow me @alexbellotti

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