Whilst many Gooners will feel that they’ve had a frustrating summer, they may have mind to reflect upon the old Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting times.” Whilst Arsenal’s transfer window acquisition programme appears to be stuck in first gear, many of their Premier League rivals have had a whirlwind of changes. Sometimes in playing staff; sometimes in management, and sometimes in both. So, whilst many other clubs will need to be settling in, bedding down and similar sorts of time consuming exercises, with no guarantee of success, Arsenal’s failure to buy big in the market may just be their trump card.
Throughout the summer, Wenger’s attempts to sign the big name players craved by the fans has come to naught. The list of players courted, and then lost –at least to date anyway, reads likely a Panini sticker book collection of top strikers. Rooney, Higuain, and Suarez have all at one time been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates, but with each passing day the chances of one of them actually sporting the Gunners kit in August seems to be diminishing. Wenger has recently declared that he won’t raise his bid £40million plus one pound bid for Suarez any further, and with Liverpool unlikely to deal at that price, any move for the Uruguayan could be dead in the water. What this does mean however of course, is that the squad is largely settled and well bedded in from last season’s travails. Whilst there may be the addition of an odd player or two, this would not cause any major disruption that may have been the case had the ‘big name’ player arrived.
It should also be remembered that although Arsenal had a pretty in and out season, as the term drew to an end, they were on a consistent run of form. Assuming the goalkeeper issue is resolved – and the potential for signing the outstanding Julio Cesar is still there – the defence appears well set. The perhaps unlikely partnership of Mertesacker and Koscielny appears to be just one of things that works, and towards the end of the term, they were the solid dependable pair that Arsenal have perhaps been searching for since the days of Adams, Campbell, Bould and Keown. With a midfield of Wilshire, Carzorla, Arteta and Oxlade-Chamberlain, to mention just four, there’s a plenty of creativity – and goal-scoring ability. Should Wenger decide to bite the bullet and give Walcott his head as the central striker, it could be the move that triggers the England international into the sort of player that he always promised to be, and render the search for a big name striker, fairly pointless.
It seems clear therefore that even if Arsenal fail to add to their squad, there’s plenty of reasons for Gooner fans to be optimistic about the coming season. Look, I’m not saying that Arsenal will win the league, but they might. If they do, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world if the reason was because they had the settled squad that was comfortable with itself and each other. Should the trophy end up at the emirates, Arsenal fans could look back on this summer as the one of promise that brought nothing – except the title of Champions. Interesting times indeed!