I am very concerned about our transfer strategy this summer

I was sure that lessons would’ve been learned from the shambles of last summer and that we’d approach this transfer market with a better plan, but for me, the doubts started to nag when Wenger claimed this in early May:

“In my experience, in a World Cup year, the transfer business does not get done early. There is no time between the end of the season and the start of the World Cup. Nobody will do anything before the World Cup starts.”
Source: Daily Mail

So that’s nobody except Mourinho, Rodgers and Pellegrini then. Chelsea have already signed Fabregas and (almost certainly) Diego Costa while selling David Luiz. Liverpool signed Rickie Lambert and Emre Can and have bid £25m for Lallana. Man City have confirmed they will sign Bacary Sagna, while Man Utd have an offer of £27m on the table for Luke Shaw and have apparently already agreed personal terms with our own Thomas Vermaelen.

I realise there is still time, but what concerned me was the inaccuracy of Wenger’s defiant “Nobody will do anything before the World Cup starts.” This tells me that Wenger is once again woefully out of tune with today’s market and how to operate in it, sitting happily on his laurels for another month while our rivals go about their business early and decisively. Could we not try that approach for once?

What has since fanned the flames of doubt for me, however, was the decision not to re-sign Fabregas. The main reason seems to be that we already have plenty of options who can play in Fabregas’ best position (of whom Ozil is the most prominent) just off the main striker. I agree they can’t both play as a number 10 in the same team, but there is certainly room in the squad for both Ozil and Fabregas as the latter can also play in another couple of positions. First of all he can play Ramsey’s box to box role in central midfield, a position we currently have inadequate cover for. Nobody else in the squad (except maybe Wilshere) can provide the goals and assists threat from there and we saw that when Ramsey was injured for all those months. Oh, to have had Fabregas to slot in there while Ozil played the number 10 role.

Also, Fabregas can play as a false 9, which he has done many times for Spain in the past. We could’ve fielded Fabregas up top, Ozil just off him, with Cazorla and Walcott out wide. Or Ozil could play as the false 9 (as he did for Germany against Portugal) with Fabregas just off him. Those four guys buzzing around playing tikki-takka would’ve given us an alternative option to our current ‘Giroud up top’ formation (which is the only system Wenger ever plays, making us predictable and lacking a plan B) and therefore adding another string to our tactical bow.

So the argument that you can’t have Ozil and Fabregas in the same squad is just not valid. Since when can you only have one number 10 in the squad anyway? Yes, Cazorla and Rosicky currently provide cover for Ozil, but Fabregas is better. Cazorla is 29 and Atletico Madrid are very interested, so it would’ve been good business to sell him on and replace him with the better, younger Fabregas.

Especially when you consider that Fabregas has one massively important commodity that none of the current squad has — leadership.

His signing would’ve given us the natural leader we have been crying out for since… well, since Fabregas left. A leader who was desperate to return and would run through the proverbial brick wall for the club when he’s wearing the red and white. Or, as it turned out, taken a penalty for us against Barca despite having a broken leg. We need that sheer guts and leadership in our team of softies.

Fabregas signs for Chelsea

Ouch! Why did you allow this to happen Arsene?

His signing would’ve given the players a similar lift to when Ozil signed, a feelgood factor that lasted half the season. And just as importantly, it would’ve denied Chelsea a wonderful player who will now supply the passes to Costa and be the last piece in Mourinho’s jigsaw. We were only a few points behind Chelsea last season, but they will disappear over the horizon now.

Denying a direct rival the chance to improve their team is the same reason we should be resisting any overtures from Man Utd for Vermaelen. First of all, he’s still an excellent player. He hasn’t turned into Pascal Cygan overnight, he has fallen victim to the brilliant natural partnership that is Mertesacker and Koscielny. He’s unhappy that he isn’t in the team apparently — well tell him to grow the fuck up then! Suarez was unhappy last summer, Liverpool stood firm and he’s now signed a new contract. We’re in the same position with Vermaelen. Why allow van Gaal to get the best out of him for Man Utd, a side who I suspect will be our closest rivals for a top four place next season? I realise he only has 12 months left on his contract and could leave on a free, but that has got to be preferable to strengthening Man Utd for a season in which they could deny us European football, which would cost us £30m — far more than we’d get by selling him.

Besides which, we’ve already lost our fourth choice centre back in Sagna, so all the more reason to stand firm with Vermaelen. I still think the Belgian has a big part to play at Arsenal and I’d be sad and angry if he was allowed to leave, let alone join Man Utd.

The outgoings don’t end there though. We also need to replace Fabianski, who I’m glad decided to leave as he’s not and never will be good enough, and our number three keeper was only on loan so we only have Szczesny at the moment. And the released Bendtner is another squad position we have to fill. All of these issues need to be resolved, which is a lot of work, before we can even think about actually strengthening the team. Replacing Sagna, Vermaelen, Bendtner, Viviano and Fabianski would just be to maintain the numbers from last season, which simply weren’t enough anyway. I worry that we are suddenly looking at needing to sign four or five players just to maintain the status quo when we all know Wenger is reluctant to bring in a large number of players in a transfer window.

On top of that, we still have to address the pressing need for a world class striker and holding midfielder. For the former position, I sincerely hope Wenger didn’t see Joel Campbell’s performance against Uruguay. Not because I wasn’t impressed with the Costa Rican, but because I know how Wenger’s mind works. It’s very possible he’ll have thought: “Hmmmmm, Joel has come on leaps and bounds over the last 12 months. Maybe I don’t need to spend big on another striker after all. Giroud, Sanogo and Campbell next season — sorted.”

That would be a disaster in my opinion. Campbell could replace Bendtner and I’d like to see him given his chance, but not at the expense of signing a proven, top drawer striker like Benzema. So far we’ve been linked with Remy for £10m, who I like but is not the world class focal point we need leading our line.

In conclusion, I don’t doubt that Arsenal are working on transfer targets, but as each day goes by with other clubs doing business and us doing nothing, I fear more and more that we will repeat last summer’s ineptitude.

Whoever is actually responsible for transfer policy this summer — whether it’s Wenger and/or Gazidis and/or Dick Law — I have no faith in the competence of their decisions (like passing on Fabregas and considering selling Vermaelen) or their ability to come up with a plan and make it happen. Our rivals are once again showing us how to conduct business in the transfer market while Wenger and his team dithers, seemingly waiting until just four weeks before the season starts to make any moves.

I hope I’m wrong, but by then it could be too late and before we know it our league campaign will kick off with gaping holes in the squad — just like last season. A case of history repeating itself? Unfortunately, I’ve seen no evidence to the contrary so far.

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  1. SAGunner

    Have said it all along! Wenger buys when all has been sold and than goes to the french bargain basement for the likes of Sanogo or he looks for freebies or better still he goes to the Russian cripple care. If he does buy they are useless and we end up lending to other clubs to manage our wage bill.
    We shall be playing for the Wenger trophy again, and this time may not make it!
    The 4th place in the premier league!
    Chelsea has already signed 2 top players!!!!!
    We are as ususal sucking the hind tit!

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  2. rellends

    we have to wait first so a lot of our targets have a good world cup, get their prices jacked up so that we are then unable to compete with the money that other clubs have put on the table. can’t understand how we have not concluded a deal for aurier yet. benzema looked great the other night – price increasing/madrid reluctance to sell growing – but we will once again be reactive rather than pro-active in the market. all the while our manager is coining it on the side for french tv.

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  3. David-Uganda

    I have read a lot of rumours and all indications seem to suggest that we will get Baloteli in the very near future. I wait to see what will transpire.

    How true these rumours are cannot be substantiated. The pain in me, as in most of you is that while other rival clubs are announcing deals, we still continue to sing how busy we are in the market and wanting to spend big without yielding any fruits. Wake up and act now.

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  4. Feathdt

    A bleating gooner, how unusual !!

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  6. Galway Gooner

    Jebus – can we get over the whole Fab thing please?
    Going on strike to get a transfer and refusing to entertain a move to any other club thus ensuring that we got a pitifully low transfer fee for him not to mention high-tailing it out of his DNA home as soon as the going gets tough to the first club that meet his wage demands are not the kind of leadership traits I look for in a captain.

    We have a limited amount of money and so have to prioritise what we spend. Yet another small, technical attacking midfielder is not on the list.

    We don’t need him and we shouldn’t even be pining for him after the way he treated us!

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  7. ChrisZ

    What a silly article. You have fallen for Wenger’s mind games with the media… he knows business will be done early and the club are working on deals at the moment, just with Arsenal we seem to delay announcing anything. Maybe something to do with the Puma deal.

    He says we are waiting so business can be concluded quietly which prevents bidding wars and the unsettling of our own players.

    Have some faith!!

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  8. jordangooner

    Much of your points I agree with, why could we not buy Fabregas, whilst he let us down insisting on the move to Barcelona. Fabregas would certainly improve the team. Whilst I am sure Wenger has plans in place, what are the advantages of leaving things late? It is not as if we save money or more players become available. Is it the clubs policy to sell before we buy?
    As is the case with Sagna, he went for free as he was out of contract, this seem to happen with many players. Even when we spent our largest ever fee on Ozil, it was last minute. I get the impression we ‘ we dime and cent’ when negotiating on possible players. On many occasions we are gazumped, by other clubs. By leaving transfers late, surely it has some impact on the planning for next season. At times I feel we are penny wise and pound foolish!

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  9. matt

    what aloud of rubbish about Fab, no leader lets his men down like he did like he did when he left!!! Yeah we need players and I’m not sure we will get what we need . But fab hasn’t managed a full season for years goes. Miss our starts crying when it gets tough. And you want to play him 30k a week more then when he left , he hasn’t improved in that time just got more injuries .Ramsey Jack and ox are our future in Fabs position they just need some men next to them to protect them and let them express them selfs.

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  10. josh37

    though i can see the frustrations, the window hasn’t even opened yet, pre-season’s a while away and the world cup is on. not to mention, just because the media hasn’t got whiff of it doesn’t exactly mean we’re not working on things. the main thing is that we go into the season stronger and ready to challenge which there is still plenty of time for.

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    You are very right Galway Gunner. Cesh Fabregas is a traitor not a leader. The only annoying thing is the fact that Arsenal wont sign the right people.

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  12. moray

    haha I love the fact you think we have a “transfer strategy”.

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  14. dogbreath

    get over it. stop already! fabragas has gone and not everyone wanted him back anyway. he’s a cnut who fcuked off and when we really needed him.

    save your moan up until the close of the transfer window and save having to eat you own words.

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  15. Mark Wellington

    Sorry to blatantly plug my own blog, but this is relevant: Cesc to Chelsea makes me sad… http://arse-online.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/cesc-to-chelsea-makes-me-sad.html

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  16. Nico

    Totally agree especially Fabregas comments – how can we not sign such a player who will slot straight into the team replace ageing Rosicky and Carzola who can then leave if he wants and deny a direct rival of signing a great player – no brainer Wenger! Well we have to wait and see what he does but if he doesn’t sign a great striker, a holding midfielder of class, a right back, central defender now that Vermaelen is off and a goal keeper, we once agin are looking at a nearly team! A 4th place team – it’s bollocks and really sick of it. Lets wait and see – again!

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