Summer Transfers: Did We Do Enough?

Incoming players wait patiently to be registered by Arsenal on Wednesday

Well that was exciting.

“How was your transfer deadline day Arsene?”

“Oh, the usual. Woke up, signed five players, went to sleep. Nothing special.”

The problem with evaluating Arsenal’s summer transfer business is that the process is inevitably clouded by ancillary issues. It’s easy to get sidetracked discussing when the moves were made, debating how much money was available or rehashing old sagas over key players. There’s also the tendency to try and appraise the club’s dealings from a business perspective. But I’d prefer to leave that for the excellent Swiss Ramble. Instead, I want to analyze this crazy transfer window based entirely on one factor; how it impacts Arsenal on the pitch.

When the dust settled at 11pm British Summer Time, Wednesday evening, Arsenal had signed so many players that I couldn’t fit all of their names in a single tweet. Some of the players we signed have gone out on loan or aren’t ready for the first team. But there’s no question that Gervinho, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Benayoun and Arteta will all play some role for the first team this season, along with Ryo whose work permit was approved this summer. What remains now is to examine whether those players make us a stronger side than we were last season. So let’s give it a try!

Overview

Last season I couldn’t help but feel that our team lacked experience and leadership. No matter how good Cesc was, he was still a young player. With Thomas Vermaelen out the entire season there was little leadership on the pitch. Young players were learning from other young players and there was no one to lend that little calming or motivational influence when it was needed most. We saw evidence of that at Newcastle, in the Carling Cup final, and in our demoralizing late draw with Liverpool to name a few select matches.

In the matter of just a few days, that deficiency has been decisively addressed. Ryo, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jenkinson will be great players for Arsenal. But they’re not going to teach themselves the intangibles of professional football. And it’s ridiculous to expect youngsters like Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs or Theo to teach them either. Now they won’t have to.

By adding Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Benayoun and Arteta, we’ve brought Premier League and international experience into the squad. They are 26, 28, 27 (in Spetember), 31, and 29 respectively. Whether you think they’re the finest players around or not, they are seasoned professionals who know the little tricks of the game and understand the commitment required over a long season. They know how to get the calls from a referee or how to react when an opposing player is trying to wind them up. That kind of guile and savoir faire will be a hugely welcome addition to our squad. And it will benefit the younger players immediately.

Attack

Players out: Nasri, Bendtner (loan), Sunu

Players in: Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo (work permit), Park, Benayoun (loan)

I consider Gervinho a direct replacement for Samir Nasri. He may not be as refined as Nasri right this moment, but he has more pace, a better dribble, and could hardly be worse than what we got from the frenchman during the last half of last season. I have no doubts that he will be a big player for us based on what I’ve seen. As far as I’m concerned, we are no weaker at that position than last season. But Gervinho adds something that Nasri didn’t provide; cover at center-forward. I genuinely believe the Ivorian can play through the middle and will do so at times this season.

Unfortunately, Arshavin and Chamakh have taken major steps backwards. The Russian seems to be suffering from a dip in form and motivation while the Moroccan seems bereft of any footballing ability at the moment. Neither qualifies as first choice, but we’ve already seen that you need quality beyond your first XI to stay competitive in the Premier League. And attacking depth became an even bigger concern when when we sent Nik Bendtner to Sunderland on Wednesday on a season-long loan. I’m thrilled that we loaned him rather than selling him because I remain convinced he has star quality, but his absence this season left a gaping hole at center-forward.

That’s why Park’s signing is potentially so important. If he can give us quality behind Van Persie, and occasionally play on the wing, then we are much stronger. Park is probably not a starter, but he is captain of Korea, was the leading scorer for Monaco and adds depth to our attacking trident.

That also means that we can ease Ryo and Oxlade-Chamberlain into the mix, unlike what the latter had to contend with on Sunday. Both young players give us potentially explosive attacking options on the wing, but we shouldn’t expect consistency from them at this stage in their respective careers. Park’s addition should help prevent Arsene from relying on them too often in pressure situations.

Park’s arrival probably signals Wenger’s tacit acknowledgment that Chamakh’s performance at Arsenal isn’t good enough. Perhaps Marouane will rediscover the form he brought with him last summer, but he simply can’t be anywhere near the first team at the moment. Moreover, even if Chamakh was firing on all cylinders, he’s going to be at the African Cup of Nations throughout January. Park’s signing gives us another option at center-forward during that time, along with the aforementioned Gervinho and possibly Theo Walcott.

The reason I listed Yossi Benayoun as an addition to the attack rather than the midfield is because I wouldn’t be surprised to see him used primarily as a winger for us. He can score the occasional goal, has the ability to get past a defender and won’t struggle to play the final ball like Theo often does. Benayoun has also demonstrated a good work rate throughout his career. With Gervinho unavailable for Swansea in 10 days time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yossi line up on the left side of our attack in favor of Arshavin who was desperately poor on Sunday. He can be a very useful utility player for us throughout the season, moving between midfield and attack.

I see Benayoun as another utility player. He is essentially as an upgrade from Tomas Rosicky. Last season, and so far this term, we used Rosicky when we had players missing up front or in midfield. He delivered a good half of football in Udine but has been a liability otherwise. Benayoun can do the same things Rosicky has been doing for us, only more effectively and consistently. That extra option also has a ripple effect throughout the squad. Now, when Theo or Gervinho are out, the choice isn’t between Arshavin or Rosicky. When Ramsey or Arteta are missing, Benayoun gives the manager another choice there as well. Again, that also means that Ryo and Oxlade-Chamberlain can be used as a luxury, not a necessity.

Overall I think our attack is stronger than it was last season. We brought in a direct replacement for the big name we lost. We added depth across the front three. And we acquired two massive talents for the future who should make the occasional appearance this season. Once again we will depend heavily on Van Persie’s contribution, but I think we are better positioned to cope without him if necessary.

Midfield

Players out: Cesc *cries*, Denilson (loan), Lansbury (loan)

Players in: Arteta

This is the area of the pitch that became the main concern over the last few weeks. In order to have any chance of evaluating our situation in midfield, you have to accept one thing first. There is no player on the planet like Cesc Fabregas. We were never going to replace him. As we’ve already seen in his brief Barcelona career, he’s good enough to instantly improve even the best team in the world. We lost the world’s best midfielder. He’s a once-in-a-generation type of player and it’s pointless to even consider replacing him with equal quality.

Once you accept that reality, it’s much easier to take stock of our midfield. Loaning Denilson could be a case of addition by subtraction. I’d rather have no one on the pitch than watch him play little 3 yard lateral passes and fail to run back on defense for 90 minutes. Emmanuel Frimpong has already shown he has all the traits to be the perfect backup to Alex Song, and eventually succeed him. So that has made the need for a defensive midfielder somewhat less pressing. Let’s not forget that Diaby will be back in the team eventually. Or at least that’s the idea.

What we really needed this summer was a creative influence in the middle of the park. Again, you can’t think of it as a cesc replacement because that wasn’t possible. The question is whether we could bring someone in who could create scoring chances and finish a few himself. With Song protecting the back four and Jack covering the entire pitch, we needed a support-striker or “trequartista.” Mikel Arteta fits that description. Not only does he provide slick passing and an eye for the occasional goal, but he’s one of the finest free-kick takers in the Premier League. (Sorry Robin, you’re off free-kick duty). Hopefully he will also deliver the corner kicks, freeing up Van Persie to attack them.

It’s hard to know just how good Arteta can be. He was played as more of a holding midfielder before he arrived at Everton. Once David Moyes moved him further up the pitch he thrived. During the 2006-07 season he was rated as the third most productive midfielder in the Premier League behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and…you guessed it…Cesc Fabregas. But unlike Ronaldo and Cesc, Arteta played for an Everton club with significantly less attacking talent in front of him. Now he’ll be playing through-balls for two of the faster players in England and linking up with one of the best passing center-forwards in the game. We have bought ourselves a very talented and experienced player in Mikel Arteta and there’s no reason to think he won’t thrive in our passing game.

For those who can’t control their longing for Cesc, we now have a new Spaniard in our midfield who also idolizes Pep Guardiola and has Barcelona in his DNA. If you squint, perhaps you’ll barely notice the difference. We can only hope that’s the case!

I could discuss Yossi Benayoun’s impact on our midfield at this point but I’ve already addressed his role. My guess is that we’ll see him more as a winger than a midfielder. Wenger will want to give Aaron Ramsey plenty of opportunities this season and with Arteta’s arrival he is no longer a first choice selection for Arsenal (at least once Jack is fit). I can’t see Benayoun being played in favor of Ramsey, although I wouldn’t rule it out. Therefore, the best thing I can say about Benayoun’s contribution in midfield is that he adds depth to an area of the pitch where we’ve already seen players like Coquelin and Lansbury forced into action because of our paucity of options.

My verdict is that we’re probable weaker in midfield. I arrive at that conclusion through a very simple formulation. Lose Cesc, you’re weaker. Period. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t be very good in the middle of the park. And it’s easy to see how Arteta’s signing was the difference between a pretty mediocre deadline day and a spectacular one.

I actually think that Arteta could be a better signing than M’Villa, Hazard or Martin. The former is not a creative midfielder and the latter two could still be classified as untested. Arteta already understands the physical demands of the Premier League, he’s experienced, and his hunger for Champions League football could see him raise his game to a new level. Let’s face it, Everton have had little to compete for over the past few seasons. Hopefully the challenges facing Arteta at Arsenal will bring out the best in him.

If Jack Wilshere gets back on the pitch soon, and shows improvement from last season, then we have reason to be optimistic. Emmanuel Frimpong has already shown that we may actually have another excellent holding midfielder at the club besides Alex Song. And with Mikel Arteta’s arrival, Aaron Ramsey goes from being a questionable starter to an impact substitute. That takes the weight of impossible expectations off the Welshman and gives him the freedom to continue his development at a normal pace. By the end of the season, maybe he’ll even make the starting role his again.

So while losing Cesc probably means that the midfield is weaker, it doesn’t mean that it’s a weakness overall. Depending on Jack’s fitness, the emergence of Frimpong, and the integration of Arteta, we have a chance to be as good or better. At the very least, we now have some much needed depth in the middle of the park.

Defense

Players out: Gael Clichy, Armonde Traore (hooray), Eboue *single tear*

Players in: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Santos

After last season, it was clear that Arsene Wenger had to address the defense. His response was to sell our most experienced defender and bring in a teenager who was playing non-league football this time last year. Hardly the improvement we were expecting. But in the long run, it all worked out for the best.

I’m of the opinion that Gael Clichy had to go. He was a good servant for Arsenal but he just cost us too many points over the years. Ever since that awful day at St. Andrews when Eduardo’s Arsenal career was destroyed and our title bid began to unravel, Clichy was never the same for us. He showed an unparalleled ability to make crucial mistakes at critical moments. Despite possessing all the attributes of a world-class left back, he rarely contributed anything to our attack and he frequently suffered lapses in concentration or composure that resulted in opposition scoring chances.

The problem with Clichy’s departure is that it left us with two left-backs at the club. Kieran Gibbs could be superior to Clichy when given the chance, but his injury record has prevented him from finishing a match, let alone a season. That means that Armond Traore was always going to play an important role in the side. And that spells trouble because Armonde Traore is an absolute train-wreck waiting to happen.

It’s not that Traore can’t defend, it’s that he doesn’t seem to know enough about defending to even try. Selling him might be the best example of addition through subtraction in the history of football. Andrey Arshavin might be the only player in our entire squad who would be worse than Traore at left-back. Somehow I feel like I’m not making myself clear. Traore is terrible. There. Clear enough?

Jenkinson is a hard worker, a gooner, and obviously a kid with tremendous talent. He gives us a better option than the lovable buffoon, Emmanuel Eboue, but he’s not quite ready for the deep end. He held his own against Udinese and even Liverpool to some extent, but Manchester United at Old Trafford was a bridge too far.

Unfortunately, once Gibbs suffered his inevitable injury, Wenger found himself forced to use Sagna out of position with Jenkinson at right back, rather than play Traore. And when Sagna wasn’t available on Sunday…well…we all know what happened at Old Trafford. For me, that calamity was mostly down to our situation at full-back.

That made Andre Santos’ signing one of the most important of the entire summer. He’s an experienced Brazilian international and he can even score goals. Some might consider him “Dani Alves light.” Since I hate Dani Alves, I’ll prefer not to disparage our new signing that way.

Regardless of what you think of Santos, he’s going to be our starting left-back for most of this season. He will probably move ahead of Gibbs in the pecking order, but even if he didn’t, we know that Gibbs will play only a handful of games because of his injury history. What Santos gives us is peace of mind. Sagna doesn’t have to move from right back to left back. Vermaelen, who has demonstrated his importance to the center of our defense, doesn’t have to move either. And Jenkinson can return to his intended role as Sagna’s backup and eventual successor.

In the center of defense, we are now miles better than we were. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited that we didn’t sign someone as I was when we didn’t sign Gary Cahill. It’s not that Cahill isn’t a good player, it’s just that I think Per Mertesacker is a much much better one. I realize he’s not English, but let’s try not to hold that against him. (And I love the idea that Phil Gartside’s sophomoric behavior cost his club 12 million pounds. Enjoy watching Cahill leave for free next summer you idiot.)

Mertesacker is a towering, surprisingly quick, German international. At 26, he already has over 70 caps for his country. Maybe more importantly, he gives us exactly what we’ve been missing at center-back. He’s the perfect alternative to Vermaelen. The two will make a fearsome combination, and immediately eliminate any concern about our weakness on set-pieces. But I’m more interested in what Mertesacker gives us when the Belgian is out of the lineup.

Let’s face it, Vermaelen makes any defender standing next to him look better. Djourou looked relatively solid against Udinese, but when he was paired with Koscielny on Sunday, it was a disaster. Koscielny looks like a world-beater when paired with Vermaelen, but unsure of himself when he plays with Djourou. And none of our defenders can make Squillaci look like anything but a sack of crap with two arms and two legs.

Mertesacker should be the perfect cure for what ails us when Vermaelen is out. He will be a great partner for Koscielny who’s tackling is as good as it gets, but lacks real aerial presence. And his commanding, energetic style should help the more meek Djourou when those two play together. It also means we’re less likely to see the Djourou-Koscielny partnership that has been our most disappointing. And now that we have four other choices at center-back, Squillaci’s days of playing for Arsenal should be essentially finished.

There’s simply no denying that we are vastly better defensively now than we were last season. Clichy’s mistake-ridden performances are gone. Traore’s ineptitude is gone. They’re replaced by the experienced Santos and hugely talented although injury-plagued Gibbs.

Eboue and his side-show antics have been replaced by a young Arsenal fan filled with grit and determination.

Vermaelen is back from injury (mostly) and playing like one of the world’s best center-backs. Now with the arrival of our German giant, we have a central defensive pairing that should rank as one of the best in the Premier League. Koscielny will push for a starting spot and Djourou will have the chance to rediscover his confidence and form far from the white-hot spotlight. It’s a fantastic summer of business at the back and we should be giving Arsene Wenger huge praise for the way he addressed that area of the pitch.

Goal-keeper

Players out: Almunia (Last seen wandering the streets of london with a tiny dog)

Players in: None

We don’t need a goal-keeper. When was the last time you can remember being able to say that with such confidence as an Arsenal fan? Not for a long time. But it’s true. Szczesny is one of the best young ‘keepers around and he’s all ours. Hopefully watching 8 goals fly past him on Sunday didn’t dent his confidence.

The only problem with our summer business at this position is that Almunia is still at Arsenal. It’s no surprise that we can’t find anyone to buy him, but what does it say about our goal-keeping situation over the past few years that not a single club wants our former first choice ‘keeper? Remarkable.

Anyway, there’s no reason to let a lingering Spaniard bring us down. Goal-keeper is no longer a problem at Arsenal. Szczesny should only continue to improve and that will make our defense look even better. The best bit of business Wenger did at this position was giving the gloves to Szczesny last season and ensuring that he would stay at Arsenal for years to come.

Summary

We look a totally different side today than we did yesterday. We are loaded with experience now. We have depth all over the pitch and while it’s debatable whether we added “super quality,” every one of our signings is a clear upgrade from the alternative. In that respect, we are much stronger than we were. Look at it this way; of the five players we signed in the last 48 hours, all five probably would’ve started on Sunday.

It’s easy to complain that we should’ve done these deals sooner. Some might try to argue that point but I won’t. I still think the summer was somewhat mismanaged and that these players could’ve been acquired sooner. But it’s time to lay that argument to rest. The window is closed and the football season is now properly underway. They say you don’t want to see how sausage is made. Well maybe we should take the same approach with this transfer window. It wasn’t pretty getting to this point, but the important thing is that we got here. And it’s certainly not too late for our season to take flight.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t care about the business side of things. The fact that we actually made money in this transfer window doesn’t matter to me. We needed certainly areas of the pitch addressed and they were addressed properly. That’s what matters. Whether Wenger did that with 100 million pounds or 10 pounds is irrelevant to me. He did it, and he deserves credit for it.

Some people have suggested that this late buying frenzy was instigated by our loss on Sunday. But if you look at the facts, that doesn’t really add up. Traore was rumored to be heading for QPR before the United match. That means we must have had Santos already lined up. Park was rumored to be signed on Saturday after fleeing his Lille medical. Mertesacker was linked to Arsenal for most of the summer. As far as Benayoun and Arteta are concerned, Wenger had readily acknowledged our need for midfielders long before Sunday’s rout.

So while it’s a nice idea that Arsene and the board were shocked into action by the manner of our defeat on Sunday, the facts simply don’t support that conclusion. Honestly, that makes me happier. I’d prefer to think that the manager was aware of the weaknesses in the side before that loss, rather than thinking he had no idea we needed the players.

It’s been a long, arduous, dramatic, emotional, stressful, disappointing, and ultimately satisfying summer at Arsenal. It took until the last few minutes of the window for the club to get the last of the players it needed, but in the end, the business got done, just as Gazidis and Wenger promised. I’m not trying to suggest there’s no reason for frustration over the summer we had and I’m not saying that everything is perfect, but we look a very good side today.

As far as I’m concerned, when the pressure was on, Wenger proved once again that he knows what’s best for Arsenal. He put together a very strong team that should make us all proud. After what happened on Sunday, many gooners needed to see some evidence that the great man hadn’t let the game pass him by. Over the past few days, I think he’s shown yet again, there’s not a more shrewd operator in the transfer market than Arsene Wenger.

Thank goodness this summer is over. As exhilarating as deadline day was, I’m glad that it has come and gone. The time for looking behind us has passed. To quote the motto on the new crest: Forward.

Up the Arsenal!

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About Yankee Gunner

Loyal Arsenal Supporter, Obscure Television Personality
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44 Responses to Summer Transfers: Did We Do Enough?

  1. We’ll play Yossi central. As a backup to Arteta. I’m pretty sure of it, we have enough wingers.

  2. HorshamGooner says:

    Best review I’ve read yet

  3. Nikhil says:

    Great read mate…very positive..thats what we need

  4. stonroy says:

    great post

  5. Zinzi- Johannesburg gooner says:

    great blog and I agree with everything you say but I’d like to take it a step further and add the emotional side…
    Boy does AW stress me out. I love the man and my team more than most things in my life but my nerves over the last few days are shot. From Sunday’s result (yes, tears did make an appearance) to last nights transfer business (ummm…tears again), I’m exhausted! But I woke up this morning with this giddy excited feeling…we do look healthier in all areas of the pitch and I think the other 19 teams should be, if not outright scared, very wary of what wenger has pulled out of the last minute hat here. I’m surprisingly positive and upbeat about our season… Lose 8-2 to manyoo then go on to win the champions league anyone? 🙂

  6. Zinzi- Johannesburg gooner says:

    what do you think our starting 11 will be against Swansea on 10 September?

  7. jimjamjones says:

    YES! come on you gooners!! very excited now…best point you made that each of our new signings is definitely an upgrade! The manager has clearly listened to what everyone knew was needed and acted on it! I am seriously chuffed and now the season can start!

  8. Great article. Must say quite balanced one. People forget that all Marquee signings have huge wage demands, hence Arsenal cannot compete. They are best when signing best youth and great talents looking for a stage to get them to stardom(A.K.A. Nasri). No issues with that. Also Park signing was to help Afobe get eased into the first team. believe me he’s way better than Welbeck. And Benayoun was brought to buy time for Wishere and Ramsey. But watch out for Aneke. If clubs take players like JET, freeman etc Dont you think they surely would have enquired about Aneke…Believe me, Like wilshere he’s being groomed for the 1st team….You don’t aften find players in England even getting looked on by Bracalona…..He was offered a trial :))

    • Tomas says:

      I believe arsenal.offside have covered this side of Arsenal football club. Apparently we can compete with big guns, maybe not on same level as ManShity or Chelsea but at very decent one, I recon it’s possible to accomodate wages as high as 120k p/w for whole starting 11 or even higher for some exceptional players + have second tier running on 40k p/w. even with current budget.

  9. cris says:

    I am really pleased with the singings. Ok, maybe we didn’t but that one super quality siging but we added some much needed depth and i think in the long run these players are really going to help. We’ve struggled when out first choice players were out suspended/injured because we didn’t have quality back ups for them.Overall this looks like a better squad than the one we had last years.

  10. Fjoeyz says:

    Just want to say I was engrossed by that post and agreed/loved every word of it. Unbelievable how quickly things can change from a negative to a positive. If it is not working this way then we still have the money to make a “super quality” signing in January.

  11. GeorgieG'sMagicHat says:

    Great Post! I am going to keep this – it really has boosted my morale because it does show the coherent picture of our team and I think the future is better than I dare have hoped for – now if we’d also signed Schweinsteiger and Hazard I would have been dancing! Thanks for this.

  12. Ramy says:

    Genuinely pleasing Analytical article. However, isn’t the main problem with Mertesacker that he’s too slow? You’ve listed him as being quick.
    While Arteta is a good signing, this is a player that Wenger said that he has no interest in 3 days ago. That clearly suggests that he was last choice.
    Man….I’m gonna miss the transfer window, twitter’s gonna be boring now!

    • Hunter says:

      He isn’t too slow at all. This is one of those things that the English media keep saying that couldn’t be further from the truth. HE didn’t get 75 caps for Germany because he is too slow. He is easily just as quick as Terry and Cahill or even our old Guard of Adams and Keown. I think he was the best defender sold in the summer window by some distance.

    • Tomas says:

      Wenger on Arteta. He was bluffing, that is what negotiations are all about, show indiference and other side might get of the guard, and without media hype won’t over inflate palyers price.

  13. AnonymousGun says:

    Been looking over your blog for the past few days. And I like what I see.. so chalk up another regular here from now on.

    Only following Desigunner and Untold Arsenal, so yeah.. I put a very demanding requirement for an arsenal blog.

    KUTGW and COYG!

  14. So our starting lineup for Swansea could be Polish; Senegalese, German, Belgian, Brazilian; Cameroonian, English, Spanish; Korean, Russian, Dutch 🙂

  15. Jordan Gooner says:

    An excellent article concised and well put together, I completely agree with your accessment. I believe all the moves were well planned,and Wenger hinted several times the transfer business would be late. He also was very reluctant to let Fab go, and was badly let down by Nasri, who had promised to sign a new contract, until tapped up by Viera, on behalf of Money City. This was almost the same time as his dip in form! With the suspensins, injuries and other factors the Man Utd result was a disaster waiting to happen, I believe whilst this has hurt our pride, this will prove an aberration in the season. Well done great article. Up the Gunners !!

  16. B says:

    Finally a read which disagrees with the theory of “Arsene panic buys after United mauling”…..honestly, who the devil spends almost 30mil because of one result??….and who the devil will spend that kind of money in a split second decision??

  17. Jim says:

    excellent article again…love the long posts, surprisingly easy to read, although the odd shorter one would be welcome now and again as at some point, I need to do some actual work!

    much happier now, feeling positive this team can compete and get the media off our backs for a while.

    up them glorious gunners!

  18. Italored says:

    As usual a great post. Reading your blog is like a breath of fresh air after reading some of the other blogs which are full of rage and insults.
    Thank you for the time and effort you put in.

  19. Good post does not cover it at all ….. FANTASTIC POST!!! thanks a lot for puttin’ everything in to the ‘right’ frames…

  20. blazingooner says:

    Great post, very optimistic! I like the positivity and this is fast taking place among my top gooner blogs…
    keep up the good work…
    I also like that you don’t ascribe to the generic cliches many people are quoting about Santos defensive fraility and Merta’s speed issues – I saw lets watch them before judging them!
    Kudos my friend, great analysis.

    • jaelle says:

      People describing Santos’ defensive frailties are saying that because they’ve watched him. I’ve watched him at Flamengo, Corinthians and our national team. No supporter of Brazil’s national team wants him as our first LB. He is at best good enuf for our 3rd choice LB (and that’s debatable). Instead of dismissing everyone making such observations and automatically thinking they’ve never watched him, maybe you should instead look at who’s saying them. Any glance at the reaction of Brazilian pundits, journalists (like Fernando Duarte at the Guardian’s Football Weekly) will tell you there was shock at this signing because Arsenal are expected to sign better quality players. Here’s the reaction from an English-language Brazil national team blog: http://brazil.worldcupblog.org/world-cup-2010/andre-santos-moves-to-arsenal.html . He is weak both offensively and defensively. And makes Clichy-like errors with lapses in concentration. For supporters of the Brazilian national team, this is our last memory of him (around 4:29, Germany’s 3rd goal): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opsW8tC1nCM . Andre is a good guy, works hard, team player. But’s decidedly average. And unlike gooners who’ve never seen him play and automatically think they can dismiss anything negative spoken about him because they don’t want to hear anything negative, I do know what I’m talking about.

  21. Great blog mate! The only thing I would contend with was while the Koscileny/Djourou partnership was obviously awful on the weekend (not helped by having so many players missing in other positions) it was actually a very solid partnership for much of last season. But great post, one of the best Arsenal blog around.

  22. Positive read. That’s what we need now, all gooners, players, supporters, management and even the board moving forward as a club. the team looks better now so lets now support it as best as we can coz our season starts now. good read yankegunner!

  23. Great post! After the despair of the weekend (and the harassment of the United fans at work), I was almost giddy with the end of the transfer window. ONWARD!

  24. Pingback: Late transfer frenzy puts gloss on a shambolic summer » Arsenal Effect

  25. David M says:

    Agree with many of the points you made although there is another positive that you can take from these transfers as well. One of my main bugbears in the past was that we did not have players that could defend across the pitch as well as create (one of the reasons we all love Wilshere so much!). In Samir, Cesc and Arshavin (always bugged me that the Russian was the only one we pulled up on this) if they lost possession it was up to Song and Wilshere to clean up. This is why Arteta, Gervinho and Park could add so much to our game as well as the emergence of Frimpong.

  26. Hunter says:

    I would disagree on two points:

    1. Jenkinson is nowhere near a decent backup and should have been loaned out. Whatever you thought of Eboue he was a seasoned professional and a decent defensive backup. Also, after seeing Jenkinson lose his rag when Theo got on him about his awful positioning last weekend I also question his attitude. In this position we are much weaker.

    2. Koscielny is a squad player. Even when paired with Vermaelen he is subject to huge mental lapses and seems to go searching for balls to intercept in the oppositions half far too often. He is positionally very suspect and I hope that he will fight it out with Djourou for third choice. I am still quite unsure as to why we paid almost 10 million for Koscielny and less for a seasoned German international. Surely this is an odd piece of business.

    • Hmm, I like the fight in Jenks, even if they are wrong I expect some red blooded fiery push back and loved it. Walcott showing some fire this season so far I love too. I hope this is the year he “arrives” as last year’s injury playing for England really killed his momentum.

  27. olumide says:

    Great&positive post. I can authoritatively now say there is strength in depth in our squad. One more thing-Wenger said setpieces cost us d league last season (obviously),so let’s hope we maintain&probably increase our productivity in front of goal&defend ours better through these new signings COYG!

  28. olumide says:

    Great&positive post. I can authoritatively now say there is strength in depth in our squad. One more thing-Wenger said setpieces cost us d league last season (obviously),so let’s hope we maintain&probably increase our productivity in front of goal&defend ours better through these new signings COYG!

  29. I feel much better about things after reading your comforting take on the situation. Although I’d like to disagree in a few places.

    Eden Hazard won player of the year and at 20 lead his team to their first title in a long time. In his case, his youth shouldn’t be held against him, perhaps lack of PL experience, but Legue 1 is more defensive league so I tend to think as many french attackers have he would have flourished.

    I will concede Martin though as much as I wanted him.

    I also still wonder if Arteta, if this were the route we were going was the best option (Lucho Gonzalez for instance), but better than many certainly.

    On Beyanoun, as we discussed on Twitter we will have to agree to disagree. I thought it a bad move. Adam Johnson or Clint Dempsey for 10-12 mil both would have been better and certainly more durable. Especially Dempsey if you prefer the experienced. Dempsey also gives you more versatility as he can play many places as well. I can concede perhaps my Beyanoun dislike is the fact that he’s a loan from Chelsea which is just plain insane logically and makes me think they know something we don’t. But I’m praying to eat crow pie on he and Arteta because obviously I want Arsenal to win.

    As far as defense, I’d have rather picked up another player (Dann, Cahill or Samba) and loaned out Jenkinson or Djouru (agina). The lads needs regular playing time. Same with Iggy whom I guess is staying with the reserves. Which leads me to my final point…

    Ryo and AOC. Two fine prospects that I personally feel with their age and development need regular playing time. Sure we are competing on 4 competitions and the Carling Cup starts soon, but I wonder if we had not been better served at least loaning AOC (as Ryo got exp in the Netherlands) and picking up a Zarate or keeping Bendtner (or even keeping him anyway and loaning Chamakh). It also makes me wonder what the plan was for Campbell had he got a permit…

    Anyway mate, great post, I feel way better, love the blog and Tweets. keep it up!

    Oh and one more thing, is Frimpong going to African Cup? If he is selected (he stated he’s walk to Africa, love the kid) we could be in trouble with Chamakh, Song and Gervinho gone as well.

    • Hunter says:

      I’m sorry but neither Dempsey nor Johnson are Arsenal quality players. I’m not sure how we went from one of the most feared teams in all of Europe to one scraping the bottom of the barrel for bargain basement signings who are average at best. No Gooner should be satisfied with average players coming into the side.

  30. drew10 -positive gooners FB page says:

    Great post, I cannot believe some places are still moaning about Wenger. You are totally right, who cares if we made money? Didn’t we make money when we sold Anelka and bought Henry, I don’t seem to remember anyone complaining then that we hadn’t spent enough. These fans just do not want to admit that their vitriol towards Wenger has been made to look completely stupid. I will add a link to this site on my Positive Gooners Facebook page.

    I will be certainly reading this blog again – well done.

  31. East End Bruce says:

    Great post. Really good reading and an accurate and positive view on our new signings and future team structure. You have gained a new follower 🙂

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