Wow, that was one long and ridiculously stressful summer transfer window. Why did we think it would be any different?!
I won't go too much into what happened over the course of the last few months as it's been done to death by everyone, everywhere. The long and short of it is that we had 2,519 hours to spend some of the money that's been sitting nicely in the bank... and it took us 2,518.5 hours to do it.
Mesut Özil's signing is big. It's mega. It's absolutely fucking HUGE in the grand scheme of things. In my lifetime and during my time as an Arsenal fan, I can recall three transfers that have got me excited; Charlie Nicholas (my boyhood hero), Dennis Bergkamp, and Sol Campbell. They were three major transfers that shook the football world and sent Arsenal fans wild. Özil makes it number four. He's a supreme talent and someone I've rated for a few years after seeing him ripping teams apart for Germany. I would have loved us to get him before Real Madrid but hey, we've got him now and as stats stack up, this bloke is on a different planet. Take the assist figures of any Barcelona player and this little genuis wipes the floor with them.
While Özil's arrival was a big statement of intent on one hand, the other hand is a bit like a seasoned wicket keeper's with joints out of place and mangled digits very apparent. We had (according to the AST) around £100m available to invest in the squad at the start of the summer and during the close season we brought in around £10m from outgoing player sales, then cleared a LOT of dead wood which freed up around £500,000 a week in wages. Even Stevie Wonder could see that our squad is lacking in a few key areas but despite all the money available to bolster our team we spent a net of around £35m. That leaves around £65m sitting there, unspent.
We're a handful of games into the new season and already have injury issues with key players. Podolski is gone for around 3 months, Arteta is another medium to long term absentee, and who knows when Vermaelen will be back? As it now stands we're relying on Olivier Giroud to stay fit up front as he's our only recognised striker. Yes Theo could be slotted in there but is he a "top, top top quality" centre forward? No, he's not. At centre back, if anything happens to Mertesacker or Koscielny, we'll have to rely on a right back providing cover. That baffles me given the riches we had available to invest, but at least it gives Uncle Ivan the chance to secure the hat trick of "powder dry" comments.
Oh yeah, there were some other players who came in. Sanogo fills me with no excitement whatsoever; the phrase 'injury prone and plucked from Ligue 2' doesn't say ambition to me, it says gamble. Flamini I've never been keen on re-signing mainly because I don't like backward steps (and Wenger never used to either) but also because he walked out on us five years ago. But he was freeeeeee!!!!!! We like freebies. Viviano I can't see as top quality goalkeeper backup, just another Fabianski or Mannone type. Some reviews I've read about him don't really fill me with confidence, and with keepers like Cesar and Begovic attainable over the last few months, someone who was turned down by Fiorentina warrants no more than a "meh" from me.
So overall, it's been a strange transfer window. Last night I asked my followers on Twitter if they'd consider it a successful window if Özil was the only player to come in (ignoring Viviano) and the response was a landslide. No, not good enough. The opinion was that we also needed a top quality striker and further cover at centre back. This morning I saw Tim Payton ask his followers to score our transfer window out of 10, and the result was around 6.
Last night there was a lot of smugness among some Gooners, and the old "Arsene Knows" line I spotted on more than a few occasions. Off the back of one signing. To that I'd say woah, woah, hold on there! One swällow doesn't make a summer so as major as Özil's signing was for this club, we still have a whole load of work to do with this squad, and we need to keep our fingers crossed big time on the injury front. Added to that, the comments I received about "We can spend in January" smack of desperation and are very much akin to Uncle Ivan's powder remarks. It's well known that Wenger doesn't like the January window; he sees no value in it as buyers are desperate... so surely if he really thought we were in need (and with shitloads in the bank) he would have spent this summer, wouldn't he?
Anyway, we are where we are. It's been yet another nightmare summer for Gooners seeing failed attempts at Higuain and Suarez, then Cabaye... ending with us having to wait until the final hour of the transfer window to do anything of note. There's nothing can be done now, so we have to plough on and hope we're up there challenging come January. Who knows, with both Manchester clubs starting the season in topsy turvy form, we could be in with a shout assuming we can keep people fit and keep a good run going.
So if you go to Arsenal games, get behind the team. Ignore all the WOB vs AKB stuff in the ground; don't get involved. Just put all your energy into cheering on the 11 players on that pitch wearing the cannon on their chest.
Up The Gunners