Arsenal have had a summer that has again left some feeling like nothing has changed. Hopes were very high pre-July 4th with Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud already committing to the Gunners cause. Robin van Perise's statement certainly changed the mood, but there was still optimism things were in the ascendancy. When Santi Cazorla signed, I don't remember as positive of feelings around the Gunners for quite some time.
However, it all unraveled from there. Van Persie left for a rival and signed to Manchester United and Alex Song was sent swiftly to Barcelona. Hopes to bring in players with the window closing yesterday, was only just that, hope. Arsenal added no new faces to the first team squad. The only movements were a few outs with Nicklas Bendtner and Ju Young Park securing loan deals to Juventus and Celta Vigo respectively. The only signing was a 17-year-old Macedonian keeper.
The lack of activity is surely frustrating. Arsenal had money to spend and yet they sat pat on what they have. I, like many Gunners supporters weren't asking for huge signings, but ones who could add depth in certain areas. Arsenal could have certainly done with another back-up striker. Behind Olivier Giroud there is only Podolski, who is more adept on the left wing and Marouane Chamakh, who hasn't scored since September 2011.
Other areas Arsenal could have used bolstering in was midfield as well as a versatile defender. There were reports of a potential loan move for Michael Essien, but that would have never really been good enough. Essien was a great player, but has been dogged by injuries and it would have been a huge risk to sign him.
Arsenal are already in a tough position if injuries do hit the squad. Wenger seems to be gambling that Abou Diaby can maintain fitness and form as well as Jack Wilshere, who both have had lengthy absences from the game. Diaby has shown some flashes in his appearances this season, but his injury record doesn't inspire confidence.
The position I feel the greatest confidence in is the defense, which is certainly different than years past. With Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, Arsenal have three quality center backs. Kieran Gibbs has looked much improved so far this season. The only concern is right back with Carl Jenkinson deputizing for an injured Bacary Sagna. Sagna had two leg breaks last season and a more experienced back-up than young Jenkinson would have been beneficial.
I haven't seen as much frustration for Gunners supporters than this transfer window. With Arsenal having funds available and making a profit this window many will cry foul with the lack of activity. Wenger's reluctance to add has certainly turned the heat up on the long time manager's seat. If Arsenal are winning games, Wenger will certainly be vindicated. However, if the team struggles and there is a lack of goals seen through the first two games, a backlash is sure to come.
However, there is still a good squad at Arsenal. Some additions would have certainly been welcome and bolstered the squad. It would be easy to just get upset and yell at Wenger and the board for not spending money on new players. I, on the other hand am choosing to remain positive and back the players on the pitch.
Matthew Levine is an avid Arsenal fan that has followed them since the 2005-2006 season. He spent a year studying in the UK and made routine trips to The Emirates as well as watching Arsenal in other Premier League grounds.
- Sports & Recreation
- Olivier Giroud