Why on earth have Arsenal left it so late to sign anyone?

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Ivan Gazidis

Arsenal have had nearly three months to improve and strengthen the squad, something that was promised by chief executive Gazidis and manager Arsene Wenger. The players have also frequently made noises about the club bringing in new signings and it is time that this finally happened.

It has been clear for some time what Arsenal require: a new striker to help Olivier Giroud, a defensive midfielder to share the workload with Arteta, another creative player to add another option alongside Cazorla and Rosicky, a centre back to offer cover and depth in that position and a new goalkeeper to provide competition for the largely unchallenged Szczesny. As well as the Arsenal squad requiring these specific improvements it is now a squad seriously lacking depth after the club released 17 players and brought in only French under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo who remains unproven at the top level.

The match against last year’s relegation candidates Aston Villa showcased both the lack of depth and quality in this current Arsenal squad. The game started well for Arsenal, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud combining before the latter swept home the opening goal in the fifth minute.

Soon after things turned for the worse for the Gunners, with Agbonlahor being allowed to run through the midfield unchallenged to earn a penalty – would a defensive midfielder such as Luis Gustavo helped here? – which was duly dispatched at the second attempt by Benteke after he saw his first effort saved.

Without Mikel Arteta adding authority and calmness to the midfield Arsenal looked lost, seemingly lacking any organisation or shape. A club in the top four cannot have only one experienced midfielder able to provide leadership, there should be several leaders in all positions of the pitch. This is something that can be added to the squad and should have been before the first match of the Premier League season.

Coupled with the humiliating, morale sapping 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa, Arsenal lost Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna and Oxlade-Chamberlain to injury with the latter reportedly out for three months (Source: The Mirror). The Gunners also lost Laurent Koscielny to a dubious red card and he will now have to sit out next weeks match against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Arsenal squad is currently injury hit, but if reinforcements had been signed this would not be nearly as big an issue as it is now. The fact that Aaron Ramsey was playing at centre back in the first Premier League game of the season is symptomatic of how poor the transfer window has been for Arsenal so far.

It must be stated that Arsenal were unlucky with injuries yesterday, for example losing your first choice left back after your second was already injured is just plain bad luck and cannot be accounted for. The thinness of the squad as a whole though is unacceptable.

There is a very real possibility that Arsenal’s heroic efforts to achieve a position in the top four last season could be wasted by crashing out before even reaching the group stage.

If Arsenal do successfully get past the qualification stage, they simply must make some moves in the transfer market. The squad is wafer thin right now, after one game of the season, it must be asked how will it look come Christmas?

If Arsenal fail to spend the cash reserves they clearly have then the blames lies solely at the feet of chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger who have openly stated they are ready to buy players – something clearly required. Arsene Wenger must make a statement in the remaining days of this transfer window, for his legacy as much as anything.

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  • Mikey says:

    I agree 100% while everyone has been buying to strengthen we have released squad player and fringe players which I thought was to add the quality signings to challenge for trophies. We need the spine in the team goalie two defenders holding midfield player plus top striker. We have more than enough money to get these players. If not then wenger and the board should go as they don’t want to win silver ware but line their pockets. Spurs Chelsea man city Norwich Swansea numerous teams have strengthen but we have a bunch of idiots or devious devils who are trying to con the fans. Put up the cash and buy or shut up and leave ..!

  • wambam says:

    Players are waiting to see if we are into the Champions League.

    • wez says:

      why are they waiting for us to get champions league, spuds managed to sign quality players and they are in Europa cup, even southamptons 3 signings I would have taken, all 3 are quality players and would have been good at arsenal

    • feji says:

      That is nonsense!!….Are spurs in the champions league , they signed soldado,paulinho,capoue!.three players that would have helped our cause this seaso!…Are wolfsburg in champs league,!…they signed gutavo..what of liverpool?…what of monaco?….what of even newcastle?

    • kevvy says:

      Not being in the CL doesn’t seem to have bothered those joining Spurs. If we had reinforced well early in the window getting past Fenerbahce would ave been much easier than its going to be now. Sack Gazidis and sack Wenger both negligent!

  • ekanem antia says:

    I heard they are people who lack feelings.Feelings to love or be hurt.Wenger and Gazidis fall into this category.They are just woods.I get hurt every time we’re beaten,I get hurt knowing we have money but wont spend, I feel hurt that after three months of promises to sign quality, we’ll end up with our ‘usual’, I feel hurt that,yet again, my team would struggle to make top four.

  • Leavo says:

    I totally agree with this review of the club and agree we need to streanthern. I dont know why Wenger won’t buy….

    GK Cesar 3mil is very cheap and 70k wage ok it’s a lot of wages for a GK but will help shez grow and compete, plus he is world class keeper. And over 2-3 years it won’t cost arsenal as much then buying someone for 15mil and having to pay slightly less wages.

    CB needs someone who is young and with great potensial who can compete for starting 2 positions and for about 8-15 mil can get Soko a young French CB who plays for PSG or Richards from man city who has EPL exspirienc and can play across the back 4.

    CDM iv said it time and time again that we need a world class player, with proven exspirience in the EPL, who is big, strong, god tackler, thecnically gifted and can score the occasional goal. For me it’s simple Fallaini is all of those things plus is a real areal capabilities and for 20-28mil I think is worth it and would put a dent in Man U if we outbid them and he wants to play in the CL and said he’d like to play for Arsenal.

    CAM is go for a young player with potential in Christian Ericksen for 15 mil we have ties with Ajax with berkamp and overmars to help convince him to join and would relive some pressure from Calzola.

    ST is a tricky 1 for me as I don’t know who is left!! I’d put a 30-40 mil bid for Wayne Rooney as he is world class and would also help in keeping a British core of players and would help England playing alongside Wilshire,Ox,Walcott who are the starting XI for England in the future 🙂

    • Josh says:

      Leavo. I agree with some points but others are Wengeresque. Saying sign players with great potential. Is that not what has got us in this mess? Signing these players with potential and then not fulfilling it. We need proven world class players to stop the rot. I’m afraid to say that we will struggle to make top 7. We scraped into top 4 last season and with all the teams strengthening around us, I can’t say we will do it again. The money grabbing bastards that are the powers that be, need to be moved on. Our club has turned into the laughing stock of world football.

  • Steve. says:

    How can Wenger say,there are no quality players out there, when MAN CITY. SPURS, CHELSEA,AND LIVERPOOL,Have spent millions up to now. The trouble is, good players don’t want to come to Arsenal,because of the way Wenger runs things,good players meet up from time to time,when on international duty,they talk and discuss,and advise one another, and I don’t think Wenger is everyones,cup of tea.” I THINK ARSENAL WOULD BE A FAR BETTER CLUB IF WENGER MOVED ON”.

  • Ogban says:

    I am now resigned to thinking that we will not see any new players in Arsenal this summer. And what a wonderful season we’ll have!

  • Macky says:

    Wenger never wanted to strengthen,that’s why he left it so late…i guess,he had in mind to sign a prolific striker only to help Giroud out & yaya sanogo playin’ more cup competitions,may be,few league games from the bench…wenger’s plan was not to sell any player,keep the lean squad in shape,focus & strong….then with a prolific striker & prospects like zalelem,gnabry,Akpom,he squad is good to go……forgeting that arsenal players are alway prone to injuries,that strong squad depth is key to winnin’ titles…..he has pressed the panic buy turbo button because of irate fans,ex-players ,pundits,press men,even his own vice captain…

  • Rob says:

    I can only say it is a big disappointment. We seem to lack any real strategy and given top players have been bought by others (even if they have paid slightly over the odds – that’s the market we have to do the same) the players are, or at least were, there.

    If we now end up with average players like cabaye it will show we had no idea. If we end up with players who have been available throughout the transfer window (felliani, cesar etc) it will show to me that it was merely the fan pressure that made it happen.

    Bottom line, unless arsene comes up with 2/3 stellar signings that we didn’t expect he has has fucked up. How a team such as arsenal can be so off the pace in buying top talent is simply a disgrace.

  • Va Goon says:

    I just hate to see the likes of spurs and liverpool signing QUALITY players like crazy. There is quality out there to get. I think in the beginning of the transfer window arsene put all his eggs in the Suarez basket and disnt decide to look at anybody else and that fell through. Our squad is super thin and now injury ravaged. We need signings now its gone past the point if wanting signings. I just after Big Ben rings its chymes high over London at 11 pm Sept 2, I hope Wengers speech to media doesnt go like this…..We were after some quality players but the team didnt want to sell so late in the window and we will just have to trust in our quality injury stricken team to compete for Europa league not champions league cuz this team is a top ten team with injurys and so thin. We tried which will be bullshit ……just think Spurs….Soldado….Chadli…Capoue…poss. Willian and Coentrao
    Everybody else can find quality and none of them in Champs League so why can’t we find quality players. I don’t understand but I do know and mark my words….Spuds have up there squad to another level with or without Bale this will be the first year that Spuds finish above us. Unless we finds these QUALITY players that Wenger finds it hard to find even though everyone else even Southampton find Quality players

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