Yesterday marked the closing of the transfer window, something we Gooners have come to fear/put all our hopes into. In past years, we’ve made some rather stunning purchases, but alas, the most obvious one of the entire summer never came to fruition. Call it what you may, from Wenger’s intransigence to perceived failure of the higher-ups to nab his transfer targets, the purchase of a quality goalkeeper which the majority of fans thought was an obvious necessity never materialised in quite underwhelming fashion. 0600 pm came and went with barely a whisper of hope.
Perhaps fingers can be pointed at Wenger for waiting this late to make a decisive move. Secondly, maybe the market was as tepid as he claimed it to be. Regardless, two things had to be accomplished this summer: the retention of Cesc, and the replacement of Almunia. Whether the former is significant enough to make up for the shortcomings of the latter remains to be seen. In my observation, Almunia has cost the Arsenal too many points in previous years. As good of a character as people think him to be, he nevertheless is not of the requisite quality to be an asset to the squad. At this point, conventional wisdom would surely be to back him, despite his lack of ability. It’s bad enough to have a sub-standard keeper, and it’s absolutely nightmarish to have one without confidence. That being said, there were some positives to take from this summer.
The acquisitions of both Koscielny and Squillaci were a welcome sight. It showed true conviction on Wenger’s part. Of course, there are fans who think these two defenders are not good enough, but I trust Wenger’s judgment over theirs. Koscielny has so far done well enough, and will surely get stronger, and most importantly, better. Squillaci, in the meantime, will be able to jump straight into the squad. We now have at the Club three defenders capable of being positive assets to our title push this year. Djourou could be a 4th option, but his fitness is always in doubt.
The free signing of Marouane Chamakh, albeit belated, is a massive step in the right direction. His ability to be a high-quality replacement whenever van Persie is making his monthly visit to the treatment table is an improvement upon last year’s squad. He, like Koscielny, will only improve as they become more adjusted to the team’s style of play.
Wenger’s success in persuading Cesc to stay with us this year is, pardon the cliche, like a new signing. His desire to move to Barcelona during the summer cannot be debated, but neither can his professionalism or commitment to the Arsenal cause. Therefore, Gooners around the world should sleep better knowing we have the best center midfielder in the world as part of our ranks. His staying not only is an injection of real quality, but should be one of inspiration to the rest of the team. No doubt they place great faith in his abilities, so to have seen him depart would have been a real kick in the teeth to the squad. Instead, quite the opposite has happened. Here’s to many more goals and assists to come from our young Fab.
The transfer window has left us Gooners with as many questions as answers. Will Koscielny justify his price tag? Will Cesc replicate his previous form? Can Chamakh fill in adequately for van Persie? And finally, will Almunia let 25 yard hit-and-hope vollies fly through his hands down at the White Hot Swamp again? If everything works out in the positive, it might’ve been a summer of real success. If any number of factors goes awry, there could be trouble on the horizon.
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