Concede 8, buy 5: Have you ever known a week like it?

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They’re up for grabs now! Wenger, right at the end. An unbelievable climax to the transfer window

I can safely say I can’t recall the like. What began with the low of an abject eight-goal capitulation at Old Trafford has ended with the high of five new faces to bolster the ranks. We may never know whether the late spree was intended all along, or whether it was a direct consequence of the butchering in Manchester, but it’s happened and the result is that we are indubitably stronger this morning than we we were on Monday morning.

We could lament the absurd lateness of the spree (which has lent it an air of desperation), but maybe you have to factor in the departures of Cesc and Nasri into the equation. Both were very, very late exits in the scheme of things. And you also have to accept that a lot of business – rightly or wrongly – gets left this late for all manner of reasons. We could also lament the painful reality that we cannot currently compete for the ‘big names’ (who come with the big wages). In that respect, we are left in the wake of three other teams. It hurts, but it’s a fact.

But, from my perspective at least, the last two days have been refreshing both in their decisiveness and in their honesty. A club that was getting the reputation for dithering about over transfers acted incredibly quickly to bring new faces in. In Arteta’s case, the fax was involved in a photo finish.

Honest, too, because this is as near as we will get to a public admission that the squad was sub-par and that the youth project – such as it ever was – hasn’t worked. All five players are over 26. All experienced. All, given their status for their national teams, have borne responsibility on the field.

Santos, probably, will come straight in as first choice left-back. Mertesacker, too, ought to partner Vermaelen straight away. One of either Arteta or Benayoun can consider themselves worthy of a berth in the middle. Of the five, Park is probably the least likely to start but then again, he’s probably leapt ahead of Chamakh by default. These have been crucial signings.

Despite the clamour from some quarters, we were surely never going to go for a player like Parker. You lose two highly creative players, then you need to replace those players like for like. We have done that. In the hod-carrying midfield position, we now have competition for Song in Frimpong. So the additions of Benayoun and Arteta are sound. (I’ve never been a huge fan of Benayoun, but again, I reserve my judgement. And I’m told he’s been very good in pre-season).

I don’t think we could have done much more under the circumstances and in the time allotted. Criticism, yes, for dithering all summer. That has not shown either Wenger, or the board, or the teams involved in player acquisition, in a good light.

But the fans, and the players, needed this spree badly. van Persie and Walcott have both urged the club to strengthen this summer. Wilshere was positively glowing on Twitter last night. And look at the dropped heads on the pitch after the mauling on Sunday. They needed a lift as much as we did.

It’s certainly had the right effect on me. The squad looks much stronger and better balanced.

Naturally, I can’t wait for the Swansea game.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. marvin Willson


  2. Gustavo Destro

    Reading Wilshire’s tweets as the transfers came in yesterday was great, you could see that he was genuinely excited about the team making moves, and hopefully the rest of the team feels the same, get positive and put the first three games behind them.

    The season starts now.

  3. East Lower

    Quite. A shot in the arm as well as a shot of quality.

  4. Jeff

    I watched Benayoun have some great matches for Liverpool to the point that I was confused if he was available but not in the first 11.  I have a skewed opinion of him being especially good.

  5. Stephen Rowe

    Fine post, summing up the crux of the issue well. Arteta has me positively giddy with anticipation, as does Santos and Mertesacker. Quite a different team now than what we had just days ago.

    Perhaps the single biggest thing Arsene did to illustrate he was done with the under performance of the team was in his selling of Traore just hours after the United game. He may not have liked him, but by getting rid of that poor LB Arsene has shown that you can’t just be an Arsenal youth player and expect to stick around. You get a chance, but if you’re not up to the task you’re sent packing. I hope this is something that shakes up the other young players as well.

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