Wenger’s summer transfer deals have, I think, gone pretty much to plan.
He’s strengthened in one key area and has made money by offloading a troublemaker in another. We’re running £15m in credit on these two deals, money that can be added to whatever was in the kitty already.
Wenger is biding his time, just as 90% of the other club managers are. The market is not just overheated, it’s practically volcanic given Madrid’s splurge and the ongoing petrodollar scattergun that is Man City.
Who else has finished their summer business? Not one of the top teams, I would wager, and that includes Wenger. There’s plenty of time, and although in an ideal world it would be nice to have all your players in place by the beginning of the pre-season, this summer is not an ideal world. I would guess that agents are this summer – more than any other – in foment at the prospect of a fat payday for their clients, and with that in mind both clubs and agents are holding fire until each one can see the whites of the others’ eyes. The last few weeks of August might be a bit mental.
So what’s bubbling along? Well, the Sunday Times suggests Kolo Toure has agreed personal terms with Man City and that £15m is the price. It’s been a rumour for some time this, and it goes without saying that I’d be sadder to see Kolo go than I was his Togolose former teammate if it were true.
I can’t second guess the boss here, but my gut feeling is that selling a player of his experience to Man City is not a good idea. True, Toure wasn’t on his finest form last year but he did still start 38 games – more than any other central defender.
But assuming Gallas is staying, and assuming Wenger wants Vermaelen to step up to the plate, and assuming he also wants Djourou to progress, then Toure might not get the games he wants. So who knows, eh? Not me.
Eboue has been linked with Fiorentina, but seeing how Eboue’s agent has previously considered them too small for his stellar client, than that’s another one to not hold your breath over.
Also, we do have to get the balance right, clearly, between offloading and onloading.
What else? Well it’s interesting how Fergie has, for the second time, aimed a barb at Arsenal’s lack of funds. He says:
“There will be three teams to beat. Ourselves, Liverpool and Chelsea will be very close together… The one who has the challenge this season is Arsène. He doesn’t have the money and how he uses the £25m from Adebayor will be very, very interesting.”
Now last season, he said next to nothing about Arsenal, even going so far as to defend Wenger at times. He clearly didn’t see us challenging.
I wonder if this renewed interest in our finances means he now thinks we are more of a threat?