Written by Benjamin Dungate
What to make of Arsenal’s transfer activity. What there is of it.
The signs are not promising. The usual noises are coming out of the club. Talk of “spending big if the right player is available.” We have heard it all before.
The mention of having already spent big is concerning though. Yes, by any measure of normality the club has spent big. But in today’s inflated lunacy £30M is nothing. That gets you a good player that is unproven in the league.
Ivan Gazidis’s recent comments regarding our limited efforts in the window thus far were not exactly lapped up by Gooners, and the Arsenal Chief Executive attempting to downplay the importance of signing players or spending money was a rare faux pas from someone who is normally well spoken and practiced when speaking to the media.
Arsene Wenger the next day though, attempted to pour water on the blaze caused by Gazidis, placing emphasis on Arsenal’s continuous efforts in the market. It was quite bullish, and means there may just be a ray of optimism to latch onto.
So this talk of coughing up if the right player is there is rubbish. Gonzalo Higuain was available. Yes £94M is a ridiculous amount and clearly far too much for anyone, let alone a 28 year old but that is the market at the moment.
Alexandre Lacazette is also available and no less proven in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League than Higuain but at 25 at least he has time on his side. His market value is £48M. Once again, a hefty gamble.
Edinson Cavani is probably available but God only knows how much he would cost.
So who are you left with? Part-exing Olivier Giroud in any deal is totally unacceptable. Only a fool would use a proven, if unprolific, striker as a make-weight when buying in someone knew who is no more likely to succeed.
There is obvious clamour for the club to blow everything on Romelu Lukaku but I am not so sure on him either. He was good last season but his showing for Belgium in the Euros, particularly against Italy, highlighted how far he still has to go to reach his ceiling.
Obviously a young strikers ability should not be judged solely on one game against an Italian 3 man defence but neither should it be viewed on how he performed against a Republic Of Ireland team who were on the whole, poor.
In the end I find myself having some sympathy with Arsene Wenger. He is dammed if he doesn’t and dammed if he does and it goes wrong.
I would love to see Lacazette or Higuain come in but not at the expense of Giroud. His link-up play is second to none and his is dominant in the air. I think the key to it is not smashing £50M because the fans demand it, but in maybe modifying our formation and tactics to use more efficiently what we already have.
As gauling as it is, I think we will be left aghast on August 31st that the club once again failed to adequately recruit.