Comparing Arsenal’s squad to last season.
Read more Arsenal transfer news.
As it looks increasingly likely that Arsenal will not be making any more signings on transfer deadline day, fanatix takes a look at whether this summer’s transfer business leaves the Gunners stronger or weaker than last season.
Players in: Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, David Ospina
Players out: Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Lukasz Fabianski, Nicklas Bendtner
Although it is perhaps harsh to judge Arsenal’s current options due to major players such as Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott out through injury, there is no question that more work needed to be done in several key areas this summer.
While Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers are certainly not bad players, they are arguably downgrades on Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen, two top-class players on their day and more experienced than their replacements in the same positions. In an added blow, Sagna did not even bring in a transfer fee as Arsenal lost him on a free transfer. Although that does not directly affect the squad, it is more poor business from the Gunners to lose such a big player for nothing, with more money then required to sign his replacement Debuchy.
In midfield there has been no change so far, though Arsenal still look weaker due to Mikel Arteta being another year older (not to mention, another key player currently out injured), and with Jack Wilshere somewhat off form and yet to fulfil his much-vaunted potential.
Up front, you could legitimately say that Arsenal had strengthened if not for Giroud’s four-month injury layoff, which will end up counting for basically half the season. Yaya Sanogo looked poor at the weekend playing as the team’s main striker and £35m signing Alexis Sanchez is not ideally suited to the role, fitting in better out wide. Theo Walcott could play there upon his return, though there is still little indication that that will be any time soon, meaning a new striker was a must going into the final few days of the transfer window. Even Nicklas Bendtner is not at the club anymore to provide an emergency option, with only youngster Joel Campbell another possibility after returning to the Emirates Stadium after three years out on loan. Still, Campbell and Sanogo are young, inexperienced, and a big gamble by Wenger.
Although it has not been a huge change in terms of personnel at Arsenal, it is worth noting that the squad also looks weaker relative to what their rivals have done to strengthen their own sides. Despite finishing above the Gunners and with superior players anyway, Chelsea, Liverpool and champions Manchester City have all strengthened significantly, and got much of their work out of the way earlier in the summer.
Even yesterday, with world class strikers such as Diego Costa and Didier Drogba available to them, Chelsea moved for a third-choice striker that Arsenal needed as potentially their first choice for at least the first half of this season, Loic Remy. The Frenchman moved for just £10.5m and has been up for grabs all summer, so Wenger can have no excuse about good players not being affordable and on the market. Elsewhere, Liverpool signed Mario Balotelli for just £16m, less than half of what Sanchez cost, while Manchester United look set to add Radamel Falcao to their list of big-name additions, which also includes Angel Di Maria in what will surely prove to be a superb squad once van Gaal’s influence and new ideas start to take effect.
Not long ago Arsenal fans were celebrating an FA Cup win and some new big-name signings, but as time has gone on the reality has kicked in once again…the north Londoners are a chronically unambitious club who have stood by and done little to improve their squad, arguably going backwards while their rivals have moved forwards yet again.
SEE MORE: Greatest football team of all time! Check out the best XI of the 21st Century