Gunners’ improved finances allowing Wenger to shine.
With Arsenal looking set to confirm the signing of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona shortly, Gunners fans can once again celebrate a real triumph in the transfer market to follow on from last summer’s capture of Mesut Ozil.
After years of frustration in this particular department, with numerous player sales and bargain basement-style shopping for youngsters or other clubs’ rejects, the club’s recent arrivals show a real change of direction as the benefits of moving to the Emirates Stadium slowly start to pay off.
Crippling debt from building a new home ground stunted Arsene Wenger in the transfer market, leaving him to bring in players that even he surely knew deep down were not really good enough for a club of Arsenal’s size. And yet, now, we can see quite how well he did with the resources he had, even if there are still points to nitpick at and things that could have been handled slightly differently.
Even with a new-found pot of cash, Wenger remains an astute player in the transfer market. The man that shone in almost a different era of football and, as such, different levels of money involved, is finally able to catch up with the market that has seen its prices inflated by the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Once upon a time Wenger may have wowed us with finds such as Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires for a combined price of less than £20m, but the modern equivalent of Sanchez for under £30m or Santi Cazorla for £12m deserve just as much recognition. Even if Arsenal are able to be more competitive in the market again, they are staying sensible and still able to find a bargain.
Even Mesut Ozil at £42.5m could go on to be something of a steal for the north London giants. The German playmaker certainly hasn’t hit his best form so far in his time in the Premier League, but the 25-year-old has a proven track record as one of the best creative players in the world, and the arrival of Sanchez should bring that out in him, as well as the benefits of an extra year in this country. When you consider that Tottenham Hotspur spent £30m on Erik Lamela, or Liverpool spent £25m on Adam Lallana to follow on from recent expensive mistakes such as the £35m Andy Carroll, then it’s clear Wenger hasn’t lost his touch.
The Frenchman deserves immense credit for sticking around through all the criticism – at times scathing and relentless – to see out his ambition for the club, and he is now enjoying the fruits of his labour with the ability to bring in Sanchez to play alongside Ozil and Cazorla. Quite an upgrade on a midfield of Eboue, Denilson and Diaby, I’m sure even he’d agree.
The acquisition of Sanchez also gives the Gunners a number of new dimensions to their attack. Given he is capable of playing on both flanks, in the number ten role, or up front, Wenger will now be able to select the Chilean, Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott in the striker role.
As for Arsenal fans, they can now enjoy the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes as well, as their club return to their competitive best without resorting to ill thought-out spending sprees.
SEE ALSO: The 50 best players of 2013/14!