Arsenal the Headline Act on Deadline Day

Another transfer window has come and passed and though they left it very late indeed Arsenal have finally made strides towards replacing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Last weekend’s 8-2 humiliation against Manchester United left manager Arsene Wenger with little to no choice, but he has acted boldly on deadline day in order to secure five major signings which should go some way towards appeasing their fans.

The first confirmed signing was that of South Korea captain Park Chu-Yong. Though many will not know much about this acquisition he is captain of his country and having impressed up-front for Monaco he was subject to much interest in the transfer market and not just from Arsenal. French champions Lille were also in for Arsenal’s new man and Wenger will be pleased to have strengthened his attacking ranks.

The next addition to Arsenal’s squad was Fenerbahce’s Andre Santos. The Brazilian international left-back seems to be a promising addition to Wenger’s ranks having played over twenty times for his country. At Fenerbahce he has experienced Champions League football and has proved his ability to demonstrate attacking prowess from defence, scoring at a rate of a goal every five games. Santos looks set to provide able support and competition for promising young English prospect Kieran Gibbs.

Mertesacker should provide great experience an leadership

Third in on deadline day was the immensely experienced Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen. The German centre-back has impressed at the very highest level in over seventy international caps and I believe he is a great coup for Arsenal. Not only has he made significant strides in international football, but he also has superb domestic experience having played Champions League football for Bremen and having captained the club. Arsenal’s young and rather frail squad are in dire need of leaders and Mertesacker should be able to settle in very quickly given his background and will provide great support to new Captain Robin Van Persie in the leadership stakes.

Arsenal’s fourth and fifth major signings really did push the transfer deadline to it’s full limit, but both were immensely important deals for the club. First they signed the experienced Israeli attacking midfielder Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea on loan, which I think is a very astute signing. Having become rather surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge Benayoun who has consistently delivered at Premier League level is a tidy addition to Wenger’s squad and he provides a wealth of international and Champions League experience.

Arteta stole the headlines at the Emirates

The second of Arsenal’s last minute deals is perhaps their most significant signing of the summer. To have signed Mikel Arteta from Everton is a real show of intent from Wenger and it is the sort of deal which will excite Arsenal fans. Arteta has demonstrated real class in his time at Everton, his fine range of passing and eye for goal should set the Emirates alight and at 10 million he is near guaranteed to be value for money. Many sceptics will say that he is not up to the standard of the departed Fabregas and Nasri, but the painful truth is that not many attacking midfielders are. The loss of these two players will continue to leave a gaping hole in terms of world class talent at the Emirates, but Arteta and Benayoun are both very good players and could well go on to be top players for the club.

Other news coming out of Arsenal included the departure of Nicklas Bendtner on loan to Sunderland for the season and Henri Lansbury’s loan move to West Ham. It was a day of immense importance for Arsenal and the status of their under fire manager and they did at least go some way towards repairing their turmoil-stricken squad. It seems outrageous that they would leave it this late to move for major reinforcements given the inevitability of Fabregas and Nasri’s departures, but the general consensus coming of the club’s followers seems to be something along the lines of better late than never. Only time will tell just how important today’s signings will be for Arsenal but on paper it seems that they have bought in a calibre of player that should see them rising up the table and at least competing for European places.

Other big players on deadline day included Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham. Though they only managed to land the brilliant Scott Parker on the final day of the window, they did manage to sell big in order to reduce their wage bill. Departures from White Hart Lane were Peter Crouch, Wilson Palacios, David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton, all of whom fetched reasonable fees which should boost Tottenham’s chances of landing significant new signings come January.

Against all the odds Gary Cahill remained a Bolton Wanderers player

Probably the biggest news of the day for Tottenham on deadline day came in the form on two failed deals. On one hand they managed to cling on desperately to their star player Luka Modric, but on the other they missed out on bringing in the outstanding Gary Cahill from Bolton. It was only on the day that Spurs emerged as huge favourites to land Cahill but up until the evening it seemed as though it was a goer. Sadly though for Harry Redknapp Bolton managed to keep a hold of their star player due to differing valuations of the England international.

Another London club QPR were also very active prior to the closing of the summer transfer window. Shaun Wright-Philips became their first major signing of the day and he was followed through the door by Anton

Warnock will be pleased with his late deals

Ferdinand of Sunderland. These two signings coupled with the recent capture of Joey Barton demonstrates their new owners ambition to keep QPR in the Premier League upon their return to the top flight.

Other top deals on deadline day included Raul Meireles to Chelsea, Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios to Stoke, Joe Cole to Lille on loan, Owen Hargreaves to Manchester City, Scott Dann and Cameron Jerome’s Birmingham exits to Blackburn and Stoke and Craig Bellamy’s sensational return to Liverpool.

In conclusion then, it was another high-drama day of transfer dealings on the 31st of August but perhaps it was lacking the glamour signings provided by the imminent closure of previous transfer windows. Headline act Arsenal have indeed landed some important deals, but their fans will be left feeling strangely deflated. Though they managed to make significant moves in the last twenty four hours it is hard to see how their additions can inspire them to challenge for Champions League qualification. Wenger must for once accept that this is a year of transition and development, his big names have gone and for now they must be forgotten.

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5 comments on “Arsenal the Headline Act on Deadline Day

  1. Slightly disappointed by the lack of activity around Carrington today…I thought that the Sneijder signing was potentially on after much posturing between Ferguson, Inter and the player (see Berbatov, Dimitar 2008). Despite the roaring start to the season, I still feel a couple of bodies are needed in the United midfield to truly enable breathing room between themselves and the rest of the pack (not to metion the Catalans and Madridistas in España) Lassana Diarra from Real Madrid would have been a coup in my opinion and was markedly available, having been linked to Tottenham and today having a loan move to Milan fall through. Other more glamourous targets such as Danielle De Rossi and Bastian Schweinsteiger would have fit said roll, however they were ostensibly unavailable. Perhaps a fit Owen Hargreaves this season playing for free would have been a useful stop-gap until, say, Rennes are ready to offload Yann M’Villa, perhaps as soon as next season? Undoubtably, United’s weakness is creativity from midfield ( I still feel this is the case despite the start we have had) Tom Cleverley seems a fine player, however despite his strides this season, he lacks the creative verve and fluidity of a Thiago Alcantra, Mario Gotze or Eden Hazard (all younger players). It’s easy to simply class Cleverley as one of Ferguson’s new ‘fledglings’, however he is only a year younger than Darron Fletcher and Jonny Evans, two players who have featured at intervals for at least two years in the United First Team. A creative midfielder was a must and I feel United missed a trick, Sneijder is a good player, perhaps one of the best around at the moment, but even if Sneijder’s wage demands gave the Club nightmares, the £30 million or so United were willing to throw at Inter should have been thrown at Borussia Dortmund, for a Gotze, Fiorentina, for a Jovetic…I see that Roma spent less than a third of that price on Miralem Pjanic from Lyon who has Champions League experience and is considered a great young talent. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that United have bought very well this summer and the three they have brought in will prove to be a very astute piece of business. I can only hope that when the dog days of February and March are upon us and the pressure is on the midfield holds together as brilliantly as they have done at the dawn of the new campaign.

  2. BTW you heard it here first… Gary Cahill will join United on a free next summer…a combination of playing for a winner and geographic proximity to his home will prove too much to turn down.

    • I agree that United could do with a creative spark in the midfield. Either that or another holding midfielder like Schweinsteiger who would allow the likes of Cleverley and Anderson to push forward a bit more and become the primary creators. I think that we should go back in for Sneijder in January or next summer as he is the perfect fit and has the class it might take to bridge some of the gap that exists between us and Barca.

      I think United have a great squad and it is fantastic that they have managed to do what Wenger has been trying at Arsenal for years so seamlessly and so quickly. I think that the current squad is easily good enough to win the league this year but I’m not convinced that it has what it takes to catch Barca. Hopefully a world class addition in January or next summer could do that for us.

      p.s: Cahill to United next summer on a free would be an outstanding signing. If we had Smalling, Jones and Cahill then we would probably have three of England’s first choice back four for the next five years post Terry and Rio.

  3. I agree with you, though I think it’s highly unlikely that Sneijder will be joining in the future (spurning Fergie tends to have dire consequences) A creative player is needed in midfield and I feel maybe the retirement of Giggs and the decline of Carrick will prompt Ferguson to spend big in this area at some point…my guess next summer when players like Gotze, Hazard, Marvin Martin etc are a year older and more inclined to move on a bigger club (my personal favourite is Gotze) I think the squad is poised to make a strong run at the league and beyond the group stages of the Champions League, but your right that Barca and perhaps Real will be a dangerous proposition in the later stages. Perhaps it will inevitably take a change of manager for us to see wholesale changes in the United squad composition, a new philosophy and a large outlay of spending (think Mourinho and a £100 million + warchest at his disposal) Sir Alex is 70 this year and is employed on rolling one year deals; it’s an age where the rigours of managing at the top really take their toll and I predict that Ferguson has maximum 3 years left at the helm (I hope I am proven wrong) Any Thoughts?

    • I really hope something can be done for Sneijder because I think he is probably the best in his position in the world. If not though then there are two Germans at the top of my pecking order for filling that gap. One is as you have said Goetze, I think he is an outstanding talent and I would love the opportunity to see more of him. The other ideal would Oezil but I can’t see why he’d ever want to leave Madrid given how well he has fitted into the Real side and how well he has been received by the Madridistas.

      It has been hard to see Fergie going on for years now but he just seems to do it. I think he could still have another three/four years in him health permitting… I hope he does so that he can nurture the youth as he does so well and then hand the reigns over to another world class manager such as Mourinho or Guardiola. I think both of these men would be interested in taking on the challenge of emulating Fergie and if they are backed financially then they could potentially bring a few of their gems from la liga with them. As much as I don’t ever really want to see the end of Ferguson I am very excited by the prospect of one of these guys taking over. I am sure that a huge name would be tempted by the role if it were to become available.

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