It was thought Arsenal would struggle to spend during the summer transfer window and that would seriously impact their chances of fighting their way back into the top four of the Premier League. Reports in certain tabloid newspapers told readers the Londoners had just £25m to invest, a measly amount in today’s football market, especially for English top-flight sides, but that proved to be well off the mark.
When the summer transfer window slammed shut on Thursday 8 August at 17:00 GMT records showed The Gunners were, in fact, one of the division’s biggest spenders. They splashed the cash to tempt talented Scottish left back Kieran Tierney from Glasgow Celtic for a sum of £25m and topped that up with the arrival of David Luiz from neighbours Chelsea.
Deals for Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli took the club’s spending to over £130m. Fans can no longer blame the board for holding onto their cash and not investing in the squad. Room for the new arrivals was made by departures, with players on their way out during the summer widow. It as a busy pre-season for the club but deals done in both directions will prove crucial to the club’s chances of success in the months ahead.
Gunners support want more
Despite that late flurry of activity, many fans would’ve liked to have seen two or three more and believe their club are still lacking when it comes to challenging for the title or, at least, forcing their way back into a crammed top four.
Serious improvement is needed on last season’s efforts and bookmakers don’t believe Arsenal is yet in a position to threaten the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. There are many ways to gamble on The Gunners and the Premier League outright with top betting apps ranked by www.football-betting-sites.co.uk.
Manager Unai Emery has the squad he must work with for the first half of the season, the transfer window not active again in England until the New Year. There’s no doubt he has the tools at his disposal to lead the club into a challenge for the major prizes and the players in the changing room would be the envy of most other clubs, but the Arsenal support is a demanding one, and rightly so.
They see anything less than a top four finish and Champions League qualification as a failed season and its likely Emery won’t be afforded the same respect and patience Arsene Wenger enjoyed at the Emirates for many years.
Areas of interest
A strong central defence is key to success at any level of football, but the backline is still an area that needs attention. It’s far from the strongest in the division and history will tell us all successful Arsenal sides were built off a watertight defence. Mustafi was told by Emery to find himself a new club, possibly on loan for this season, and that proves the gaffer doesn’t have the confidence in him necessary to earn a regular place in the line-up. Koscielny has already left, moving to Bordeaux, so must be replaced, although regulars at the Emirates didn’t lose any sleep over that. William Saliba will play his football at Saint Etienne until next summer, so is of no use in the short term.
The right side of defence is another cause for concern at present. The arrival of Tierney on the left means the club has a long-term option for that position but the opposite side of the park needs something similar. There is an obvious choice, but Bellerin’s bad history of injuries means he needs a strong and reliable back-up. Maitland-Niles has a lot of convincing to do is he’s to fill the gap, some fans believing him not good enough judging on recent performances.
Moving further up the park and an exciting, ambitious and skilled playmaker will prove the difference between draws and wins this season, turning one point into three with a bit of individual magic. Ramsey’s departure has left a void and the club attempted to fill that with Ceballos. He’s certainly good enough and could prove the answer but, at present, it’s little more than a short-term solution and Emery must think outside of the box if he’s to get that one right.