Arsenal's dreaded August strikes again!
The summer transfer window has always been more of a foe than friend for Arsenal Football Club. Season after season, established and important players of the squad have left the club. Some moved for money, others for trophies. Whatever the lure may be, the summer transfer window has become a dreaded time for the club and its fans.
The summer of 2011 started with Fabregas stating the desire to rejoin his childhood club, Barcelona and Samir Nasri expressing his desire to leave to win trophies elsewhere. The two sagas dragged on for the majority of the transfer window, finally culminating in August with the transfers of the two most decorated players in the Arsenal midfield.
The fans accepted the departure of then club captain Fabregas and came to terms with it, as people knew it would happen sooner or later. But the transfer of Nasri in the last week of August didn’t go down too well with the fans.
This summer has proved to be no different for Arsenal FC. They have lost their greatest asset of the 2011-12 campaign, their captain and top goal scorer of the season, Robin Van Persie, to arch rivals Manchester United. Along with Persie, Song is also on his way to Barcelona, with the official announcement left only subject to a medical.
ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Persie shocked AFC and the fans by announcing that he would not extend his contract with the club as he did not feel that the club’s ambitions matched his. This sparked a chase between the two Manchester clubs and Italian giants Juventus to land the prolific striker. With Juventus pulling out early due to their financial inability to match the transfer requirements and Manchester City unable to offload already present strikers Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Edin Dzeko, it was Manchester United who won the signature of the player, ironically exactly one year after Fabregas’ departure.
Who does he leave behind to fill his shoes?
Wenger must have had known this day was coming. Hence he decided to dive into the transfer market a bit early this time, and bought two new strikers, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. While Podolski is one of the most celebrated German footballers of recent times, Giroud is the French League’s top scorer for the previous season. Their quick integration into the team and adaptability to the league is of immense importance if Arsenal is to push for any sort of title challenge. Their appearances in the first league game against Sunderland were somewhat below expectation, with Giroud missing a simple chance on goal. But given that it was their first game, fans can only expect them to improve upon it and do so quickly. Apart from them, Arsenal have the options of Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner and Ju-Young Park. Who among of these three will stay at Emirates is a question that needs answering. Arsenal fans, however want Wenger to bring in another quality striker to compensate for the loss of RVP.
When early reports suggested that Barca had set their sights upon Song, Song himself declared that he was happy at Arsenal. But then rumors of a bust up with Wenger started doing the rounds. Song was dropped from the side for the opening game of the season further strengthening the rumors of his exit. And after the first match was over, Arsenal officially announced a deal for Song on the website.
Song was perhaps the best Arsenal player from the previous campaign after Van Persie and his departure is set to hurt the club a lot.
Who does he leave behind to fill his shoes?
With Wilshere out with injury till October, Diaby will be taking up the mantle of the holding midfielder in the team. Despite losing out on almost the entirety of last season, Diaby looked fit and sharp upon his return for certain parts of the game. He’ll need to get more game time under his belt to boost his confidence. There is possibility of Wenger signing a defensive midfielder, with Yann M’Vila and Nuri Sahin (on loan) being the names linked with a move to Arsenal. Wenger has already brought in Santiago Cazorla, who is not a defensive midfielder, but an attacking option to lend creativity to this side, which used to be Song’s role accompanied with his defensive duties last season. His first appearance for the Gunners was highly promising.
There are still 12 DAYS to go!
Arsenal fans can’t quite catch a breather until the clock strikes 12 on the night of 31st August. Theo Walcott is in the same situation as RVP, in the last year of his contract. It would be very hard to keep hold of him, if now a good offer comes by and Walcott decides to push for a transfer. Although Walcott is one of the most criticised players of the Arsenal squad for his inability to bring justice to his role, the fans surely would not like to see him leave now, especially after 2 big name departures.
The boss has already said that Bendtner is free to find himself a new club. Arshavin seems to be staying on at Arsenal for the moment, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise if he is sold before the close of transfer window.
The transfer window which just a few days ago seemed to be one of the best in recent years for Arsenal has once again turned out to be heartbreaking. One can only hope that Wenger replenishes the club with necessary acquisitions so that Arsenal are not left far behind in the race for silverware this season.