July 26, 2015

Arsenal's Summer So Far

By Michael Clements

As our pre season comes to a close and the real stuff is just days away, we look back at the last couple of months of Arsenal (in)activity and progress. 

Two summers ago we were checking havearsenalspentanymoneyyet.com on a daily basis as fans grew ever frustrated with the lack of players brought in to improve the squad. It took until the last hour of the transfer window to land Ozil, which appeared to appease the fanbase. 
Last summer Wenger and his army of scouts were quick off the mark, signing Alexis Sanchez, Chambers, Debuchy and Ospina.
Arsenal’s activity and success in this summers’ transfer window lies somewhere in-between the two. It’s hard to deny that the signing of Petr Cech was a good, if not great capture. A clear improvement on what we already have in between the sticks, albeit a rapidly aging one.
While this summer doesn’t have the sort of desperate ‘sign anyone, now!’ feel to it, there’s still the question of whether just one addition to this squad, no matter how solid it was, is going to be the signing that pushes us over that mountain to Premier League success. For now at least, let’s place our trust in Wenger (oh shit…) and remind ourselves that there’s a solid month left to improve upon what we already have.

Speaking of what we already have - am I the only one who’s noticed a considerable improvement with team cohesion this off season? Granted, pre-season football is to actual football what a quick pull n’ tug is to a good shag - it’s just practice really, isn’t it? But we have pre-season for a reason, and I’d say so far our practice for the upcoming season has gone pretty bloody well. 
It almost makes me feel like we’ve got a complete squad, and the need for additions is unnecessary. Almost. 
The only arguments we can make to be seriously challenging for the League title this season is that our players continue to grow together and minimal change has occurred which is good for continuity sake. We can also look at some of the young players we’ve signed in recent years and argue that they are no longer ‘prospects’ but are becoming potential key players; The Ox, Coquelin, Bellarin, Wilshere, Ramsey.

I remember, as the 2014/15 season came to a close, hearing the big-mouthed shit-sack, Mourinho say something along the lines that Chelsea didn’t need to and weren’t going to make any additions to the team over the summer. I don’t listen to much he says, but they’ve signed some pretty special players already this summer, as have United. While Chelsea have added a few that should integrate into their current squad well and will always be title challengers, United have almost done a complete overhaul of their team, which could mean it’s going to take a minute for them to find their way together. However, you can also argue that last years’ Manchester United team was a squad of players than Van Gaaaaaal inherited, while he has now created a team he wants. It’s scary.
Let’s also not forget Liverpool’s massive, game-changing signing of the summer…. James Milner. 

As football evolves in 2015, even a team like Arsenal, who tend to er on the side of caution with signings and have a manger who feels continuity is a key to success, it’s the fans who keep the clubs afloat and are the clubs key investors. From a business standpoint you have to pay close attention to what your investors want and all fans, from Scunthorpe to Arsenal, want signings. 
I’m positive Arsenal will sign a ‘big name’ player this season, not only to please the fans and sell tickets, but you’ve also got to look at the power the sponsors now hold.
Puma have signed such a massive contract with Arsenal, it’s hard not to believe that they don’t have some sort of push or encouragement when it comes to how that sponsorship money is spent. I’m not saying Wenger listens to them in the slightest when evaluating his squad, but when a company injects such massive amounts of money into the club there has to be some rock solid signs that the club is investing that money wisely in an attempt to get to the highest level and win the top trophies. 
Puma aren’t going to throw £30million a year at a club unless there are moves towards success. They’re looking for a motivated club with a happy fanbase. 

This summer is not even close to being over, and as coy as Wenger can be I think we’re safe to assume they’ll be more movement in (and out) of the club. 

Signs so far are very encouraging.

Up The Arsenal!