Following his side’s grinding 2-1 victory against a tough and resilient Crystal Palace, which marked the first home victory this season, Arsene Wenger has admitted, speaking to Arsenal.com, that he could still bring in more players before the summer transfer window shuts at the end of the month. The Arsenal manager, who has brought in Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers, this summer, though delighted with his summer transfer business so far, has been reportedly quoted as saying that 15th till the end of August would be another set of busy days for his club in the transfer market. Now, he re-affirms that when asked whether he planned any further moves, by saying: ‘‘Will I still do something? I don’t rule it out. Our finances are still healthy but we want to go through in the Champions’ League group stages to do that‘’.
With the arrival of the new players this summer, came some departures too. Thomas Vermaelen’s departure to Barcelona highlights the exits from Arsenal this summer. Also Johan Djourou, who was on loan to Hamburg, has made his move permanent to the German Bundesliga side. Carl Jenkinson, though still an Arsenal player, is currently on loan to Sam Alladyce’s West Ham United. These departed players are all defenders, hence the concern for the Arsenal supporter, who foresees a problem. Arsenal only has 6 senior team defenders in the squad and injuries are about to set-in, as Kieran Gibbs was substituted in the match against Crystal Palace with a knock. Referring to these departures, concerns and their effects on the team, the manager said: ‘‘Number-wise we are maybe a little short in some areas of the game but the depth of the squad is very good’’.
The manager has identified most concerns of the fans and most importantly made the speculation that he may sign more players good. Now questions expected to arise, would be: When would he sign these players and in what positions is he looking to fill with them? From his statement, one would deduce that he intends to take the UEFA Champions League very seriously this term and he identifies the fact that numerical strength of a team matters especially in Europe, where an average top elite club competes for about 5 different titles with the same squad. Therefore, Wenger would be so much expected to make these signings in order of the teams’ priorities and right early before the window shuts for many competitors wanting the kind of quality the media has shown Wenger to desire, are abound all over Europe.
Recently, Arsenal’s links to top players like Edison Cavani and Marco Reus have flooded the media space. Wenger was said to have made an audacious £51m move for Cavani and also a move for Marco Reus, in the pipeline. If these reports are anything to go by, then the delay in signing them may be due to assurances of European football. These are Champions League top performance and deals to bring them to the Emirates may be dependent on whether Arsenal qualifies for the group stages of the UEFA elite competition. This would make a very interesting calculation as the thought of having Cavani and/or Reus is enough confidence to last through a long time for the fans.
However, on the attack line, Wenger said: ‘‘Upfront, we have plenty of candidates. Joel Campbell has joined us again, plus the new signings, while Walcott is coming back at the end of the month. So, if you look at the number of players we have upfront, we have unbelievable strength’’. With this kind of statement, all hope and fantasies of having Cavani and Reus would dampen like pouring water on a smouldering ember!