I am usually Mr Positive. My Happy-Go-Lucky. Over the last 9 years, I have stood by Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal transfer policy knowing that things will get better. That as new commercial deals were signed, we would have untold rich’s, that the new stadium, once the re-payment’s were under control, would ensure that we could compete with the Real Madrid’s, Barcelona’s and Bayern Munich’s. But I sit here, a little down, a little depressed, wondering if Arsene Wenger has misspent £66 million.
Before you all jump up and see ‘typical She Wore, always moaning’ check the writer of this piece, it is not GC (who does love a moan). Look at other blogs, you will see I am usually positive!
But back to the £66 million that we have spent. It is a big chunk of change, and has got many people very excited:
Alexis Sanchez – £35 million
Calum Chambers – £16 million (Rising too)
Mathieu Debuchy – £12 million
David Ospina – £3 million
On paper it looks like a very productive summer. But in reality, what have we actually done?
Lukasz Fabianski OUT – Free
David Ospina IN – £3 million
David Ospina had a brilliant World Cup, but Lukasz Fabianski had a brilliant cup run. The change in goal keepers has made us no stronger. It is simply a case of one out, one in. Some might argue that Ospina is marginally better than Fabianski, but this opinion would be based on a handful of World Cup games.
In the last 3 years, Fabianski has played 5 league games. Whilst it is important to have a decent keeper in case the worst happens to Szczezny, the fact is, the £3 million spent will not improve our first 11 next season. It is a nothing transfer
Replacing Bacary Sagna
Bacary Sagna OUT – Free
Calum Chambers IN – £16 million (Rising too)
Mathieu Debuchy IN – £12 million
So we lost Bacary Sagna. Whilst I was not too upset to see him go, as his wage demands were unreasonably high for a player in his 30’s, it has required us to buy 2 players to replace him, costing £28 million.
Bacary Sagna – 1st choice right back / 4th choice centre back
Carl Jenkinson – 2nd choice right back
Mathieu Debuchy – 1st choice right back
Calum Chambers – 2nd choice right back / 4th choice centre back
Again, on paper it looks like we have made big steps forward. We have signed Mathieu Debuchy, who kept Sagna out of the French side at the World Cup, and is 2 years younger. We have also signed young Calum Chambers. Is he a better right back than Carl Jenkinson? Yes. But £16 million on a second choice right back is a lot of money. Debuchy has averaged 31 league games a season over the last 6 years. So we have basically spent £16 million for a player to play 7 league games a season at right back.
Yes, he also covers centre back, but how many games did Bacary Sagna actually play at centre back last season? The answer is 3 in all competitions. So what have we done? We have spent £12 million on a 1st choice right back, and another £16 million on a bloke who will probably play 10 games next season.
Yes, Chambers has potentially, and could well push Debuchy hard for a 1st team place, but that £16 million, could it not have been better off spent elsewhere.
£28 million in total to swap Sagna / Jenkinson for Debuchy / Chambers seems a lot.
The only truly brilliant player we have signed. The only man who has not come in as a replacement for other players. The only man who improves our 1st XI dramatically from last year. A World Class signing. I have no complaints.
For all intents and purposes, we have spent £31 million on a reserve goalie and a replacement for Sagna. The signings of Ospina, Debuchy and Chambers do not improve our first XI from last season. They do not move us forward. And we are only marginally better in terms of squad depth at the back.
My worry is we have papered over the cracks a bit. People are looking at the £66 million spent and getting excited. What they fail to recognise is that only one of the 4 players makes us stronger than last season. The rest are merely replacements for players who have left.
The biggest issue is last season we were short two players. A striker and a defensive midfielder. At this moment in time, a couple of days short of August, we still have not signed a striker and a defensive midfielder.
There is talk of Alexis Sanchez playing upfront and Jack Wilshere playing defensive midfield. These are not acceptable solutions.
Yes, spending £66 million is exciting. We have 4 new faces. But let’s look beyond this and realise it has perhaps been £66 million misspent. We are still a striker and defensive midfielder short. The squad has not massively moved forward. I feel like we have been blinded by the lights, spun a good yarn. If we fail to get in the striker and defensive midfielder, it would mean we are only better in one position than we were last season.
We are making steps in the right direction, yet are still short. It is too early to be excited.