“Come and have a look at what you could have won” was a catchphrase from 1980s game show Bullseye. Host Jim Bowen would utter them words to the losing contestants as his glamorous assists would wheel out the star prize, showing them what they could have won, rubbing it in that they were a failure, and were only going to leave with their “bus far home”.
As the media listed who other teams had bought in the summer transfer window, whether it was listed in papers, or on the side bar on Sky Sports News, I understood how those contestants felt upon failing to hit 101. It was as if Sky Sports News was showing Arsenal fans what they could have won.
Even during our bad old days of selling our stars, and not replacing them, there was always only a handful of other players who joined a Premier League club that I would have though “he could do a job at ours.” Going through the list of players this year has left a bitter taste in many, including my own, mouths. The list of players that we could have signed is long and deep.
Philipe Senderos – OK, maybe not the best person to start with, but Aston Villa are the first club on the list, and Senderos the first player the signed. Available on a free from Fulham, could he not have done a job as 3rd/4th choice centre back. Senderos’ last game for Arsenal was in February 2008. Whilst he is not a World Class player, he has since played for the likes of AC Milan and Valencia, and comes with a wealth of experience (at 29, he has played in 3 World Cups). Add in he knows the club well, he surely could have been a good candidate for a back up centre back?
Diego Costa – When Chelsea signed Costa, I was sceptical. At that point, he had been a one season wonder (last season being the first that he had scored over 10 league goals). 4 goals in 3 games show what a shrew signing he is. At £35million, he may turn out to be the signing of the summer if he finishes league top scorer and with a Premier League medal. He is certainly one many will be thinking “we should have gone for him”.
Filipe Luis – If it was not for Abou Diaby & Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and his injury problems would be highlighted as a major problem. Since Gael Clichy left us in 2011, Gibbs has missed 45 games through injury. He has played just 71 out of a possible 116 games. That is not good enough. At £15.8m, Brazilian international Filipe Luis would have been an asset.
Cesc Fabregas – Ah, the debate that raged throughout the summer. Should we have signed Cesc? My (albeit biased) thoughts can be found here. I stand by the view, that in what they do, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez we have enough fire power. However, a with a failure to buy neither a top striker (sorry Danny) or a defensive midfielder, you have to wonder if letting Cesc join Chelsea was the right move. Could a central midfield of Cesc Ramsey Ozil have worked? On top of that, signing Cesc, even to rotate with Ozil and Sanchez, would have stopped Chelsea getting him.
Loic Remy – Loicy Remy: 41 Premier League games, 20 Premier League goals, £10.5m. Danny Welbeck: 118 Premier League games, 26 Premier League goals, £16m. Nuff said.
Brede Hangeland – In similar vein to Senderos, Hangeland is an experienced Premier League centre back who would have been available on a free. With very similar attributes to Per Mertesacker (tall, good reading of the game, little slow) he would have been a perfect understudy for the German, with Chambers then being the back up to Koscielny.
James McArthur – A £7m deadline day signing for Crystal Palace, the Scotsman is a terrier in the middle of the park. A player I have rated since he joined Wigan during their Premier League days, he would have provided squad depth in defensive midfield. He would have come in on low wages, so even if a better option comes available in the future, he would not have taken up too much of a cost. With Mikel Arteta out injured, he could have done a job for us.
Romelu Lukaku – The big Belgium has his faults, as highlighted at the World Cup, but he has scored 32 league goals in the last 2 seasons, and at 21, will only get better. In comparison, Olivier Giroud has 27 goals. Danny Welbeck (3 years older) has just 37 goals in his professional carrer, and Yaya Sanogo (5 months older) has never scored a Premier League goal. Anyone care to answer why Lukaku is not an Arsenal player?
Mohamed Diame – Another deadline day deal. We were linked a few January’s back. At £3.5m, and Arteta injured, he could have added some good muscle in the middle of the park. Then again, Diaby is back in training (or is he?)
Alberto Moreno – In the same vein as Filipe Luis, with Kieran Gibbs’ injury record, 22 year old Spanish International could have been a long term option. He only cost the Scouser’s £12million. We possibly could have offset a lot of that by sending Nacho Monreal back to Spain. Left back is certainly a position that we need to address in the near future. We could have done this window.
Mario Balotelli – Mad Mario. At £16m, he was worth the risk.
Fernando – Yet another defensive midfielder we missed out on. At £12m, he represents a bargain. Athletic and full of energy. Yes, Manchester City have been chasing him for a year, it it would have been a hard sell to steal him away, especially as it is likely he agreed to join them in February, when he signed his new contract with Porto. Unlikely, but we could have had him.
Later: Manchester United, Newcastle, QPR, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea, Spurs, WBA & West Ham.