“In the end, the solutions were not what we wanted…I am confident that we have enough quality and cover” Arsene Wenger, September 2015.
Over the season, this has been paraphrased by many as “nobody better available”.
Nobody better available is pulled out by both sides of the fence, whenever someone who we did not sign has a good game, or whenever someone who we were linked with has a poor game. But the simple fact is, if there was no one better available, we would be top of the league. The fact that we are not, shows that there clearly was better players available
Now I will admit, some of them are hindsight, and if football was re-run using hindsight, it would be a lot easier. However, it is the job of the scouting network, and Wenger himself, to predict the future.
The fact that we missed out on many who, in hindsight, would have been great signings, from Wenger’s favoured market in France, shows that perhaps he has just lost his ability to pick a player.
It was not hard to predict that Toby Alderweireld would be one of the top performing centre backs in the league this season. Afterall, he was one of the best last season. At just £11.5m, he was a steal. He combines power, pace and is an excellent reader of the game. He would have been the perfect foil to play alongside Laurent Koscielny.
One of the most talented young defenders in Europe. If John Stones was ‘worth’ £40m this summer, Romagnoli joining AC Milan for half that cost in the summer (aged just 20) has turned out to be a brilliant investment.
Yes, spending that money on a centre back is a risk, maybe one which is too big a risk, but it has shown to be a risk worth taking. He is certainly up there alongside Stones, Laporte & Varane as the best young centre backs in world football.
A long term Arsenal target. This summer he joined Inter Milan for £24m. He has had a tough time in Italy, often taken off before 70 minutes for Inter Milan. Put he is one of the leading central midfielders in Serie A when it comes to tackling. Just the type of tough tackling central midfielder we have missed.
Another one we have been linked with for a while. He went to Juventus, and his injury problems did not return. Would have given us experience in the middle of the park.
At the last minute, we decided to not complete the deal for the former Southampton midfielder. Manchester United might have struggled this season, and at times he has not performed to his level at Southampton, but his ability to get the play started from deep has been missed by Arsenal this season.
Remember him? By now he should be the premier defensive midfielder in world football. But he allowed himself to be influenced by people who did not have his best interests at heart.
Diarra joined Marseille on a free in the summer and has since played for France for the first time in 3 years.
Hindsight, yes, but there was a time when Wenger and his scouting network would have had the hindsight to spot the talent N’golo Kante has, in the same way they spotted it in Laurent Koscielny. No longer can the claim be true that if there is a decent talent in France, Wenger buys them.
A player we were suddenly linked with from no where over the summer, who ended up joining Bayern Munich. A £30m signing. He is a class act, and makes a mockery of there being ‘no one better available’. He would have become one of the best players in our side.
A lot of teams will be wondering how they let Dele Alli get away. Everyone knew about him. Last season he was League 1 Young Player of the Year and put in an all action performance against Manchester United in the League Cup.
Whilst no one could have predicted his rapid rise, he surely has a seat on the plane to France, there was a time when a talented young player would be what Wenger would go for. It is the type of signing that Wenger made his name on. Spurs took the plunge, and his goals have been key to their title challenge this year.
The Premier League signing of the season. And one who shows that Wenger is now out of touch. His statistics over the last 2 seasons were up amongst the best in Europe. Him and Mesut Ozil in partnership with Alexis Sanchez the other side would have been a threat. Instead, Wenger decided that there was nobody better available.
How many long term Arsenal targets joined other sides this summer? Lots. That’s how many. How can Arsenal get so close to a big money signing, only to decide a couple of years ago that what we have is better, despite not signing anyone in his position. Draxler or Walcott. Discuss…
Stephan El Shaarawy
We missed out on El Shaarawy not once but twice this year. Firstly when he joined Monaco on loan, where he struggle, then when he joined Roma on loan, where he has scored 4 in 6. One of these who’s talent has never been in question, but just needed harnessing. 15 years ago Wenger would of signed him, and got the best out of him (ala Thierry Henry). Does he just not fancy it anymore?
13 goals in 26 games following his £25m move to Juventus. He certainly would have provided an alternative set of skills to Olivier Giroud, something which has been missed with Danny Welbeck injured. Certainly someone who could have added to the team.
Joined Swansea on a free, a bit like Dybala, he would have offered us something different to what Giroud does. He has 8 goals in 23 games for Swansea. Theo Walcott has 6 in 30. Not better?
Nobody better available? You’re having a laugh. Live by the sword, die by the sword.