For Arsenal, this summer is turning into a case of deja vu.
An early positive signing, followed by stalling on other targets caused by a lack of conviction or certainty. Meanwhile top players want to leave, or seemingly want to leave, and it all becomes a big spiral of negativity.
Whilst I am one of the first to shout “spend some f**king money” and become as frustrated as any other Arsenal fan with our incompetence in the transfer market over the last decade or so, I am also a realist.
I want the money spent, but it must be spent on quality. Players who improve the first team. Players who are better than what we have.
Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette certainly full into this category. As does Thomas Lemar of Monaco. But there have been some big money players we have been linked with that are just not worth our time. The likes of Alvaro Morata would not have been an improvement on Olivier Giroud. I would not touch Kylian Mbappe at the reported £120m. And for the tenth year in a row, we have been linked with William Carvalho.
I always feel that when it comes to the transfer market, some fans are more concerned with what we spend, rather than who we buy. And some clubs also follow this philosophy.
This summer, Manchester City are set to break the £200m mark in players signed.
Of that £200m+, over £130m is set to be spent on full backs. I look at who they have signed , and it just feels like a case of spending a lot of money, and not getting a single decent player for it.
Firstly in was Bernardo Silva for £42.5m. A good player, but seems like a lot of money who was not even the best attacking midfielder in his team.
Whilst Bernardo Silva might be a decent player, I look at Manchester City’s options out in the 3 positions in behind a lone striker.
They already have Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Samir Nasri. Bernardo Silva is better than Nasri, but is he any better than the other 4? Probably not. The fact that he is their best signing, and best value signing, is worrying for what is to come.
We then come to their full backs. £133m on full backs. A crazy amount.
In has come in Kyle Walker. Do their scouts just play FIFA? Beast on there, inconsistent in real life. Can’t cross, can’t tackle, positionally awful. Let’s spend £50m on him.
It is like they did not learn their lesson from John Stones last season.
Then to back him up, they are have splashed £26m on Real Madrid flop Danilo. £76m on two right backs, who are not as good as Hector Bellerin. At 3 at the back, I would rather Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of them too.
When you think they had Pablo Zabeletta and Bacary Sagna last season, they have gone from two right backs who can defend, to two right backs who can not defend.
I do not see anyone at Tottenham or Madrid upset that they have lost their respective right backs. And that sums it all up.
At left back, they are set to sign Mendy for £52m. Another incredible fee.
Mendy is a decent player, but again, last season Manchester City had the choice between Gael Clichy and Alex Kolarov. Mendy feels like a step back. No where near as good as Clichy at his peak. It certainly stinks of desperation.
Meanwhile Arsenal signed the best left back in the Bundesliga in Sead Kolasinac. At £52m less than Mendy, and as a superior player, it is clear which side have got the better deal.
We then come to goal keeper Ederson. 12 months ago, no one knew who he was. A Brazilian goal keeper (who is uncapped by Brazil), who had only just been promoted from the Benfica B side.
12 months and with less than 40 league appearances in his gloves for Benfica, City splash £34m on him. Baffling when they spent big on Claudio Bravo last year, and are happy to loan out Joe Hart to West Ham.
Lastly we come to the £10m youth signing.
A bloke called Douglas Luiz from Vasco da Gama. A 19 year old midfielder. It shows how silly the transfer market is at the moment that some no mark who has barely played costs £10m. Has he even got a work permit?
It certainly feels this summer that Manchester City are spending a lot of money on some very average players. But of course, no one will comment, because they will look at the £200m spent, not what it has been spent on.
It is like spending £1m on a flat in Central London ,and ending up with a garage. You boast to your mates it’s worth £1m, but essential it is a load of crap.
Another side set to break through the £200m mark are newly rich AC Milan. And like Manchester City, I am baffled how they have managed to breach that figure with what they have signed.
Leonardo Bonucci is a world class defender, and Ricardo Rodriguez is a player I was desperate for Arsenal to sign last year. £50m on the pair of them combined is good dealings. But the rest of their signings are a little meh.
Fabio Borini, Mateo Musacchio, Andre Silva, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Przemysław Bargiel, Andrea Conti, Antonio Donnarumma, Lucas Biglia and Franck Kessié have all come in for around £130m between them.
£145m for a bunch of players who, at best, are squad players, second string. None would be good enough to start for Arsenal, let alone Juventus.
When you see media outlets describe Fabio Borini as “the naturally gifted Italian” you have to laugh, This bloke scored 7 goals in his last two years.
£400m spent between Manchester City and AC Milan. And if you combined the 16 players they have signed, you would struggle to build a squad that would finish mid-table.
I want Arsenal to spend, and spend big, but it must be big on the right players. Not chucking £133m at 3 full backs, or £145m at a bunch of squad players.
Note: Before some say maybe if Arsenal spent like City, they would win things, in the last 3 years, Arsenal have won 2 FA Cups against Man City’s 1 League Cup, and gained just 2 less league points over that period. Of course, Arsenal do not win a trophy for gaining 2 less points than City over a 3 year period, but likewise City won nothing for it either.