The transfer window closes at 11pm tonight BST, and Arsenal have finally sprung into action. Arsene Wenger had said all summer long that he would spend the money available to him if players were available to improve Arsenal's squad. He had said he was looking for players of "super quality", but it seems he has finally decided Arsenal simply needed players of ability and experience.
When Gael Clichy was sold to Manchester City he said that no replacement would be bought, as Kieran Gibbs and Armand Traore would both be capable of playing there. However, Gibbs is yet again on the treatment table and Traore was sold to Queens Park Rangers yesterday. Arsenal appear to have a deal set up to sign Andre Santos from Fenerbache in Turkey to play at left back.
He's a 28 year old Brazilian left back who has played 22 times for his country, and he looks like he could be a very valuable addition to the squad. He has a few career goals to his name, and he looks likely to offer more going forward than Clichy ever did. Hopefully he can add some of the defensive stability Arsenal were so badly lacking against Manchester United last Sunday.
He's not the only defensive addition Arsenal will be making, as up to two central defenders look likely to be on their way too. In a very busy day for the club yesterday Per Mertesacker apparently arrived at the club for a medical and will be revealed as an Arsenal player today. Mertesacker has been a long time target for Arsenal and he also looks like he could be a very good buy.
He's the club captain at Werder Bremen and he has played 75 times for Germany as a central defender. His 6'6" tall, and his height and experience could be of real benefit to the Arsenal defence. It will make a pleasant change for an Arsenal defender to be towering over his opponents at set pieces.
There's still a possibility of either Gary Cahill or Christopher Samba arriving before the day is out, and the future looks bleak for Sebastien Squillaci at Arsenal. The arrival of Mertesacker will make him fifth choice at best, and if another central defender arrives there will probably be no place in the Arsenal squad for him. It remains to be seen if Arsenal will attempt to offload him before the day is out.
The only player Arsenal have actually confirmed the signature of is Park Chu Young from Monaco. He's a 26 year old striker who is the current captain of South Korea and he has been signed on a two and a half year contract apparently. He arrived for a very reasonable price, but that could be because he has his Korean military service to do when his contract is up.
His arrival could mean the long protracted sale of Nicklas Bendtner will eventually go through today, but there's no indication of where he might go yet. It looks like Stoke City could be a possible destination for him, but they're a long way from the top European clubs he claimed were interested in him. At least he will get to play in the Europa League if he signs for them.
There are plenty of other rumours of potential arrivals at Arsenal, as the need for a creative midfielder must surely be foremost in Wenger's mind. Both Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund and Marvin Martin of Sochaux were heavily linked to the club yesterday. Eden Hazard has been a target for Arsenal for quite a while now, and the rumours also persist of his imminent arrival. It's anybody's guess which of those players might arrive, but hopefully one of them will.
It should be a fascinating day for Arsenal fans, as they are glued to their TVs or computers waiting for the latest news. The 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford last Sunday may or may not have been the catalyst for Wenger's splurge, but I would hope he knew how much his squad needed strengthening before that game. Surely it took more than one game for him to realise how threadbare his squad was, and all of this transfer action was lined up anyway.
The biggest disappointment of the summer for me was the loss of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, but almost equally disappointing was Arsenal's inability to get their transfer deals completed much earlier. There three Premier League games in August were sacrificed due to the transfer inactivity, and hopefully it wouldn't have too serious an effect on their final league position.
Arsenal have just announced the signature of Andre Santos on a long term contract from Fenerbache. Hopefully there will be more to follow.
UPDATE NO 2:
Arsenal have confirmed the signature of Mertesacker.
That's it for today.
Here's a little look at what Arsenal's new striker can do.
See You Tomorrow.