The transfer window has finally shut and it won't be open again until January. The last couple of days of the window were hectic ones for Arsenal fans, as rumours of possible deals spread like wildfire across the media and especially on twitter. When all was done and dusted Arsenal signed five players in those final days of the window, and all of them are experienced players.
There had been criticism of Arsene Wenger for a long time because of his apparent unwillingness to bring experienced players into his squad. He was adamant that his squad was big enough and strong enough to cope, but that theory went out the window in the last few days. Whether it had anything to do with the 8-2 drubbing by Manchester United last Sunday or not is anybody's guess.
The mental strength of Arsenal's reserves was called into question after that game, as were the tactics deployed on the day. If the five players added since that game had been available last Sunday I'm sure it would have made a big difference to the performance on the day. I'm not criticizing the players who played on the day too much, as the lack of squad strength and experience was cruelly exposed by United.
Surely the inclusion of Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos who are both experienced internationals would have strengthened the Arsenal defence, and Mikael Arteta would have been a much better option than Tomas Rosicky in midfield. I think Yossi Benayoun might have got a chance instead of Andrey Arshavin too, and it would have given the team a much stronger feel to it. Arsenal probably saved themselves a few million by waiting until late on to make their purchases, but it has left them playing catch up in the Premier League.
The arrival of Arteta is seen as a direct replacement for Cesc Fabregas, but he's not as good a player as Cesc. Then again there are very few players in the world who can compare to Cesc as a creative midfielder. I think Arteta will be a success at Arsenal, but for that to happen he needs other players to take their share of the creative responsibility.
As good as Cesc was, there was probably too much expectation on him when he played and others were prepared to let him do all the creative work in the team. Now that Cesc is gone there are opportunities for Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Gervinho to show what they have to offer to the team. Arsenal have been criticised for overelaborating at times, but often it was because nobody would take responsibility for the cutting pass or final shot.
The inclusion of five players in the dying days of the transfer window who are all more or less at the peak of their careers cannot be a coincidence. The strength and determination needed to push Arsenal over the finishing line has been obviously missing for a few years now, but those new arrivals offer it in abundance in my opinion. I'm not saying Arsenal will conquer all in front of them, but I think they are a lot less likely to be found wanting in the face of adversity.
Even with all of the players Arsenal bought they still made a healthy profit on their dealings in the summer, and they had a large budget to start with too. It means that there will be plenty of money there to add to the team in January if it's necessary, or to go on another spending spree next summer. The Arsenal fans were hoping for a marquee signing before the window closed, but in truth what they actually got was a number of very good signings.
It does appear that Arsenal attempted to make that marquee signing and smash their transfer record, but none of their targets felt it was the right time to join them. It's rumoured that both Mario Gotze and Eden Hazard were the targets and over €30 million was offered for each player. They are both still very young, but I would be delighted if Arsenal signed either of them within the next year.
When the transfer window does reopen in January and next summer I can only hope Arsenal identify their targets a lot sooner, and close the deals very early. As much as I enjoyed the thrilling close to the transfer window it was also a very worrying time, and if Arsenal had not secured the services of Arteta it might have been viewed differently by their fans.
It's only just over a week to Arsenal's next Premier League game at home to Swansea City, and I'm eagerly anticipating their lineup on the day. With Alex Song, Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson all still suspended some of the new players are bound to start. Hopefully that game will also mark Jack Wilshere's first appearance of the season, as he looks likely to have overcome his injury problems to play.
Unfortunately 17 of Arsenal's players have to come through the latest round of international matches before the Swansea game, and hopefully they will all return intact. The new look squad will then have seven games in 22 days before heading off to play international football again. It's going to be a very tough schedule for the Arsenal squad, but thankfully the squad looks a lot more capable of living up to all of those duties now.
That's it for today.
Here's a little look at how good Arteta can be at free kicks.
See You Tomorrow.