Wenger Deals Arsenal Back In

Santi Cazorla
I must admit that there were times last season when I wondered about Arsene Wenger’s legitimacy as the man to lead Arsenal back to glory in the modern footballing world.  With free-spending clubs like Manchester CityChelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain driving transfer-market prices sky-high, it’s difficult to run a self-sustaining football club while competing at the highest level.  But clubs like Arsenal, who insist on maintaining financial responsibility, deserve credit for choosing a sensible model and sticking to it.

That being said, it’s difficult, in light of Arsenal’s transfer business this summer, to argue that the club lacks a true desire to not only compete at the highest level but win championships.  Wenger cannot be accused of only buying young, unproven talent on the cheap; consider his first two major purchases of the offseason:

Lukas Podolski.  A 27 year-old striker/forward who tied for fourth in scoring in the Bundesliga with 18 goals.

Olivier Giroud.  A 25 year-old striker who led the Ligue 1 in scoring with 25 goals, and also chipped in 9 assists.

The price tag on these two players comes to somewhere around £22.5 million.  While a hefty sum, these are sensible deals for players in their respective primes who showed a real ability to excel in top European leagues.  However, one could not help but wonder if these were intended to augment the squad’s goal-scoring firepower — or a replacement-by-committee approach intended to address the potential loss of reigning Footballer of the Year Robin van Persie.

That brings us to Wenger’s latest deal — 27 year-old midfielder Santi Cazorla from FC Malaga, who have taken a nosedive from City-esque wealth into debt problems threatening relegation.  Make no mistake — this is an absolute coup for Arsenal, and a stroke of genius from Wenger.  Fans bitter over the failure to land flamboyant stars like Eden Hazard should be thankful that such efforts proved fruitless, as they paved the way for a much better option in Cazorla.  Arguably the best Spanish player not plying his trade in Barcelona or Madrid, this player is the versatile, dangerous attacking midfielder the club has been lacking in recent seasons with the void left by Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.  He can play virtually anywhere in the midfield — on either wing (he’s ambidextrous), behind the center-forward, as a central playmaker, and even as a deep midfielder.  He’s a danger from long range and in free kicks, and will look great whipping in crosses for strong aerial players like Giroud.  And all this for the paltry sum of £16.5 million (or thereabouts, depending on the source).

And it may not stop there.  Though I personally loathe the proliferation of transfer rumors (and have learned that no deal is complete until it’s announced on Arsenal.com — see Juan Mata), numerous reports exist regarding a potential season-long loan for little-used midfield Real Madrid playmaker Nuri Sahin.  After a series of brilliant campaigns with Borussia Dortmund, the player made the switch to the Bernabeu, only to spend most of last season warming the bench behind Jose Mourinho’s glut of star midfielders.  His exquisite passing ability would add a flair to the Arsenal midfield that’s been lacking, and would place the club firmly in the center of the Premier League title discussion.  The story seems to be that Wenger is holding out for a purchase option in a loan deal, which I think is a smart move.  If Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby are able to shake their injury problems and figure prominently in the upcoming campaign, Wenger might actually be confronted with a problem few managers enjoy — too many good players to choose from.  Loaning a player with an option to buy is wonderful, because you have a pre-agreed price on a player on a season-long paid trial.  Wenger can defer the decision on buying Sahin until the picture becomes clearer on the injury front.

Ironically, amidst this flurry of deals involving ready-made players, Caen has confirmed today that Arsenal has submitted a bid for their highly-rated young striker M’baye Niang.  As a 17 year-old striker playing in France, this player perfectly fits the mold of the type of player Wenger is believed to love buying, despite his best efforts to debunk such myths all summer.

Wenger, and the club in general, are often accused of being averse to spending money; this is simply not true.  The key to Wenger’s shrewdness in the transfer market is that, while he is prepared to spend large sums, he will not blow mega-bucks on one player — why buy one player in Eden Hazard at £32 million when you can buy three for £38 million, including one that may be just as good?  As a gooner, be thankful that your manager will never risk the club’s financial soundness for one player who may turn out to be a complete bust (see Andy Carroll or Fernando Torres).

With the loss of great players in Fabregas and Nasri, coupled with the threat of a third in van Persie, Arsenal may not have been completely out of the title picture — but were certainly being handed their hat.  All credit to Wenger for dealing Arsenal back in.


12 comments on “Wenger Deals Arsenal Back In

  1. Infact! Arsene really knows best!!! Follow me on twitter @compore will follow back.

  2. Great Article esp the bit about Hazard costing the same as 3 Fantastic players. Carzola should be just the thing we need while Giroud i think we take the EPL by storm

  3. Ouch James, that Carroll reference cuts to the core. Nice piece.

  4. Yes i av been raying it time without no dat wengar know best n we ar on it dis season 2 win trophies.gunners 4 life

    • If R.v.P did this to try and make wenger buy then credit to him. Look wat tevez did at city and they took him back. If 55 per cent of arsenal fans are saying get rid of him thats crazy if he stayed he could be the difference still between winning the epl and losing it

  5. What a joke of an article. Hazard is only 21 yrs old while Santiago is 27. Of course hazard would be more expensive. Arsenal fans seem to have a huge sense of entitlement. Anytime uncle wenger looses his Scrooge pursestrings to buy a half decent player u lot must always compare the purchase to a Chelsea purchase. Ur joke of a team has won nowt for 7 yrs. U pay 16.5m for a 27 yr who does not even start for Spain and it is a paltry sum or a bargain but if man city or Chelsea do it it is financial doping. What a laugh u must be having

    • lol u idiot, so so the fact you guys paid 25mill for a guy who is below cazorla in the spanish squad is any good is it? and we dont compare him to chelsea purchases all the time, just you are the only other epl team to have spent big money on players so far this summer, every team compares their new signings to other teams signings

    • Douchbag you are sir!

    • Keep spending Chelsea. U will finish 6th again . No Drogba no worries for the gooners against Chelsea. Remember last year 5-2 goons at the bridge and 2-0 at the emrites. Don’t ever forget that .

  6. Infact, d write up is so fantastic n interesting, quiet believe that d great arsene make a ripe deal alot of respect to him…@ esco, imagine u comment that cazorla make d start 4 spain all from bench, 4rm wia do ur 24m mata start? Cazorla feat in 3 matches in d tornament whereas, mata feat in d last match wen italy had already loose out, U miss, dont ever compare any manager of d world as wenger

  7. Some of u arsenal fans are so deluded that it makes for light comedy. Arsene wenger knows right? The tool who commented above brought up a 5-3 win over Chelsea as the highlight of ur season. U lot had have won nowt despite ur delusions of grandeur. Chelsea won d double even during a bad season for us. Deal with it

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