For Arsenal and their fans, the summer transfer window has come to resemble the months preceding a high school prom. Once the school’s darling, courted by virtually every guy, Arsenal have increasingly moulded into a not-so attractive partner, who’s left waiting until the day before the ball to find out who she’ll be dancing with.
Worse even, having been promised reinforcements in the shape of some top players, Gunners fans have had to make do with the likes of Gervinho, Park Chu-Young and Marouane Chamakh – the equivalent of the aforementioned girl being promised a prince charming, but ending up dancing with a scrawny, glasses-wearing, geek.
Things, however, could soon change in N5 with Ivan Gazidis recently claiming that Arsene Wenger will be given a transfer kitty of at least £70m to bolster his squad in a bid to land a first trophy in eight years, rather than simply celebrating a fourth-spot finish like a Premier League title.
Arsene Wenger’s renowned reluctance – inability, if you believe his advocates – to invest on players of proven quality has infuriated many among the Arsenal faithfuls and the Frenchman must spend every penny this summer, for next season Arsenal will be presented with as good an opportunity to revive past glories as any, providing, of course, that they make the necessary investment.
For the first time in years, Arsene Wenger can focus solely on recruiting players, rather than spend the transfer window issuing half-hearted denials only to see one his stars leaving through the Emirates revolving doors, a trend inaugurated by Thierry Henry and carried on with distinction by Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and, as little as twelve months ago, Robin Van Persie.
Furthermore, last season’s top three clubs will enter the 2013-14 campaign with new managers which, consequentially, means United, Chelsea and City will have to find their feet under their new leaders.
While Chelsea and, to a lesser extent, City might be used to volatile environments surrounding their managers, United step into a wholly uncharted territory following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, on the pitch as much as off it.
Arsenal, in contrast, are in a strong position, arguably the strongest they have found themselves into in recent seasons. Arsene Wenger knows in which areas his team needs tweaking and time could be on his side, particularly considering that City are yet to appoint a manager and David Moyes will officially take charge at Old Trafford at the beginning of next month.
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic have all been linked with the Gunners, who seem also willing to trigger Marouane Fellaini’s £24m release clause.
Aside from their unquestionable talent, signing one or more of those players will deliver the sort of statement of intent Arsenal have been desperately missing for years. Psychological impact isn’t guaranteed to bring a trophy back to the Emirates, but a marquee signing can work wonder for a team’s confidence as illustrated by Robin Van Persie’s switch to Old Trafford last season.
Months after losing the title in sickening fashion to their local rivals, United welcomed the league’s best player into their ranks and the psychological importance of Van Persie’s arrival – as well as that stemming from his 26 league goals – was there for all to see.
Earlier this week Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal chief executive, claimed that Wenger was not afraid to spend.
“The manager is not scared to spend money but he has to believe they are top-class players who will add to the squad.
“The key is having players Arsene believes in, adding them to the squad and making sure he has a cohesive squad he believes in.”
A player that Arsene Wenger clearly believes in, is Cesc Fabregas. The former Arsenal captain has been increasingly linked with a return to the Premier League – a rumour he has then denied – but even if Fabregas was available, Arsenal should not consider him an option.
The Spaniard remains a wonderfully talented player and the thought of him wearing the shirt of another Premier League club would be hard to stomach for many Arsenal fans, but his return would do very little to enhance Arsenal’s ambitions.
If anything, Fabregas’ return would simply speak volume for his relatively lacklustre spell in Catalonia, rather than for Arsenal’s desire to move forward and would do little to alleviate the sense of stagnation Gazidis admitted has engulfed the club in recent years.
“I accept we haven’t done that over the last few years. We have essentially been very consistent – we haven’t slipped backwards and we haven’t gone forwards. We need to go forwards,” said the Arsenal chief executive.
“It is not enough to be watching a video of a last-minute scramble to get over the line into fourth place. No one at this club wants that.”
Arsene Wenger has just over two and a half months to ensure that Gazidis’ wish will not remain mere utopia.
Are Arsenal finally going to be one of the protagonists of the transfer window or are they destined for more disappointment? Who should Arsene Wenger sign? We want your views so have your say below or get involved on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.