It’s the morning after the night before. Yes Arsenal really did sign Mesut Özil yesterday. The 24 year-old World Class German will link up with the rest of the squad after international duty. But did that marquee signing mask what was otherwise a poor window? We signed (other than Özil) we signed Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Flamini and loaned Emiliano Viviano. A big positive this summer was the shipping of deadwood and trimming the wage bill. Despite Özil’s addition to the wage bill we are more than £300,000 per-week lighter than before the summer began – and we still have Bendtner and Park hanging around. So how would I grade the clubs activity in the window overall?
I said at the start of the window we needed a goalkeeper, a young centre-back, one or two central midfielders, an attacking midfielder and a striker. If Flamini, Sanogo and Viviano prove to be good enough additions then only one central midfielder and centre-back are missing from my wish list. I’m surprised the club loaned out Coquelin again, and I hope the Frenchman has a re-call option in a state of emergency. I still feel this was the window a long-term replacement for Arteta was needed. He turns 32 this season and is an essential part to the team; his replacement needs to be integrated slowly under his guidance. Despite Giroud’s top start, we did definitely need that world-class striker in to assist and rotate with him, even he wanted that. Sanogo might turn good but from what I’ve seen so far he has a fair bit of work to do first. Another centre-back was needed for me, just another option at the heart of the defence, a youthful player who could step in as an emergency. So in this sense we’ve failed. We’ve obviously signed a world-class player in Mesut Özil and in that gone above expectations and in that sense, we’ve brought in a top top quality player that significantly improves our team. Flamini could prove a shrewd addition. The 29 year old showed on Sunday that he still had a hunger and desire to win with Arsenal, although his wild tackling may have to be calmed down if he wishes to avoid suspensions this season – it’s not Serie A.
In terms of departures the club have done very well. We trimmed around £500,000 per week off the wage bill and only spent a net of £30million this window, leaving plenty of cash available (rightly or wrongly). With the little amount of depth in the squad you could look back and question the sales of Gervinho and loan deals for Coquelin, Djourou and Miquel. But how well did Arsenal actually do? With Denilson and Andre Santos they paid off part of their contracts, Squillaci and Arshavin’s contract expired and the only survivors are Park Chu-Young and Niklas Bendtner – who will now need to be called upon at some point due to the lack of a senior striker arriving at the club and news of Podolski’s hamstring injury extending to 3 months.
Overall grade: I still feel is was a pretty shocking window from Arsenal in terms of players brought in, Mesut’s arrival boosted that. However the club managed to shift the deadwood and make way for new signings, which will hopefully be more like Mesut calibre and arrive in the next couple of windows – 6.5/10