By Tony Attwood
The Independent headline writer has been quick off the mark with this one, claiming that Arsenal fans (whom they always like to assert that they know intimately) are getting edgy because the boss has suggested that there may be no more signings.
Headlines about a backlash and passing comments such as “But why aren’t Arsenal making any moves in the transfer market?” suddenly abound.
Mind you the Telegraph is setting itself up as the master of the negative aggressive headline today giving us Sterling is now toxic – and it’s his own fault.
I’m not too sure what Jeremy Wilson felt on seeing the headline used on his piece about Arsenal’s transfer policy but it didn’t really have much to do with what he wrote. Or reality.
The article in question began “Arsene Wenger has claimed that Arsenal already have sufficient squad quality to potentially regain the Premier League title and strongly suggested that performances in pre-season will now decide whether he makes any more signings.”
There’s then a comment about just how much money Mr Wenger has available, plus the use of “only” as is now becoming de rigeur for hacks when speaking of Arsenal. As in “Petr Cech is the only senior addition so far this summer”. You can see it all being set up, sentence by sentence.
Mr Wenger has in fact talked about “cohesion” – the ability of the team to play together as an ensemble – and that of course is absolutely right. Us older supporters remember how the 1971 Double team fell apart as players left and new ones such as Alan Ball, came in and simply could not play as a team.
The positives for Arsenal of course is the fact that when we started last season we didn’t have Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin playing as they showed they can, Santi Cazorla has improved even on his fine form of the year before and Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta are all fit.
The question thus becomes – “who am I going to drop?” Or in the more positive way Mr Wenger spoke, “I believe we have the quality, and it’s now about how much we can be stronger together.
“We felt at the end of last season that we had moved forward, but it is still not enough. In this pre-season we have to move forward again. We have to move forward together, which for me it is more important than dreaming about finding a miraculous player who wins you everything.
“It’s important we find our combination and cohesion very quickly. We have to use it as a springboard to improve, and our pre-season games can help us strengthen that feeling. It is an opportunity to give an opportunity to people on the fringe of the team. It can influence my decisions until the transfer market is over.”
The departure board however is growing. Lukas Pod has gone to Galatasary, Joel Campbell is set for another loan, Carl Jenkinson goes to West Ham Without Fat Sam having signed a five year deal with Arsenal, Serge Gnabry is said to be going to WBA, Sanogo is off to Ajax. Arsenal have apparently turned down a BIG offer from Southampton for Jenkinson.
Now obviously I am not privy to any contractual arrangements but I suspect that these players could be recalled in an emergency which means we already have extra cover.
The latest on the returnees is the Danny Welbeck should be fit for the Emirates Cup and Alexis Sanchez on August 16.
The manager did however have something new to say about goalkeepers…
“The deal itself was not too difficult. The decision was difficult because I felt our two goalkeepers did very well last season but, on the other hand, we could add experience and strengthen the belief of our squad. And we can develop experience in our squad and help to develop our other goalkeepers who are still young.
“If you go back to the numbers we have no obvious goalkeeping problem. In the last 19 games we conceded 13 goals. We want to maintain that, to stabilise and, if possible, improve.”