May 25th saw Arsenal make a move that many interpreted as a statement of intent. That was of course the day that Granit Xhaka’s transfer to Arsenal was announced. Arsenal have regularly been accused of procrastinating when it comes to improving their squad so Xhaka’s early announcement came as a shock to many. It’s been over six weeks since that day and despite their efforts Arsenal have since only added a promising forward from Japan,who they admit is not someone they count on for the immediate future. A promising start seems to be fizzling out into expected disappointment; but why?
Following early rejections from Arsenal’s main attacking targets, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jamie Vardy, Djibril Sidibe recently completed a hat trick of rejections when he chose to move to Monaco over Arsenal due to guarantees over his role in the team. These rejections are a bitter pill to swallow for both the club and it’s fans and it now appears we’ve reached the stage of the summer where Arsenal’s ‘strategy‘ is simply to wait and hope for a great opportunity to present itself. As the days progress it looks more and more unlikely any such deal will materialise due to the ridiculous demands being placed on the heads of anyone with half decent first touch and the ability to stay onside.
Just how worrying is this situation for Arsenal? Well, last summer saw the club end the transfer window with the unenviable label of being the only club in Europe’s top flight leagues failing to sign an outfield player. The fact that their only acquisition came in the form of a backup goalkeeper from one of their rivals illustrates just how poor of a transfer window they had. However, this summer’s installment, thanks to Xhaka’s arrival, has not quite reached that level of embarrassment as yet. It would be silly to criticise the club for players choosing to reject their advances but with only a month left until the season starts, it is clear Arsenal have work to do. With the exception of Chelsea, all of their rivals so far have added at least two players to their squads and it’s clear Arsenal must do the same.
Depending on what transfer source you put faith in Arsenal have been turned off from pursuing players such Morata, and Alexandre Lacazette due to the over the top transfer fees attached to their names. Last season saw Arsenal enter the season undermanned due to injuries, international fatigue and a lack of signings and after that episode, it is clear Arsene Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and co. know that they cannot afford to start the season in a similar manner.
The likes of Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck are already out of contention for Arsenal’s opening day game against Liverpool and while all but Welbeck will return in short order it is clear that a first team signing of real quality would be extremely useful to the team. The coming weeks will be make or break for Arsenal’s chances this season. If August ends with Xhaka remaining as the only first team reinforcement then disappointment is the only likely outcome.