Despite not wanting to be unreasonable with the cash and not wanting to take part in this crazy transfer window, Arsene Wenger still spent whopping £86m, with a difference that he spent them on players who are not stars of the game.
Granit Xhaka was the first signing of the transfer window as the deal was completed already on 1 July. 23-year-old Xhaka transfered from Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee of £38.25m and signed a five-year deal.
Xhaka is in fact a very intelligent and creative player, yet he has been modeled to become a workhorse instead, as his creativity is no match for the top players of today but gives him an added quality when playing in defensive midfield. And indeed, while Xhaka is no star in international terms (yet), most top sides would benefit from his presence. He’s the engine behind the team and makes sure the mechanism goes tick-tock according to plan. As Arseanl didn’t previously have a good holding midfielder, after years of stacking up offensive midfielders, Xhaka is a top signing for the club.
Xhaka is ethnically an Albanian from Kosovo.
This is a bit different from Arsenal’s other signing Xhodran Mustafi, who is ethnically an Albanian from Albania. Unlike Xhaka, whose family emigrated to Switzerland, Mustafi’s emigrated to Germany.
The 24-year-old central defender caught the attention of the general public after the Euro 2016, where he was not only a member of the starting lineup but also opened the scoring in Germany’s first game against Ukraine.
Mustafi wouldn’t be a starter for Germany on Euro at age 24 if he wasn’t good. In fact, he also won the 2014 World Cup with Germany at age 22. Calling this guy an early bloomer would be appropriate as he already plays and acts like a rugged centre piece of the back line. By his own words, he missed the physicality of the English game since he left Everton in 2012. This is indeed one top defender and, just like Xhaka, is both young enough so Arsenal can build the team around him for years to come and already good enough to play a pivotal role for the team in this season.
If Mustafi is an early bloomer, then Lucas Perez is a late bloomer. The 27-year-old forward’s career was lacklustre as he was moving around smaller European clubs, but in 2015 he found himself. The forward scored 17 goals in 36 appearances for Deportivo La Coruna to secure another season in Spanish top flight for the club, and here he is at Arsenal. For £17.1m. While Perez does have his qualities and is versatile when it comes to positions he can play, he’s far from a top player. An appropriate question to ask Wenger is whether £17.1m for a random player is closer to rational spending or throwing money down the drain.
So are these three new signings giving Arsenal what they need in order to make a push for the title?
Mustafi and Xhaka definitely do. Their worth will be proven over the years even if they aren’t the kind of players that would attract media coverage like their counterparts John Stones and N’Golo Kante.
Since Arsenal didn’t manage to sign a quality forward, expect a season-long agony with the position of a central striker, before every game and after every game. Olivier Giroud is the only real option, though Wenger obviously intends to use Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez on number 9 a lot. Danny Welbeck will be back in February.
The tragic aspect of this story is that Arsenal are a wealthy London club with supporters all over the world and a tradition of excellence, and only one player is needed for them to make a bid for the BPL title – yet they can’t sign him. Arsene Wenger’s job in this transfer window was to sign a top striker.
And he’s playing Alexis – one of the best wingers/forwards in the world – as number nine.
Is this a good setup for Arsenal, will the Alexis and Perez experiments turn out to be alright? Will one of the four attacking options find form and lead Arsenal to their first title since 2004? Let us know on Twitter what do you think! Just retweet or add your comment to the retweet.
— BPL Transfer News (@soccertransfers) August 29, 2016