Arsenal’s Transfer Activity Confuses Me!

Today, Arsenal confirmed a record deal to bring in attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund.

That adds to the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who arrived in a swap deal from Manchester United with Alexis Sanchez going in the opposite direction.

When I say the recent Gunners transfer dealings have me confused, I do’t necessarily mean it’s been a bad month for Arsene Wenger’s side as it has had it’s plus and negative points.

They were losing Sanchez no matter what, so it made sense to bring in a creative star like Mkhitaryan. The Armenian should be given a freedom at the Emirates and he was never going to get that under Jose Mourinho at United. Having a greater licence when going forward should see him providing more assists and goals in the Premier League. It will be interesting to see if he can dictate things in the bigger encounters.

The pursuit of Aubameyang kind of surprises me. Yes he formed a good partnership with Henrikh at Dortmund in the past, yes he has a prolific goalscoring record but how do you fit Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette into the same starting eleven?

It has been reported that the Gunners have agreed terms on a new deal with German attacking midfielder Ozil. That’s great, if they get the assist king Ozil and not the ‘where’s Mesut gone in this big game?’ Ozil!

I’d also argue that £350k a week is too much for a player that doesn’t play consistently enough against top six opponents. But if he has a bumper wage packet like that, then he’s a definite starter.

You have also just brought in Mkhitaryan, so he’s probably going to play.

But then you’ve got two main strikers and they cost you over £40m each! Can you really tell one of them that they are second choice and to get used to the bench?

As the record signing, you’ve got to think that Aubameyang will get the nod. That being said the player is going to be twenty-nine in June. He’s known for his explosive pace, will he still have that for the next two seasons? Only time will tell. But at the moment, you’ve got to think he’s more than capable of scoring in England’s top flight.

Lacazette will then be the likely candidate to be seen as the number two, unless Wenger goes for two up-top but then he’d have to figure out away to fit Mkhitaryan or Ozil into a deeper midfield position. Either that or have one of Aubameyang or Alexandre playing out wide. As established hitmen, would either of them be willing to play in that role? Plus that position will probably come with more defensive responsibilities as I don’t see any of the others mentioned getting back enough.

Now maybe some of the Gunners support would have wanted more than Lacazette’s nine league goals in twenty-four appearances but I’d imagine that could come in the second half of the season as he gets used to the English game. Having Ozil and new boy Mkhitaryan behind him would’ve played to his strengths too. We’ll see how many games he gets in the run-in.

I get the reasoning in selling Theo Walcott and Oliver Giroud. Both wanted more opportunities on the park, had served the club well and as I’ve already pointed out Arsenal have plenty of firepower especially with Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi also in the ranks at the Emirates.

Now Walcott to Everton for £20m makes sense but I can’t see why you’d sell Giroud to a rival for a similar fee.

The French internationalist is just what Chelsea need and he’ll improve their squad and the Blues chances of finishing in the top four, exactly where Arsenal want to be come May!

In the last six months, the North London side have sold players to rivals Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea. They’ve not even got much in the bank for those deals. Which shows up another issue at the club, they’ve struggled at the negotiating table.

If all those sides finish above Arsenal at the close of this campaign, people will point to the sales as defining moments.

Once again, the Arsenal squad looks top heavy. They have plenty of creative, attacking talents but look thin at the back.

They really needed a new centre-back and probably a new defensive midfielder as well.

They half heartedly made approaches for Jonny Evans but, as Arsenal do, they didn’t offer enough and left it too late to do a deal. It again seems like there was no Plan B after that move failed to materialise.

The 3-1 loss at Swansea this week, showed us that things at the back are still not right.

Even Wenger pointed out the problems after his team’s latest defeat:

“I felt defensively we were very poor and made big mistakes. It’s better not to talk about the second or third goals.”

The Gunners’ goals against record is the worst out of all the top six sides and to not improve in the defensive positions this month just seems crazy to me!

Arsenal’s new scouting and recruiting personnel have clearly been flexing their muscles in this window but if the balance isn’t there then will the team really improve? Only time will tell.

2 Responses to “Arsenal’s Transfer Activity Confuses Me!”

  1. As a gunner, you’ve pretty much captured and analyzed all my thoughts.

    This is a very balanced and painstaking article. – the Giroud deal feels like an anticlimax.

    Well done!

  2. I was confused in the beginning of the season with Gabriella, Gibbs and the loan out of Perez. We were also on the verge of selling Mustafi. The free acquisition of Kolisenac was a good move and he made an immediate impact,but has now become a bench boy for reasons unknown. We now bought PEA but at the cost of losing Giroud who was giving us about 20 goals a season from the time he arrived at Arsenal. I also don’t blame Giroud for leaving. I am also confused by the way we use and rotate our players and subs.

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