My, what a mad day yesterday was! The window is truly closed, and our squad now is more or less fixed for until January. Business has been done, and only time will tell how astute these signings have been. Let’s review the transfers in and out yesterday in chronological order.
The first news of the day started with Andre Santos completing his move to Arsenal, with the club announcing the deal via its official website. The 28 year-old left-back comes at around £6.3 million, and on a long-term contract, and is given the No.11 Jersey. The confirmation of this news was greeted with cheers around the internet even though many have already knew that we had more or less completed the deal and was just subjected to formalities. Reviews of Santos have been mainly about his attacking qualities, and he is sure to add firepower to our squad. However, it is to be hoped that his defensive side of the game is sound too, and can provide some needed-steel to our defense. The Brazilian have said via Arsenal.com how happy he was to be at Arsenal:
“I am delighted to have signed for Arsenal. It was one of my dreams to play for a major European football club and I have accomplished this. I am very happy to be part of this team. “All the Brazilians who came to this club spoke wonders about it and I am delighted to be part of the Arsenal family.”
This news was followed by the confirmation on the capture of Per Mertesacker. The 6’6 center back from Werder Bremen officially joined the club yesterday.
The giant German international is 26 years old, and at a fee reported to be in the region of £10 million. Compared to Cahill, this may actually be a bargain. He is one year older than Cahill, so much more experience in terms of both international and Champions League games. Provides the same big-guy presence at the back, brings leadership having been captain of Werder Bremen and is nearly twice as cheap as the aforementioned Gary Cahill.The behemoth explained why he came to Arsenal:
“I had a great time with Werder and I have a lot to thank the club for. With this transfer to London a dream has come true, taking another step in my career. I have always considered the English Premier League an intriguing challenge.”
However, just when you were expecting an influx of players, the mass exodus began.
First, Gilles Sunu left the club on a permanent basis, and joined Lorient for a 4 year contract, for a undisclosed fee. Okay, I don’t know this young Frenchman at all, no big deal, I wish him all the best. Shortly after, Joel Campell followed suit, albeit on a season-long loan. Disappointing, considering we took the best part of one month to pursue him only to have his work permit rejected, and so he has to be loaned out. Hence his departure came as no surprise.
As news followed that Henri Lansbury has left a on season-long loan to West Ham, I began to panic. I like this young Englishmen, felt that when he plays he reminds one of a certain Ray Parlour, the energy, the tenacity and determination that epitomises Ray Parlour. I felt it was a waste to let such a talented player go, and feels aggrieved that Denilson was given so many years to show his worth while Lansbury was never offer the same opportunities. However, Wenger show know best. However, it beggars beliefs how we could let more central midfielders leave, seeing that we are especially light in that area with the injuries and departure of key players like Fabregas and Jack Wilshere. The feeling of doom surmounted, and I felt that the future of Arsenal is starting to turn into pure darkness.
The darkness seems to be increasingly overwhelming, as the hours passed by slowly with no news of any bids or signings. Finally, about 4 hours away from the deadline, news trickled in that we were in it for Arteta, before submerging again as purely rumours. I am not really a fan of him. Talented he may be, but his injury record is so stellar it means we are taking a huge gamble on the player himself.
Then it surfaced again, before sinking. Damn the news media why can’t they do a proper job of reporting! Finally, 3 hours before the window closes, news came in that the bid for Arteta has failed, and we have turned our interest towards Yossi Benayoun. Oh great, another injury-prone player, and at 31 years old at that. Oh well, we have so limited time left, let’s just grab whatever the store has left to offer then. Or so I thought, as news then reported we were back in for Arteta instead. However, nothing concrete happened. I despaired.
Add misery to that despair, when Mickey Bendnter got the move he has been clamouring for, and went to Sunderland on a season-loan. More departures aye? Where are the signings!
So, that was that, so long the best striker in the world, hopefully you can score a few goals against Man Cunteh, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea to help us! If you look at our departure lists, you would have realised most of our players were on loans instead of a permanent deal. Hopefully this is a sign that if those players performs eslewhere, a) we get a higher transfer fee next season, or b) they come back to Arsenal a better player, and ones that we could use.
But finally, came the news at the final hour, in typical Arsenal style, just before the window closes, that we have made signings. Read, SIGNINGS! WHAT! SIGNINGS?! MORE THAN ONE? Well, yes, two.
In came Arteta, who arrives from Everton for £10 million. Great, finally, a midfielder, probably not the one everyone would have hoped to get, but we will take all that we can at the moment. The Spaniard is 29 years old, and the price would seem steep for a player at that age. He brings creativity, and flair to our side, and hopefully he can stay out of injury long enough to show that the money and effort to sign him was worth it.
And our final acquisition of the transfer window was Benayoun, who was supposedly the Plan B for Arteta, though only on a season-loan. Again, not what everybody had in mind, as the midfielder is 31 years of age, and has been injured mostly last season. Here’s to hoping he will stay fit then. However, Benayoun not only brings creativity, he also brings with him a vast amount of experience due to his time at Liverpool and Chelsea. Benayoun may also be influential as a leader of some sorts, as a voice in the dressing room, as he is also the Captain of the Israeli national team.
We finally brought in the experienced players that we needed in defense and midfielder, and to a certain extent, up front. With that, the transfer window closes. It would be fair to say that we can be fairly optimistic with the arrivals of the last 4 players, all of whom are matured, and experienced, and to some extent, proven in the various leagues they have been playing in.
10 first team members have departed, while a mixture of 7 old and young players have arrived. For better or for worst, only time will tell.