The number of articles I’m writing at the moment about Arsenal I must seem like a frustrated Gunners fan, but I’m not frustrated or a Gunners fan!
Anyway if I was a Gunners fan I would be very worried about my team right now.
England winger Theo Walcott has rejected the offer of a new contract and is now set to leave Emirates according to Sky Sports morning reports.
Arsenal have again let a player enter the last year of his contract, meaning that they can seek a cheap move elsewhere.
Walcott apparently wants a massive pay rise to sign a new contract and the Gunners hierarchy are not prepared to give him what he wants, so now the Gunners have just a few days to try to sell Walcott before his value drops to next to nothing.
Walcott is one of the most frustrating players I have ever seen, back to frustration. He has the speed to outpace most full-backs, but he is so inconsistent that I’m surprised that Gunners fans have any hair left to pull out.
To be fair to Walcott though his deliveries did improve slightly last season. The 23 year-old is now being chased by champions Manchester City and Liverpool. He is rated in the £12-15million bracket and should leave in the next few days.
Walcott leaving wouldn’t be the end of the world if Arsenal were prepared to buy a replacement. However all the players that have gone this summer have gone without real replacements. Robin Van Persie went and French striker Oliver Giroud was supposedly his replacement.
Prior to Giroud’s arrival though Arsenal needed another striker anyway with the likes of Marouane Chamakh and Chu-Young Park not good enough for the Premier League. Arsenal are now left with only two real options up front Olivier Giroud or Lukas Podolski, who has now turned himself into a left-winger.
When Alex Song left the club he wasn’t replaced either. The Gunners missed out on Turkish star Nuri Sahin, who went to Liverpool, and it seems that another target Yann M’Vila looks set to stay at Rennes.
Arsenal fans are talking about Swansea winger Scott Sinclair and Sevilla’s Jesus Navas signing for the Gunners. If one of those players were a replacement for Walcott then I think it would be good business by Arsenal.
Unfortunately I think the cobwebs in Arsene Wenger’s club chequebook will remain. The more likely outcome is that Wenger will look to replace Walcott from within. Young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will probably benefit if Walcott leaves the club.
Oxlade-Chamberlain looks like a top prospect but Arsenal’s squad seems to be getting lower on numbers and quality by the day. Surely Arsene Wenger is worried by the mass exodus this summer?
This summer has been relatively quiet for Arsenal. The earlier summer signings of Lukas Podolski and Oliver Giroud were followed by the excellent signing of Santi Cazorla. Had those players arrived and the remaining players stayed I would have said it was a very good summer for the Gunners.
However, Arsenal lost two of their key players from last season in Alex Song and Robin Van Persie. I would struggle to come up with two more influential exits from the Emirates than theirs.
If Arsenal fail to strengthen their squad and they lose Walcott as well before Friday’s transfer deadline then I believe they will struggle to get anywhere near the top four of the Premier League. Last season they were expected to struggle, but they had Van Persie to bail them out with his 30 goals.
I just don’t see who will bail them out this season. Every summer their squad is getting lower on quality and numbers. Arsene Wenger has done extremely well to have got them in the Champions League places in the last few seasons.
Looking at Arsenals summer transfer activity I would hazard a guess that the Gunners have just about broken even in the transfer market. The signings of Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski have been off-set by the sales of Van Persie and Song. They could be in profit if Walcott leaves before the transfer deadline on Friday night.
However, the team has been severely weakened by the exits and only strengthened slightly by the new players. Arsene Wenger needs to take his economists hat-off and put on his football managers hat. It’s plain to see that Arsenal has a far weaker team without Van Persie and Song.
I really do like Arsenal and boss Arsene Wenger. He has brought a lot to the English game since his arrival in 1996. He has done a lot for the club. However, his stubbornness to spend money will leave Arsenal in trouble.
Without new signings in the next few days I just don’t see Arsenal as good enough to qualify for the Champions League next season. That would be a shame because Wenger and Arsenal do play a superb brand of football and should be challenging for the big trophies.
For now though Wenger seems to be happy with just qualifying for the Champions League every season and that could be his downfall. His current squad of players will have to be at their best to even achieve that this season and it’s a sad state of affairs for the Gunners.
Will Arsene Wenger strengthen his Arsenal squad before the transfer window shuts?