To date Arsenal have made three summer signings. Japanese striker Takuma Asano and center back Rob Holding are ones for the future and aren’t expected to feature in the first team (though Holding may get his chance sooner than expected). Xhaka, signed from Borussia Monchengladbach for around 30m, is the only signing thus far that will feature in the first team.
While Xhaka has the potential to immediately be a brilliant signing it doesn’t mask the fact everyone knew we had two key problems areas that needed to be addressed, center back and striker. Three long months later neither has been addressed and injuries at center back mean we’re nearing full brown crisis in defense. Wenger suggests he’ll only buy players that will improve on the ones he already has but that’s starting to sound like nonsense.
Mertesacker suffered his knee injury over two weeks ago. If the higher ups at the club somehow hadn’t realized how in need of a center back we were before then, Mert’s injury should have jolted them into action. Instead they did nothing. Almost inevitably Gabriel went down with a serious injury a week before the opening league fixture.
If Shkrodan Mustafi was our guy why have we waited so long to go get him? We have the money, the need for the player is clearly there- what are we waiting on? Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all addressed weaknesses in their respective squads prior to the opening fixture. Yet again it seems we’re waiting until the season starts before even thinking about addressing obvious shortcomings.
Yes the market is madness at the moment but it is what it is. You either pay the market rate or risk getting left behind. Sit on piles of cash long enough after announcing how much of it you have and sellers will be looking to get as much out of you as they can. Wait until injuries mount up at center back and sellers know you’re desperate and you’re not going to have a strong negotiating position.
We can’t compete for the title without a better center back than Gabriel or Mertesacker to partner Koscielny and someone who at the very least provides a different option to Giroud up front. That much has been obvious to everyone since the second half of last season. Not going balls out to sign a striker and center back when they are so obviously required shows a disheartening but too unsurprising lack of ambition from the club.
Time hasn’t run out. I’m still hopeful we’ll land Mustafi and a striker and that I’ll be left eating my words. If not we’re in for another predictable season.