Do Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures At Arsenal?

Six minutes into the Premier League season and Arsene Wenger would have been feeling fairly good about his team. Olivier Giroud had put the Gunners ahead in their tie against Aston Villa, and most fans in the stadium would have been expecting more goals to come. The following 20 minutes did see further reasons for encouragement, but the ball didn’t end up in the back of the Villa net.

However, all the talk about the failed transfer bids for Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez were momentarily forgotten as the Emirates buzzed with the optimism that Arsene really does know best. Although By 5’o’clock, the last few Arsenal fans were drifting away from the stadium. They were not celebrating an opening day victory, neither were they discussing the way that Villa came back to score three goals and deservedly take the points. Instead, all were talking about the lack of signings and which players they should have bought earlier on in the summer.

Now that his hand has been somewhat forced, will Wenger finally make the necessary investment required or will he stick to his guns and refuse to pay what he considers excessive demands from clubs looking to take advantage?

News that a £10m offer was made for Yohan Cabaye after the loss to Aston Villa seems to have come completely out of the blue, especially when all the talk has been about striking options during the past month. The one area that doesn’t appear to be desperately requiring attention is the midfield, although undoubtedly a player of Cabaye’s calibre would be welcome.

Is this an attempt to please the fans more than an actual desire of Wenger’s to strengthen this area of the team? Considering that the offer is so low, and will surely be rejected by Newcastle, what are they actually hoping to achieve? It is no good for Wenger to say that he believes a player is worth a particular amount if market forces dictate otherwise. £40m for Suarez seems like a good offer. But when Falcao and Cavani have moved to French clubs during the last month for fees in excess of £50m, then the Liverpool board must surely have decided that they can ask for more, as they consider the Uruguayan to be just as effective as the other strikers that have changed clubs. 

Gonzalo Higuain sealed a move to Napoli in a matter of days after the Italian club offered £40m and were allowed to negotiate with the Argentine. Wenger decided quite some time ago that he was interested in the former Real Madrid man but his reluctance to offer more than £30m to take him to London seems bizarre considering that just a few days later they were offering far more for Suarez.

Interestingly, fierce rivals Tottenham have broken their club transfer record with the purchase of Spanish striker Roberto Soldado for £26m. The ex-Valencia forward scored a penalty on his debut and would have been just the sort of player that I believe could have succeeded at the Emirates. Manchester City spent a similar amount to land a fellow Spaniard in the form of Alvaro Negredo and the powerful striker could also have added strength in depth to the Arsenal attack. Both of these players were available for well below the amount offered for Suarez, which makes you wonder why Arsenal hadn’t enquired about either of them.

The main problem for Arsenal is that after releasing so many fringe players recently they have very few options outside of the starting eleven. The defence still looks suspect and lacks a natural leader to command the line, whilst Giroud doesn’t look like the type of player that will score 20+ goals a season.

The club needs to act quickly to strengthen the squad but they must make sure that they are reinforcing the right areas, not just buying for the sake of it.

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