We do not do easy transfer windows, I think that’s clear to everyone now. The transfer window closed on Monday with us seeing 5 first team incomings and 3 outgoings. I feel like because we got only one player in on deadline day, many subconsciously “forgot” about the other 4 we brought in over a month ago. It is really hard to judge how successful a transfer window has gone for a club from fans’ perspective because we all had different expectations going into the transfer window. I wanted players leaving replaced adequately, a CF, a winger (actually Di Maria, who’s now dead to me for obvious reasons) and a young DM to be groomed by Arteta for one more year before being replaced. That’s what I wanted, but many other fans had other things in mind. I’ve put together a panel of four off twitter to share their thoughts on the transfer window.
1.) What were your expectations before the window opened? What positions did you expect to be strengthened?
@ObumOsigwe- I wanted, first and foremost, the club to effectively replace the departing Bacary Sagna and Lukaz Fabianski. I also wanted us to get a defensive midfielder as Mikel Arteta can’t handle that department alone all through the season.
@WengerIsFrench- - I expected us to sign a DM to replace Arteta and CF to replace Giroud. Also expected us to replace the players who left (Vermaelen, Sagna and Fabianski) And add one extra CB as having 4 cb's meant we could rotate better.
@TattedGooner- A striker to make Giroud plan B or C, a physical DM/CM to stop getting bullied/outmuscled in the middle of the park, Sagna replacement and a CB whether or not Vermaelen stayed or left.
@Yoiii- Well some had predicted that it is now finally time that Arsenal would make a big push in the transfer market, and put forward a stronger claim to the league trophy. Fans imagined that we will seek more quality. Perhaps spoilt by the Ozil transfer or merely by witnessing how much quality a good player adds to the squad. In terms of positions some replacements needed to be made with how the contracts are timed and in some areas like the defensive midfield and centre forward area a real boost was needed.
2.) Were you pleased we got most of the business done early and does it really matter?
@ObumOsigwe- I am pleased we did most of our business early. In fact it was a brilliant few days as our official website churned out announcement after announcement bringing joy and excitement to some of our fans as some in our fan base are very hard to please. Yes signing them early matters a lot as it allows for a bedding period for them to train and know their team mates in preseason.
@WengerIsFrench- I was happy because it meant the new players could have the pre-season games with us and the players get to know each other before the season starts.
@TattedGooner- Yes and yes again. The earlier additions come in, the more time for them to settle and get adjusted in friendlies
@Yoiii- It was quite a pleasant surprise that we signed quality players much much earlier this window. Was it due to the Puma launch or just AW being free because of the World Cup is unknown to me, but it lovely to have players getting to know each other well before the season starts. It shows from the first game, unless you sign all world class players and expect them to hit the deck running.
3.) Some of the signings were replacements- do you think they are of a similar level to those they replaced?
@ObumOsigwe- Yes, in this case they seem to even be better than the players they replaced. Debuchy good going forward and very good with crosses and has surprisingly put in a good shift in the defensive side of his game. I consider him an upgrade on Sagna. Calum Chambers has clearly been a revelation at centre back. He has shown that he is ready to cut it with the best in the big stage so he is a good replacement for Vermaelen. Ospina, from the little I saw of him in the world cup, is a brilliant buy who can give Chezzer an effective competition.
@WengerIsFrench- Obviously the jury still out but I don't think Debuchy is a worse player than Sagna. Chambers will be a better player than Vermaelen. And Ospina looked good at the world cup but can't have a opionion on him yet.
@TattedGooner- Debuchy is definitely the better player offensively compared to Sagna. Sagna defensively more solid but overall Debuchy may be better suited to our style. Chambers replacing Vermaelen can’t be compared in my opinion or it would be unfair to. Chambers is a huge talent but Vermaelen had experience and was a leader and fighter although he was injury and error prone. I think the dressing room will miss his mentality. People might hate here but I think Welbz has got attributes to succeed as the front man for Arsenal. He has definitely got the ability and qualities to be a hit and therefore an upgrade on Giroud.
@Yoiii- The replacements are all upgrades for me. Calum Chambers already appears to be a quality signing being a calm, collected yet effective youngster. Debuchy has shown plenty in the first few games for me to not worry about that position. It again seems like an upgrade as I find his crossing way better. (Bellerin as a no. 2 is an upgrade on Jenks too. ) Sanchez of course is a massive upgrade on Podolski (who might have left had OG stayed fit, I suspect) and so is Campbell for Bendtner. I have no idea how good Ospina is though. But something tells me not to worry about that position.
4.) Rate the transfer window from 1-10
@ObumOsigwe- I rate this transfer window 7. If we had managed to pull off a defensive midfielder I would have given it a 9. The club and manager have done well overall.
@WengerIsFrench- I'll give it a 6. Happy with the players we added but also think we should have done more. Needed one extra cb, at least.
@TattedGooner- 6. Started very well with a lot of excitement, but now we are left exposed at the back (one injury and suspension away from being in big trouble) and still lack that physical presence in the middle of the park (please stay fit Diaby...one time!). Makes it difficult to understand why we let Vermaelen leave, out of contract soon or not. Alexis is a huge addition. Arsenal did very well there. We might not have dreamed of Welbz, but then again we absolutely wanted to avoid Sturridge when he left Chelsea. Chelsea didn’t trust him and see how he’s turned out at Liverpool where they fully do. Lots of similarities between Welbeck and Sturridge and no, not just because they’re black, Mr Marriner. They are both pacy, quite gifted, hard workers and came from big clubs where they weren’t trusted.
@Yoiii- I’d rate it a 7 for all the early work and quality replacements. Yet I find us short in defence, defensive midfield and striker position. A 9 for me would have been Bony+Schneiderlin/Carvalho. Signing Falcao/Cavani/Negredo would have made it an 11/10 window, but see it doesn’t make sense. We are Arsenal under Arsene. And if you forget, he will remind you during every transfer window.
(Me- hey Mr @Yoiii we actually brought Welbeck in so are we really short in striker position? Not imo)
5.) What constitutes a good season for you now and how do you realistically see us faring?
@ObumOsigwe- Challenging competitively for the Premier league title. Making Progress beyond the knockout stages of the Champions League and winning another trophy (League/FA cup). It was a good feeling in August. It won’t be bad if we see a repeat this time around.
@WengerIsFrench- I'll be happy if we can compete for the trophies this season and can get close to at least one. I'll be happy if we finish 3rd as I think City and Chelsea are just better than us.
@TattedGooner- 3rd or 4th, a cup and CL last 8. Let’s be realistic here, we don’t have the squad to dominate in England or Europe. We’re not far away but then again we’ve not been far away for some time. The day we make all the right additions we’ll do it again. With or without Wenger? That’s another debate.
@Yoiii- We’re now the 4th most expensive squad and looking 4th best on paper too, behind City, Chelsea and Utd. Any position above 4th would be a bonus. CL semi and a local cup would be perfect. But who knows what happens if Alexis and Theo light up the wings and Diaby finally wakes up from the dead. Fingers crossed.
Very fair and well reasoned opinions on the transfer window, in my opinion. Many thanks to the guys (@Yoiii, @TattedGooner, @WengerIsFrench, and @ObumOsigwe) for taking time out to contribute. Follow them on twitter.