We look at how our transfer window compares to that of our rivals. First up: Tottenham Hotspur.
On the face of it, Arsenal have smashed Spurs into the shadows this summer. We have signed more senior players (four to their three), we have spent more money (£89m to their £39m) and our average player purchase is significantly higher (£22.3m to their £13m).
But as we all know, numbers aren’t everything when it comes to signings. Just ask Louis van Gaal, or indeed, Daniel Levy in the summer of Gareth Bale’s departure.
Indeed, it’s all about addressing the key needs your squad has, both what was lacking last year and filling any gaps left by departures.
For Arsenal, this meant a centre back, a deeper midfielder and a centre forward, as the squad from last season remained intact pretty much in its entirety.
By any metric, we have had – albeit belatedly – a pretty impressive window.
We’ve signed a top international centre back in Mustafi as well as young pretender Holding who has already quietly impressed. We’ve brought in composure, vision and no small amount of fight in the shape of Granit Xhaka. And we’ve signed a forward who has been nothing short of prolific in La Liga, especially when you consider Perez has been playing for a side with no creativity.
Throw in a couple of youngsters, Nwakali and Asano, and you’ve got some potential there too, whether they turn out to be the next Fabregas and Henry or the next Merida and Jeffers.
Mustafi, Xhaka and Perez are players who improve the first team itself, while Holding adds additional squad depth which gives us a level of backup the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. The only player we would now truly struggle to replace in the event of injury would be one Mesut Ozil, but that’s because – y’know – he’s MESUT OZIL.
Meanwhile, Spurs desperately needed a centre forward, a winger and at the very least some additional cover at centre back. Their tailaway last season was demonstrative of the lack of squad depth in key positions of the team, with Kane, Alli and Alderweireld played into the ground right through the spine of their team.
The centre forward has been acquired, with Janssen looking a decent prospect, but the other two areas have been somewhat overlooked. The loss of the versatile Chadli is something of a surprise, when they needed a winger already, and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou’s arrival following a saga of Arsenal-esque standards simply fills that gap. Meanwhile, their centre back options remain wafer thin, with the quality of Vertonghen and Alderweireld undeniable, but little in the way of back up.
One area it didn’t look like they needed a player was in central midfield, but that changed with the departures of Mason and Bentaleb. Wanyama is a solid signing, and, of course, they also spent £30m for Moussa Sissoko at the death, but do they really want us to remind them of that?
Wenger just turned on SSN to see Spurs paying £30m for Sissoko pic.twitter.com/O7NJmS9oT6
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) August 31, 2016
If there is to be one criticism of Arsenal’s transfer business this summer, it is simply that it has been transacted a little too late, but the calibre of the signings and their fit with the squad needs are undeniable. The shadows stretching over our neighbours have grown in size and stature.
Meanwhile, Spurs have filled the striking hole which has threatened to swallow them up for a couple of seasons as they gambled on Kane’s fitness, but in the other areas of their team they have failed to add any depth to their squad with players brought in to replace departures rather than in addition, and other areas left threadbare.
We already finished above Spurs last year, as in the preceding 21 seasons, and for all the talk of power shifts, based on the transfer activity this summer that gulf has only widened.
All together now: oh when the wheeeeeeeeeels!