This was supposed to be the summer of Arsenal showing their Premier League rivals that they can spend just as much as the rest of them, but so far it’s either been leading to false trails of hope, like in the case of Gonzalo Higuain, or rejection after rejection in the case of Luis Suarez.
In the end, what good are £70 million if you’re going after the wrong players? It’s not a matter of making the right or wrong decisions: Arsenal are going after the best strikers available, according to more and less reliable sources, only for some reason they’re coming up short.
Gonzalo Higuain seemed to be in the bag about three weeks ago, but since then Carlo Ancelotti has changed everything. He doesn’t seem to mind the Argentine striker staying and anyway, Florentino Perez said Arsenal haven’t even made an offer for the player. In any case, he seems to be closer to Napoli (According to more up-to-date rumors) than anyone else.
And what about Suarez? Liverpool have confirmed Arsenal have made bids for the player, but even the latest one, worth £40 million (something that there are those that suggested means triggering some alleged release clause), was turned down by Liverpool. It’s not just the price tag of £55 million set by the club (working on a logic that Suarez is worth just as much as Edinson Cavani), but it’s simply Liverpool not wanting to sell, especially not to a Premier League team.
Where does this leave Arsenal? When it comes to strikers, it’s with the OK but limited Olivier Giroud, a too-young-to-make-an-immediate impact Yaya Sanogo, and a bunch of forwards like Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and even Gervinho, who Arsenal can’t seem to get rid of.
In short? For now, nothing has changed from last season, and I’m pretty sure plenty of Arsenal fans feel that it isn’t going to change by the time the season begins. The preseason tour in Asia is bringing up the usual questions about certain young talent and their chances of being a part of the senior team as soon as possible, but that’s not the real answer to Arsenal’s problems, which are a combination of a prolonged abandonment of high-profile signings, leaving the club quite deep in most positions but with very few, if any, world class players, and either being outgunned or declined in the transfer market time after time.
Are there players left out there that are worthy of spending on? Probably. Arsenal need a defensive midfielder badly, and trying to find a quality left winger that’s better than Lukas Podolski wouldn’t be a bad idea. Goalkeepers are hard to come by, but it doesn’t seem the Polish stock Arsenal have been betting on for years will be what helps them catch up with United, City and Chelsea. A better right back than what they currently have shouldn’t be too hard to find as well.
It doesn’t take spending all the £70 million to have a good summer in terms of transfers, but the lack of activity combined with lack of success is neither encouraging or surprising.