For a few clubs, this transfer window has been groundbreaking. Norwich, Swansea and Tottenham have all broken their transfer record fees. They have all splashed out on strikers. Norwich in Wolfswinkel, Swansea in Bony and Manchester United on Fabregas/Tiago/Herrera..oh wait…Marouane Fellaini and Tottenham on Soldado. It was also nice to see Daniel Levy’s transfer ‘brilliance’ backfire as he missed out on a Bale replacement in Willian and he also facilitated Mesut Ozil’s move to Arsenal for half of what they Madrid paid for Bale. Well done Levy.
Ozil is a truly fantastic player and Arsenal, although they aren’t, could consider themselves title favourites. Recently on the radio a man criticised Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy ,asking ‘when you have a leaky roof, do you go and buy a brand new spanking sofa?’ Whilst this was not the most intellectual analogy I have ever heard, it did get across the point that emirates needs a new roof for the stadium…they also need a new centre back, a goalkeeper and a striker. I laughed at this and my nerves were settled at the thought of koscielny giving away another penalty and the thought of giroud getting injured. Arsenal have only really re-enforced where they were strong.
Then a thought hit me, it hit me so hard that i almost so hard that I fell off my brand new spanking sofa. That Chelsea had pretty much done exactly the same, but to take the analogy further, whilst we have now 3 or 4 brand new spanking sofas, we have a t.v that doesn’t even have channel 5 and whilst we have the brand new sofas, our floor that supports these sofas are not providing the much needed assistance that they require and let’s face if, our roof is a bit leaky as well. Now to turn that into football terms- our strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are just not up to scratch.(I will reserve judgement for Eto’o for more games although a 32 year old who has played the last 4 years in Russian football can not be a world class player). Our 2 man midfield pivot simply can not control games and whilst I love and respect Lampard more than I can say, he doesn’t have the legs to set the tempo of the game and control it against the best. Even against Hull City FC when they brought on Huddlestone and Livermore, we struggled to assert our authority in midfield. Marco Van Ginkel will surely prove to be a shrewd signing but we need someone for the present.Gary Cahill is nowhere near the quality of a top 3 starting centre back and with John Terry getting on a bit, I thought this season we could have invested sensibly.
If we actually compare transfers with Arsenal, they are frighteningly similar.
Goalkeepers – both bought well- Emilio Viviano and Mark Schwarzer
Defenders – neither purchased, both needed.
Midfielders- Chelsea invested in Ginkel, arsenal nothing.
Attacking midfielders – Ozil for Arsenal. Chelsea – Willian, Andre Schurrle, Kevin De Bruyne
Strikers – Yaya Sanogo for Arsenal – free, Samuel Eto’o for Chelsea free.
Yes we did buy more players in attacking midfield but that was surely the position we were most adequate in. Yes, we did purchase Samuel Eto’o but he is 32 years old and from the looks of the Everton game, he has lost a lot of the pace that set him apart from the rest.
Whilst we did bid for Wayne Rooney, I thought in a sense we were played by Manchester United (even Gill has just admitted to never was to let Rooney out of his Manchester shackles) and I think Mourinho’s arrogance in making him his sole transfer target backfired against us. Did anyone actually expect Manchester United to sell their (arguably) best player to a rival? No, they are not Arsenal. You can argue that we tried for players but there are always players available and the very best, as Arsenal showed us. As far I am concerned, we did not put an offer in for an experienced midfielder or defender all summer and in the end we have ended up stocking up where we don’t need to. Whilst the criticism was inevitably made about David Moyes and Ed Woodward not getting their top transfer targets, they spotted where they needed better quality and in Felliaini they have a player who I think is perfect for them and fill the role that we needed filling.
I’m not saying we can’t win the league this year and I am absolutely not saying that we have a bad squad but I was bitterly disappointed by our actions in the transfer window and the money that we spent on buying a 7th attacking midfielder could have been used to greater effect. Moreover, I can not think for a second why we did not keep our highest scoring striker of last year. I understand that Romelu Lukaku wants more game time but his scoring record at West Brom and our other striker’s performances (excluding Eto’o) have indicated that he could have played a huge part in this season.We certainly could have used him against Everton.