The winter window is open you know Arsène?
You know, the short period of time during which you are allowed to strengthen your squad, add new faces, and cover holes that went somehow unnoticed in the past three years.
I reckon those very little issues were hard to identify, however now they came to light a solution must be found.
How on Earth are we yet to announce any deal?
We have only two experienced centre-halves in the team, we have three senior full-backs and a handful of promising youngsters whose amount of minutes played in the Premier League among them is 3,271 – the equivalent of 37 games, less than one season.
Add the fact that one of our centre-backs is suffering from chronic Achilles’ tendon inflammation and two of our full-backs are highly injury prone and you have a clear picture of our calamitous situation.
I expected us to announce the signing of one additional defender on January, 2nd – as soon as the window opened – and I still don’t get why we appear to be so hesitant.
Arsène Wenger loves to say that “if we identify the right player, we will buy” but it sounds terribly wrong when you have left your defensive unit so exposed; of course we should target the best players but that must be secondary to the fact that a correct and fair coverage of every department of your squad is ensured.
We played with fire last term when we went the whole season with only three centre-halves, we had our Arse’s saved by Bacary Sagna several times and yet Arsène Wenger refused to sign an additional central defender last summer – allowing Thomas Vermaelen to leave and join Barcelona, instead.
Our unexpected luck couldn’t last much longer, especially in a post-World Cup season like this one, and when Laurent Koscielny got injured we were brutally exposed.
We played the most important game of the season – against Besiktas – with an unproven right-back partnering Per Mertesacker in central defence; then we had Nacho Monreal pairing up with the BFG for some games and even Mathieu Débuchy – who never spent a minute of his entire career as centre-half – playing alongside our vice-skipper through the middle.
Although those gambles paid off – at least most of the time – that was supposed to be emergency management (generated by some audacious decisions made by Arsène Wenger himself, by the way); I am no longer sure we can refer to playing full-backs out of position as “emergency management”.
I always found quite funny the fact that we had to wait until the last minute of deadline day to announce any signing; however it’s no longer funny these days. It could happen for complicated negotiations involving star players like Andrey Arshavin or Mesut Özil, or for players becoming available suddenly like Danny Welbeck; it shouldn’t be the case for a defender who is expected to provide coverage and competition to more experienced and better teammates.
Those wonderful deals concluded very early during last summer prompted many (including myself) to think that something was changing at the Club, today’s inactivity suggests it was an exception more than anything else.
We are wasting time and wasting chances looking for a bargain transfer that could never happen: Arsène Wenger’s ideal signing must be top quality, accept reasonable wages and come for the right price; do you get how unusual this combination is?
I don’t want to hear that “no player better than those we already have was available” every time a window closes and we missed our targets – it’s disrespectful and makes me feel embarrassed to be honest.