We can’t have a stress-free transfer window, can we?
The signings of Granit Xhaka, Skhodran Mustafi and Lucas Pérez seemed to finally complete a squad that was desperately calling for reinforcements, but the joy didn’t last much.
We just overcame the terrifying idea of Arsène Wenger not replacing the injured pair Per Mertesacker-Gabriel and counting on Yaya Sanogo to challenge Olivier Giroud for a spot upfront, when worrying rumors about Calum Chambers being very close to join Middlesbrough on loan came out; shortly after, reports emerged about Jack Wilshere being made available for a temporary switch to another Premier League Club and finally news broke that Serge Gnabry is closing on Arsenal exit, with Werder Bremen keen on snapping him away from the Emirates Stadium – although it remains unclear whether the transfer would be permanent or temporary.
Add to that the inevitable sale of Mathieu Débuchy, plus Joel Campbell already training with Sporting in Portugal and the squad is much thinner than wished, especially at the back.
It’s true that Gabriel will be available again in a couple of months and so will be Carl Jenkinson, but why is Arsène Wenger taking the unnecessary risk of leaving the defensive unit that short?
Hector Bellerín virtually has no back-up and the only options available today would be moving Shkodran Mustafi at right-back – which will leave our centre-halves contingent short – or deploying Francis Coquelin there, in a very Flaminiesque move.
I understand that it is unfair to freeze Calum Chambers out and block his loan move but I wish Arsène Wenger was a bit more ruthless from time to time, putting the Club’s interests above his players’ and taking drastic decisions; how much harm can four months of very limited first-team football do to Calum Chambers’ career?
He could leave in January, when Per Mertesacker would also be back, and get the minutes he needs until June, before a final decision is made about his future: Arsène Wenger doesn’t seem to trust him, Rob Holding has already leapfrogged him in the pecking order and it is very likely that Calum Chambers will fight against Gabriel to stay at the Club – as one of them seems to be on his way at the end of the season.
The situation is slightly different for Jack Wilshere: the arrivals of Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka have brought his chances to play in centre midfield down to zero, the competition is way too strong for a player who simply cannot stay fit long enough to fight for his place.
With Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin – plus the former FC Basel duo – battling for the two spots in front of our back four line, I thought that Jack Wilshere could be used in a more advanced role, perhaps even wide, where he could run at opponents and provide some much-needed urgency, pace and trickery in areas where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott struggle to create dangers consistently.
The fact that Arsène Wenger doesn’t consider Jack Wilshere as a viable option for those roles, despite giving him his debut at left-wing, is a bad news for the player himself – especially as competition in midfield isn’t ageing that much (except Santi Cazorla).
It feels like a very last chance he’s given to prove his fitness and demonstrate he can have a future at the Club, Arsène Wenger seems ready to draw a line on Jack Wilshere career at the Arsenal, unless the midfielder manages to re-born away from the Emirates Stadium.
Along Jack Wilshere, there is another player who could have pushed for a place in the attacking trio of midfielders but is moving away, instead; of course, I am talking about Serge Gnabry.
The German had an outstanding Olympic tournament and was named Germany’s best player, a well-deserved reward after his nightmare spell at West Brom last season, and looked ready to battle for a place in the team.
Arsène Wenger wanted to extend his contract and give him a chance, instead the player seems on the verge of a switch to Werder Bremen, with Bayern Munich also rumoured to be interested.
Losing such a talent would be sad but it would also leave us with very little wide players available: as said, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott aren’t consistent enough to provide the goals and assists needed to compete at the top, while Alex Iwobi – currently injured – is still young and raw, although extremely promising; Joel Campbell is gone, Alexis Sánchez is still a striker in Arsène Wenger’s mind and the new boy Lucas Pérez is the only alternative we have, today.
The Spanish guy has successfully made the transition from being a winger to being a striker, it would be confusing to consider him as a wide player again, especially following Arsène Wenger’s comments about his finishing skills.
Are we going into the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi as our recognized wingers – counting on Alexis Sánchez, Lucas Pérez and the returning Danny Welbeck to come in when needed?
It would be risky and would bring the team a step backwards after the excellent job done in the transfers window, so far.
Sure, it would give players like Jeff Reine-Adelaïde and Chris Willock a chance to get some first-team football but it would make us a Club neglecting the present for a hypothetical future success – again.
We have great players, we have experienced professionals in their peak years, should we really take the risk of sacrificing that on the altar of youth?