Arsenal looked like real title favourites last season before they slipped away, and the task for Arsene Wenger this term is to go that extra mile and really mount a charge for the big prize.
The once frugal Frenchman has shown in recent times that he’s ready to open the club’s chequebook, with this summer having yielded the £35m purchase of Alexis Sanchez – a sum only beaten by British record buy Angel di Maria at Manchester United.
But have the major questions been answered? Has Wenger solved the recurring problems at Arsenal? And can they finally challenge for the title once again? Here’s how we think the window went for the Londoners.
Had Arsenal had a world-class striker last season, they may well have made the title battle a four-horse race. But Olivier Giroud’s form dipped and Yaya Sanogo was… well he was another body.
So with a whole summer at his disposal, has Wenger solved the issue? In a word, no. Danny Welbeck was the headline gabbing deadline day signing, but the England international has never been famed for his goalscoring prowess. Mario Balotelli was a target they passed on, while Radamel Falcao is now on loan at Manchester United, leaving Arsenal’s frontline much weaker than all their major rivals’.
Arsenal led the way longer than any other side last season, but eventually their dip in form saw them scrapping for fourth spot. Déjà vu.
Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy have added quality, while Welbeck is another option up front to take the pressure off of Giroud. Of course the club still have their top talents of last season, but in terms of depth the Gunners are some way off of Chelsea and Manchester City.
It’s a little cliché, but Arsenal have not been a real title heavyweight since the exit of Patrick Vieira.
And this summer is yet another to add to the list of those in which he has not been replaced. Wenger could have drafted in William Carvalho, yet he opted against doing so, while, arguably, the £35m spent on Sanchez may have been better used on his Chilean compatriot, Arturo Vidal.
Wojciech Szczesny was impressive last season, but the Pole has never been the most convincing of stoppers at Arsenal. But he certainly has a capable stand-in now in the shape of David Ospina.
The Colombian ‘keeper was excellent at the World Cup, and looks to be a cut above the now departed Lukasz Fabianski. He may have to wait for a Szczesny mistake for his chance, but Ospina will be ready.
The latest Arsenal player to trade north London for Manchester was Bacary Sagna, who left on a free transfer to become a City star.
Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers are the two men signed who can fill the role, and early indications suggest the former is more than ready following his switch from Newcastle. Chambers has been used as an emergency centre-back, but his long-term position may be on the right, where he will no doubt impress.