Could Arsenal be falling behind already?

The safest thing to do would be to go into full media lockdown with regards to Arsenal transfers. Mathieu Debuchy looks to be Bacary Sagna’s replacement for next season, and Alexis Sanchez is as good as out the door at the Camp Nou, with Barcelona already promoting Luis Suarez as their new No.9 in the club shop.

Maybe there isn’t anything to worry about; that champagne will be ready to open soon enough. But forgive the cynicism on this one, this is a club that has previous, previous of going to great and even humourous lengths to wind up their supporters.

Alexis Sanchez may be Arsenal’s marquee forward signing, or, like Gonzalo Higuain last summer, he could end up in Italy. How about one step further into moonsaulting-out-your window territory? He could do a Juan Mata and end up at a local rival. You never know, Manchester City have way too much cash to sit idly by and not stick a middle finger up at one of next season’s title contenders.

There is cause for concern because Arsenal are being left behind by teams who aren’t for following the nonsensical ideal that players can’t be bought either before or during a major international tournament.

Chelsea have landed Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa; Manchester United have addressed two glaring needs by signing Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw; Liverpool, not content to sit on their hands and hope for an improvement on last season to come naturally, have signed three players thus far. As for Arsene Wenger, well he just looks a little too relaxed on the beaches of Brazil, only really taking time out of his day of kickabouts with the locals to dine with a few ex-players, who are definitely not coming out of retirement for one last hurrah.

It’s true, clubs have departments that can handle the day-to-day of the transfer window without the manager, but at Arsenal, I’m not entirely convinced Dick Law actually exists.

Any other club could get away with it – and after all, it’s still only the beginning of July. But Arsenal aren’t to be treated like any other club when it comes to transfers, notoriously having a history of ill-preparation and skilful yet insubstantial PR.

At this stage of the summer, Alexis very much feels like Higuain of last summer, Yann M’Vila of the year before and Mata the summer prior to that. All players who apparently had the club’s shirt in hand ready for the customary first photo shoot, only for a strong London breeze to carry them off elsewhere. And strong London breeze can be substituted for dithering. Oh how we both love and loathe that word.

All the money in the world may not be able to change Wenger. Despite the club’s supporters breaking off into factions, we’re still not absolutely sure whether Wenger has a long-standing reluctance to spend, or if the club’s hierarchy have been withholding funds.

But this summer is vital for the manager in repairing that severely damaged relationship with a majority of the fan base. Nothing has changed at this point. Arsenal may be extremely close to signing a host of new players, but close doesn’t win you a league title. Again, excuse the cynicism, but you know…

In a summer promising much, with the club not holding back on parading their new sponsorship deal with Puma, the club can’t afford to follow the tired and disastrous transfer routine of the past.


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