Arsenal, perhaps only for a short time, have walked into a grey area in this summer’s transfer market. Maybe it’s inadvertent; in fact I’m sure it is. But as has been mentioned in the past, Arsenal’s transfer activity is so unpredictable and at times infuriating that it’s difficult to establish whether they have purpose to what they’re doing.
What can be said about the club this summer is that they do seem to have something new or even different about them. Gonzalo Higuain was seen as the first-choice target (if we discount Stevan Jovetic, for whom it was reported Arsenal never really made an approach). Now that Florentino Perez has decided he’d quite fancy hanging onto one of his better players – though I don’t actually believe that to be the case – Arsenal have shifted focus onto Luis Suarez.
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Now we could look to that as Arsenal once again fumbling around trying to make up their mind or “dithering,” or we could praise the club for having genuine options when a brick wall was hit on the preferred choice. The point is, we’ll never know, and it’s so easy to reach one conclusion over the other.
It would also be a poorly chosen conclusion to label players like Suarez or Wayne Rooney as bigger fish over Higuain. What can the other two do that the Argentine isn’t capable of? Oh yes, the easy target is to label Higuain a likely flop in English football because he’s never played here. Or, and this has been done, to suggest that Higuain just isn’t that good because why would Real Madrid get rid of someone of his perceived ability. Just like a whole host of Dutchmen, Claude Makelele and Esteban Cambiasso, right?
The other point to take from much of this is that perhaps Arsene Wenger is looking to really push the boat out and bring in two forwards this summer – one of the obvious landing spots to arrive at due to the wealth of targets apparently in mind. But isn’t that kind of foolish? It would be wise to remember that Wenger doesn’t like wholesale changes. He’d go into next season with what he has if he were allowed to, I’m sure. Wenger will rarely bring in four or five players at once (bar that mess of a summer in 2011), and with a goalkeeper, defender and midfielder still very much needed, is it really feasible to say Wenger will buy two of Higuain, Rooney and Suarez? And that’s completely ignoring the cash it would take to bring in all these targets.
At this stage, it’s make of it what you will, because there really is nothing in history to go on, other than Wenger’s reluctance to make sweeping changes. Maybe that’s the positive with Arsenal. The club keep their cards so close to their chest that it’s impossible to foresee their next move. Either that or it’s an illusion created from no one at the club really knowing what’s going on.
Higuain looked to be the most likely arrival, and it still seems as though the Argentine will arrive. If not for Arsenal’s desire to sign him, then for the player’s decision to leave the Bernabeu this summer without question. A new manager in Carlo Ancelotti won’t make a difference; Higuain wants to be the number one striker at a club and he won’t ever be afforded that status at Real Madrid. Arsenal, more than wanting him, absolutely need him.
As for Suarez, you have to question whether he’s a Wenger player, not in playing style of course, but in his attitude. Then there’s the matter of the player’s ban spilling over into next season. For a fee in the region of £35 million, is it really worth Arsenal’s time to buy a striker who will miss six games? Titles can be won and lost in shorter periods of time.
Have Arsenal given up the chase on Gonzalo Higuain?
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