Seemingly out of the door for much of the summer, did Arsenal miss a trick with their cautious approach to the whole saga?
Arsenal have been flying so far this season, playing a brand of attractive football synonymous with the North London club, it is perhaps a little difficult at this stage to pick holes in the Wenger master plan.
However, when you look at their squad compared to their close rivals, you do notice a worrying lack of depth, something that in my opinion will halt their charge to Premier League honours this season. The rigours of a congested winter fixture list with the potential for injury and fatigue will in my opinion expose the ‘gunners’ and prove how short they are on genuine strength in depth. The coming few weeks will be a test of their credentials, and I would be surprised to see them come out unscathed.
In midfield Arsenal are largely set, the concern though is their options up front. Aside from an on form Olivier Giroud, who do Arsenal really have? An unproven kid in Sanogo and a totally unconvincing Nicholas Bendtner, this isn’t the squad of title winners.
This is why I think Arsenal missed out through lack of ambition in the summer. Luis Suarez and his agent did their level best to manoeuvre themselves away from Anfield, and if it wasn’t for a lack of persistence on Arsenal’s part they may well have got their way. A bid of just over £40m was insufficient to prize the unsettled star from Liverpool, but surely Arsenal could have done more?
We have seen the way clubs and players wrangle in the market to get what they want, Arsenal though seem somewhat adverse to getting their hands dirty, something that may well haunt them come May.
Since returning from his ban Suarez has lit up the Premier League, 6 goals in 4 games have been testament to his sparkling partnership with Daniel Sturridge. Indeed if Liverpool are to return to former glories, their ability to hang on to the mercurial talents Luis Suarez must surely be a defining factor. Technically gifted and full of running, Suarez isn’t your typical front man. Comfortable playing off the striker or as one himself, he offers Liverpool versatility and more importantly unpredictability in the final third. It is for that exact reason that he is such a menace to opposition defences.
Arsenal’s criticisms have usually been about the lack of end product, often overplaying and overpassing much to the frustration of their fans. Suarez is able to do all that but also know exactly when to pull the trigger, the perfect link between the Arsenal midfield and Olivier Giroud you would have thought.
The inability to bring in shouldn’t surprise anyone though, and overtures towards a revival in interest I would imagine will be unfounded. Arsenal for all their hype continue to show a lack of ambition in the transfer market, and as soon as form slips I am sure many Arsenal fans will look back to their pursuit of Suarez as a potential turning point.
Until anything else happens the capture of Mesut Ozil is nothing more than an anomaly, bucking the trend of parsimony displayed by Wenger and Gazidis for a number of years. In the end money buys you trophies, the most successful clubs in European football have on the whole spent big and until Arsenal realise this I think they will continue to fall short of the mark.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but an Arsenal side with Luis Suarez in it not only a much stronger one, but in my opinion a title chasing one.
Recent results may mask the need for investment, but when it comes down to it Arsenal will struggle to end their trophy drought this year and in the main this is down to a summer of cautious spending.
Passing up on the opportunity to sign one of the world’s best is criminal and something Arsenal will live to regret.
Should Arsenal have been more assertive with Suarez?