***Written Pre Transfer Deadline Day***
By: Tarik Demoura
As the transfer window comes to a close, have Arsenal added enough to challenge the marquee names that were desired? As news of another supposed failed Antoine Griezmann bid fell through and as skeptical as I am, I heard from sources both here and in Spain that an approach was made but the player wasn’t keen on the deal. Either for the timing not being right or the most common reason, the money was no enough to tempt him away.
As I said before the Euros, Arsenal should have moved Heaven and Earth to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Emirates. A truly world-class player who at 34, is far from being past his best. But more importantly, a huge presence and a winning mentally that Arsenal have missed since the likes of Adams, Bergkamp, and Henry just to name a few. These players were more than world-class footballers, they were able to excel at the psychical aspects of the game, and in many cases over-power their opponents. Ibrahimovic is that player, and he has proved that at Old Trafford this season. He is capable of making a huge impact on the team on and off the pitch. My point is that the issues at Arsenal are very clear to see, Arsene Wenger has fails to address the areas that so clearly need improvement time and time again.
The players that have arrived in German International Mustafi and the Spanish Forward Perez, who is not a household name by the way. From what I have seen in the past from both these players could represent a gamble. Mustafi is a competent central defender comfortable with ball at his feet and strong in the air, a regular in the German national team and comes with good experience for a 24-year-old. However he had an indifferent time under Gary Neville. Last season he was far from his best and some in Spain are not convinced that he is of good enough overall quality for a side of Arsenal’s stature. That being said, he is a good addition to the squad and with the early promise that Rod Holding is showing, we have good options at center back when all are fit. Look at Koscielny, he was an unknown from the French 2nd tier league and he has developed in to a top class player. So Arsene can still spot a player but I think he got it wrong with Gabriel.
I am far from convinced that Gabriel can handle the physical side of the Premier League, and I believe the gunners need a bigger and strong partner for Koscielny. I believe Holding and Mustafi can be that partner. Both could prove to be good signings despite the difference in price tag. Lucas Perez, a player I had seen playing against the bigger clubs in La Liga but I must admit not a player on my radar. What he will bring as a forward is direct running and pace and the ability to run in behind defenses. In the central positions he hit 17 goals and 8 assists including goals against the big three in La Liga. Some have likened him to Vardy in playing style.
I see a lot of David Villa in the way he plays, always on the move and making runs to move defenses. The ability to run the channels and willingness to engage and run at defenders. While its only a slight comparison, I do think Perez will be a good addition to Arsenal’s forward line. He will give the team a very good weapon on the counter attack. The new recruits must settle quickly and hit the ground running to make the impact needed. Although I do believe Mustafi and Perez are good additions, the question remains, will they prove to be better than what we already have? I guess time will tell.
The biggest factor, and I have said this before, is the ability to keep the majority of the squad fit for the whole season. With the two additions, Arsenal have the depth to compete. The midfield options, if all fit are outstanding. Two solid and strong additions to the defense. Although I still think an out-and-out goalscorer was still needed, Perez is a good addition non the less. Arsenal are Set up to compete but as in previous season have had to settle for second best home and abroad. The pressure is more than ever on Mr. Wenger to deliver. Have Arsenal done enough to compete? or will it be second place all over again?
Written By: Tarik Demoura, follow him on Twitter; @
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