Thursday, August 31, 2017

Crazy Transfer Window for Arsenal - Part 1/2

One day to go. One day to salvage something from this transfer window, if you are in any way linked with Arsenal. 

Arsenal began the window with measured optimism. Sead Kolasinac joined the club for free. Yes, not just free but Wenger certified free! Oh, a bargain! In the long run, this transfer may turn out to be the bargain of the window from a value for money perspective. And Kolasinac is not just any left back who Arsenal got for free. He's strong, powerful and can make some lung-busting sprints from the left side of the defense which is a valuable trait in a league where flanks are the main counter-attacking route. This aspect is what Arsenal missed in the game against Liverpool. He could've controlled Mane better. 

Then came the record breaking signing of Lyon forward Lacazette. This was the kind of signing Arsenal fans wanted for a long time. It appears that Arsenal have finally replaced Robin van Persie - like for like. Lacazette is a poacher and a finisher of some repute. With Ozil providing, Lacazette only stands to gain by scoring goals expected of him (theoretically, that is). The potential in this Arsenal squad looked tempting and Arsenal fans couldn't wait for the season to start (how things changed!). 

To ensure that this transfer window is successful, Arsenal also had a challenge of letting out fringe players thereby recouping some amount and letting them off the weekly wages. Wenger was successful in selling players like Szczesny and Gabriel, both questionable moves as they could've challenged for first team positions. Gibbs is joining West Brom, which appears to be the right decision for all concerned. Ox could well be on his way to Liverpool. Arsenal still have players like Perez, Debuchy, Wilshere on their books all of whom needs immediate attention. 

But the biggest concern is the Chilean – Sanchez! 
Where will Sanchez end up - Arsenal or Manchester City
Alexis Sanchez, Arsenals biggest hope of winning something this season, is on his way out. Arsenal tried enticing him to sign a new contract, failed, tried again, and failed again. Wenger then went on to say that Sanchez will not be sold in this window. This statement was later tweaked to "Sanchez will not be sold, but board will have the final say" - as if to wash his hands off the Sanchez saga. Now, with a day remaining in the window, what remains is that Sanchez will be sold only for a crazy amount of money or cash + player deal. Manchester City appears to be the interested party. Doesn't it sound like van Persie to Manchester United deal? If Sanchez goes to City, that's like handing City the title on a platter. Sanchez staying will be a financial loss for Arsenal from a business perspective unless Arsenal go on to win the Premier League or at least reach the top 4 (a gain of approximately 30m which can justify Sanchez leaving on a bosman). Considering the form and momentum Arsenal carry, as on date, none appears likely. So, selling Sanchez and reinvesting in an attacking player appears to be the rational choice. 

Another player who can leave on a free next season is Ozil. But, unlike Sanchez, Ozil has always shown a likeness for Arsenal and has made it very clear in no uncertain terms that he wants to stay. For Arsenal, it's great to hear this from a world class attacking midfielder but it amounts to nothing on paper. The dotted lines in the new deal on the table remains empty. Also, unlike Sanchez, there aren't many takers for Ozil in the market. I suspect Dortmund may make a move now that they have sold Dembele and are sitting on a cash pile. But will Arsenal sell? Your guess is as good as mine. 

The climax is just a day away. We are in for a roller coaster ride. Fasten your seat belts. But if you are an Arsenal fan (like me), you probably know that lightning only struck once on transfer deadline day - when Ozil joined. Can it happen again (cough cough *van Dijk* *Asensio* *Seri* *Draxler* cough)? 

Irony: Wenger always wanted the window to close before the season begins. Now these last few hours will be worth the value of gold (or Neymar, whichever is more) for him!

Part 2 of this will be the analysis after the window is closed.

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