A largely disappointing transfer window for Arsenal fans became interesting over the last few days. Here we assess what’s happened lately and what it means for the season ahead.
By far the biggest story of the Deadline Day for Arsenal fans saw Bournemouth sealing the deal to take England midfielder Jack Wilshere on loan until the end of the season.
It was announced earlier this week that the club would be willing to let the 24-year-old go out on loan in order to get the regular first-team football he requires to get his mojo back. The only real surprise is that Wilshere chose to ply his trade at Bournemouth, rather than accept offers from Roma, AC Milan or Crystal Palace. For the South Coast side, it seems to be a superb coup and Premier League betting sites now have the Cherries at 2/9 to stay up. Their fans should also be delighted to be getting a player with Premier League experience and 34 international caps.
For Wilshere, it represents a great opportunity to put his injury woes behind him and become part of Sam Allardyce’s England plans and convince Arsene Wenger that he still has at future at the Emirates Stadium. The midfielder must have thought his days on-loan were long gone after his successful spell at Bolton during the 2009-10 season, but frustrating injuries have stalled his progress and he now needs to prove himself again. After his time on loan to the Trotters, the club were desperate to sign him permanently, but Wenger snubbed that deal and brought him back into the squad to partner Alex Song. Now, Arsenal are brimming with midfield talent in the form of Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Mohamed Elneny, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil. If Bournemouth do wish to make the move permanent, it’s perhaps unlikely Wenger will refuse this time around.
Mustafi and Perez
World Cup winning centre back Shkodran Mustafi is a welcome addition, as is striker Lucas Perez. That there was such a gap of inactivity between the acquisition of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach to the signings of Perez from Deportivo La Coruna and Mustafi from Valencia, gives them the air of panic buys. Panic buying isn’t always a bad thing, as Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker would also fall under the category of Deadline Day panic purchases. Yet it’s not really what you’d expect from a club of Arsenals statue and the names Santos and Kallstrom should provide enough evidence that it’s not a perfect scenario to be in.
On paper things look good however, as Mustafi is strong, has a good engine and isn’t afraid of scrapping it out with strikers. His ability in the air and tactical intelligence, developed through spells in both La Liga and Serie A, should provide better protection for Peter Cech in goal.
Perez’s career to date and modest fee mean that he’s not exactly raising excitement levels or expectations for Gunners fans. Yet, he is a player in form, with 17 goals last season for a struggling Deportivo team and if he can chip in his fair share, alongside the efforts of Giroud, Sanchez and Walcott it could be another season challenging for the title. At the very least he provides an interesting option until Danny Welbeck returns around the start of the year.