ARSENAL’S transfer window, which started so well, has descended into complete chaos.
The Gunners went into the transfer window on a high after beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
There was an abundance of goodwill directed towards the manager and squad after what had been a tumultuous season.
To add to the positive feeling, reinforcements were added early.
The Gunners signed Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke to bolster the left side of their defence, and also completed a deal for Alexandre Lacazette, Ligue 1’s top goalscorer.
At that stage, the plan seemed quite clear.
Three to four quality additions, hold on to the best players and release players who were not involved/no longer in Arsene Wenger’s plans.
However since the arrival of the two new additions, Arsenal’s transfer window has slowly gone downhill, and has recently spiralled into a complete mess.
The first warning signs were becoming apparent during Arsenal’s pursuit of Thomas Lemar.
The player was keen to move and had travelled to London in mid-June in order to hold talks, however Arsenal’s bids fell well short of Monaco’s valuation, meaning the principality were reluctant to do business.
It was a sign of the old Arsenal doing business, as opposed to a new, more ruthless approach.
Acquisitions were then put onto the backburner, with Arsenal wanting to clear the wage bill and generate some funds.
Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson, Calum Chambers, Lucas Perez, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud were all free to leave.
The plan was to recoup close to £100m in player sales.
However Arsenal have struggled to move on the majority of the surplus players on, leaving the squad unhealthily bloated, and rest of their summer plans hamstrung.
In addition to the above, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, each with 12 months on their contracts remaining, had now become subject to interest from a host of top rival top clubs.
But the message from Wenger remained clear on all three – they were not for sale.
However, with Oxlade-Chamberlain, there was an understanding between player and club that he would sign a new deal after telling him he was happy to stay.
This however never came to fruition, leaving the club wide open with a player who had yet to really nail down a position in the side.
As things stand, Arsenal find themselves in a position of only signing two first-team players, despite finishing fifth in the league.
In addition, they’ve had to raise funds by allowing key first-team players to move on.
The £40m sale of Oxlade Chamberlain to Chelsea has been sanctioned, as well as fellow first-teamer Shkodran Mustafi allowed to hold talks with Inter over a loan-to-permanent move.
All of this, again, reflects badly on Arsenal and boss Wenger.
Despite having a plan at the start of the summer, there appears to be a lack of ruthlessness when dealing with contracts, unwanted players and potential transfer targets.
More alarmingly, there appears to have been no Plan B yet again, leaving the club scrambling with only 48 hours of the transfer window to go.
Once the window slams shut, serious questions must be asked about the approach and strategy of the club.
Arsenal are in serious danger of drifting into mid-table mediocrity if they don’t make some serious changes and fast.
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