Summer 2016 Transfers


Yet again, we have been left foolishly hopeful that Wenger would’ve approached this summer transfer window with Drake’s advice to “play it dirty, not clean”. As I prepare to head to Los Angeles for the last preseason match of the Arsenal US tour, I realise that we as fans are in the familiar stasis of watching the club delay on signings with a short squad only two weeks left before the start of the Premier League season.

It is the potential that is most frustrating to the supporters. Looking back on the lineups including the likes of Almunia and Eboue are a definitive reminder that the “project” truly has been reset after the disintegration prior. The two recent matches against RC Lens and the MLS All-Stars showed us two things; our youth and reserves are exciting, and that Debuchy is past it. Don’t get hung up on the latter. For the first time in a long time, we have very little dead load and a squad that needs only specific supplemental signings to be top-class.

We’ve watched the rumors of signings come and go as they sign with their current club or others. Surely, this was the year that Arsene would break his traditions (even a little) and obtain the talent he needs to deliver the success that we need. Much like years prior and years to come, however, supporters are entering August disenfranchised and with exhausted fingers crossed that we will bring in even the second tier of prospects.

I was lucky enough to see the preseason match in Los Angeles live, and Walcott’s performance against relatively weak opposition in the preseason matches has been less than stellar. Given the chance to play up top, the rest of the squad was left wanting when looking for a penetrating run or link-up play. One would expect him to go all out to prove his worth and naturally shine in these friendlies, but it was simply not the case. I will preface my next statement by saying that I do like Walcott and have supported him as a player and a representative of our club. On the back of this preseason, and previous seasons, I see no reason that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can not fill all gaps left by the loss of Theo.

I have to give credit to an emerging leader and a truly consistent talent, Monreal. It has been apparent that he is a wonderful defender and top talent working up the wing. This preseason, he has shown himself to be constantly communicating, directing, and supporting the rest of the team while leading by example with his play! If we are counting our players for a “spine of leaders” or the proverbial “seven hard men” he is certainly in the mix and deserves the credit he has worked for.
It’s not all doom and gloom. One of the most noticeable positives from the summer friendlies is the path of development between the sides that have been playing. Watch the replays for the change in tempo and precision after the older, more-experienced substitutes are brought on. There is a visible growth in the players as they progress from the youth side, to the reserves, to the subs, to the first team. All of our players and future prospects are talented, of course, but it is great that the club will directly benefit from effective internal development now and into the upcoming seasons. The likes of Jeff, Iwobi, Zelalem, Willock, Bielik, Holding, and Chambers have the promise to continue to impress.

View the preseason post on GoonerInCali.com