Transfer activity so far
IN: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United) - £12m, Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) - £35m, David Ospina (Nice) - £3m, Calum Chambers (Southampton) - £16m
OUT: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City) - Free, Zak Ansah (Charlton Athletic) - Free, Bacary Sagna (Manchester City) - Free, Nicklas Bendtner (Released), Park Chu Young (Released), Chuks Aneke (Released), Daniel Boateng (Released), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad) - £8.8m, Thomas Eisfeld (Fulham) - £400k
Brief overview of signings
As one of Ballsy Banter's resident Arsenal fans, I couldn’t be any happier right now. After winning the FA Cup, Arsene Wenger has conducted the club’s transfer dealings in quick fashion this summer, and it’s proving to be a successful strategy in the process. It’s only July and there’s been a flurry of new arrivals at the club, and following the signing of Calum Chambers, the total racks up to four signings in 19 days with the club still in the market for more. That’s an incredible piece of business when you take into account how the past few summers have gone.
Bacary Sagna and Lukasz Fabianski were the first to announce their departures from the first team, with their respective Bosman moves to Manchester City and Swansea City going through quickly. Following this, reports of Carlos Vela making a return to the club after two impressive years at Real Sociedad were catching fire; however, Arsenal saw great sense, in my opinion, in selling his buy-out clause for £8.8m. Shrewd business. After extensive flirting in Brazil and playing football on a beach during the World Cup, Wenger made his move to capture the first star signing since Mesut Ozil last summer; Chile’s explosive forward Alexis Sanchez.
I regard this to be an excellent signing for £35m, as Sanchez will add an extra dimension to the team; raw pace and acute finishing up front, as well as the versatility to play on either of the flanks, a position that bagged him 20 goals for Barcelona last season. Following Sanchez, the club took quick steps to fill the void left by Bacary Sagna and finalised a deal for Newcastle’s Mathieu Debuchy for £12m. A ready-made replacement with Premier League experience, Debuchy is exactly the type of player Wenger needed to sign in this situation. One of Colombia’s World Cup heroes was the next addition. David Ospina was plucked from Nice for a mere £3m, a modern day bargain in my opinion. He should provide healthy competition with Wojciech Szczesny for the no.1 spot after showing some excellent displays for Colombia. The most surprising buy was the Calum Chambers transfer from Southampton. The deal sprung out of nowhere, but he is regarded a fine prospect by the Southampton coaches, who compare his potential to that of Luke Shaw. I believe Wenger paying £16m for a teenager who can play RB, CB and CDM not only adds strength in depth the squad but shows faith in his eye for promising English talent. Chambers should prove to be a great signing in due time.
5 key targets and how’d they fit in
To hear the club still in the market for other players is fantastic news, and something Arsenal fans will love to hear. I’ve listed five potential players who I think would complete the Gunners' squad in their respective positions for the upcoming season. Let’s take a look:
William Carvalho – One of the most highly rated players in Portugal right now, Carvalho is a strong tackler and excellent passer of the ball. At 22, he has the potential to turn into a world-class CDM and Arsene can develop his game to flourish in the Premier League. He would be able to fit in easily in midfield or defence - Estimate: £24-27m;
Sami Khedira – Khedira has one year left on his deal at Real Madrid, and if purchased, he can add support in attack and defence by recovering the ball and joining the team with his powerful mid-range shooting. The fact that he’s 6ft 2 is also important as he can add some much-needed strength in the middle - Estimate £15m;
Morgan Schneiderlin – Southampton’s French CDM seems to be the perfect piece to the central midfield jigsaw. I believe Wenger should battle with Spurs for his signature as he was one of the Premier League’s top holding midfielders statistically. He can tuck in front of Mertesacker & Koscielny when needed, and can recover balls in tight situations - Estimate £20-25m;
Mats Hummels – Dortmund’s suave World Cup-winning CB would be the best piece of business, especially if he was bought in to replace Vermaelen. He possesses excellent positioning and traits of leadership, as well as the reputation of being one of the world’s best CBs. Would instantly improve the frailness of the defence - Estimate £25m;
Benedikt Howedes – A cheaper alternative to Hummels, Howedes would still be a solid buy. He is experienced, internationally capped and versatile across the back as he can play CB and RB (much like Chelsea’s Ivanovic). At 26, he is also good enough to provide some healthy competition at the back - Estimate £15m.