It was a very busy transfer window for Arsenal football club and their much maligned manager Arsene Wenger. It was one which the Arsenal manager described as “the most destabilising” in all his twenty-one years at the club. The reason we can surmise from this categorisation was that it was a window which saw their talismanic striker Alexis Sanchez, move to arch rivals Manchester United. It of course must be very destabilising to have your best player of the last four seasons plucked away in the middle of a season which hasn’t exactly gone to plan yet again – with Arsenal occupying sixth place in the premier league, six points behind North-London rivals Tottenham.
This has been on the cards for some time however; Arsenal only just held onto Sanchez when Manchester City came calling in the summer, and his departure is a byproduct of the lack of progress made by Arsenal after several high profile signings in recent years. From this it could be argued that Arsenal have slowly been destabilizing themselves, as their failure to take advantage of a high amount of investment which has seen players such as Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette come in for huge amounts of money saw them fail to finish in the top-four last season. Lacazette is still settling in; Ozil has shown what a good player he can be, but his form is somewhat inconsistent; and Sanchez was often the bright spark amongst Arsenal’s underachieving squad.
The silver lining to this very dark cloud is that Arsenal do still seem able to attract top players, and the deadline day acquisition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for a record fee illustrates this. He is an exciting forward who scored goals for fun in the Bundesliga, and although it remains to be seen whether he can continue this form in the premier league, Arsenal fans can’t really have wished for a better player to fill the void left by Sanchez, especially as Aubameyang is joined at Arsenal buy his former Dortmund teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The pair linked up very well during their time in Germany together and this is something that Arsenal fans will be hoping they can replicate in order to push their team forward to try and salvage a champions league place this season.
Arsenal did have to sacrifice one of their top goal-scorers in recent years, Olivier Giroud. He moved to Chelsea for £18 million, which, ten years ago, would have been one of the biggest transfer fees of any Premier league club. In today’s climate however, such a fee doesn’t even register when you consider that Philippe Coutinho moved from Liverpool to Barcelona for £142 million in the same month. The Gunners also said farewell to Theo Walcott, a player that you feel never quite reached his full potential at Arsenal, although, like Giroud, he did score over 100 goals for the club during his stay in North London.