There used to be a sense that Wenger sold players at the right time, and that those players who had left would only go downhill. There may be some truth in that, but you cannot see that being the case with players like Fabregas or Nasri. These players are leaving at the wrong age, the wrong time and the wrong moment. Arsenal may have made some serious cash on them, but replacing them is an almost impossible task.
What you have to ask yourself is this, why have Arsenal left it so late in the day to conclude their business? What is their strategy? They surely knew that the likes of Nasri, Clichy and Fabregas would be off. You cannot directly replace them but you have to look at alternatives.
Many selling clubs will be more reluctant to sell up at the end of the window as they'll have to then go into the market and replace the outgoing player. That isn't ideal and it leaves both clubs in a tricky situation. Many clubs will now hold on because the window is about to close, and as we all know, January is far away and a very difficult window in which to buy players.
Most clubs have sorted themselves out, a few have one or two targets left to snatch, but they've mostly concluded their business. Manchester United - done. Ourselves - pretty much done, and if we don't sign another player then it won't be the end of the world. Chelsea - they're mostly looking at Modric and will likely get their man.
On top of all of that, they’ve just weakened their squad so much that they had to put out some insanely average players yesterday. United were going to thrash them. People might say: “Well Arsenal could’ve scored four goals.”
Well, the score line doesn’t lie. They scored twice and conceded eight, yes eight goals. In the Premier League, in top flight football, that is just embarrassing to see. Wenger was clearly disappointed, but his hands are apparently tied. I saw one or two players smiling after the match – one of those was Traore. And having heard the news today, I’m not surprised that he was smiling.
I also saw that gif of Rosicky after the free-kick, I saw it live too – and I’m glad that it was posted. Rosicky has been a terrible signing for Arsenal, and the same can now be said of Arshavin, who looks less bothered with each passing moment. He’s probably thinking about a move elsewhere.
Arsenal can be very good with the ball, but without it, they’re just useless. It’s like they don’t know how to set up or play without the ball. One thing for sure is, Arsenal used to be one of the best counter attacking teams in the division. You just cannot say that about them anymore.
The fear factor has disappeared and many teams are up for playing against them, because simply put –they just don’t have any top players anymore. Good players, certainly, but top players who could stroll into other teams – I don’t think so. They lost that when Farbegas and Nasri walked out of the exit door.
Now, Arsenal may well brush aside many lesser teams over the season but if they finish in the top four then I would be very surprised. They’re lacking in so many areas and they’ve sold a lot of players this summer, without really replacing them. Eboue has left; he was cover to Sagna at right-back and could also play on the right side of midfield. Eboue was once a big prospect, but has faded. Denilson has gone out loan, again, a prospect but hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. Clichy, Fabregas, Nasri – they’ve not been replaced yet either.
In effect, I believe that Arsenal is now a feeder club themselves. Take Chamberlain for example, he has cost them £12m with the fee rising to a reported £15m. What if he becomes a stand out player, but achieves nothing at Arsenal? Eventually he will probably be tempted to move elsewhere. But equally, what if he becomes another Theo Walcott? Walcott was hardly cheap either, and he has failed to produce the goods on a consistent basis. He has been at Arsenal for five years now, but what has he done there? He is not worth the fee that was once paid for him.