No longer do we have to sit through the World Cup wondering whether one (or more) of our stars will leave us. Arsenal fans every summer are used to acting like an overly worried boyfriend wondering whether his partner is waiting for her moment to inevitably tell him that she's leaving him for that tall, rich and arrogant lad down the road - sure he can buy her lots of presents but we SWEAR WE WOULD'VE LOVED HER MORE - the scars still hurt.
But something seems different this year. We're not consumed by the fear of failure or rejection. We have a confidence and desire to move forwards not backwards. It's only July in a World Cup year and we've bagged Alexis Sanchez - I need to lie down.
So what has changed?
Jeremy Wilson has written an article on how our seemingly more pro-active transfer window so far is the result of a 10-year plan implemented soon after the dismantling of our Invincibles. That plan was centred on securing greater revenue streams making us a more powerful brand with a more far reaching appeal.
The puma deal is the epitome of that strategy working - we have greater commercial revenue coupled with a state of the art stadium and a greater appeal to the world's best players. When you add these things together, you as a result get more positive transfer windows. It makes sense. It's a good read and Jeremy Wilson is actually one of the select few shining lights in sports journalism I would say.
It's more than a money thing
Nobody can deny that Arsenal have had money in the last few years. We've submitted big bids, and like a night with Scarlett Johansson in my dreams, good noises nave been made. But it's clear we've not been getting transfers over the line. The 100 meter runner that has all the talk and does all those over the top poses to the camera before the race, but ultimately falls short and (comes 4th).
Money therefore doesn't appear to have only now landed on Arsene's door. Sure the bag of money on his doorstep might be even fuller, but it's Arsene's strategy and approach in his spending of it that is changing.
Learning from our mistakes
Last year, the Suarez saga signalled our intent to spend and marked a shift away from our selling of big names and towards our desire to buy big names. However, simultaneously the Suarez episode highlighted our lack of planning and ruthlessness. We needed a striker - we didn't get one. We had our Plan A, but where was our Plan B? Don't say Sanogo.... Please. We had the money but we weren't proactive enough in spending it.
This year we've secured Sanchez in July - I need to keep telling myself otherwise I might start to believe it was a dream. Last year perhaps we wouldn't have managed that. We might have haggled over a few million, we quite plausibly would have stumbled on wages or incentive bonuses. But this year we didn't. We wanted our man, we learnt our lessons and we got him.
Sanchez will most definitely make us more clinical on the pitch, but perhaps more importantly he signals that we're operating more clinically off of it.
The talk is now around Khedira at the moment. We may well get him, we might not. Not every transfer will go the way you want it to and I don't deny that transfers can be hugely complicated. But what the rumours indicate and what I find to be extremely positive is that it feels we have back up options. If we don't land a Khedira, we are likely to strengthen our interest in Schneiderlin. If that's not feasible then we'll look at Bender/Gustavo/Martinez.
We are getting out there and making moves early, not scrambling over 6 month loan deals for Kalou at the last minute.... Yet. (If that situation materialises I will quite happily retract this post.)
Amongst a great deal of financial instability within football, we seem to be operating (in financial terms) in a bubble along with very few other clubs. That is a situation that materialised faster than our 10 year plan forecasted as it has existed for some time. But what has changed is our willingness to take advantage of that situation. We are attacking the transfer market rather than hesitantly waiting and missing our chances.
Of course, it's still July, and there's still a great deal of room for disappointment. I feel like a boyfriend that has been cheated on in the past; it's hard to fully trust again. But the early indicators are positive, the movements are promising and what we've secured so far is pretty damn exciting. Sanchez has set the precedent - let's hope we follow it.