This transfer window, Arsenal fans have had a glimpse of a stunning summer. We've peeked through the (transfer) window and we've seen what potentially is on the other side - and we like it.
We've had our South American starter, some French wine - we enjoyed it.
Now WHERES OUR MAIN COURSE. The main problems last season
1) lack of pace and options up front
When teams pressed us high up the pitch, we didn't have the pace to play on the counter or hit balls over the top for players to run onto in behind. We've now secured Sanchez - a player that should he be utilised effectively, will fix that problem.
I would suggest we need one more striker, but the indicators point to Sanchez being utilised as a number 9 and that coupled with the return of Campbell perhaps means we are fairly full in that department now.
We play in a system where the fullbacks need to overlap and bomb forward to give us width. The underlying yet overwhelming issue however was that last season, one of our fullbacks (when he got the ball) was more awkward than an astrophysicist in a night club surrounded by beautiful women.
I loved Sagna - defensively he was immense and with time I even grew fond of that mop on his head. But I'm quite content in the knowledge that Debuchy is replacing him- okay he's not as solid defensively, but offensively he is a completely different animal. He has the capability to get assists and dare I say it maybe even score the odd goal - what a dream that would be for all of our fantasy league teams.
3) power in the midfield
We were completely overrun in the big games last year, predominantly in midfield. I like my midfielders like I like my women - big powerful and reminiscent of Vieira. Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla etc are all glorious players and while we played some amazing stuff at times, we had no physical presence especially in the big games. We had no Yaya Toure or no Matic. We were so easy to press for that very reason.
I think it's a myth that teams need a clearly defined DEFENSIVE midfielder. I don't think its requisite. If you have a midfield that is disciplined, that work and track-back as one, there's no need for and explicit defensive player in that position.
Real Madrid don't have one. Neither do Barcelona, and Bayern are starting to use Martinez less and less. What you do need in midfield however is a balance - a physical blend of pace, power and height combined with technical capability. It's that balance that primarily needs addressing for Arsenal as I feel we lean heavily towards the technicality attribute and away from raw physicality element. However the signals suggest that we're going after the names that may address that. (Khedira please)
4) CB cover
Last season whenever Kos/Mert went into a 50/50, I would gasp and quickly what proceeded was a situation where my balls would jump up into my body. 'PLEASE DONT BE INJURED PLEASE PLEASE - oh few, he's up, is he okay, IS HE OKAY!?' That's pretty much how it went.
Vermaelen simply wasn't trusted to cover for either of them, which also meant we couldn't really rotate at CB, when at times it was evident that we needed to.
This year, it would be such a comfort to have a young talent that could come in for 20 games a year, and for me to not weep every time I see that Mert/Kos aren't playing. There are a lot of young promising CBs out there and our recruitment of late has been much better in that department, so let's hope for another.
So close yet so far
Every year we seem to be one or two players away from really being where we need to be. We always have the core ingredients, but don't have what is necessary to turn us into the power-houses that will win the title.
The difference is this year we have made moves early and done some very good business. We have time on our side, we're an attractive proposition to every player (we're based in London aye Brendan), and we really are halfway to the best transfer window any of us would have ever experienced.
I trust Wenger with this one - we're nearly there.