It’s already started. Yesterday little bits and bobs of transfers started to happen, players left to make room for other players, and some shock signings happened. Arsenal seem to be sitting out on the festivities, but their silence betrays that they probably aren’t.

Arsenal set targets

Arsenal officials were locked into meetings all day today, according to reports, and have identified their transfer targets for the traditional trolley dash. With that said, this is more a “extra depth and quality” dash than a “plugging the gaps with any player” dash like last years.

As the rumour mill grinds into overdrive, you can barely move without a variety of “news” stories regarding Arsenal incomings and outgoings, and in the maelstrom it’s difficult to discern what to believe.

Bendtner’s Milan move off

Yesterday AC Milan brought in Arsenal target M’Baye Niang, and also signed Roma’s Bojan Krkic on a year’s loan. The arrival of two centre-forwards has more or less ruled out the chance of Nicklas Bendtner going there. Which is a shame, as he’s the best striker IN THE WORLD.

It really is the last week of the transfer window. A large number of rumours regarding Arsenal’s  transfer targets have popped up over the course of today, a few of them true, a few rather less so.

Hello Cabaye?

The Daily Mail claimed Arsenal had made enquiries to Newcastle regarding Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye. This is a story with some substance to it, as Arsenal enquired regarding Cabaye and Ben Arfa six weeks ago. They were rebuffed at the time, but that was mainly regarding Ben Arfa.

Another game, another northern team beginning with “S”, another goalless draw for Arsenal. Again the Gunners frontline lacked cohesion and failed to do much with the few chances made available to them. That was partly to do with rustiness, though in reality chances were at a premium. That’s not to say the performance was a disaster, far from it.

While Arsenal’s inability to score is frustrating, new forwards Podolski and Giroud worked hard and made life difficult for the Stoke defence. Many times Podolski burst through and outmuscled the centre-backs, while Giroud had an incredible work-rate and helped out in defence as well. In fact, Arsenal largely outplayed AND outmuscled Stoke. There was no hint of the usual panic that usually accompanies this feature. Stoke struggled to implement their game on Arsenal, and spent most of the game behind the ball.

Yesterday I brought you the news that Arsene Wenger was after someone “special” if he was going to continue to add to his squad. A lot of people took this to mean he was going to use that as an excuse not to buy anyone, but in yet another shock this transfer window, it seems he was actually serious.

Arsene’s search for someone special

According to the most reliable of Arsenal tweeters, Arsene is looking for a “top, top class” midfielder, and is willing to pay around 20M for one he considers worthy. He’s also not interested in an “average or unproven” player, which is even more exciting. Arsene might have signed a fair few duds in his time, but when he’s looking for quality players he tends to know what he’s looking for.