This winter transfer window will tell us more about Arsenal and what the real ambition of the club is. The club have plenty of form in telling porkies about the reality of that ambition. The latter days of Wenger’s reign were peppered with statements from Ivan about the club’s ambition when the truth was we were in freefall. Emery has done a wonderful job so far making the whole team greater than the sum of its parts but it’s been obvious from day one that we are an accident waiting to happen in defence. A combination of injuries and hapless defending resulted in being beaten by Southampton, thereby ending a terrific unbeaten run. But in truth it could have happened a long while ago. The run has been a joy but boy have we rode our luck at times.
The harsh reality is that we are desperately short of class defenders and carrying expensive deadweight in midfield. It’s my view that we will end up 5th/6th unless we invest. Some might argue that this isn’t bad for a first season and that we just need to give Emery time. I agree in part but the idea that he is going to be at Arsenal for 10+ years or more is fanciful. Those days of Wenger style contracts are over. He is a top manager and I am sure that if he doesn’t see a substantial improvement in playing resources and results by the end of 2020 he might be looking at other clubs. Why would you want to be competing in the Europa League and fighting for 5th every year? How long will the likes of Torriera hang around once the bigger clubs start sniffing?
This is where it gets complicated because the mood music around the club is that Arsenal don’t have much money and the January window is not viewed as good value, or so we keep being told. We have lost Welbeck and Holding to season long injuries so something needs to be done. I am hoping that the ‘not interested’ strategy is so the club can work under the radar. But I imagine that Emery will be watching this window with huge interest. Are the club serious about their ambition or has he been sold a pup?