I’ll start by saying that I do think Arsenal have money available. If needs be, I think it could end up being as much as 70-80 million pounds.
They’ve been linked with plenty of players already this summer, despite the window not officially being open, because of the reports of this ‘war chest’ they are finally set to spend with.
They haven’t yet secured a big deal, but then as much as I expect them to indeed spend, I don’t expect them to spend as big as some clubs do.
It’s currently looking like Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain will be the first big acquisition, but I would dare to suggest that this potential signing would be the absolute highest they go for anyone all summer.
The reported record fee of £25million is still less than what Manchester City, Chelsea and company spend on a lot of players. Sometimes it has even been half the value of a City or Blues purchase.
They may be willing to finally spend more than we usually see them splashing out, but they still refuse to be drawn into the big spenders’ game.
Arsene Wenger has always done a great job at Arsenal. But it was undoubtedly a better time for him many moons ago when he knew the transfer market better than anyone else around, and his most insightful gambles paid off. Over the last few years, that hasn’t been the case.
The market for those ‘Wenger specials’ of players available cheap who evolve into world class talents is becoming more and more saturated, as other clubs get involved.
But there is no reason why Arsenal cannot bring in more established names and continue to produce academy stars. In fact, three or four known and experienced signings could well help the kids to come along and reach their potential.
Fielding seven or eight untested players in a starting XI is not fair on anyone, really, and if they can use their funds to get back to how they used to be with plenty of seasoned protection for three or four up-and-comers in the side, it would make life so much easier for Arsenal.
Wenger often shields away from buying proven players, but if you look at Santi Cazorla, there’s reason to believe that he can find that middle ground between big-money headhunting and working the market intelligently.
Whether Higuain, assuming the deal is sealed soon, ends up being another Cazorla or another Andrei Arshavin is up for debate. As a striker he will fall into either category. It’s often black and white with marksmen, and his Arsenal spell will be appraised on cold hard statistics.
His goalscoring record for Real Madrid is exceptional. His work-rate, speed and other departments are definitely not exceptional, but that ratio of goals will always speak loudest for a striker.
As far as forwards are concerned, Wenger’s big deals have not gone to plan over recent years. Before Arshavin of course was Jose Reyes.
Higuain, however, would have a good chance of avoiding that curse. With his time at Real Madrid, he knows what it takes to succeed with a giant spotlight placed on him, which would be the case at the Emirates. If they do indeed complete this transfer, I predict it will go the right way for them.
If it were me choosing a marquee summer signing for the Gunners, however, it would not be up top but in midfield. It would also possibly be the easiest bit of transfer window business to do, and it would be to trigger the £23m release clause for Everton's Marouane Fellaini.
If they bid that, the door opens and Fellaini would be more than happy to step through it. He is also, in my opinion, the sort of player they need.
Everybody criticises Arsenal’s centre-halves no matter who lines up at the back for them, but look at the lack of protection they receive, tactically. Fellaini would not only help provide protection in front of them but also against players going in around their advanced full-backs.
It would be more money than what Arsenal are used to paying, especially if they went for both Higuain and Fellaini, but the Belgian for me is just what they need and between the two of them, Arsenal could find themselves as a major force once again.