Arsenal’s opening day victory over Leicester was all but an easy process, and hardly one which was hard thought. It was complex and at times frustrating, in many ways mirroring their at times confusing transfer policy. With such obvious downfalls within the current squad it is perhaps questionable that they currently have the ability to mount a strong title challenge this season. A competent midfield signing could change all this.
First it is important to focus on the Alexis Sanchez situation. Watching from the stands (a single plush corporate suite) on Friday it is clear that his involvement within the club alongside his fondness of it is obvious. In the years in which he has featured as an Arsenal player fans have took to him as their own. This comes as a result of his work ethic, it is a rarity to see such a hard working player in the modern game especially at a club like Arsenal. Famed for liability and a crude lack of commitment, Arsenal have regularly fallen victims to the under achieving, under performing player. Robin Van Persie, Andrey Arshavin and in many ways Mesut Ozil are all marquee players whom have all fallen victim to such a title at times. In Alexis Sanchez they have found the antithesis of laziness, a true student of the beautiful game.
Whilst his transfer remains a distinct possibility, an Arsenal fan now has far more reasons to remain optimistic. It is now mid-August, a world class player like himself would surely have pushed for a transfer by now? With PSG locked in tight negotiations with representatives of Kylian MBappe, following their monumental signing of Neymar, it is clear that their priorities may lie elsewhere. Whilst it would be untruthful to say that other large clubs do not have an interest in him, it is clear that at this point it is painfully muted. In which case, his inability to force a desired transfer is obvious thus suggesting that the Chilean is content to remain part of Arsenal’s set up. With their relatively newfound financial and negational might Arsenal now have the ability to hold on to key players, one can only assume that Alexis Sanchez shall remain professional enough to at least see out his long term contract much to the joy of the devoted North London fan base.
Beyond this, one must ask how Arsenal can mount a title challenge. After all, that must be the priority in an era where they rarely remain contenders beyond the month of March. The answer lies firstly in outgoing players. The Arsene Wenger led team have long term, inherent contract issues which cause stringent issues for opposing negotiators. Having once placed young, outskirt players upon painfully extortionate contracts it is clear that such a decision is now seeming rather foolish – Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Gabriel, Lucas Perez but to name a few. All are fated to a lower level Premier League team at best, destined to never see the light of the hallowed Emirates pitch once again unless as an opposition. However, inflated contacts mean that they out-price smaller, less financially viable teams. No club would ever be attracted to their purchase whilst their wage alone would critically over-shadow over that of better sourced or homegrown players. It is clear that Arsenal have a difficult offloading task on their hands.
One must assume Arsenal will sell at least a trio of such outcast players, however, in which case, funds will appear for the purchase of a much better option. Arsene Wenger clearly suggests that with such a large squad of somewhat talented players already, the team must merely focus on obtaining additional players with star quality. However, it is the right midfield position which bares most responsibility. One name which has been constant throughout the summer is that of Thomas Lemar. The Monaco star impressed last season and at one point appeared destined to join the famous London club. However, mass exodus at Monaco has lead to a change in transfer policy, it is clear that the versatile Frenchman is still thoroughly part of the uber-rich clubs plans for 2017-18.
Solution to this situation is clear and quite literally stared Arsenal in the face during their opening match day. Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez has already asked for a route out of the East Midland based club despite maintaining professional attitude. His speedy play mixed with intricate skills give him all the attributions of the perfect signing whom shall fill a positional void which has plagued Arsenal for many years. His acquisition would be easy and his previous Premier League experience is vital for the team. He is a winner and deploys well in important matches, something which the current Arsenal squad lacks. Whilst the likeliness of such a transfer is small Mahrez offers a level of competence on the right midfield like no one else. A potential signing would also bring the best out of Aaron Ramsey, a feat in itself which would seriously raise the club from outcasts to contenders.
Arsenal’s midfield problems rely solely on the sale of outskirt players. Their inflated wages remain a sole issue and mass exodus from a 33 man squad would be seen as a small miracle. A follow up signing of a revolutionary right midfielder would save a rapidly diminishing transfer window and accelerate the North London club into a strong title challenge.
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