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50-50 Challenge: Real vs. Atletico

Preview 6 days ago
Read
 Posted by Andrew Mangan
Sep 3, 2014

How did Arsenal do in the window?

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses Arsenal's deadline-day move for Danny Welbeck and how he can impact an offensively limited Gunners team.

Ins and Outs

Players in: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £30m), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle, £12m), David Ospina (Nice, undisclosed), Calum Chambers (Southampton, £16m), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United, undisclosed)

Players out: Bacary Sagna (Manchester City, free), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City, free), Nicklas Bendtner (released), Park Chu-young (released), Thomas Eisfeld (Fulham, undisclosed), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, £15m), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan), Chuks Aneke (Zulte-Waregem, free), Ryo Miyaichi (FC Twente, loan), Ignasi Miquel (Norwich, undisclosed)

Summing up the window

I think it has to be broken into two parts. The early one gets a solid 9/10. Arsenal went big on Alexis from Barcelona, a player of great talent and potential, off the back of his best-ever season (23 goals) and a good World Cup. The departing Fabianski and Sagna were replaced by Ospina and Debuchy, while the capture of Calum Chambers came out of the blue. He's an exciting young player who gives the team depth in a number of positions, with Arsene Wenger even suggesting his future might lie as a defensive midfielder.

That should have been the platform for Arsenal to build. Instead nothing happened until deadline day, and then the capture of Danny Welbeck, welcome as it is, was only made because Olivier Giroud was injured. Arsenal are going into a season with just six first-team defenders and only two established central defenders. Chambers will provide backup but the revelation that Nacho Monreal is the club's fourth choice centre-half is baffling. Wenger had all summer to sign a defender after he made the decision to let Thomas Vermaelen leave, and to have failed to do that could prove very costly. So, part two of the window gets a 5/10.

Alexis Sanchez has already scored the goal that clinched a place in the Champions League group stage.

Best piece of business?

Alexis from a profile point of view, as he adds so much to Arsenal's attack, but if Calum Chambers continues his progress then the 16 million pound fee Arsenal paid Southampton will look like a bargain in a couple of years' time.

His versatility means he can offer cover at right-back, but it looks as if he's going to be the third choice centre-half and as such will play plenty of football this season. With the right tutelage (off-field from Steve Bould, and on-field from Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny), his development could be rapid indeed.

Worst piece of business?

There really isn't a worst. Even if Danny Welbeck wasn't the striker people wanted, he's 23 and has the potential to kick on at Arsenal. We've seen before how a striker, stifled at one club, can blossom under new surroundings. Daniel Sturridge is a good example and Arsene Wenger will be looking for Welbeck to have that kind of impact at the Gunners.

The signings Arsenal have made are all good ones, the issue is the ones they haven't made.

What remaining issues are there?

The defence is clearly an issue; Arsenal have just six defenders in the first-team squad right now. A youngster like Hector Bellerin might get added to provide right-back cover, and Mathieu Flamini has, in the past, played at full-back, but it's a risky strategy to be short of depth at centre-half.

It's also not difficult to see how a specialist defensive midfielder might add a bit of steel for those away days which went so badly last season.

Who can help in January?

William Carvalho, currently with Sporting Lisbon. Arsenal tried to get something done during this window but due to his ownership situation, it was more complicated than your regular transfer between clubs. Now they've got four months to sort it out.

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