Arsenal signings can bring momentum back to Premier League campaign
The end of the summer transfer window saw Arsenal splash out £52 million on two new players. Defender Shkodran Mustafi arrived from Valencia for £35m, while £17m secured the signing of Deportivo La Coruña striker Lucas Perez.
They were two very necessary pieces of Arsene Wenger's puzzle for this upcoming campaign, so it's understandable that people were heartened by their arrival. However, such is the modern day obsession with transfers, their captures somewhat glossed over the frustration felt in the weeks until then.
The need for a defender has been obvious for a long time, while Wenger's pursuit of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy in June showed he knew he needed a forward, yet it took him until the final week of the window to find an alternative. In the meantime, the Gunners lost at home on the opening day of the season, going down 4-3 to Liverpool, before following that up with a 0-0 draw against Leicester and a much needed win over Watford.
By the standards already set by others in the league, it's a fairly indifferent start to the new season, but the new signings have helped bring back a feelgood factor. The fury after losing to Liverpool, in some ways down the inability to address the transfer requirements before the season began, has dissipated somewhat by the fact Wenger has eventually filled those gaps.
Arsenal fans have often looked at the squad and bemoaned the fact they've been just one or two players away from being "complete." That's clearly not the case right now as the current group has good depth, with plenty of options and variety for every position, and with plenty of quality too.
Wenger has, ostensibly, invested heavily in the spine of his team by adding two central defenders (Mustafi and Rob Holding); a central midfielder in Granit Xhaka -- let's not forget he also brought in Mohamed Elneny in January -- who can win the ball and also distribute it well; and that much needed striker in the shape of Perez. There is, it seems, a general feeling of contentment about the summer business, even if questions might still be asked over the timing of some of it.
What Arsenal must do now is take that general air of goodwill and ensure that it is carried into performances and results. Signings are fantastic, but amidst all the social media hype, unveiling videos, shirt number teasers and the rest, we shouldn't forget that they're not just brought in to make fans happy, but to improve the team and help them win games.
Despite performing well in the early stages of his Arsenal career, it's likely that Holding will make way for Mustafi when the Arsenal manager picks his team for Southampton. You don't pay £35m for a player to leave him on the bench, and a little time out of the spotlight will be no bad thing for the 20-year-old.
Mustafi should have no issues with settling in. His English is perfect, and the Germany international knows the Premier League well even though he never played a game for Everton in his years there. There's a real need for him to click and build a partnership with Laurent Koscielny as quickly as possible.
Perez, meanwhile, is more likely to start from the bench with Olivier Giroud back in the running for a start after taking his time to return to full fitness after a summer away at Euro 2016. The differences between La Liga and the Premier League are obvious and well known, so nothing is likely to come as a surprise to him, but his aggressive style of play should see him fit in without too much trouble.
At times, the Emirates has been a tetchy place in recent seasons. Wenger will be hoping that his new arrivals can contribute to a badly needed three points on Saturday, and get Arsenal's momentum going this season.
Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.