Arsenal's first Transfer Window post-Wenger assessed
A lot of new territory is being opened up at Arsenal Football club, since Arsène Wenger stepped down and Unai Emery took the reins. From the way the club project to the fanbase via Social Media, all the way down to the way they work in the transfer window and needless to say that they've done a brilliant job so far, getting the positions sorted that we've been needing to repair for some time.
Despite some early reservations in the window about some of those we've brought on board, it's pretty evident that Sven Mislintat along with Raul Sanllehí and Emery are looking at experience and leadership guidance as well as talent to keep the ship steady as it were, whilst we glide through our first season with a new layout.
Bernd Leno was steadily making his way up the ladder and giving Germany Manager, Joachim Löw, a tough time making choices behind Manuel Neuer until he lost his way very recently. But at only 26 and with a way to go until he peaks, I believe that under Emery and with the coaching experience of Javi Garcia, he could once again begin to climb the higher echelons of the ladder.
At Right-Back Arsenal have signed Stephan Lichtsteiner, one of the original old-guard in defensive names around Europe and a Juventus mainstay. Given his age it's not really a surprise many of the (admittedly younger) Gooners are calling this signing into question. However, Lichtsteiner proved during the World Cup that he's still got it whilst showing players like Marcelo, Coutinho and Neymar as well as Matić and Milinković-Savić, what's what. Although signed as back-up to Héctor Bellerín I wouldn't be surprised if he benched him a few times this coming season.
For CB, Sokratis, another old-guard name that was bandied around Europe in terms of a solid, structured defence. In the last season however, Sokratis along with the rest of Borussia Dortmund found themselves wavering under Peter Stöger and having one hell of a nightmare season which admittedly would have seen his stock plummet. However, having said all that, Sokratis was still more solid in defence than our main duo over the last two seasons and therefore is absolutely an improvement on what the club currently has.
Defensive Midfield was shored up with the acquisition of what many Gooners are calling the jewel in the crown of the work done by the club so far, Uruguayan youngster, Lucas Torreira. This guy is brutal, he is intelligent, he made Cristiano Ronaldo look like one of those guys wearing the giant Dinosaur suit when he bundled him over like he was a toy during the World Cup. He has been compared to the likes of Santi Cazorla, Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti and N'Golo Kanté but we all know the proof will be in the pudding and how well he performs when he's finally able to link up with the squad next week.
A surprise inclusion in terms of incomings for Arsenal fans, was young Central-Midfielder, Mattéo Guendouzi, from Ligue 2's Lorient. Not many Arsenal fans were aware of who he was when he arrived but so far, both his integration off the pitch as well as what he's shown (however brief) on it, have left many impressed and wanting more.
Along with the continued expertise of Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette etc. The spine of Arsenal is all but revamped and all that remains is to see if these guys can gel as quickly on the pitch as well as off it and judging by the two previous wins against Boreham Wood and Crawley Town (despite being friendlies) at 8-0 and 9-0 respectively, they can.
Emery's next step is to clear house a little bit, in order to keep the Home-Grown and Non-Home-Grown quotas intact. Arsenal currently have around 19 (of 17 allowed to be registered) NHG players available, whilst only having 7 (of 8 minimum) HG players at their disposal. The most recent and realistic report at the moment is a move for Goalkeeper, David Ospina, by Turkish side Beşiktaş. On top of that there are several clubs (including Brighton, Newcastle, Fenerbahçe, Lazio and most recently, Deportivo de La Coruña) looking to sign Costa Rican forward Joel Campbell. With the likes of Carl Jenkinson possibly leaving and young players like Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Krystian Bielik most likely going on loan, this should free up both space and wages for the club to make one or two more signings.
Who those signings would be I couldn't tell you, but as Lucas Torreira was happening I mentioned I believed we'd need one more CB, CM (Guendouzi?) And a proper, line hugging Winger. Links with young defender Çağlar Söyüncü seem to have cooled down recently as well as any contact with Benjamin Pavard and Kostas Manolas. There were connections with Medhi Benatia as well, but they appear to have also died down.
On the Winger front many names could be speculated and either be complete duds or double bluffs, but so far Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Hirving Lozano, Cristian Pavón and Florian Thauvin as well as Malcom in January, who joined Barcelona in the last twelve hours and has left room for a hell of a lot of speculating on what could happen with Ousmane Dembélé.
Whoever it is the club decide, should they definitely sign a couple of players in those positions they'll have to be sure on the quota, not forgetting we most certainly need to bring in a Home-Grown boy, before August 9th.