How early do Arsenal conclude their transfer activity under Arsene Wenger? Patterns from the past five years summarised

Last season undoubedtly, the uncertainty over Fabregas and Nasri meant that Arsenal were left in an unprecedented situation after the season had commenced, which was hardly ideal. However, this summer has similarities.

How early do Arsenal conclude their transfer activity under Arsene Wenger? Patterns from the past five years summarised

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Andy

August 3rd, 2012

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Each summer has its own transfer sagas, Arsenal are often fending off bids for their top stars, whilst trying to close others. In the past defending the likes of Henri, Vieira and Fabregas, whilst this season is Van Persie. This year Wenger is looking to the likes of Santi Cazorla and Nuri Sahin to add international class to the team, and the rumours around these two have been ongoing over the past weeks.

After a less than satisfactory pre-season tour in terms of time on the pitch, Arsene now has 15 days to get the club in shape before the first Premier League game at Sunderland. It has been a month since Van Persie made it clear that his future did not lie at Arsenal, and little firm action has taken place.

Wenger is often notorious for his transfer activity, but what are the patterns in transfer deals over the past five years? It is clear that Arsenal have one of the lowest net spends within the Premier League, but how quickly are they concluding their deals? The table below details some of the major deals done since the summer of 2007.

Clearly, though it does not detail every transfer, this table reveals the patterns in terms of major signings. It is clear that last summer saw an exceptional amount of summer transfer activity whilst the previous two seasons saw relatively low levels of activity at the club.

When the pattern is understood, it is clear that generally Arsenal have ensured that they sign one target early in the season. This year Arsenal ensured that Podolski was signed early, concluding the deal at the end of April 2012, whilst Giroud was agreed by the end of June, meaning Arsenal were committed to spending roughly £22 million before the beginning of July.

Last summer, in terms of major transfers, Arsenal signed Gervinho in July, and Chamakh was secured previously in May, whilst Vermaelen came in June in 2009. It should be noted that though only Vermaelen is listed as a major incoming player in 2009, Arsenal instead secured many of the current first team on new long term deals, including Van Persie and Arshavin was signed in the winter.

In terms of further activity Wenger generally seems to add one or two quality players in July/early August and then bolster the squad with late signings in August. For example Oxlade-Chamberlain joined in early August last season, whilst Koscielny, Nasri and Sagna were all solid July signings. Late signings such as Squillaci, Silvestre, and arguably Diarra were all bit-part players.

Last season activity was in-line with previous seasons until the loss of Fabregas on the 15th August, and Nasri on the 24th. This blow, late in the window meant that on the final day of the window, Arsenal famously signed five players, taking it right to the wire to bring in Arteta, Santos, Benayoun, Park and Mertesacker. Four of those five had some impact and three were important players last season.

This was unprecedented, and most definitely required. In some ways it does fit into the pattern of late purchases which Wenger uses to strengthen the squad.

This season so far has seen no huge departures, only several players released in June including Almunia, and the departure of Carlos Vela to Real Sociedad in July. The movement of Bendtner, Arshavin and other players will have some impact on the players Wenger brings in during August, but expect to see at least one of Cazorla and Sahin signed in the next week based on previous deals.

Last season undoubedtly, the uncertainty over Fabregas and Nasri meant that Arsenal were left in an unprecedented situation after the season had commenced, which was hardly ideal. However, this summer has similarities.

When Van Persie made his announcement the faintest positive was that the club might be prevented from a transfer saga with an early statement of intent. However, selling to Man United or City is hardly ideal, and discussions with neither of those nor Juve have so far been forthcoming.

His departure might leave the door open for some further late signings, but expect other clubs to hold out for the best deal when choosing when to make their bids. If Man City do look to sign him, there may be further delays as they clear out some of their expensively acquired strikeforce.

Overall, there is more business for Arsene Wenger to undertake before the beginning of the new season. It is unlikely that he will leave himself exposed as last season, and should ensure that the club is strengthened before the future of key players is fully determined. However, football transfers are always volatile, and surprises are to be expected.

 

Written by James Gillespie.

 

James writes about Arsenal on Arsespeak.com where you can find many more in-depth analytical articles on tactics, statistics and players.

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