Arsenal have officially announced the signing of Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla from Malaga. With his signature, Arsenal have completed the purchase of three of the top players from each of three top Leagues in European football. Moreover, estimates of the transfer fees paid for these three are around £35m and the salaries that each will be paid are likely to be in the high end of Arsenal’s salary scale: let’s say £13m per year for all three. Add in 10% in agent’s fees and suddenly, Arsenal fans are looking at an unprecedented total outlay of over £50m.
Last winter Arsenal suffered injury to all four of her fullbacks and naturally a string of bad results followed. Losses to Swansea away followed by a tight 2-1 loss to Man U at the Emirates, with center backs Johan Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen slotted in as emergency fullbacks, prompted much ire from the home crowd. After United scored the go ahead goal in the 81st minute, Arsenal were left stripped bare: a back line of Vermaelen, Koscielny, and youngster Nico Yennaris (second half sub for Djourou) and with Arsene Wenger moving his giant center back, Per Mertesacker, to center forward in a desperate attempt to get the tying goal, the home crowd stood there and watched in disbelief. And then they turned and began to chant – “spend some fucking money” – for the final 8 minutes of the game.
If you were one of those chanting, whether in the seats at the Emirates, in the comments on blogs, or on whatever social media outlet you normally use, you have to admit; the club have spent some fucking money and bought three Musketeers to add to our Arsenal.
Already the chant has already turned from “spend some fucking money” to “get rid of the deadwood” and “pair down the wage-bill” because apparently some of us won’t be happy until we have a say in everything the club does. But I would caution against the cavalier attitude toward some of the players who are still squad members. Sure, the club needs to trim some fat but let’s consider the options that we have first, look at where the team has depth, and honestly assess the players before we start demanding their heads.
Squillaci is the first name that tumbles off everyone’s lips when asked who they would sell. But he’s 31 years old, has a bloated salary by most leagues’ standards, and hasn’t played football for a year. If Arsenal are even able to get him out on loan it would be a coup that makes signing Cazorla look easy.
Bendtner is another player everyone mentions and he’s even been left behind in London while the rest of the club is training in Germany giving everyone hope that management are working on a deal. But “Big Game” Bendtner is a player with a big salary, big problems off the field with alcohol abuse, and even bigger problems with his ego. There’s not even been a hint that he’s working on his personal problems so maybe he should be branded Big Risk Bendtner.
Even players like Robin van Persie who teams would ostensibly want after a season where he wins every personal accolade possible are finding it difficult to move. His salary demands, coupled with his injury record, and now his distasteful attack on the board and the manager have left other clubs hesitant to make an offer that Arsenal can’t refuse. Man City have come out and said that they don’t think a deal can be done. Man U have simply stopped talking about it. And Juventus is mired in a match-fixing scandal that threatens to unravel their entire coaching structure. I think Arsenal fans should prepare for the very real possibility that Robin is an Arsenal player next year.
And I want to say that I don’t have a problem with that. That if Robin apologizes, first in private to Gazidis and Wenger and then publicly to us and if he is stripped of his captaincy then maybe he would be a great addition to the squad and add much-needed depth. But I can’t really see him doing that. I can’t see him issuing an apology. I can’t see him humbly submitting to the team. And I can’t see him giving up the armband: by all accounts he loved being the captain of Arsenal. How on Earth could he be happy playing for the club after being so publicly humiliated?
I could spend the next 11 days before the start of the season worrying about all this. Instead, I’m just going to say that this will all work itself out. Maybe some deals will be done in the next 24 days before the transfer window closes and maybe some players will be around for years. Either way, for once, I’m not going to worry about how much so and so gets paid or why we still have that one guy I really hate on the team. Instead, I’m just going to bask in the sunshine of three actual new signings and a financial outlay the likes of which I haven’t seen at Arsenal.
So welcome Santi Cazorla, welcome Lucas Podolski, and welcome Olivier Giroud. Let’s play some fucking football.