Arsene Wenger has done it again. Already it seems that two of the Arsenal manager's signings this transfer window gone will flourish to levels that many managers only dream of. Ridiculous amounts of money wasted over the years have brought scant reward to many. Wenger, however, has time and time again brought in top talent for a fraction of what other managers and clubs have been willing to outlay.
Historically, of course, his transformations of players have been the talking points. Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Cesc Fabregas—the list goes on. The enduring thing is though his ability to spot talent and cause it to function at a higher level.
This season Wenger has brought in two players who were not exactly unknown in Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, who have been immediately impressive.
The interesting thing with these two captures is that they were not players who anyone else really tried to sign. Arsenal had the inside running on both transfers, and Wenger it seems was the only big-name manager really trying to persuade these two to make a new home at his place.
Podolski has been a world-renowned footballer for a few years now, having had an excellent World Cup in 2006 and prominence in German football for some time. Interestingly, though, when news came of his signing for Arsenal, many were rather nonplussed by it. So what? many said, he was a let down at Bayern, so what will he do at Arsenal?
Already Podolski has answered, in the few games we have yet seen, becoming one of Arsenal's stanout players. Not only that, but an EPL standout with electrifying skill and speed as well as technical skill that rivals the leagues elite.
A loyal player by today's standards, he has played most of his career with his boyhood club FC Koln, breifly moving to Bayern Munich, where he had a disappointing time with injury and being further down the pecking order than he was used to.
His trials and tribulations in the Bundesliga seem to have been to the gain of Arsenal, though, as the experience gleaned over the years in Germany has resulted in his immediate impact in the English top flight.
Wenger has always been one to spot a decent talent, and here again it seems he has done it again. The wily French master of economics is a bargain hunter extraordinaire, refusing to pay above the odds for players. He brought Podolski to Arsenal for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of 10 million pounds.
Of course, the season is only a few games old, and with a huge game coming up this weekend for Arsenal, there is much that is yet to be seen from the German forward. At this stage, though, again it seems that Wenger has snapped up premium talent at a fraction of the price.
The other stand out signing of course is the Spaniard, Santi Cazorla. In some ways Cazorla is a more high-profile player in recent times, a regular with the all-conquering Spanish national side who had recently fallen out of favor in the international set up, but a proven performer there all the same.
Cazorla has been well known in Spain and Europe for some time, though interestingly had not hit the headlines to the same extent Podolski did in his breakout 2006 World Cup performance.
Cazorla, of course, was part of a Spanish international side that had several brilliant stars, the glare of which often distracted the footballing public from a talent like his. In club football, though, he had been a lynchpin in the Villareal side that had challenged the might of Spain's big two, before Villareal sold him and were promptly relegated. Methinks he was more important than they thought.
Malaga had benefited hugely from his acquisition and are competing in this year's Champions League thanks to the Spaniard's contribution last season, which makes it all the more odd that he should end up at Arsenal. Apparently financial problems at Malaga involving the club's owners led to Arsenal and Wenger being able to acquire the services of the skilled Spanish star.
With an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of 18 million pounds, Wenger has by all accounts again gotten a tremendous bargain.
Cazorla is a dynamo. With energetic skill that is entrancing as it is admirable, he links at times with Mikel Arteta in such a way that you could swear you are watching the Spanish national side.
He opened his Arsenal goals account with a key strike at Anfield against Liverpool, and that alone endeared him in a big way to his new fans. The fact that it came on the back of him being the standout player in the two previous games only goes to show that again Wenger has proven that in terms of transfer market know-how, there are none in the world game who match his efficiency on the market.
The league is young, and Arsenal have many daunting fixtures ahead of them this season, this weekend's visit to Manchester City being very much one of them. These two players, though, have already created a huge stir in the EPL, and the man that brought them hither has shown us all again that "Wenger knows."
There is, of course, the question of Olivier Giroud. The French target man has yet to find the net for Arsenal, though of course the great Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry took awhile to warm up themselves.
Giroud was top scorer in a title winning Montpellier side last year and for this writer it will only be a matter of time before this player joins the other two high profile signings in receiving the platitudes and adoration of the Arsenal faithful. Giroud was a snip for another undisclosed fee thought to be around 12 million pounds. For a league top scorer, this is again another excellent piece of business.
There are no other big-name managers who have managed to repeatedly do this. I challenge anyone in the comments section to name one manager who can match Wenger's efficiency in terms of player selection and resulting outcome and financial gain for the club. Wenger's record stands out today as it is so solitary among such terrible folly. So many outlandish outlays of funds for so little return.
The Frenchman has done it again. Arsenal face the biggest test of the year this weekend, though you can bet that Podolski, Cazorla and possibly Giroud will be up for it, because Wenger, as always, has somehow put together a team that defies expectation. The man is a credit to the game.