While it’s not surprising, the news of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s decision to avoid throwing money around before the September 2 transfer deadline is smart.
Wenger has tried, and failed, to augment and enhance his side all summer, missing out on bids made for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye. But that doesn’t mean he will or should throw money around before the window closes just for the sake of doing so.
"We will not panic buy, that is for sure. It is not my strength to panic," the Frenchman said, per BBC Sport.
Those words ring truest in the ears of every Gunners fan in the world. Recently, the shrewd manager passed on the chance to bring 21-year-old star Erik Lamela to the Emirates, according to CNN’s Piers Morgan:
Instead, the Argentinian settled with their rivals at White Heart Lane on a favorable £25.7 million transfer from Roma. The youngster has been a sensation to this point in his young career, and his game has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo’s. Pablo Osvaldo, Lamela’s former teammate, thinks the emerging star has reached just 50 percent of his full potential, per ESPN FC’s Christopher Atkins.
Spending £25 million to upgrade his side’s attack with a top young player like Lamela hardly seems like a “panic buy.” But before your blood pressure rises, take a step back for a moment and think about it. Gunners don’t necessarily have a deficiency finding the back of the net; they need help on defense.
Once Lukas Podolski returns from injury—in approximately eight to 10 weeks, according to the club’s official website—their attack will be even more formidable. What they need is a defensive midfielder who can aid those efforts as well as transition smartly to prevent the counterattack.
Perhaps Wenger doesn’t see an option out there that fits his design and is a true upgrade to his current players. While that’s not what you want to hear as you prepare for the worst this season, it’s the reality of the situation.
Arsenal appears to be falling behind their competition, and their frugal spending and inability to close deals this summer is a large part of that. But untimely injuries and poor play have also fueled the fire. But that doesn’t mean Wenger should start dousing it with gasoline by committing large sums of cash to players he doesn’t want.
These potential quick fixes wouldn’t likely propel the club into contention, so waiting it out seems like the best course of action unless something appealing emerges before the deadline.