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Arsenal Have Left It Too Late In Transfer Window Again

 • by Simon Collings
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The summer transfer window began in such a positive fashion for Arsenal fans.

Indeed the club had not even jetted off for the pre-season tour to Australia and already the signings of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac had been wrapped up.

Lacazette arrived for a club record fee of over £50m from Lyon and, having been on Arsene Wenger’s radar for years, it was a coup to finally get the French striker through the door.

Kolasinac, meanwhile, demonstrated there was still value in the expensive transfer market as Arsenal brought him in for free from German club Schalke.

All the noises emerging from the club’s tour to Australia were that Monaco’s Thomas Lemar would be next through the door for a similar fee to that which lured Lacazette from Lyon.

However, as he addressed the media one week before the transfer window, Wenger confirmed the news Arsenal fans had been dreading.

“It’s dead because Monaco has closed the door,” said Wenger, when asked to give an update regarding a deal for Lemar.

“They are still on cases like [Kylian] Mbappe and Fabinho. They’ve already lost [Benjamin] Mendy, Bernardo Silva and [Tiemoue] Bakayoko, so Monaco is at a stage where they have closed the door.

“We have the numbers, we have the quality to deal with that.”


Arsene Wenger on Thomas Lemar Arsenal Transfer by FootballWhispers

Starting a transfer window with such optimism is a familiar feeling for Arsenal supporters and it is why this summer feels like a case of déjà vu.

It happened only a year ago. Granit Xhaka arrived at the start of the summer from Borussia Monchengladbach for around £30m and more were expected to follow.

However, instead, Arsenal were left scrambling during the final days of the transfer window to sign the striker and defender they desperately needed.

Lucas Perez arrived for £17m from Deportivo La Coruna. The striker is set to leave on deadline day, perhaps so he can go back to Spain.

Shkodran Mustafi was bought for £35m from Valencia. Arsenal are now considering an offer from Inter Milan after he endured an indifferent first season in England.

The summer before was a similar story, as again a mood of optimism swelled among fans as Petr Cech was signed from Chelsea before the end of June.

However, that soon faded as not a single outfield player arrived after.

Many of Arsenal’s issues in the transfer market have been caused by the club leaving their business to the last minute.

The biggest example of such a scenario occurred in the summer of 2011.

Throughout the window there had been talk of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leaving. However neither of the pair’s future were resolved early on in the window and Arsenal were left scrambling.

What resulted was one of the biggest deadline day trolley dashes in the club’s history.

In came Mikel Arteta from Everton for £10m, while Yossi Benayoun joined on loan from Chelsea, too.

Andre Santos arrived from Fenerbahce for £6.2m and Werder Bremen‘s German centre-half Per Mertesacker was another late recruit at a cost of £7.6m.

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Such a chain of events should surely have acted as a warning for Arsenal about the dangers of leaving your business to the last minute, but it appears they have not learned.

They have been left cold in their pursuit of Lemar, while other clubs have swooped in and signed players from Monaco.

Wenger may argue the door is now closed, but it was clearly wide open earlier on in the summer given Manchester City signed Silva and Mendy. Chelsea also managed to prise Bakayoko away.

Arsenal have simply turned up to a fire sale after all the stock has been sold.

Reacting slowly in the market has cost Arsenal many times before. In August 2011 they had two bids rejected by Bolton for Gary Cahill, when they had been chasing the player for close to 18 months. By January he was a Chelsea player.

Arsenal also delayed signing Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid in 2013 as they got sidetracked by the prospect of landing Luis Suarez.

At the start of July it was widely reported a deal was done for Higuain to go to the Emirates, however by the end of the month he was a Napoli player.

After the Suarez fiasco had unraveled and, ultimately failed from Arsenal’s point of view, they went back for Higuain – but it was too late. The chance had gone.

It was a similar story a year ago when, at the start of the summer, Arsenal checked in on the availability of Lacazette.

Lyon quoted them a price of just over £40m but, as Arsenal went after Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, that fee eventually increased.

By the time they returned in August, Lacazette’s asking price was closer to £60m as Lyon could not afford to lose him so late in the window.

Arsenal, as we know, got their man this summer but one has to wonder what his impact could have been had he arrived 12 months sooner.

Admittedly other factors have impacted the Gunners’ dealings in the transfer market.

The chance to sign Suarez from Liverpool for just over £40m is an understandable distraction, as was the issue this summer of needing to get players off the wage bill before new ones to come in.

However, the fact is such issues in the market keep repeating themselves when it comes to Arsenal.

Time and time again they are leaving it to the last minute to complete their business and it is becoming an all too familiar story for supporters.

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