Who’s in, who’s out

Yakatak’s Thoughts on the Transfer Window

Sam Gardiner writes as @Yakataksoccer

We will be posting our thoughts on the ins and outs of the latest transfer window this week. Today we’re looking at Arsenal and Man Utd.

How profligate was this Transfer Window?

With a total of £835 million spent, the premier league certainly splashed the cash. An average of over £40 million spent by each club created an unprecedented window.

Why did Premier league clubs spend so much money?

The basis behind these extortionate fees ranged from the fact that clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea were abnormally desperate, to inflated price tags spurred by a good World Cup. Moreover, the likes of Everton and Spurs needed to strengthen their squads to cope with European commitments. Liverpool had to spend big to replace Suarez. Man City and Arsenal were in desperate need for a top class Centre back and Winger, respectively; and the Premier League new boys needed to add quality in order to stay up.

Did Arsenal strengthen enough to compete for the title?

Probably not. Arsenal’s transfer business bemused a lot of their fans, the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade were, once again, in full force as the Arsenal manager continued to test the patience of the clubs most loyal and faithful followers. The club spent a record £82 million, yet very little depth was added. Like for like replacements constituted all but £35 million of their spending with the likes of Debuchy, Chambers and Ospina replacing Sagna, Vermaelen and Fabianski. However, these additions exhibit clear improvements. Debuchy, at 29, brings both International and European experience to the team, and crucially, his presence does not hinder the development of future Arsenal star, Hector Bellerin; similarly, with Debuchy being the first choice right back in the French squad, his arrival signifies a clear upgrade on Sagna. With Chambers, Arsenal signed a player with the potential to become the England captain; Chambers combines composure and perfectly timed tackles with a superb passing range. With an ability to also fill in at right back or Centre Defensive midfield if required, the latest star to come out of the famed Southampton academy promises much. Nevertheless, in order for Chambers to fulfill his potential it is important for Wenger to decide on a permanent location in the Arsenal team, with Phil Jones being a perfect example of constant change in the starting 11 obstructing development. Alexis Sanchez falls victim to a very expensive price tag incited by a great World Cup, however, at 25 years of age and averaging a goal every 2.2 games at Barcelona, Arsenal have brought themselves a star. Little has to be said of Sanchez’s palpable and undisputable quality. Arsenal should remain in the top 4 but will struggle to rival the quality of Man City and Chelsea.

How will Arsenal’s new signing enhance the existing squad?

One man who hasn’t quite found his feet at Arsenal (quite literally) is Mesut Ozil, but Yakatak feels the arrival of Danny Welbeck could solve this quandary. Welbeck, a vocal boyhood fan of Thierry Henry, represents what many Arsenal fans call as a ‘typical’ Arsenal signing. An unproven goal scorer brought relatively cheap. Be that as it may, Yakatak feels Welbeck could emulate his boyhood hero and grow into an Arsenal legend. Henry arrived at Arsenal sick and tired of being played out wide, he was not a prolific goal scorer but possessed good feet, good pace and hunger to make runs in and behind the defence – almost identical to Welbeck. Ranging from delicate chips to powerful finesse’s into the top right hand corner of the net, Welbeck has displayed glimpses of top striking ability but inconsistent playing time has blemished his raw ability. A mainstay in the England starting 11 and Ferguson’s unbroken praise for Welbeck’s ability has further compounded this vision. Ozil will now have someone, other than injury-ridden Walcott, to play in behind the defence, a pacey goal threat. Many Arsenal fans will lament Welbeck and Wenger’s transfer policy if he doesn’t hit the ground running, but these will be the same fans who called for the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Robin Van Persie’s head.

Why is this Transfer Window so important for Manchester United?

For Manchester United, getting into the Champions league is of upmost importance. Manchester United’s £750 million 10-year deal with the German sportswear giant, Adidas, will be cut by 30 per cent if they fail to qualify for the tournament for two consecutive seasons starting 2015/16. Manchester United will also lose an additional £40 million a season due to further absence from the most prestigious club competition in the world. Ed Woodward has tried, with some success, to blag Manchester United’s non-attendance in the Champions League as a ‘one-off’. Di Maria and Falcao have sympathised whereas Muller and Kroos simply have not. The allure of Champions League football must never be understated as Wenger repeatedly reminds Arsenal’s fans.

Have Manchester United brought what is needed to ensure a place in the top 4?

No. Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra’s departure sees Old Trafford lose 80 medals and 2,097 appearances’ worth of experience. That includes 29 Premier League’s, five Champions League’s and five FA Cup’s. Vidic, Ferdinand and Evra have been the core of Manchester United’s defence and the fact that they’ve all left in one summer has left a massive whole at the back. Moreover, Van Gaal insists on playing with 3 Centre Back’s. Rojo, Blackett, Evans, Jones and Smalling represent United’s top 5 Centre Backs yet, in Yakatak’s opinion, none of these players would get anywhere near the starting 11 of the current top 4. United’s defence is simply not good enough for a Champions League place.

Could Manchester United’s weak defence be compensated by plenty of goals scored?

Unlikely. Van Gaal will play 2 up top, 1 behind and 2 in Central Midfield with 2 wing back’s. Falcao is sure to start up front with Van Persie, this would mean pushing United’s captain, Wayne Rooney, in behind the striker. Accordingly, a plethora of attacking talent must be stuffed into the Midfield. Di Maria, a natural winger, isn’t defensive enough to play wing back and Mata, a creative attacking Midfielder, cannot displace the captain. Subsequently, these 2 stars, costing just under £100 million, will have to play in the rough and tumble of Central Midfield. There is plenty of creativity in the team but there is no balance and consequently the likes of Rooney, Di Maria and Mata will be too occupied with defensive duties to feed Falcao and Van Persie.

How will Manchester United fare this season?

Not well. Unless Van Gaal changes his tactics, tactics which have provided him with success for many years, United won’t gain a place in the top 4. The current crop of Manchester United players are simply not suited to 3 at the back. This is not the Bundesliga or the Eredivisie, this is the Premier League, and in the Premier League if teams display weakness, especially during a transitional period, others will pounce on it.

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