Last season, the Rosicky signing was announced early, and after a full summer of speculation, not another signing was made until deadline day.
This was all in a summer we lost Bergkamp, Reyes, Pires, Cole and Campbell. How much experience? How many international caps between that lot? Replacements of an admittedly excellent Czech, and a couple of deadline day deals wasn’t good enough.
I know it left me frustrated all summer, and I also know I wasn’t alone. So was the lesson learnt? Or are we going to go through the same set of slow days, wishing we were as active as our rivals?
For the early part of the summer, I’d say don’t old your breath. Until a director of football is appointed, I can’t see any additions to the playing staff. Having said that, it’s a common misconception amongst fans that the manager’s mind only turns to transfers in May. Wenger’s been aware of the squad’s problems for a while, and will have targets in mind. Once the appropriate staff are in place, I’d hope for a busy couple of weeks.
But including last summer, we will have lost:
Cole -> Clichy steps up
Campbell -> Gallas comes in
Reyes -> No replacement yet
Pires -> No replacement yet
Bergkamp -> No replacement yet
Ljungberg (if only physically, if not sold) -> No replacement yet
Aliadiere -> anyone care?
You could argue that Rosicky is replacing Pires, but he hasn’t the goal threat of the insured-beard one yet. Bergkamp’s role is so difficult to fill that we can’t except an instant replacement – in August I thought Baptista would provide the link between midfield and the front line. How wrong I was. How wrong we all were.
Ribery is consistently mentioned. If I’m honest, I’ll be disappointed if he’s seen as the answer to our wide problems. Don’t get me wrong, I think the guy’s talented, but he’s solid rather than the match-winner we need. Up front, one more is needed, and whoever arrives, as has been mentioned elsewhere, presence is essential.
The time has now come to sign three players who can instantly play regular first team football. The ‘potential’ is everywhere already, you can create a fantastic potential XI from the players we have the haven’t hit the heights yet. Why add to that pile?
I know I haven’t mentioned the Chelsea game, as I haven’t been around since then, but for posterity, the 1-1 draw was probably fair, and unsatisfactory for everyone south of Manchester. We didn’t get the boost we wanted and expected when leading against ten men, and Chelsea handed the title back to Ferguson. To make matters worse, Henry’s words about Spurs celebrating draws at home to us were made to look foolish in light of the crowd reaction to preventing Chelsea winning. On the plus side, the players looked unhappy at throwing three points away.
Various reviews of the season are on the way, to brighten the mood. It’s too quiet around here.