Let’s play twenty questions. You think of something – anything – and I’ll try to guess what it is. Ok, let’s go:
1. Is it animal, vegetable or mineral (although my predictive text keeps trying to say Monreal ;-)?
2. Is it a person?
3. Is it a man?
4. Is he from the UK or from abroad?
5. Will he be in the UK permanently in the near future?
Is he an Arsenal player?
6. Has he just been one of the best players at the World Cup?
7. Does he have pace to burn and a lethal finish?
8. Is he an attacking player that someone like Mesut Özil will thrive with?
9. Is his former club absolutely mad to part with him?
10. Have Arsenal got a bargain for a player that is only 25?
11. Will his arrival excite all Arsenal fans?
12. Is he from a country that sounds like a meal I have once a week with kidney beans?
13. Does this demonstrate that Arsenal’s years of self imposed financial restraint appear to be lifted because of this person and the previous signing of Özil?
14. Will Andy Dunn have to bin off any recollection of the trolling article about Arsene not spending any more money whilst all of our rivals are cashing out because of this guy?
15. Has this guys transfer made Phil Thompson out to be a bit of a mug for suggesting that a deal to bring said person to Liverpool was ‘done’?
16. Is this person the first of a few signings we’ll probably make this season?
17. Does he make you excited?
18. Does he look good in the new shirt?
19. Is it reasonable to expect big things from him?
20. Did he make it to the Puma kit launch?
Oh, that last one didn’t quite have the answer I was looking for, but no matter, you beat me fair and square, because I have absolutely know idea who he is you know!
In all seriousness, yesterday was one hell of a great day to be a Gooner, wasn’t it? The waiting ended at around 7.30pm for me as I found out that Alexis Sanchez had signed for The Arsenal to become our first transfer for this window. And what a transfer. Cast your mind back to that tough spell we had in March last season. You remember, when we looked tired, leggy, devoid of pace and a little bit stale with Theo, Mesut and Aaron injured. Now add another world class body in there who has pace to burn. No more high-line available for Everton to compress the space because they know Giroud can’t run at any great speed. Nope, this time Everton have to sit deeper, leaving gaps between their front men and their midfield. This allows Arsenal to dictate the play a little more and isolate the front players. Kos and Per are able to deal with the power of Lukaku and Naismith, who had been told to operate in between striker and midfield, finds himself deeper and having to travel further with the ball when he gets it to get towards the Arsenal goal. Everton struggle to break Arsenal down and the score finishes 0-1 to Arsenal.
I know I’m hypothesising to an extreme extent, but the signing of a brilliant extra body with pace, gives us another option that will negate the probability of us being devoid of pace if one or two players are missing. You have to credit Wenger here too. People often criticise his inability to spot certain things that are obvious to us, but the man knows this team infinitely better than we do, so his first move in this transfer window is to bring in lightning quick pace up top. Ace in the hand Arsene, well played.
And it’s a ‘well played’ because he hasn’t just answered the compelling need for a pacey striker with the first option available. If that was the case, he’d have paid QPR the £8million for Remy before the start of the World Cup. As it stands we may still get Remy, but it will be a compliment to the stellar signing that is Sanchez, not instead of. It’s funny how transfers can set the tone of fan sentiment actually, because this arrival means that any other incoming player will probably be greeted with warm applause from Arsenal fans. Consider that Mesut Özil was signed at this stage last year: the subsequent arrival of Flamini and Sanogo would have probably been seen as a decent attempt to bolster the squad.
But let’s not get too bogged down in pedantry here, because we have ourselves a shiny new superstar to worship; one that could prove to be the difference between running out of steam with ten games to go and challenging right until the end of the season. We still need some more quality bodies to join the club, but this arrival has injected an adrenalin shot into the heart of each Gooner. We’re all walking a little taller today and my journey into London with the rain beating down is a little bit more bearable.
Last night I got on my phone and blanket texted every Arsenal fan in my phone book. I can’t even remember the last time I blanket texted anyone. It signified a momentous occasion. Arsenal’s austerity is now well and truly over and it turns out that Arsene and Ivan were telling the truth after all.
Let’s not get carried away, there’s still some work to be done if this team truly is to challenge the best teams in England and Europe, but maybe, just maybe, Arsene does know after all.
Have a grand one you sexy bitches.