It’s not often that this has been heard over the past decade but Arsenal have seriously impressed with their business in the transfer market so far this summer, stealing a march on their close rivals.
Despite ending a disappointing season on a high after beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final it is undeniable that there was still an air of despair around the Emirates heading in to a pivotal period.
Perennial manager Arsene Wenger’s future was still unclear – as was the case with the talismanic duo of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil – and the lack of Champions League football was still settling in.
And the announcement of Wenger’s two-year contract extension did little to raise spirits of supporters of the north London club either, with fans still hugely divided over whether the veteran Frenchman can turn things around, and they can be forgiven for thinking ‘here we go again’.
Arsenal had seemingly fallen way behind their top-four rivals when it comes to spending big on world-class players, with the biggest arrival in recent history Ozil’s £42.5 million move from Real Madrid in 2013.
Since then it had been a long list of players yet to prove themselves at the top level, failing to set England’s top division alight or push Arsenal’s progress forward at all, leading them to fifth place.
But, after what seems like an age, Wenger has finally put his hands deep into his pocket to secure the exciting French forward – and proven goal-scorer – Alexandre Lacazette for a record £52.7 million.
It’s the type of move that Arsenal supporters have been crying out for since the turn of the decade – already impressing by scoring just 15 minutes into his first-team debut against Sydney FC – and it gives the Gunners’ a real sense of belief, motivation and positive change heading into a new campaign.
Add to this the addition of highly-rated left-back Sead Kolasinac from Schalke, believed to be a superb fit for Wenger’s experimental 3-4-3 formation last season, and it’s poignant, strong arrivals.
But, although Lacazette will become the poster boy for Arsenal’s business this summer – unless they do in fact manage to scoop Monaco teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, as reported by French news outlet France Football – perhaps the best negotiations have been far closer to home.
With star-men Ozil and Sanchez entering the last year of their contracts, and with little news on either signing an extension, Arsenal fans have understandably been growing worried since mid-April.
The Mirror had claimed that Wenger was desperately offering them combined wages of £30 million-a-year to remain at the Emirates, as their potential exits could rip the heart right out of Arsenal’s side.
Hearing this will be music to many Arsenal fan’s ears – and will arguably feel just as euphoric as hearing the Lacazette news – and now there’s a growing feeling that next season could be a big one.
There’s a long way to go until the curtain falls on the summer, with other top four contenders inevitably set to continue recruitment, but for the first time in a while it seems a good time to be an Arsenal fan.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Yuansong Fu.