Flash a little leg, Arsene! by Dave
From a footballing perspective, the summer is a long, drawn out affair that saps your energy and leaves you desperate for the new season to start again. Fans of some clubs can often break up the mediocrity and dullness by getting overly excited about some shiny brand new signing. It’s a joyous occasion – waking up in the morning to the news that your club has just gone and splashed the cash on an exciting player you never expected to get. It’s like waking up beside that hot barmaid you’ve been desperately trying to flirt with for the past year; no idea how you got there but happy to bask in the glory….
Ahem. I digress. The point I’m making…badly…is that while it’s admirable to be a club renowned for developing stars, and I believe it’s something we must continue to do, our morning surprises have been far too infrequent. We’ve made plenty of astute signings, and we’ve made several wise investments, but I unapologetically crave some excitement. Over the last ten years, we’ve made three and a half signings that left me giddy with excitement. Some turned out better than others, but the potential and hope those signings give you are what summer transfer seasons are all about. There’s plenty of time to analyse, discuss and argue over the squad for 89 days of the summer. For that one day, all debates are off.
As I said, I believe we’ve had far too few of these signings in recent years. They differ from person to person, but my three and a half from the last ten years are:
1 – Jose Antonio Reyes
A big fee for a young European starlet in the making – Reyes was meant to be the future. He was going to help us make that next step. I saw glorious things in our futures the day we signed Reyes…and those dreams eventually crashed and burned. Such a disappointment. That same year, we signed two other young players – Messrs Fabregas and van Persie. Well played Wenger, well played.
2 – Samir Nasri
There had been plenty of speculation over whether we could pry Nasri away from Marseille. When he signed that contract extension in May, it was the equivalent of the aforementioned barmaid’s Biker boyfriend sauntering in the pub just as you get the courage to over and talk to her. Game over…or so I thought. Little did I know that the contract extension would serve just to make our eventual signing of him two months later all the sweeter. Hit the road, Biker Barry.
3 – Andrei Arshavin
Such joy – such disappointment. Arshavin’s arrival at Arsenal was a wonderful moment. He brought with him such promise and talent. His exploded on to the pitch in his first few months and he looked like an absolute world beater. And then he stopped. Arshavin will always have a fond place in my memory, but his signing was like taking home the prom queen only to find out she’s actually a he. It just looked so good.
3.5 – Santi Cazorla
I can only give Santi half a mark here because although his signing was tremendous news, my excitement was somewhat muted out of fear. I foolishly and secretly feared that Cazorla just might not establish himself in the Premier League. Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong, but my excitement was tempered, so he only gets a half.
There have been some other potential candidates along the years – Theo Walcott was a genuinely exciting prospect, but these days have been few and far between. While my head desperately wants us to make sensible and quality signings this summer, my heart is craving something adventurous. Come on Arsene; show us a bit of leg.
Tell us, what signings have really gotten your pulses racing?