Sometimes all it takes is one signing to change the perception of a club. Arsenal under Wenger were tired, one dimensional and easy to physically dominate.
The players realised that although they played in a team that could dazzle and entertain any audience, they would be lucky to win major trophies, so they began to look elsewhere.
Our summer 2019 recruits 😎
✏️ Describe this transfer window using just ONE word: _____ pic.twitter.com/mqBsLb1Z6L
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 9, 2019
When good players leave, it’s hard to make a side look attractive again, to make them look like they could achieve success in a highly competitive sport. Wenger’s parting gift was to buy Lacazette and Aubameyang but even with this awesome strike partnership, Arsenal’s stock was minimal.
As this transfer window approached, fans drew a deep breath. Could arsenal attract the players they needed without Champions league football, without a decent defence and with few resources.
It looked inevitable that Arsenal’s neighbours would grab the headlines but with the Saliba deal done and Ceballos secured on loan, Arsenal pulled off a major coup with the purchase of Nicolas Pepe.
No one saw it coming and with it, Arsenal’s stock suddenly rocketed by a 1000%. One of the brightest French prospects had decided to play for a club which was in the process of rebuilding and seemed more than happy to do so.
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) August 8, 2019
Now, with Pepe onboard Arsenal are starting to look more attractive and his signing could trigger a number of others in the coming seasons as a positive domino effect takes place.
Arsenal have struggled to bring in a host of other big names, especially with its major stars decideding to move on. Wenger had less pulling power with the likes of Pires, Overmars, Vieira, Van Persie and Henry heading out the exit door.
Arsenal had become the West Ham of a few years ago, a reasonably well paid destination with little chance of achieving success but at least the players that did come were in the shop window for another club to pick up.
Suddenly fans can look beyond that negative imagery, Pepe is a statement of intent and if Arsenal can add to that with one more Stella signing, then others will really take note.
I’m not saying that Arsenal can beat Manchester City and Liverpool to the title but they stand a very, very good chance of a champions league slot with Spurs as their only real rivals.
Everything about the Pepe deal is good news, the fee, the payment structure, the publicity and the excitement. Arsenal have had a bumpy few years, is this when it ended and the club found it feet ? Let’s hope so.