Arsenal fans are used to going into the season with hope, and only hope. This time however, the Gunners’ fans have a little more than just hope i.e. a not-so-bad-looking squad.
Arsenal probably had one of the best transfer windows compared to others in the top half of the top half (barring Liverpool and City obviously, who honestly could go without a new signing for the next two years at least). But looking at the rest of the teams, the certainly were the ones who had the best summer transfer window.
The Gunners addressed their defensive problems by signing William Saliba, Kieran Tierney and the former Blues defender David Luiz. Saliba returned to France on loan and won’t feature until next season.
But the ones that will impact Arsenal’s season are Luiz and Tierney. With Koscielny gone, Arsenal had to bring someone with experience and maturity in that dressing room. Relying on young Chambers and Holding for an entire season wasn’t really an option.
In comes David Luiz. The Brazilian has not impressed in the first few games, but to be fair to him, that’s just what David Luiz is. That odd error here and there, followed by an unexpected moment of brilliance with an outstanding long ball or a free kick sums him up. A couple more games and I think he’ll settle in well.
We haven’t seen even a bit of Tierney, who is still recovering after a surgery in the summer. Jose Mourinho recently expressed his thoughts on Tierney calling him a “young Monreal”, a rather traditional left back who Arsenal can benefit a lot from.
Moving on, a lot of Arsenal fans (including a part of me) are not happy about the departure of young Alex Iwobi. He had just started to look like he was getting there, might’ve even peaked in a season or two had Arsenal been patient, and most importantly, was an Arsenal boy from the academy.
Does that remind you of someone? Iwobi’s current teammate? Theo Walcott?
Theo had a similar Arsenal career where it looked like we might just see the best of him, but it never really happened. Don’t get me wrong,
Theo had an excellent career at Arsenal. 100 goals for Arsenal isn’t a joke, but did Theo ever reach the pinnacle of his potential? I don’t think so.
So I believe, Arsenal did great with the Iwobi deal. I mean, if someone’s offering you 35 million Euros for Alex Iwobi today, you don’t ask questions. You just take the money and run.
Let’s talk about club record signing Nicolas Pepe. Certainly one of the players who has impressed so far. No questions about that. I think he is going to be very important for Arsenal in the coming years.
For now though, the dribbling, the speed, the passing, the agility and the awareness is all there, the only part missing is the end product. He needs to put his shooting boots on at the earliest, because he doesn’t have anything to show for his talent as of now.
The new signing who has impressed the most, however, is Dani Ceballos. Against Burnley, he probably had one of the best home debuts The Emirates has ever seen. I know it’s early, but a lot of Arsenal fans see him as a mixture of young Cesc Fabregas and peak Santi Cazorla.
Ceballos can pass, dribble, stick the ball to his feet with glue and run away with it, plus pull off some great tricks out of his bag every now and then. He is everything you want in a Spanish midfielder. If there is one thing we can infer from this, it is that Ceballos is going to make Mesut Ozil fight for a starting spot this season.
Ceballos’ situation is very much like Eddie Nketiah’s in a way. Arsenal fans rejoice over Nketiah’s performances for Leeds and the England U-21’s knowing he’s coming back home at some point, but they must understand that the same rules apply for Ceballos.
Real Madrid are obviously watching him flourish at the Emirates. And it would be a lot to expect Ceballos to fall in love with London and Arsenal, to such an extent that he rejects the option of going back home and rejects a club like Real Madrid to sign him permanently from Arsenal next season. So all we can do as Arsenal fans as always, is hope. Hope that we get to sign him next season.
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