Can Arsenal have a straight transfer story for once? Football's groundhog day is surely the inevitable summer ritual of Cesc Fabregas's "will he won't he this time around." Now, we have the story of Velez Sarsfield winger Ricardo Alvarez suiting up in Arsenal kit.
None of this is on the Arsenal website and the only authority is Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini, a notorious gasbag on an Italian talk show saying they had lost Alvarez to Arsenal because they had not moved fast enough.
"Unfortunately, we didn't complete the move in time, so we lost him to Arsenal. At this moment he has already signed for the Gunners."
Zamparini likes nothing better than to top off his salad with the testicles of his own players (they're called scroutons and are available at the Palermo football store) which explains why Alvarez was never keen on joining that club. Jokes aside, the more likely explanation is he was running off his mouth as usual.
Arsenal reportedly have been interested in Alvarez for about three years which is unsurprising. They've been interested in lots of players for many years but there is a difference between that lukewarm emotion and a real drive to get him to the Emirates.
This however bears repetition. At this stage, the Samir Nasri wage negotiations and the Fabregas transfer saga consume most of the space. Wenger's first instincts are not to lose them but if he does, especially Fabregas then ensure maximum value for their transfers. Nasri is on his last year and Arsenal risks recouping any money if he walks out on a Bosman. There is also a remodeling of Arsenal's midfield in the works with a Fabregas departure necessitating Nasri's realization of a more central role. This unsettled look is unique amongst the top Premiership clubs and only Spurs have a similar problem in Luka Modric.
A major reason Arsenal never seems to have a transfer budget is because of its prospective self financing model - it raises money for future purchases by selling squad players. Arsenal have not even begun that process in real earnest. Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy, Denilson, Tomas Rosicky, Sebastian Squillaci, Manuel Almunia, and Andrey Arshavin have all been mentioned at various stages. At this stage any player costing over £10 million (relatively a large sum of money for Arsenal) is going to be a tough purchase. We might see a few later in the transfer window after piecing together some of the above jigsaw.