The only piece of business done so far is Gael Clichy and the only signing yet is Carl Jenkinson. The Arsenal transfer rumours are driven by a couple of different subtexts.
The club has not won silverware for six years: The fact that our winning tradition died quite some time ago leads to lots of angst. This has become the dominant theme with every passing year. Players like comparing their trophy count and unfortunately none at Arsenal have the luxury of even one. It's a breeding ground for wantaways, yes? Players desirous for success look to established winners. Darwin had something to say about natural selection.
The work of Dan Ariely, a Duke University sociologist establishes women are intrinsically drawn to taller men and the difference in inches is made up by a commensurate increase in their earning power. There is even a scalable index. A 5' 9" man to be considered equally attractive as a 5' 10" competitor has to earn £25,000 more a year. Which would ensure a scramble for limb lengthening procedures or the cheaper option of pimp daddy shoes to forgo that second job to be with the one you crave.
In the context of Arsenal would even one Premier League title won in the last few years make a practical consideration to a player seeking a bump from £90,000 to £140,000 per week? If Ariely's observations are generalizable then it is so. Since Arsenal enforces a line in the sand when it comes to player wages it remains an untestable hypothesis. We've to look to our rivals to establish that premise. In this case City without a winning record but with the financial wherewithal has proven a conduit for former Arsenal players with access to a pool of disgruntled transferees. The media playing up Nasri's association to City is working on past precedent and with Wenger warning off Utd's approach to the French midfielder is hedging its bets on an Eastlands move.
The arrival of Gervinho is off the burners. There is no news at all. Yesterday, there were reports in the Telegraph and swallowed whole by this blog about the Lille winger undergoing a medical at the London Colney training grounds. Gervinho in an interview talked glowingly about Arsenal and it being his first choice. This too has a context. He's made an impact in the French Ligue which naturally piques Wenger's interest. After all the composition of the present Arsenal team is but a subset of the Ligue. Bendtner and Chamakh have failed to give RVP the relief he needs up front so there is reason for additional help. At £10m Arsenal he's the perfect price for the price conscious Wenger. All these bits of circumstantial evidence build up to a powerful case of Gervinho's arrival.
Wenger's close to the chest attitude also helps drive these speculations. Unlike Sir Alex who telegraphs his intention and then uses Utd's drawing power to expedite the transfers. There really was no mystery to Phil Jones and it was just Blackburn hoping to squeeze out more money. David De Gea played coy with his move for a few weeks but everyone in the media knew he was looking to Old Trafford for his next challenge. Ashley Young's was a done deal. Meanwhile the Emirates hangs in a twilight zone with the media taking up the vacuum to pump story after story. Some like grapeshot are bound to hit the target but there is a context to each one provided by precedence and Wenger's motivations.