In his first ever press conference after transfer deadline day, Arsene Wenger disputed the perception the 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Man Utd triggered the desperate last minute signing spree.
Instead the process was more deliberative in the like for like calibration for departing players. Andre Santos and Park Chu-Young taking over Armand Traore and Nicklas Bendtner. The injury to Thomas Vermaelen led to a search for a suitable replacement which resulted in Per Mertesacker's arrival. In Jack Wilshere's absence, Arsenal's creative spark needed to be replenished. Mikel Arteta fills that void.
A week earlier, Wenger was not thinking of transfers.
" I know that in England when you lose a game the signings are always the solution but we have first to get our players back."
Wenger's first reaction to that crushing defeat showed he was still not convinced he had to strengthen the side. Maybe he was on the defensive downplaying the fact that they were no closer to signing anyone in the transfer market at that time. In the four days after, Arsenal went chasing the dragon to bring in as many players before the close of the transfer period. The truth lies somewhere in between. In some instances, the homework seems to have been done, in others, it appears to be pin the tail on the donkey. We risked Yossi Benayoun's loan move without a medical which tells you that things were getting a bit hairy.
A few points here. Who thinks this desperation thing is all that bad?
After such a massacre, if you didn't need a stomach transplant, you would have to be a subspecies of protozoa. If by a miracle Utd had been pegged to the 3-1 halftime score, what bets Wenger would have been claiming victory and touting his players brass balls. My gut feeling: Wenger was hoping to wing it but the Utd result just blew away all pretense.
This is not an isolated event. There is every indication Wenger fully cognizant Vermaelen was not going to be back chose not to go the transfer market last winter. Perhaps Djourou's performance had buoyed his hopes but in retrospect it was an extremely shortsighted decision. This time confronted by deja vu and in the face of such overwhelming evidence of Arsenal's defensive disarray, he was forced to remedy the situation.
The club suffers from an alarming lack of alacrity as observed on a number of occasions in the last two seasons. There have crucial matches when Arsenal would have done well to play with a bonfire lit up their collective arses. Instead they came off looking like the inhabitants of the kingdom of Bovinia. We're not advocating freewheeling panic, the sort of undecipherable stock market paroxysms that happens every time some potentate says something undecipherable about the debt crisis. No, its desperation, the cause and effect sort, that says if you don't get an A+ you can kiss that Cannondale goodbye. Desperation is good. Desperation is clarifying.