HomeZ OLD CATEGORIESArsenal (NN)A Look At Arsenal New Guys via Opta Stats | Per Mertesacker

A Look At Arsenal New Guys via Opta Stats | Per Mertesacker

The summer before this season commenced has been unanimously declared a disaster by all associated with the Arsenal. The messy departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas stripped the club of their two most creative talents and Gael Clichy’s refusal to renew his contract meant we were short in the left-back area. Welcome high-profile departures came in the form of Eboue, Traore, Denilson, Bendtner and Vela, albeit only the former two sold completely. Of course it wouldn’t be Arsenal unless a player was ruled out for the majority of the season and the tradition continued when Jack Wilshere’s ankle injury became serious during pre-season, ruling him out until February. We are yet to see him take to the field this season.

In reaction to this raft of departures, Wenger was unusually active in the transfer window. The early capture of young Carl Jenkinson from Charlton went largely unnoticed. Long-term target Gervinho was finally captured from Lille in July to add some much-needed quality to the attack and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived from Southampton to some derision (‘another expensive young winger!?’) which has now been blown out of the water.

The final 48 hours of the transfer window were very bizarre as Wenger embarked on a spending spree that must have been the equivalent of a man buying his wife an expensive gift, he knows he has to impress but there must be a cheaper way of doing it. Park Chu-Young joined in comical fashion after a last-gasp dash to the airport, Yossi Benayoun joined on loan from Chelsea and Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker arrived to bolster the defense. In the dying hours, Mikel Arteta forced through a transfer from Everton and the window was closed. By this stage of the season, Arsenal were 17th in the table after suffering a humiliating 8-2 defeat courtesy of Man United. As the season has went on, Wenger’s transfers have varied from impressive to anonymous. I’ll be taking a look at each one in a (hopefully!) weekly article. First up, as it was confirmed this week he would miss the rest of the season and therefore can’t mess up this article, well any more than I can, is our Big F***ing German; Per Mertesacker.

There were calls throughout the summer, in fact over the last couple of the seasons, for Arsenal to sign a tall, strong no-nonsense defender. Christopher Samba and Gary Cahill were the two most strongly linked. Hilariously there were even calls for Scott Dann or Roger Johnson to be snapped up from relegated Birmingham. When you are talking about Arsene Wenger though, the unexpected is the most likely route of action. He signed Mertesacker for around £10 million from Werder Bremen, a player with 79 caps for Germany and had also captained the national side on many occasions. At 6 ft 6, many expected him to be the aerially dominating centre-back it seemed we required, the reality has been very different though.

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Next Page: Mertesacker performance analysis…

Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
Disciple of Bergkamp
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