Arsenal dithered this summer, failing to complete deals that should have been. Such hesitation, primarily from Arsene Wenger and the board, has cost them their most prized possession: Thomar Lemar.
Arsenal are notoriously useless in the transfer window. Throughout Arsene Wenger’s recent tenure, they have failed to match expectations. A lack of basic investment, a lack of will to ever compete with the big-spending Manchester clubs, Chelsea and even Liverpool, and a failure to be decisive and ruthless in player evaluation and acquisition has scuppered the development of their squad.
Time and time again we have heard Wenger reveal that he was close to signing player X. It is often said a little tongue in cheek, but such is the frequency of his transfer regrets, that there is an underlying problem that has yet to be addressed after years of mistakes.
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And now, to add to the misery, the dithering of the Gunners is, once again, set to cost them their most prized possession. This is BBC Sport’s David Ornstein speaking BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday night, where he reveals that Thomas Lemar of Monaco, a player who has been on Wenger’s radar throughout the summer, was ready to commit to a North London switch:
“Perhaps it’s quite confusing to a player who was being chased by Arsenal in the summer and it’s our understanding that he did say he would join Arsenal. He was prepared to make the move. But when that interest ended, it was almost like it was put to bed. And on the final day of the window, you’re possibly back on. So, how does that affect your mindset as a player?”
Lemar was a key target early in the summer, shortly after the club-record signing of Alexandre Lacazette was completed. However, thanks to the usual hesitance to get the deal done, as well as an unwillingness to match Monaco’s price tag, a deal could not be agreed upon.
Until, suddenly, deadline day, when it looked as though Alexis Sanchez may leave and a replacement was needed. It felt like panic; it was panic. But because of their dithering, their dillying and dallying earlier in the summer, Arsenal were unable to rush through a deal for Lemar, subsequently pulling out of any Alexis sale.
It was a shambles in the kindest way possible. There was no planning, no preparation. The club was disjointed and desperate. They lacked any semblance of cohesion and conviction, seemingly confused and frenzied by City’s highly anticipated offer for Sanchez.
The Gunners failed to sign Lemar. It is likely that they never will, given the expectation that his stardom and reputation will only rise. They missed out on their prized possession because they dithered, a criminal weakness that has come back to bite them time and time again.