Transfer deadline day has come and gone and unless you are an Real Madrid, Tottenham, or Arsenal fan, there’s not too much to really comment on. Liverpool made a couple small splashes by bringing in Victor Moses on loan and grabbing Sakho from PSG. Felliani became Manchester United’s sloppy seconds when first choice midfielder, Herrera, ended up falling through as well as a last minute bid for Khedira. Everton were able to reinvest some of the Felliani money and buy James McCarthy while taking Lukaku and Gareth Barry on loan. A few lower level deals and a few more loan moves rounded out the Premier League action aside from two players – Gareth Bale and Mesut Ozil.
The transfer of Bale to Madrid had been known for some time now since Tottenham were spending cash like Pacman Jones in a strip club (sorry for the American Football reference). It was well documented that prior to the North London Derby on Sunday, Arsenal had spent a total of £0.00 and Tottenham had spent £100m. Even with the ridiculous cash outlay, Tottenham was unable to withstand Arsenal’s determination and seemed to lack the cohesiveness (and rightfully so) of a team who had not played many games together.
Now that the Bale saga is over for Spurs, they can finally focus on what they have brought in and not what they were sending out (similar to the Arsenal/Van Persie situation last year). Arsenal had brought in Giroud and Podolski and seemed to lack the understanding of each other until the second half of the season. Will it take that long for the likes of Lamela, Soldado, and Paulinho to gel? Spurs fans are hoping not, but it is a troubling sign thus far that their only two goals have come by the way of penalties and have yet to score in open play over the first three matches, despite winning two of them. They seemed to lack the offensive spark that Bale had provided for them the last few seasons. Once again, very similar to Arsenal last season following the departure of Van Persie. So all is not lost as the season is still young for the new-look Spurs squad.
Real Madrid broke their own transfer record by combining the previous record holder, Ronaldo, with the current record holder, Bale. All I have to say is I pity the fullbacks of the opposition. Good luck trying to keep up with Ronaldo AND Bale attacking from both sides. Was Bale’s 21 Premier League goals from a season ago worth £85m? What we do know is that his talent and potential is very real. Bale should find it easier in La Liga to breakdown defenses like he did so well with in the Premier League.
However, with spending so much money on one player (as well as several other players brought in), it was necessary for Madrid to 1. make room for Bale and 2. recoup some of the transfer fee that they so willingly threw at Spurs. With an already crowded midfield, Madrid had a tough choice to make as to which midfielder to send out. They had to choose between Khedira, Xabi Alonso, Modric, Ozil, Di Maria and of course, Ronaldo. They offloaded Kaka’s high wages to AC Milan and it seemed like at least one more player had to leave the obviously congested midfield upon Bale’s arrival – enter Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger had been feeling the heat. By the end of the transfer window, he started lashing back at the media with his little quips. Aside from what most Arsenal fans though, he actually did have a plan, even if it did take until the last hour of the transfer window to announce it. Early in the window, Arsene brought in a young, albeit unproven, striker in Yaya Sanogo and then recently brought back Flamini, neither costing a penny in transfer fees. Arsenal fans had seen it before and figured that was the last of Arsene’s signings. However, once the Bale deal went through, Arsene pounced at the opportunity to buy one of Madrid’s world class midfielders, which now seemed like his plan all along. Was Arsene really talking to Madrid about Higuain early in the window, or trying to sure up a deal for Ozil as early as July?
Despite the obvious excitement for Ozil, Arsene still left some holes in the squad. With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski out for months, the attacking options come down to Giroud and an unproven Sanogo. Obviously, Arsene shows tremendous confidence in Giroud and he has produced a goal in 4 of Arsenal’s 5 match so far this season, but it is still a risky proposition to only have one viable striking option. Theo Walcott has played there in a pinch before, but is much better with his speed out wide. Could Bendtner actually be an option for Arsene? The defense is also thin with Vermaelen out for some time. Gibbs and Sagna have missed significant time the last couple of seasons. That leaves Nacho, Mertesacker, and Koscielny, hardly a deep group. Arsene is taking a gamble that his current squad, with the addition of Ozil, will hold up until depth and possibly a top striker could come in January to get a push for some actual trophies – not just finishing top 4.
So how does Gervinho fit into all of this? Let me spell it out:
1) Roma buys Gervinho from Arsenal making Lamela expendable
2) Tottenham buys Lamela to send out Bale
3) Madrid buys Bale making Ozil expendable
4) Arsenal buys Ozil
In Summary, Arsenal swapped Gervinho + £35m for Ozil – superb business. In addition, Spurs not only lost their best player and playmaker, they allowed Arsenal the ability to purchase one of the world’s most creative players.
Probably not what Tottenham had in mind when they decided to cash in on Bale.