How does one best describe Arsenal's transfer policy - frugal, thrifty and economic? Or miserly, close-fisted and stingy? Opinions on the subject are closing in on the latter after Arsene Wenger's total summer signings numbered just one first team player - Petr Cech.
The goalkeeper is undoubtedly brilliant and plays in a position in which Arsenal needed to strengthen, but a goalkeeper alone will not win trophies, something made ever more clear by the Gunners' stuttering start to the new season.
The policy of making a marquee signing every summer was thrown out of the window this year and Arsenal already visibly lack the the sort of uplifting swagger that signing a player like Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez can give to a side.
The question is why didn't Wenger bring in a big name player; was it because signs were good at the end of the 2014/15 campaign? Cast your minds back to last spring and despite a poor exit to Monaco in the Champions League, the Gunners went on a late season charge, securing third place in the Premier League as well as battering Aston Villa 4-0 to lift the FA Cup.
Such a blistering run of form suggests that there are the makings of a brilliant team in this Arsenal squad, but what do the best teams do year on year? They continue to improve, something that Arsenal's summer transfer policy has denied them from doing. They have in fact stagnated as evidenced by the meek defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.
Wenger is a strong minded and principled man. He does not believe in spending money for the sake of it, he prefers to build a team slowly from the ground up. This is commendable and should be applauded, but not when it so clearly comes at the expense of results.
Quite what was going through the Arsenal manager's mind when he chose to avoid buying a single first team outfield over the entire summer is anybody's guess. Was it arrogance buoyed by a run of results at the end of last season? Was faith in his current crop of personnel admirable, or a bit naive, even dim-witted?
Even the very best teams (which Arsenal are not) need to improve year after year, just look at Barcelona who reinforced over the summer despite the fact they can't even field any of their new recruits until January.
And the worst thing is that Arsenal will have had many chances to sign players over the transfer window. Nobody really believes that Wenger went to the South of France to sunbathe for the entire football interlude to forget about the snide comments and actions of the man who manages Chelsea, even if that's what it seems like following a summer of non-deals.
In all likelihood there were a host of players that could have (and probably would have) moved to the Emirates over the summer and improved the squad immensely. Anthony Martial, who Wenger has admitted he was keeping tabs on, was available for a lower price than Manchester United paid earlier in the window, but Wenger allegedly balked at the price (sound familiar?).
Then there is the likes of Lars Bender, likely available for £20m or less, who would have been an improvement on Francis Coquelin and even likely aided the Frenchman's development.
Wenger may have lauded Coquelin as one of the best in his position in Europe, but even so heading into the new season without another adequate player in this position is criminal. Yes the Gunners are well stocked in central midfield overall, but despite this if 24-year-old Coquelin receives an injury then Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini just won't cut the mustard. Simple as that.
Football's dealings have transformed exponentially over the last 10 years and Wenger may be struggling to keep up. No club wants to get ripped off in the transfer market, but when this morality keeps you from buying a single outfield player, then something needs to change.
Wenger is now 65-years-old and as hard as it may be to hear for Gunners fans, his age might be catching up with him. It's too far to say he is from a bygone era, but he holds certain principles - like always getting absolute value for money in the transfer market - too dearly.
A run of positive results and people will forget all about a wasted summer, but while Arsenal are struggling on the pitch Wenger will continue to look incredibly foolish and naive.
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