A lot has happened at the Club since our last game, especially with the transfers, and in the end it all happened quickly.
48 hours before the transfer deadline I thought we could finish with nobody coming in, and nobody going out. Then two days later we had three players going, and had three coming in, it was miraculous.
It is good news for everyone that we got the transfers resolved. It's very important for us that everyone who is in the squad is focused on the targets we want to achieve. Having said that, I don't think you can put any of the Ashley Cole situation down to our bad start, that was down to us and the players that played, so we can't use that as an excuse. But as I said, it's good that the saga is over now.
Ashley Cole was a great player for Arsenal Football Club, and we can all be proud of him as a Club, because he came through the ranks and we all know how difficult that is at this level. He came through quickly and very soon was a full international. He won a lot of honours with Arsenal and we wish him well and thank him for all he did for us. He was a tremendous player for the Club, and nobody will forget that here.
Jose Reyes didn't have a footballistic problem, it was more down to adapting to an English way of life that he never really managed to do. He is from Seville, a completely different way of life, different culture, but he is a tremendous player, and it hurts me to lose him. But I agreed to the transfer because I got an opportunity to get a player I wanted, and he got the opportunity to go where he wanted, so that's why I did it.
We also said goodbye to Pascal Cygan, who also gave everything to this Club during his four years with us. We wish him all the best in Spain.
We have brought William Gallas in, who can play in different positions at the back, which is what we need. He is a winner, he has experience, and has the physical qualities we need. Also he is used to the Premier League - he knows what it is all about to go away to difficult places, so I'm very happy to have him here.
He can play left-back of course, and it is a possibility we will use him there because at the moment we have a problem there. Justin Hoyte prefers to play right-back, and William is perhaps the most capable to sort that problem out.
We signed Julio Baptista too, who has the power to play in midfield. In fact he has the ability to play in central midfield, wide midfield, as a striker or just behind the front man, so he is very versatile, and very efficient. The most notable thing about him though is that he has immense power, and is good in the air. Since Robert Pires left we have missed someone who can come from deep positions and get into the box. He can do that.
We have been used to having two wide players who regularly get at least ten goals a year. When that goalscoring potential goes, you have to be careful that you don't just play and play and play without scoring.
Our third signing was Denilson, who I have followed for two years now. We had him on trial, watched him on tapes, and we were trying to negotiate with him for a while, so I was pleased that we managed to finalise the deal just before the deadline.
He is a central midfielder, he can win the ball and he can use it. He is just 18 years old and was the captain of the Brazil Under-17 team. He is an exceptional talent, I am very happy for the future of the Club with this signing. He has a strong personality as well, basically he has everything you need to be a successful central midfielder.
I want him just to settle into life here at the Club for the next three months or so, and we have a nice little group of Brazilians now, so they can help him to settle here.
Talking of Brazilians, it was a nice experience on Sunday because it was the first time I was able to experience and enjoy our new stadium as a supporter does. I watched the Brazil v Argentina game from a different perspective and I was also impressed that there were nearly 60,000 people inside the stadium, for what was a friendly. It shows we have a massive supporter base.
I was also at the France v Italy game on Wednesday night, but I would say that 80 per cent of the games during the international break had no real footballing interest. For example you do not sit down to watch England v Andorra and expect to see a great game. When that happens, on a longer term basis that is not good for the game. There is a need to change it.
You saw it again on Wednesday when Germany won 13-0. That is not serious football, and it is disrespectful to the fans. Simple as that. I can understand the national pride, but the responsibility of the people who organise football is first of all to give quality to those who pay for it.
But now we are back to domestic football, and we need to get back to winning ways after our defeat at Manchester City.
The way we played against them generally was quite satisfying, but we lacked that cutting edge up front and at the back, and without that you will always struggle to win games. We saw that against Aston Villa too, and twice this season we have put ourselves in difficult positions by going behind. There were a lot of encouraging factors in both games, but now it is time to get results. We need to rectify that today against Middlesbrough.
They too made some good signings in the transfer window. Jonathan Woodgate has not played for a while but we know how good he is when he is not injured. When I was looking for a centre-half I thought about Woodgate, but frankly his injury record makes you a bit wary. If we had four experienced defenders, you would say he is worth the gamble, but we needed someone to come in to the team right away.
Middlesbrough can beat anybody on their day, but they have been inconsistent so far. We just have to think they will be at their best against us, and be ready for them.
Thanks for your support up in Manchester, get behind the boys again today.
Arsène Wenger9 Sep 2006