As final preparations for the 2012/13 ramp up and the Premier League gets set to kick-off, news outlets, blogs and pundits are dissecting from top to bottom. But what do the fans think?
We asked a panel of supporters in the USA and Canada their views on Arsenal's summer moves, their thoughts on the current squad and their hopes and predictions for upcoming season. Each day this week, we'll delve into a different topic and see what our panel thinks.
First up: their overall view of Arsenal's summer transfers.
I can't recall a summer in which we've seen so much business done so early, and I certainly can't think of a summer when Arsenal signed three world-class players. I have this picture in my head of Arsène having saved up an enormous chest of pennies down the years, and is just now unleashing it on the football world.
We've seen the arrival of Podolski, a proven commodity on the world stage who I think will adapt very well to the Premier League. Then the manager plucked Olivier Giroudfrom Montpellier, a talented player whose career track is not unlike that of Laurent Koscielny (and I think we'd all be just fine if he works out as well as Kos has). And now we've wrapped up the signing of Santi Cazorla, a player I've been a fan of since Robert Pires was his teammate at Villareal.
I think all would agree that while Arsenal can't spend pound-for-pound with the likes of City and Chelsea, but we can and now have spent smarter. I said in June that the summer would be a success IF we retained Robin van Persie, but now I feel I can remove that caveat. I had planned on spending this summer distracting myself from all things Arsenal; I guess the club wasn't having any of that!
I would definitely agree that the acquisition of so much world class, experienced talent has overshadowed Robin van Persie's probable departure. There's no denying he will be difficult to replace if he does in fact leave, but Arsenal deserve full credit for going above and beyond in bringing in reinforcements -- both in Robin's position and others -- and for bringing them in early.
As far as each individual signing is concerned, it again goes without saying that each brings a considerable amount of experience and pedigree to his position, something that is certainly a welcome change for most fans over past signings who perhaps only had unproven "potential" at the time of their arrival. In addition, I have no doubts or questions whatsoever as to their specific usefulness in this Arsenal squad. They're not haphazard Man City buys, in other words :)
This summer has certainly been different from the last. We got most of our important business out of the way. Not only have we bought three world-class players in Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla before the season even started but we have also managed to silence critics who often complain about how we only sign potential. We have instead signed proven quality this season.
The change in transfer policy has certainly excited most fans. Podolski, despite having a checquered club career, has represented Germany over 100 times so far in his career. Giroud not only won the league with Montpellier last season but was also Ligue 1's joint top goal scorer. Perhaps the most exciting transfer though is that of Cazorla. I feel our squad had been missing a player with his abilities since Fabregas left last summer. He is highly revered by those that follow Spanish football and is arguably one of the main reasons Malaga qualified for a Champions League spot at the end of last season.
I am very pleased with the new additions to the squad and am looking forward to seeing how they can take us to the next level next season.
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