Brace yourselves, Arsenal fans because the future is suddenly looking extremely bright for a club that was stranded in an unhappy situation less than two weeks ago.
The buildup to the English Premier League transfer deadline seemed to be following the same route as usual with the Kroenke family warning Gooners that the summer transfer window would be a tough one for the club with a limited transfer budget around one-third of what they would eventually spend. A few days before the transfer deadline, Josh Kroenke hinted at the change in fortune the club could be heading for when he claimed fans should be excited about the business the club was doing over the course of the transfer window.
Arsenal FC has done little in recent years to get fans excited but the 2019 summer transfer window could prove something of a watershed moment with much of the deadwood of the later Wenger era jettisoned and new players brought in. As the Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac security issue rumbles on amid reports of the pair being dragged into a London gangland dispute, The Emirates has become the center of the action in the Premier League.
The opening game of the season was not as impressive as the majority of Arsenal fans had hoped for but the club is in the process of rebuilding and bringing new faces into the fold. At the same time, the stalwarts of the end of the Wenger era are being moved on, some with the blessing of the club and then there is Laurent Koscielny. The departure of Aaron Ramsay was a tough one with his worth to the club as a whole undervalued by many and we will await his performances at Juventus to measure if the Gunners should have kept his improved contract offer on the table. Petr Cech was another whose time at the club had drawn to a close with his goalkeeping still excellent but his ball-playing abilities from the defense not up to the standard expected by Unai Emery.
Towards the end of last season, it looked as though the enigma of Ozil would finally bring his time at the club to an end with Emry seeming to become frustrated by his failure to remain fit and keep his form. Talk of a move to Turkey was rampant at one point but Ozil appears content to stay in North London, at least he did until the attempted carjacking that seems to have put both he and Sead Kolasinac in physical danger. Some newspapers have reported Kolasinac’s wife has fled to Germany to escape the situation which must put the future of both players in London at risk.
The win at Newcastle to start the season was not particularly impressive but did show that a team shorn of many recognized players could grind out the kind of victories that used to be beyond them. In the past, the loss of Ozil would have spelled disaster as he was the main creative force for Arsenal FC and was usually the player the Gunners looked for turn games when the team was struggling. For once, the Gooners making their way to The Emirates can look to the future with a growing sense of pride and confidence because of the success the club had in the transfer window.
The two cameos by the Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos and record signing Nicolas Pepe showed the Gunners this could be an English Premier League season to remember. Of course, Manchester City seems to be marching to the “three-peat” of titles with Liverpool suddenly looking a little shaky in defense and lacking attacking depth. Chelsea looked expansive but naive against a powerful and pacy Manchester United side who may have jumped above Chelsea in the race for the Champion’s League spots. On the other side of North London, Tottenham remains something of a mystery with unsettled players and a manager who wants his job title changed to head coach.
Looking at the problems facing other clubs, The Emirates suddenly looks like a happy place to be with a little optimism the Europa League seasons could be coming to an end. Of course, keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fit and firing to add to his 33 Premier League goals from just 50 games is vital. If the striker continues his impressive form it is vital the Kroenke’s refuse any bids for him when the window opens again in January.
The excitement in North London has largely surrounded the arrival of Pepe but the fact the Gunners jumped to the head of the line to sign him with a structured deal should be something of a warning. Instead, the arrival of Dani Ceballos could be the masterstroke of the season with the loanee possibly providing an upgrade on the departed Ramsay and pushing Ozil to perform better in the central attacking midfield role he favors.
There is much to admire about the last few weeks at Arsenal FC and the arrival of Ceballos and Pepe could push a talented but underperforming squad forward. If Emery can coach David Luiz to replicate the form he showed at Chelsea during their last title-winning season the loss of Koscielny may not be as huge as once thought. The defender is a complex and divisive figure but his experience and leadership in a dressing room that has lacked such a presence in recent years will push the club to challenge for the Champion’s League positions this season.
With homegrown players pushing more established stars for their starting spots, the future at The Emirates could be changing over to a brighter future as long as the forward momentum of the last few weeks is maintained.