Are Arsenal’ s last minute deals good enough to help the club challenge for Champions League football?

As Arsene Wenger sat dejected while his weakened Arsenal team where torn apart by a rampant Manchester United, the world wondered whether it was the end for the Frenchman.

He had lost his two best players and now the plot. But as a youthful United side plundered eight past his team at Old Trafford, something finally registered with the Arsenal boss. His project was failing and only a deadline day splurge could save the Gunners’ season. But are his late additions good enough to fire Arsenal back into Champions League contention?

Wenger had already added Ivorian forward Gervinho along with youngsters Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell before Cesc Fabregas and then Samir Nasri departed for Barcelona and Manchester City respectively. But after finishing fourth last season after being involved in a two-horse title race, the Gunners needed a drastic revamp even before their star duo left.

Wenger’s stubborn reluctant to buy experienced pros has driven Arsenal fans to distraction but finally in one last desperate attempt to kept a grip on his credibility and his team’s chances of success this term, the Frenchman abandoned his philosophy.

Park Chu Young (£1.8million from Monaco)

The 26-year-old  is one of the stars of the South Korean national team, pacy and strong he should suit the Premier League although Arsenal could lose the forward to military service before 2013.

All able-bodied Korean men must undergo two years in the country’s armed services before the age of 28.

Park’s status as star of his national team, darling of his nation and arguably the highest profile Korean footballer in Europe will not change that.

Per Mertesacker (£10million from Werder Bremen)

Giant German defender Per Mertesacker has been a long term Arsenal target.

It appeared he was no longer on the radar until the Gunners missed out on Bolton defender Gary Cahill, Everton star Phil Jagielka and new Blackburn signing Scott Dann. 26-year-old Mertesacker has 75 caps for Germany and easily has the credentials to succeed in the Premier League.

The only concern is the German’s pace or lack of it, maybe Wenger should have opted for someone who can handle the pace at this level.


Andre Santos (£6.2million from Fenerbahce)

Brazilian international Santos has spent most of his playing career in his homeland until a 2009  move to Turkey made him known in Europe.

Pacy and tough-tackling Santos should help plug the gap left by Gael Clichy. Wenger has described the left back as a quality player, with the ability to both defend well and get forward and help with attacks.

Yossi Benayoun (loan from Chelsea)

Israeli playmaker Benayoun has failed to break into Chelsea’s team and a loan deal looked on the cards but it was a surprise when he joined Arsenal rather than North London rivals Tottenham.

The 30-year-old has shown glimpses of skill and guile especially at West Ham and Liverpool but he is hardly a stand out signing.

Benayoun however may adapt to the Gunners’ passing style and he could be a surprise star this season.

Mikel Arteta (£10million from Everton)

The most eye-catching of Arsenal’s deadline additions is now 29 and it was a surprise he was handed a four-year-deal at the Emirates.

Arteta left Everton for Champions League football and his move to Arsenal could also springboard him into the Spanish national team, at last.

The schemer, has undoubted class but lacks a degree of pace. If he can take on the mantle of Arsenal chief creative force he could excel but if Arteta fades into the background in a talented midfield he may be one of the flops of the season.

The Verdict

Arsenal have added quality but the loss of Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy was nearly impossible to truly replace. Each of their signings have questions against them whether it be can they cope in the Premier League or whether they can stand out in this team. The Gunners should shoot up the table but a Champions League berth may just be a stretch too far especially after their horrific start.

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