Assessing Arsenal’s Summer Signings: Will Sanchez Flop? Is Debuchy Good Enough?

By on July 30, 2014

With Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger splashing the cash on four new signings already this summer, Gunner333 assesses the new additions and gives us his verdict.

As the new season approaches and the summer transfer window reaches its peak, there is a rather contrasting feeling at the Emirates compared with more recent seasons. Unlike the last few summer windows, Arsene Wenger has decided to acquire a number of new faces before the season starts, rather than splurging his transfer kitty on the odd addition, formerly dubbed a ‘panic-buy’.

Times seem to be changing though, with Wenger unveiling a new transfer philosophy, our squad has been bolstered with world-class talents and many more look to be following in the coming weeks.

With the dawn of the new Gunners era tantalisingly close, I though it best to analyse our acquisitions so far, right down to the finest dot of ink on the transfer contract. Here you can really open your eyes to the footballing calibre of the new crop, Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and David Ospina.

Alexis Sanchez

The Basics: 

Your typically small attacker, all the way from Topocilla in Chile, Alexis Alejandro Sanchez has emerged as Arsene Wenger’s answer to the seemingly never-ending striker debacle at the Emirates. The wide-man-cum-striker had impressed at Italian side Udinese before his sublime array of attacking performances called for the Chilean to be snapped up by Catalan Giants Barcelona in 2011. In his time at Camp Nou, Sanchez has chipped in with 47 goals and 34 assists in 141 appearances, playing alongside the likes of David Villa, Lionel Messi and, more recently, Neymar.

Where He Fits In: 

Arsenal fans across the globe have been calling out for Wenger to bring in a new striker in recent windows. Although Olivier Giroud converted a moderate 22 in his second season at the club, Gooner prayers have been answered.

Tactically, I see Sanchez as a very deceitful and ingenious purchase. As well as solving the apparent forward “crisis”, Alexis can play across the whole front line and could switch mid-game with the likes of Özil and Cazorla. We can see this game-plan folding, as Sanchez maintains much bolder mobility that Giroud and can play in a ‘number-10’ role, if need be. However, Arsene has already confirmed he will start from the right-wing during the early stages of his time at the club while Theo Walcott is out injured.

Verdict: 

Alexis Sanchez is an excellent buy and one we are certainly better off with. Foreign talents vary in how they cope with the intensity of Premier League life, but given his experience in some of Europe’s top divisions and the way his national side are set up, I believe the enigmatic signing of Alexis Sanchez is one to be very excited about.  TRANSFER RATING: 9/10

Mathieu Debuchy

The Basics: 

It is a regular occurrence for a Gunner to switch London life for a place in the modern-day fantasy club Manchester City and this year Bacary Sagna drew the short straw. Fortunately a replacement was quickly lined up and was soon to be packing his bags to leave Geordie-Land for the capital, on his way was Mathieu Debuchy. Ten years at Lille and a solid 18 months in the Premier League made Debuchy the perfect replacement for Sagna and after making 43 appearances for the Magpies in just over a year, we may have found yet another Mr. Consistency to put in a solid shift at the back.

Where He Fits In:

Debuchy will obviously be our first choice right-back this season and all the much-loved qualities of long-time Arsenal server Bacary Sagna seem rich within his compatriot also, with the right-back’s desired attacking-mindset highlighted by the fact he started his career as a playmaker, in-behind the striker. Mathieu’s attacking threat is highlighted by the statistic that he was third in terms of shots (35) and attempts on target (12) out of all Premier League defenders last season, despite his inferior number of appearances.

Compared with Sagna, the former Lille-man has the statistical edge in terms of his frequency of chances created last season, generating an opportunity for his team-mates every 114 minutes, to Sagna’s every 153.

Verdict: 

Although the fee believed to be around £12million conveys anything but a bargain-buy for a 29-year-old, Mathieu’s input at both ends of the field make him a potentially very valuable asset. The only evident downside in his game is his disciplinary record after he saw red on a number of occasions last season and picked up 12 yellows also, meaning his temperament could let slip a few dodgy set-pieces, if it is not controlled. In general, I feel his addition is truly welcomed and see Debuchy as a solid part of the Arsenal DNA for the next couple of years. TRANSFER RATING: 8/10

David Ospina

The Basics:

Of the quartet of deals confirmed by Arsenal so far in this window, David Ospina is the most unknown. Formerly of Nice in France, the Colombian shot-stopper has impressed domestically and internationally, playing every game for his home country in their run to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup. The man between the sticks  reaches a height of 6ft and spent six-years at Nice before making the switch to North-London recently.

Where He Fits In: 

Wojciech Szczesny will ultimately remain Arsenal’s first choice keeper for the season ahead, but with Fabianski’s departure to Swansea earlier this summer, it was paramount the Gunners were to find a replacement back-up and Ospina, signed for a cheap fee and boasting a fair amount if experience, fit the bill greatly. Although initially thought to be just a reserve option, David may have other ideas about his position in the Gunners.

Last season the man from Medellín racked up 5 man-of-the-match awards as well as gathering a much better game-to-goals-conceded record at Nice, than Pole Szczesny did at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger has hinted that Ospina is in the running to take the number 1 spot, should the Colmbian’s showings outperform that of Szczesny’s.

Verdict: 

Ospina’s performances are completely reliant on how much game-time he receives. It would not surprise me to see him selected as a ‘cup’ competition keeper, with Szczesny maintains the number-one jersey for league encounters. Either way, Ospina’s national experience supplies him with the edge over Szczesny and potential to have a very good debut season in North-London. TRANSFER RATING: 7/10

Calum Chambers

The Basics:

After 12 years at his boyhood club, young Calum Chambers recently became the latest to join the Southampton exodus, becoming the fifth first-team departure of the summer. Calum joins for a deal thought to be worth £16million, one year on from signing a four-year-deal with the Saints. He has made appearances for England at both U17 and U19 level and looks determined to join his former Southampton colleagues in breaking into the men’s national side.

Where He Fits In:

Why sign two players in the same position in one window you ask? Well, why indeed, although Chambers is not solely regarded as a right-back. Wenger claimed the signing was a “gamble” but one that is “sure to pay off” and it may well do given Calum’s ability to play in the centre of defence or even as a holding midfielder. His versatility seems to have earned him this deal and he’ll be eager to break into the first eleven, in whatever way he can.

Chambers outwits fellow new signing Debuchy on last seasons stats as, despite playing fewer games, in his time he had a greater tackles won percentage at 84% compared to the Frenchman’s 75%, whilst his pass completion rate was also a comparative 6% better. With Arsenal still lacking that holding midfielder every fan now dreams of signing to complete our summer business, Chambers may just have been signed to fill that particular chasm instead.

Verdict:

At £16million the deal is undoubtedly a big gamble, but as Wenger has hinted at, it may be one that very well pays off. We can view Chambers in a number of lights, he could be our new holding man or centre-back, but also may be in the back of Wenger’s mind, ready to do battle with Carl Jenkinson for the starting place at full-back I’m the future. Regardless of his signing’s intentions, I feel he has the potential to be an incredibly good buy. TRANSFER RATING: 8/10

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.

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