Arsenal has completed a pair of big-money deals with the transfer windows closing down,.
Manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that the club has finished the transfers of Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, two players they have long been linked with. He also confirmed the club was unlikely to sign any other players, unless new opportunities cropped up before the window shuts on Wednesday.
“We have bought two players, Mustafi and Perez. We had to work very hard to get signings done,” Wenger said. “We have no plans for anyone else now.”
Mustafi fills the most pressing need, helping patch up a back line ravaged by injuries. He is set to sign a five-year deal, according to the BBC and other reports. The fee is a reported $46 million.
Perez, a 27-year-old Spaniard, also fills a heavy need up front. With just Olivier Giroud and Chuba Akpom as the only healthy strikers available to the Gunners, Perez will help fill a gap. Perez was purchased for a reported $22 million, triggering the player’s release clause.
It’s unclear how soon the players will be available to play for Arsenal. The club next takes on Southampton after the international break.
New managers have quickly brought the attention back to the Premier League’s traditional powerhouses, but one newcomer continues to impress in its return to top-flight football.
Hull City couldn’t pull out a draw against unbeaten PL favorites Manchester United, but the Tigers still looked impressive at times. Meanwhile, Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal all won on the day, with the Blues keeping their winning ways up as well.
The points were surely going to be split between two of the better sides during the opening month of the season, but Marcus Rashford stole all three out from under Hull City. Despite a clever defensive effort from the Tigers, United remained unbeaten through three games after the second-half substitute smashed home Wayne Rooney‘s cross in the 92nd minute of play.
It was easily Chelsea’s best performance of the young season, and Eden Hazard looks to be back to his old ways after kicking off the day with a goal. The Clarets were held throughout the match at Stamford Bridge, limited to zero shots on target.
Philippe Coutinho continues to present challenges for opposing defenses but luckily for Spurs the Brazilian was off with his finishing on the day. A James Milner penalty kick gave Liverpool the lead at White Hart Lane before Danny Rose leveled things up for the home side. Spurs remain unbeaten in their start to the new campaign but like many other PL sides, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men are still fine-tuning in the early portion of the season.
A brutal schedule to open the season forced the Gunners to wait three weeks to find their opening win, but Saturday’s performance was a reminder of just how dangerous Arsene Wenger‘s group can be when firing on all cylinders. Alexis Sanchez looked like a menace from the opening kickoff, working his way into dangerous areas on the field and troubling the Watford backline.
The Foxes don’t look dominating like they were a season ago, but the most important thing about Saturday’s performance was that they won. Jamie Vardy got back on track with a much needed finish off of a routine long ball, before captain Wes Morgan powered home a close-range strike.
It looked as though Josh King‘s first-half finish would be enough for Bournemouth to earn its first win of the season, but Scott Dann‘s late effort ensured that Palace would take a share of the points at home. Neither side looked dominant after the opener from the visitors, but it was a valiant effort from Alan Pardew‘s side to pick up a draw.
Chances were limited until the latter stages of the match but some clever play from Jermain Defoe to earn a penalty kick handed the Black Cats the lead with 10 minutes to play before the home side equalized in the dying minutes. Jay Rodriguez was the savior for Southampton, after scoring with five minutes to play for the Saints.
The Toffees have quietly gone about their business this season but Ronald Koeman‘s side have taken seven out of nine points in their first three matches. Leighton Baines‘ penalty kick secured the team’s second win of the new PL season on Saturday, and Everton will be certainly pleased with the start.
With manager Arsene Wenger entering the final year of his contract, the time is now got Arsenal.
Yes, Arsenal will have their work cut out with the two Manchester clubs strengthening massively this summer but on their day they can blow teams away.
Saturday was one of those days as the Gunners destroyed Watford in the first half, scoring there times through Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. It could’ve been more too.
Although Cech had to make two good saves in the second half and Roberto Pereyra pulled one back for Watford, the win was about as a routine as it comes in the PL.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Cech couldn’t help but mention Arsenal’s title aspirations when summing up the victory.
“The first half we did well, scored three goals and could have scored more. The second half they were 3-0 down and as a good Premier League side pushed for something and it was tougher,” Cech said. “Everybody has to do their bit to help the team get three points. I am not happy because we conceded but a win is a win. We needed to respond after the first two games and got the vital three points.
“There are 35 more games to play and we will fight to win every game and be in the mix in the last game. We want to win the title, there is no hiding in that and we will do our best.”
When Arsenal play like this they are unstoppable as Ozil and Sanchez ripped Watford apart with incisive runs, passing and clinical finishing.
There is a long way to go this season, as Cech acknowledged, but when everyone is back fit and new players arrive, Arsenal will be sniffing around the top four once again this season.
Whether or not they can do better than that remains to be seen but Cech seems confident and focused to deliver the elusive title Arsenal has been waiting 12 long years for.
One step at a time, Petr.
Watford 1-3 Arsenal: Gunners grab first win of the season
Arsenal beat Watford comfortably at Vicarage Road on Saturday with the Gunners riding three first half goals to victory.
Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil were all on the scoresheet to put Arsenal in a commanding position and although Roberto Pereyra hooked home in the second half it was a routine win for Arsene Wenger‘s side.
With their first win of the season Arsenal now has four points from three games, while Watford remains winless and has just one point from Walter Mazzarr’s first three games in charge.
So often the subject of discontent for Arsenal not spending enough cash, now Wenger is being slatted for lining up deals for center back Shkodran Mustafi and striker Lucas Perez.
Speaking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBC Sports)Wenger smiled as he delivered this opening comment when asked if the imminent arrival of Mustafi and Lucas were a result of panic late in the transfer window.
“Look at my face. Is this the face of someone who tends to panic buy?” Wenger said. “No, it is the case that everybody is waiting to get the deals done. When a [foreign] club wants to sell to an English club today they ask for a huge amount of money. So it takes a long time to settle [on a price]. In the next two or three days everybody will find agreements.”
Wenger is right.
With the huge influx of cash across the PL, teams across Europe know the PL has a lot more money to spend this summer and the prices are going through the roof.
In fairness to Wenger, the deal for Mustafi has been rumbling on all summer long with Valencia driving a hard bargain and Arsenal finally agreeing to pay $46.2 million for the 24-year-old German international.
Perez seems like more of a panic buy with the Deportivo La Coruna striker costing $22.5 million after scoring 17 times in La Liga last season. The 27-year-old Spaniard has had a nomadic career to date but with Everton interested in his services, Arsenal have jumped in at the last minute with concerns around the long-term fitness of Danny Welbeck and only Olivier Giroud around.
If these two deals do go through then Arsenal and Wenger will have spent the third-highest amount in the PL this summer behind Manchester City and Manchester United who have completely obliterated the transfer market.
Even if these are “panic buys” from Wenger, you can no longer accuse Arsenal of not spending money. Arsenal’s fans will have to find something else to moan about now as Wenger enters the final year of his contract.