Tick tock, Arsene, the clock is ticking.
That seems to be the message from legendary Arsenal winger/striker Thierry Henry to Arsene Wenger as the 2015 summer transfer window inches closer and closer.
[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup ]
Following the Gunners’ 0-0 home draw against Liverpool on Monday, Henry was quick to criticize and urge into action his former manager whose side is, in Henry’s opinion, still a couple of key signings away from competing for this year’s Premier League title.
Henry, on Arsenal’s transfer needs, speaking on UK television network Sky Sports:
“I think it is going to be a massive week — are they going to buy someone up front or in the middle of the park? They were missing a lot of players tonight. They still need a holding midfielder and they still need a striker. We have been saying it since the beginning of the season.”
Wenger, who elected to start a fellow Frenchman Olivier Giroud — of whom Henry has been highly critical in the past — at center forward and leave the smaller, speedier Theo Walcott on the bench until the 73rd minute, has further options in three of the four attacking positions with Danny Welbeck said to be returning from injury soon. For a new striker to arrive, one of the three already at the club would likely have to leave. Don’t forget, Alexis Sanchez can play the position, too.
As for the midfield, there’s Aaron Ramsey — whose 2013-14 season was world-class in quality, but regressed a fair bit in 2014-15 — 33-year-old Mikel Arteta, 34-year-old Tomas Rosicky (currently out injured), 31-year-old Mathieu Flamini (starting to see the pattern here?), 24-year-old revelation Francis Coquelin and the often-out-for-three-months Jack Wilshere.
There’s also the sometimes-unreliable Arsenal defense, which, like the unit one line ahead of it, seems woefully undermanned, particularly in the center. With Per Mertesacker (illness) and Laurent Koscielny (back injury) unavailable Monday, Gabriel Paulista, who only signed for Arsenal in January, and Calum Chambers, who’s 20 years old and played mostly right back in his first season with the Gunners, manned the center of defense against Liverpool. They were, to put it nicely, all out of sorts in the first half.
For what it’s worth, Henry’s on-air colleague and Liverpool legend Jaime Carragher backed Henry’s assessment and insisted Wenger needs to splash the cash before next Tuesday, Sept. 2.
“They are so close, Arsenal. They are not far away. But they’ve only signed one player, Petr Cech, who is a big improvement in goal, as we saw that tonight.
“Why hasn’t [Wenger] bought that central midfield player? We say it is a big week but he has had this problem for three years. He is not all of a sudden going to wake up tomorrow morning and say, ‘I want this player’.”