With the transfer window having opened on 27th July, it is time to look at potential targets and if they are worth pursuing. One name which has been heavily mentioned is that of the Crystal palace winger, Wilfried Zaha. On paper, Zaha may seem like a good idea, however, I would argue that signing the Ivorian winger would be a step in the wrong direction for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project.
There is no doubt at all that Zaha is a tremendous player. His vast Premier league experience compiled with his directness in possession and tenacity, would fit well into most sides throughout Europe. That being said, Arsenal may not be one of those sides.
Arteta seems to want to instill a style where oness is placed onto multiple players rather than individuals. Since his arrival, a collective press has been implemented along with compactness in defense and togetherness in midfield. Of course, as of now, most responsibility, attacking-wise is bestowed onto Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s shoulders, but I’m sure the former Manchester City number two wants that to change. The pressure on the Gabon international to score goals is similar to the way Zaha must feel at Palace and the fact is, we need that culture of relying on individuals to change. The midfield and defense, which could both still be improved have a sense of unity in them, but the attack for Arsenal has long been dependant on individual brilliance.
Since we had and sold Alexis Sanchez, there has been an ever-present reliance on isolated excellence within the attacking side to carry us across the line in any given fixture. Like the Chilean was just a few years ago, Aubameyang is hands down our best player and if he does not play well, odds are, neither did we. Zaha is also cursed with similar pressure at his current club and in all honesty, that is the role in which he thrives in. The 27-year-old never shies away from taking initiative and making solo runs, terrorising defenders with every run he makes. And while there’s an argument that can be made for us needing an attacker with that ability, I would argue that we need something different to what Zaha would provide.
In an ideal world, we, as a club would be able to bring in a more creative player and Zaha as well. But with our annoyingly typical stringent financial situation that just will not happen, so it’s one or the other. In my opinion, we need a more technical player in the side way more than we do a player like Zaha. The lack of creativity is depressingly astounding as has to be fixed as soon as possible. And while Zaha is a great player in many different ways, I would not deem creativity as one of his main strengths. Selfish would be the wrong word to use when describing Zaha, but it is certainly fair to say that his best asset is getting the ball and having a go at defenders by his lonesome.
The gunners need players with superlative passing abilities in order to perfect the style with which we want to persist with; a possession oriented, protagonistic one. Zaha is far better suited to an opposite system, a counter-attacking style of play. In all honesty, I don’t think that is what Arteta wants. It’s time to stop signing players just because they are good and highly thought of. Signing quality is massively important, but what is even more so is adding players that all fit a certain style so a final project reaches completion. A team all reading off the same hymn sheet is what is required to be a top-level side, not a collection of opposite-minded individuals.
Shoehorning players that do not all specialize in playing in the same system as each other is a bad idea and sadly, it is the way the club have been recruiting for years. Arteta’s blueprint must be studied and only players that fit his stylistic criteria should be purchased – let’s hope that the board recognizes this.
This window is massive and can define the outcome of next season. If a number of quality, intelligent coups are made the sky is the limit, however – if not, slipping down the table could continue. Let’s hope the latter does not occur, we’ve been through enough!