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'Is it just me, or are there any other Liverpool fans starting to feel like this summer may end up like last summer?' was the panicked opening line to a bizarre e-mail sent for inclusion in the F365 Mailbox on Thursday morning. That's Thursday May 29. It also included a line about the Adam Lallana transfer 'dragging on' - just 18 days after the end of the Premier League season. It's going to be a long summer for that particular fan.
Perhaps he should take a look at last summer's transfers and note that only Fulham had made any vaguely serious moves in the transfer market by the end of May, before sitting back in his seat and breathing a little easier. Unless they have a desperate, inexplicable need to see Derek Boateng arrive on a free transfer, this is no time for fans of any club to panic; it could, though, be exactly the right time for Arsenal fans to be given assurances that lessons have been learned and entrenched policies can shift.
The unbridled joy of the Gunners who filled the streets of north London to celebrate a trophy win despite the post-January collapse of Arsenal's title challenge will soon turn to cynicism if last summer's 'outlay' - when only Yaya Sanogo had arrived as the last week of the window approached - is in any way repeated. The embers of a rare euphoria are still burning around the Emirates; only Arsene Wenger can decide whether they are stoked or stamped out in coming weeks.
Reports on Thursday claimed that 'Arsenal chiefs have flown to Spain' to talk to Real Madrid about Alvaro Morata and possibly Karim Benzema. Arsenal chiefs (with or without decorative head-dresses) have presumably flown to Spain, or Italy, or France, before in late May or early June but have returned with a shake of the head or a 'let's just wait and see'. This might sound like a crazy idea to the naturally cautious but why not make that a 'sod it, let's pay the money now' and monitor the effect that has on the mood of fans, players and maybe even prospective signings? Spending an extra couple of million now would buy optimism that lasts longer than the memories of a victory parade.
Last summer Manchester City needed to make a statement that they were still ambitious players in the transfer market after the mistakes of 2012; by June 11 they had spent £45m on Fernandinho and Jesus Navas; by July 19 they had added Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. They struck early and they struck decisively. Arsenal will not and need not spend so extravagantly but they could follow City's example in terms of speed and clarity.
For the first time in six years, Arsenal finished within seven points of the champions last season. Back in the summer of 2008, the club responded to a title challenge that faded in February by bringing in one first-team player in mid-July (Samir Nasri) to replace one exit (Alex Hleb) and a four-point gap to Manchester United became 18 points within one season.
Cynics would suggest that scenario could happen again this summer; one big, early, headline signing would change the record.
Sarah, you overlooked the most important reason for Arsenal to move now: Season Ticket renewals, which cost an extra 3% this year, are due on 1 June. For anyone wavering about whether to pony up the extra cash, the signing of Morata or (let us hope) Benzema might be the push they need.- northbank12