It’s been almost two weeks since the summer transfer window closed. Now with a bit of distance and perspective it seems like the right time to look back at how Arsenal did, the ins, the outs and whether the Gunners are in a stronger position now than at the start of the summer.

What Were the Summer Goals?

Arsenal wouldn’t publicly state the goals for the window for obvious reasons but it doesn’t require much deduction to work out what Arsenal needed. The goals for the summer should have been the following.

1. An elite forward with consistent finishing
2. Keep Alexis and Ozil
3. A left sided wing-back / left-back
4. An elite level midfield player of stature, able to control tempo, carry the ball and defend
5. Reduce the squad size

So What Happened?

The Lemar balls up at the 11th hour put a seriously negative spin on Arsenal’s transfer activity. The Gunners pursued him most of the summer only for Wenger to concede defeat stating that Monaco wouldn’t be selling any more players.

Then after getting slaughtered at Anfield Arsenal got nervous and lost their bottle over keeping Alexis. They accepted an offer from Man City on the proviso that they could get Lemar to join them. By the time Arsenal had agreed a deal with Lyon for €100m, Lemar was about to take to the field with France and there was no time to complete a deal.

It was a very Arsenal farce and smacks of the move for Suarez in 2013.

Putting that uncomfortable episode to one side The Gunners had a busy summer.

Arsenal moved a total of 24 players out, 15 on permanent transfers and 9 on loan. They bought 2 players in on permanent transfers and 0 on loan.

The Gunners made an estimated Net Profit of £30m on player transfers.

Arsenal have received a lot of criticism over generating a net profit on player transfers. I feel this is slightly unfair, given the volume of players Arsenal needed to move out of the club this summer to trim the squad, and free up space on the wage bill. A total of 24 players were moved out, notably Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool for £40m, Wojciech Szczesny to Juventus for £11m, Gabriel Paulista to Valencia for £10m and Kieran Gibbs to West Brom for £7m.

The only incomings this summer were Alexandre Lacazette for £46m from Lyon and Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke. Both so far look very strong additions that give the team better balance, mobility and goal threat.

Could More Have Been Done?

Yes. It’s a pretty simple answer.

Firstly, getting rid of the number of players they did over the course of one transfer window is no mean feat. Although failing to find any takers for Matthieu Debuchy does tarnish their outgoing business somewhat.

In terms of the incomings Arsenal recruited two high quality first team players in positions that have been crying out for an upgrade. They did well in this regard and completed the business early before the start of pre-season. Hats off so far so good!!

So, what more could have been done? The area of the team I would really like to have seen an upgrade is central midfield. Along with a lot of fans, I feel that The Gunners still lack power and an element of control in the middle of the park.

Arsene Wenger is one of the most intelligent managers working in the game. I don’t believe for a second that he can’t see the flaws in Arsenals central midfield. Given this it seems odd that Arsenal weren’t seriously linked with any central midfield players this summer.

The rumours of interest in Jean Seri of Nice didn’t appear to have any legs. Other rumours came and quickly went and didn’t appear to be based in reality.

Arsene must see something on the training ground and have belief that his midfielders will deliver. To be fair we’ve seen them deliver recently against Chelsea in the FA Cup Final and Man City in the Semi Final. The problem is these performances are not seen often enough. Away from home the midfield gets overrun, lacks discipline and leaves the defence exposed.

This misfiring midfield is the biggest issue by far for Arsenal. This can no longer be addressed in the transfer market so hard work on the training ground is the only answer.

The Elephant(s) in the Room

Keeping Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil this summer was vital as they are Arsenals only true superstars. However, both have made no indication that they intend to renew their current contracts which expire at the end of this season.

Dropping out of the Champions League and failing to mount a serious challenge for the league in recent seasons has weakened Arsenals hand in negotiating renewals. If either are to stay it will be costly and require a serious upturn in on pitch results.

Aside from a few cryptic comments while away with the national team Alexis has remained professional in his conduct and kept tight lipped on all the speculation. Admittedly, he hasn’t made any attempts to dampen speculation but he hasn’t been disruptive or tried to force the move.

My feeling is that both Alexis and Ozil probably won’t agree new contracts before the end of the season which will result in both leaving next summer. To lose both would be a big blow and painful for a while.

Lawless Gunners

Arsenal's Chief Transfer Negotiator Dick Law, is to leave at the end of September when his contract is up. He has decided not to extend his Arsenal contract and will move back to the US to spend time with his family.

Dick Law has been a figure of fun for some Gunners fans for a while. No doubt in part this is down to that name but more so driven by some comedic transfer moves. Think Suarez and the £40,000,001 bid and this summer the Lemar bid at the 11th hour with no time left to conclude the deal.

The impression of Dick Law is probably a little unfair. By all accounts he has a very good network across the globe, is fluent in multiple languages and was involved in Arsenal's key transfers over in recent years.

Law is a close allay of Arsene Wenger so the boss is losing a trusted lieutenant in the American. Negotiating transfers and contracts is becoming more complex so losing Dick Law will be a blow to Arsenal. How the club replaces him will be interesting.

Huss Fahmy arrived early in the summer from Team Sky to inject some manpower into contract negotiations and contract management. Given Arsenal's current state with numerous player contracts up for renewal he has a lot of his plate with Dick Law about to exit.

Ivan Installed at London Colney

Ivan Gazidis has taken an office at London Colney. This suggests he might be investing more time and playing a more hands on role in contracts and player welfare in future.
From the outside, we can’t say with any certainty why this move has happened but clearly changes are afoot in how Arsenal will operate behind the scenes.

Gazidis being seen at the training ground is nothing new. Ivan is a familiar face who spends a lot of time there anyway and is known to have regular lunches with Wenger on Fridays.

Will he be taking on some of Dick Laws role – the fabled Arsenal internal solution?

A Good Summer or Not?

Assuming the aims were as set out above then 4 out of 5 is not bad. Most of the deadwood has been moved on, and in Lacazette and Kolasinac we have two quality players that have come straight into the first team and made the right impression. If they can inspire some of the existing players at the club to step up their game then we might be on to something.