It is deeply unfair to judge a footballer before he has played so much as a minute for his new club, but I have to say I’m not excited by the arrival of Takuma Asano.
This transfer window is the biggest one I can remember for a decade and so many clubs are plotting big moves, while others are already making them – you only have to look at the Manchester clubs, Liverpool, and Chelsea to see the wheels beginning to turn.
In that context, this really does feel like an anti-climax, especially after the early signing of Granit Xhaka and the hubbub that surrounded the Jamie Vardy bid. This, I thought, was to be Arsenal’s summer.
I though Arsene was preparing for a real statement of intent, a set of marquee signings to get us all hyped and ready for battle in what is shaping up to be the most competitive Premier League season for a long time.
Instead, we’ve got another signing “for the future”, which is a dish we have been served many a time over the years and, frankly, it’s often come up lukewarm and seasoned with a globule of phlegm.
To clarify, I am most certainly a fan of bringing in young, talented kids and seeing them develop into world class performers, but this doesn’t feel like the right time for that. Far from it.
We need a striker in the 20-25 goals bracket, not a youngster who has made a few ripples in the Japanese League.
Speaking to Arsenal.com about the signing, Arsène Wenger said: “Takuma is a talented young striker and very much one for the future. He has had an impressive start to his career in Japan and we look forward to him developing over the next couple of years.”
It’s true, this guy could well turn out to be an absolutely stellar signing, with a future stuffed full of goals, but we don’t have the time to sit around and find out. There will be immense and immediate pressure on Arsene to mount a serious and sustained title challenge, and hurling a youngster into the attack – in the Yaya Sanago style – is not the order of the day for my money.
We are not short for promising youngsters desperate to make an impression in attack – think Sanogo, Chuba Akpom, and Chris Willett. Why have we forked out for another youngster when our cup metaphorically runeth over? Why not give the guys we have already spent a lot of time and money training a chance in the first team.
More to the point, why have we not made a move for a world class striker who is like to turn us from runners-up into title contenders?
There is a long way to go before the start of next season, and everything could change between now and then, but this, for me, is a first warning sign that all is not well.
I hope I am wrong.