As we approach mid-July, it is fair to say that silly season is now in full swing.
Open a newspaper, turn on a computer, flick through a few posts on social media, tune in to Sky Sports News, whatever your news platform of choice, we have reached that period of the year in which any news which doesn’t include the words ‘speculated’, ‘reported’ or ‘said to be’ is deemed irrelevant.
Apparently we, as football supporters, crave transfer news and wish to be force-fed such information at any given opportunity, wherever we may be and whatever we may be doing.
Admittedly, in the middle of summer, with there no actual competition to keep us amused, tall tales of comings and goings do, in some ways, help to fill the void between one season and the next.
Rumour and gossip must be taken with a pinch of salt, with there little substance to much of the so-called ‘exclusive’ content peddled by many a media outlet.
It is, however, interesting to note which sides are filling the most column inches/Twitter feeds.
Manchester United appear to be in the market for every player on the planet, while Liverpool – a side eager to talk up the value of doing business early – have wasted little time in setting the revolving door in motion at Anfield.
Even Manchester City, a side that appeared to be sailing under the radar at one stage, have suddenly sprung into life.
Raheem Sterling will, hopefully, for the sanity of all of us who care little for goings on in Merseyside and Manchester, complete a move to the Etihad at some stage, and there is every chance that he will be joined there by Fabian Delph, a few months on from a new contract signing at Aston Villa that drew ‘I want to be here’ comments.
Both are international performers with England, but would either enhance the options at Arsene Wenger’s disposal and are they the kind of characters that should be courted? No, would appear to be the simple answer on both counts.
Sterling is Theo Walcott six years ago, a player of promise but one who – with the Gunners man approaching his peak years at the age of 26 – doesn’t offer as much either as a winger or an out-an-out forward as his Three Lions colleague in north London.
Delph is coming off the back of one good season, with City quite clearly placing greater emphasis on home-grown quotas than the need to actually address glaring weaknesses in an ageing squad.
Beyond that, Chelsea have been relatively quiet and appear to be more concerned with adding depth to their ranks than bolstering their starting XI – with Radamel Falcao unlikely to be giving Diego Costa sleepless nights and the likes of Asmir Begovic et al targets that are more filler than flamboyant.
Arsenal, as is often the case, are favouring a more considered approach to recruitment.
Petr Cech is a fine acquisition in a key area – a proven winner – but outside of him, why should Arsene Wenger show his hand early and be dragged into the kind of battles United and City find themselves in that lead to inflated fees as sellers sense an air of desperation in buyers?
If the Gunners are to make good on favourable standings in Premier League and UEFA competitions betting markets, then fresh faces will be required, but why splash the cash when there is no need to do so?
Sound the market out, find out who is and isn’t available and then look to make sound judgements – both on a sporting and financial sense – based on the information acquired.
Arsenal are in good shape, there is a feel-good factor from back-to-back FA Cup successes, no Champions League qualifiers to worry about and a key man in the form of Alexis Sanchez set to return to England flying off the back of Copa America glory.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, just tweak it and let others worry about expensive overhauls and dawns of supposed ‘new eras’.