Much to the frustration of Arsenal fans, Arsene Wenger had done little to add to the squad, and the departure of two of his star players left his side demoralised. Further departures, injuries and suspensions stretched the squad to breaking point and at Old Trafford last Sunday they were humiliated by Manchester United.
The 8-2 defeat may have been the catalyst for Wenger to move away from his faith in young talent and buy experienced players to strengthen his side. Before the window closed the Gunners signed forward Park Chu-Young (26), full-back Andre Santos (28) and Per Mertesacker (26), and brought in players with years of Premier League experience – Mikel Arteta, and Yossi Benayoun.
There are still some question marks about the signings, however. For example: Mertesacker’s lack of pace, Benayoun’s fitness and Arteta’s form after a poor season for Everton last year. Yet despite the concerns there is relief that squad has been reinforced, considering a large number of squad players have also left the club over the summer. Furthermore, the new additions are players with experience, and this will benefit a squad which has been criticised for having a lack of leadership.
The biggest news from White Hart Lane was that Spurs have been able to hang on to Luka Modric, who many thought would be joining Chelsea for as much as £40m. Beyond Modric staying, Spurs were also able to add last year’s Football Writer’s Player of the Year Scott Parker for £5m and Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor on loan, although they missed out on Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill.
Despite the incomings, most activity has been through Spurs’ exit door, which has seen five players leave: Wilson Palacios and Peter Crouch to Stoke City, Jermaine Jenas and Alan Hutton to Aston Villa, and David Bentley on loan to West Ham United.
The purge of unwanted and discontented players will no doubt improve the harmony of the Tottenham dressing room, and the new additions will improve the squad provided Adebayor stays motivated and Parker can perform to the level he displayed last season.
The Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea, who concluded the majority of their dealings earlier in the window save for the last minute move of Raul Meireles, will have enjoyed the frenzy in north London. It may have been the disappointing starts of Arsenal and Tottenham that inspired their activity, but there is no doubt leaving their business to the last minute has them behind the other teams chasing the title or a top four finish.