There is another side to the clamour from supporters to buy players that gets louder and louder towards the end of a transfer window, and that is the effect that it has within the dressing room among the existing squad.
When there is pressure on a manager to buy, his own players watch very closely. When a manager says he needs new players it can have a very negative effect on the dressing room. If he says he requires new signings, he has to make sure he can get them. Otherwise, he has to go back to players who feel as if they were previously unwanted.
The manager can go the other way and back his own players, and resist the pressure to buy. That can go down badly with the fans. If a manager does resist then, in private, that is regarded by his own players as a huge confidence booster. Clearly, there are times when even the dressing room knows that the club need to make a signing. But generally it is a difficult balance to strike.
Arsène Wenger’s decision not to buy a defensive holding midfielder will be regarded inside Arsenal as a vote of confidence in his existing players, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Abou Diaby (who played for the club’s Under-21s on Thursday night) as well as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.
Sami Khedira was available at the end of August, and while his injury record might have put Arsenal off, the mood is that Wenger decided he was happy with what he had in that department.
As they face Manchester City today that will mean a lot to the Arsenal players. In recent years, Wenger has not picked the classic “destroyer” kind of midfielder. Arsenal have players who do that defensive role in front of the back four but they tend to be better passers of the ball than the archetypal holding midfielder.
The 10 biggest deals that DIDN'T happen
The 10 biggest deals that DIDN'T happen
1/10 Arturo Vidal
Despite repeated denials from both the player and Juventus, this one just refused to go away. Perhaps it was because Manchester United were his main suitor, and considering they were ready to break the British transfer record for Angel Di Maria and do a deal for Radamel Falcao suggested it was wrong to rule anything out when it came to United this summer. However, in this case, it should have been.
2/10 Sami Khedira
Will he, won’t he, will he, won’t he? One year remaining on his contract and some brilliant performances at the World Cup set this one up perfectly. Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti even revealed he wasn't prepared to sign a new deal at the Bernabeu. Arsenal were the club most consistently linked but it seems the German will see out his deal instead (and then probably join Bayern Munich next summer).
3/10 Marco Reus
One of the world’s best young players, Reus was linked with just about every major European club. Manchester United and Liverpool were supposed to be leading the race in England, whilst Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and several other clubs came into the mix. Reports suggest Reus has a relatively low release clause that will be triggered next summer - leading to suggestions Borussia Dortmund would cash in now. They didn't - but expect lots of talk next summer.
4/10 Mats Hummels
This deal appeared to be dead after Jurgen Klopp said he had no intention to sell and made the World Cup hero his club captain. But rumours for the German centre-back continued to swirl and given United's defensive woes – Tyler Blackett is not the answer – it was of little surprise.
5/10 Edinson Cavani
Surely Cavani will move to the Premier League at some point - the rumours have been going on for years - but it wasn't to be this summer. The Uruguay international is apparently unhappy in Ligue 1, despite scoring 25 goals for PSG last season. That led to rumours linking him with every decent Premier League side.
6/10 Petr Cech
The return of Thibaut Courtois from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid led to speculation Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech would be on his way out of Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho said he wanted the Czech Republic international to stay - and that's exactly what happened.
7/10 Victor Valdes
When Valdes said he wouldn't be signing a new deal with Barcelona, speculation over his next move went into overdrive. Yet with the window coming to a close he's still yet to find a new club. Because he's a free agent, Valdes is still free to find a new club and could be on his way to Liverpool.
8/10 William Carvalho
A few teams were in need of defensive midfielders this summer and Carvalho is one of the best - cue transfer speculation. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City were linked with the Portugal international. He said he wasn't interested in leaving Sporting Lisbon, and in a refreshing twist, it turned out Carvalho was a man of his word.
9/10 Lukas Podolski
Much of the summer focus has been on the lack of attacking options at Arsenal. That didn't stop one of those already there being persistently linked with a move away. World Cup winner Posolski was in and out of the side last season and played out of position, leading to talk of a return to Germany.
10/10 Fabio Borini
Having been sent out on loan to Sunderland last season and an influx of players arriving at Anfield, it seemed Borini was certain to leave Anfield. QPR and Sunderland in particular were in the mix but amid accusations of crazy wage demands the striker stayed put. He said after the close of the window that he was: 'VERY happy with myself'.
There was one position Arsenal could not afford to ignore when it came to strengthening. At £16m, Danny Welbeck was a steal. It is ridiculously little money for a 23-year-old England striker. He is perfect for Arsenal.
I have written before in this column about footballers who are willing to run without the ball. Adam Lallana is one who makes those runs from midfield. Welbeck is another, albeit from a more advanced position. It is becoming increasingly rare in modern times to find players who are willing to do all that running. It is a very unselfish quality.
It is very hard for an opponent to squeeze up and pressure the ball when they are playing against a striker like Welbeck. His pace on the turn will always make opponents vulnerable to a ball played over the top. He can occupy two centre-halves.
Arsenal have a lot of gifted players who like the ball to their feet. Welbeck is different and will allow them to move up the pitch quicker. Once they are around the opponent’s ‘D’ there is no better team at weaving a way through.
When Welbeck makes runs, he will stretch opponents and that will give players like Wilshere, Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla the space to play in. Along with Alexis Sanchez, he is also among the best strikers in the game at winning the ball back high up the pitch. Welbeck will be a key player for Arsenal in creating space for their midfielders, but he will also get opportunities to score goals.
United’s policy has changed – they are now galacticos
In their recent history Manchester United have never sold a promising academy-produced player before they felt they had got his best years. The Welbeck deal surprised me in that way. United’s off-field philosophy has changed.
They are the new English galacticos. The signings of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria have changed the culture completely. These are some of the best players in the world, and there is a part of every supporter that would love to see their own team do the same. Even so, I find it hard to see the logic in selling your own good academy players.
United’s problem with Welbeck is that they have sold to a rival. Realistically, it will be Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool with whom they will be competing for a Champions League place this season.
United wanted to sign Gareth Bale when he left Spurs 13 months ago. The Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, had decided by then that he did not want to sell the club’s best players to a Premier League rival. It had been the same with Luka Modric.
When I was a player at Blackburn Rovers, our owner Jack Walker took the same view. Manchester United tried to buy Alan Shearer from us in the summer of 1993 after his first season at the club. Jack told United the deal was on – as long as they sold him Eric Cantona. He knew Blackburn could not sell their best players to a title rival.
Southampton and QPR’s new men are worth watching
I am looking forward to seeing how Sadio Mané gets on at Southampton, an £11.8m signing from Red Bull Salzburg. I watched him play in Amsterdam against Ajax in the Europa League last season and he scored in a 3-0 first-leg win. He has lightning pace and is a bit of a maverick. He can play wide in the attacking three or down the middle. He has potential to do well in the Premier League.
It was not that long ago that there were some big-money offers from around Europe for Sandro, the Brazilian midfielder who has now joined Queen’s Park Rangers.
He is a good signing for a club like QPR. He works hard at breaking up the play and he can be effective. The worry is that he gets injured a lot. I hope, for his and QPR’s sake, he stays fit.
England prosper with pace but need partner for Cahill
After England lost to Uruguay at the World Cup finals and, a day later, were eliminated from the tournament, I wrote that there was still plenty to look forward to at Euro 2016. The win over Switzerland on Monday did nothing to change my mind.
There are some very promising players in that squad and they are going to get better between now and 2016. When that pace is released on the counter-attack, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott and Welbeck can be devastating.
Between then and now, I think Roy Hodgson will have to rely on a centre-back coming through to play alongside Gary Cahill; in particular a defender capable of passing the ball well.
I would back Steven Caulker to develop that way, as well as Eric Dier. Phil Jones and Calum Chambers will improve and gain much more experience between now and qualifying.Reuse content