Media mind games -- or something to be worried about?

Posted by Sam Limbert

Among all of the reports, rumours and words from Brendan Rodgers, John Henry and Liverpool, we had yet to hear from one of the main players in the increasingly long-winded Luis Suarez transfer saga. After the completion of the Asia tour with a 2-1 win over the Urawa Red Diamonds on Friday in Japan, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was properly quizzed for the first time about the audacious bid for the Uruguayan striker.

"We are not close to signing Suarez or anybody else, so there’s no reason why I should talk about it," the Frenchman said. "There is nothing to say [on the Suarez deal]. I have been away now for two or three weeks, and it’s hard to see how things are advanced because everyone is on tour at the moment and it's very difficult to get in touch with people. We are ready to do quick deals, but all the transfers do not depend only on us. We are prepared to wait. It looks unlikely before the Emirates Cup [next weekend], but we still have a strong squad."

- Wenger: Arsenal 'not close' to Suarez

Understandably, Wenger was defensive about the Suarez deal, and when there's the potential for the most expensive transfer in the club's history to be made, I wouldn't want the manager getting hopes up only for something to go wrong. We know from the Gonzalo Higuain reports this summer that transfers can easily fall away when they seemed destined to happen.

It would also be unfair on the squad that has won all four preseason games if Wenger said it wasn't strong. As much as it does need strengthening, there is no point seeming weak in the public eye, as that could drive the prices of players up if other clubs think Arsenal are desperate for signings.

So while a lot of what Wenger said was standard transfer-time quotes to keep the media happy, there were a few words of concern for Arsenal fans. Unless another club is desperate to sell a player, transfers aren't instantaneous occurrences, so patience is needed. However, there's a difference between patience and not actually doing anything. Yes, there's an active pursuit of Suarez going on, but what about the other parts of the squad? As I mentioned earlier in the week, a defensive signing should be a priority, so why is there a wait to actively pursue that?

There was also a quote from Wenger to get his doubters jumping up and down again: "With or without additions, we can be title challengers next season." I'm still confident that Arsenal will make at least one significant signing; there would have been no point in the club highlighting its financial power earlier in the summer if there wasn't the intention to use it. But these words from Wenger make me fearful that he hasn't properly assessed whom he needs to bring in to the squad. The current team would need an outrageous amount of luck to win the title, but it does form the basis of a side that can challenge for a championship. A few additions would enable Arsenal to make that leap and be serious challengers.

Wenger is right that there is still time left, but if no one comes in before the Emirates Cup, there would be less than two weeks for them to get bedded in before the season starts Aug. 17 against Aston Villa. Arsenal haven't been the quickest out of the blocks in recent seasons, so I think more could have been done to get the squad completed with plenty of time before the kickoff.

I hope Wenger's comments are just quotes to keep the media happy and that signings (note the plural) are on their way. Most of the manager's words are true and are the sort of thing he should be saying during the transfer window. However, there were just a few nuggets to concern Gooners. Time will tell if those concerns are realised come Sept. 2 and the Arsenal squad sees little, if any, improvement.


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