I’m not sure many of you remember Stathis Tavlaridis, but he was Arsenal’s promising Greek centre back in the day. The year was 2001 when Arsenal signed him for £1m. He eventually played a few times for Greece and he definitely had talent; anyone could see that. However, he faded into relative obscurity, although uou could see why it was hard to break into the team with Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure in front of him in the pecking order. I, for one, had high hopes for him.
I wonder who has high hopes about Arsenal’s most likely first piece of transfer business: the signing of Konstantinos Mavropanos. If he signs for £2.2m, he will be immediately loaned out to Werden Bremen, so Arsenal will not be able to see any immediate benefits from signing a new centre back. This seems ludicrous, coming at a time when Per Mertesacker appears to be a bit too off the pace, Koscielny seems to be suffering from the fact he’s facing daily injections on his troublesome Achilles, while Holding and Chambers do not appear to have the full confidence of the manager.
Anyway, perhaps Arsenal fans are grateful for small mercies nowadays. One thing’s for sure, the speed at which the Gunners conduct negotiations needs to change. At the moment, they take much too long. The club is generally slow to react in the transfer market and you’d have to put that down to poor preparation. Even if Arsenal agree fees with selling clubs, they usually prolong the talks with the player to such a degree that end up signing for another club instead. The Jamie Vardy saga comes to mind.
I’m expecting more of the disappointing same in this transfer window. No wonder Wenger wants the January transfer window banned: he nearly always ends up having to trot out excuses as to why Arsenal were unable to conduct any significant business. This time, at least he can say: ‘we signed a centre back, who has a promising future’.