Podolski signing shows Wenger taking nothing for granted

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For Arsenal, last summer's transfer window represented a period of concern regarding the futures of two of their most prominent players, rather than a time for excitement about potential new acquisitions.

The Gunners had been able to resist the overtures of Barcelona the previous year, with the Catalan giants desperate to secure a deal to capture La Masia graduate Cesc Fabregas.

It seemed inevitable that Arsenal would lose their captain to Barca the following summer, and so it transpired as the European champions captured the Gunners' captain in mid-August.

Following the departure of Fabregas, Arsenal's efforts then switched to persuading Samir Nasri - their player of the previous season - to sign a contract extension to further his stay at the Emirates Stadium beyond the summer of 2012.

The France international, though, shunned the club who had given him his break in English football for the riches of Manchester City, and the Gunners were forced into selling Nasri to the Blues for £25 million.

With Arsene Wenger maintaining all summer the belief that Fabregas and Nasri would remain with the club, he was prompted into some uncharacteristic late scurrying in the transfer market in order to compensate for their respective departures.

Before deadline day last August, Arsenal had only confirmed the signings of teenage trio Carl Jenkison, Joel Campbell and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, along with Lille winger Gervinho.

Yet the final day of the transfer window heralded the arrival of no fewer than five more players, as Wenger burned the midnight oil to ensure his squad was sufficiently bolstered following a near catastrophe.

Ju-young Park, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker, Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta were all finalised as the deadline neared, to complete a frantic few days of work for Wenger.

It does, then, arrive as a comfort to Arsenal supporters that their manager has already conducted some significant business before the 2011-12 season is even finished, in order to avoid any last minute panic purchasing.

This deal is, of course, one that has seen Lukas Podolski leave Cologne for London, with differing circumstances representing a change in tack for Wenger, while the acquisition can also be considered a statement of intent.

The European Championships this summer will have hastened Arsenal to register their interest in Podolski before he travelled with the Germany squad, and Wenger's swift action ensured Arsenal claimed their man relatively unchallenged.

"We are happy to have made this signing early and we are looking forward to watching Lukas contribute at the European Championship over the summer, a level where he has already made 95 caps at the age of 26," said Wenger after the confirmation of the Podolski deal.

"That is a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player.”

Next on the agenda for Arsenal are likely to be moves for Yann M'Vila and Jan Vertonghen and, like Wenger did with Podolski, it is imperative the Frenchman can recruit the former before Euro 2012.

This strategy, as the signing of Podolski has proven, can bear fruit, although any potential deal for M'Vila will be tempered by Arsenal's eventual finish in the Premier League.

Champions League football is the desire of the Rennes midfielder and, with Arsenal's position among the European elite yet to be secured, they may lose ground in the pursuit of M'Vila.

Arsenal will, however, discover their fate in 12 days, and will then have around two weeks before M'Vila joins up with France in which to set about attempting to bring him to the Emirates Stadium.

Negotiations with Ajax regarding Vertonghen, meanwhile, may prove more simple given that Belgium are not competing in Euro 2012, yet Wenger will be keen to move for the centre-back sooner rather than later.

This is not to say that Wenger will not take a measured approach in the transfer window, but he will be hardened by the experiences of last summer, and keen to avoid a repeat of his deadline day splurge.

With the early signing of Podolski, Arsenal will be in a position of relative strength should, although unlikely, Robin van Persie depart this summer, and proves Wenger is taking nothing for granted when it comes to his high-profile players this time around.

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