Football

Chelsea transfer business embarrasses Manchester United & Arsenal

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When the Premier League season was finished Arsenal and Manchester United fans could not wait for the flurry of transfer activity to get underway, while Jose Mourinho warned Chelsea fans to expect a summer of frugality.

Only a month later and the situation has been turned on its head. Manchester United are struggling to spend their reported £200 million transfer war chest, Arsene Wenger has proved that it wasn't just Arsenal's dodgy finances holding him back all this time and Mourinho has launched a highly impressive assault on the market.

Although nothing has been officially confirmed, it is looking highly likely that Chelsea will be adding Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Cesc Fabregas to their squad this summer for the combined fee of £80 million.

Not only that, but Mourinho has also managed to get rid of a player he didn't really like in the form of David Luiz for the exceptional price of a reported £50 million. You can throw expletives at Mourinho all day, but the fact is that his skill in the transfer market has left Manchester United and Arsenal with their tails between their legs and quite frankly, the fans of both clubs should be seething.

Manchester United fans have particular reason to be concerned as this summer looks to have all the hallmarks of that infamous failure that was in progress this time last year.

With David Moyes and Ed Woodward having paid a heavy price for their ineptitude last season, Manchester United were supposed to approach this summer with assertiveness. As the World Cup begins, the only significant news Manchester United fans have heard is that an 18-year-old left-back is signing for the astronomical figure of £27 million and will be paid £160-000-a-week. It is hard to argue that Luke Shaw is not a smart purchase, but it is hardly groundbreaking stuff.

When it comes to real stars, like Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller and Kevin Strootman, it looks like Old Trafford just doesn't have the pulling power without Sir Alex Ferguson or European football. In terms of what Manchester United want, again, it is looking worryingly familiar to last season. Louis van Gaal has not even taken his post yet and will arrive at Old Trafford charged with the task of identifying realistic targets and beating their better-off rivals to their signature.

Meanwhile, over at the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger is preparing for his punditry role on French television rather than entering transfer talks with their main targets.

After signing a three-year contract and winning the FA Cup, there were reports that Wenger was ready to fast track this Arsenal side to a new era of success by blowing the best part of £100 million in the transfer market.

A world-class striker, a right-back, a tough-tackling midfielder and a goalkeeper were on the menu, but so far Arsenal are looking at one from their local kebab shop rather than a michelin star restaurant.

Instead of Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves, Arsenal are being linked with moves for Loic Remy, David Marshall and Calum Chambers; hardly the kind of players that can win the Gunners a Premier League title.

Almost bizarrely, Wenger has also turned down the chance to re-sign Cesc Fabregas, ultimately gifting him to one of their main title rivals Chelsea. Would Mourinho have let something similar happen? You can be safe to assume that he most certainly would not have.

And what is the real reason Wenger isn't signing Fabregas? Is it tactical or financial? With Mikel Arteta, 31, Tomas Rosicky, 33, and Santi Cazorla, 29,  approaching the latter stages of their careers, one could easily argue that Fabregas could squeeze into the team, even if it means placing him in the deeper role currently occupied by his compatriot Arteta.

But no, Wenger doesn't see space for his former captain and will sit idly by while Chelsea sweep up in the absence of their rivals. It is a curious situation for Arsenal and Manchester United fans, who will no doubt feel let down by it.

They were promised so much this summer and hoped that FFP would cap their usually big spending rivals. But it seems nothing has changed. Mourinho has moved quickly, disproving the myth that a World Cup stalls the market until late July.

Mourinho may have disappointed by not winning anything last season but he has proved his worth in the transfer market so far. He can thank Manchester United and Arsenal's failures, as they have made him look even better.

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Topics:
Chelsea
Arsenal
Football
Manchester United

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