Football

Arsene Wenger failed Arsenal by not signing Luiz Gustavo

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Arsene Wenger's failed transfer pursuit of Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo last summer was soon forgotten after Mesut Ozil was brought in from Real Madrid.

The defensive midfielder was made available for €22m by the Bavarian giants and reports suggested that Wenger was ready to meet the asking price and bring him to the Emirates Stadium.

Only the the most knowledgeable of European football hipsters were excited by the prospect of Gustavo becoming a Gunner. For the majority of Arsenal's 45,000 season ticket holders he was just another unknown quantity; a risk and, ultimately, not a devastating loss when Wenger failed to land his signature.

Gustavo, 26, eventually joined Wolfsburg, who had just finished 11th in the Bundesliga and hoped to improve on that with significant investment. They got what they wanted, finishing fifth; a finishing position that was largely thanks to their new Brazilian.

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The Brazilian played in 29 games in the Bundesliga, averaging an impressive 3.4 tackles per game and 2.4 interceptions. His pass completion rate , 86.5 per cent, was the highest in the team. His only shortcoming was his discipline - six yellow card and three reds - but allowances must be made for a player charged with the task of winning the ball back.

Not only was he impressive for Wolfsburg but Gustavo has since put in two excellent displays for Brazil at the World Cup and, naturally, clubs are starting to take notice.

Price tag & interest

Sky Italia claimed on Thursday that Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were keeping an eye on the player with Louis van Gaal's men the early favourites to land him.

The price tag? €33 million - €11 million more than Wenger could have signed him for last season. Not only that, but Arsenal's need for a midfield enforcer cut in the form of Gustavo is so desperate that no one would be surprised if he paid it.

It is further proof that Arsenal's efficacy in the transfer market has been about as useless as an underwater hairdryer. Once again they find themselves scrambling around the transfer market, looking for improvements because Wenger was too worried about Arsenal's balance sheet.

Ozil - a luxury signing

Arguably, Arsenal needed a defensive midfielder more than a creative one last summer. They had Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey. Ozil was nothing short of a luxury purchase - a welcome one, but unnecessary nonetheless. Gustavo would have given Arsenal purchase between attack and defence and still can, but he may be out of their price range now - Wenger has missed his chance.

Manchester United, despite the fact they do not have Champions League football, have the financial power to bring the Brazilian to Old Trafford. Their need for a defensive midfielder is greater than Arsenal's and Van Gaal won't mess about if given the chance to sign him.

Arsenal fans already have to sit back and watch Gustavo inspire for Brazil, but things may get worse if they see him flourish for a Premier League title rival.

It's just another example of Wenger mistake in the transfer market, and unless he can find a decent defensive midfielder for next season, it could end up being one of his biggest. 

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Manchester United
Brazil Football
Premier League

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