Arsene Wenger deserves derision for lack of transfer activity

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Liverpool announced on Thursday that they had completed the acquisition of Emre Can. The German is their third signing of the summer, despite the window having been open for just two days, arriving at Anfield following deals for Southampton duo Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana.

At Chelsea, meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have both arrived for substantial fees as Jose Mourinho mounts his assault on next season’s silverware having ended his return campaign uncharacteristically empty-handed.

Then there is Manchester United. Without Champions League football but with a manager who could soon be a World Cup winner and, among his number, two notable signings in Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw. Both players cost around £30 million each.

Across town and rivals Manchester City have been less busy but, after last season’s Premier League triumph, have been in less desperate need of reinforcement. Transfer sanctions are also in place, but a deal for Fernando, the Brazilian midfielder, has been concluded, and Bacary Sagna has arrived on on a free.

Off the pace again

But what of Arsenal? Of all these clubs, they have been the one with arguably with the most work to do in the transfer market. Needed is a right-back to replace Sagna, while the recruitment of a reputable goalscorer is, as it has been for some time, a priority for the club.

There are also concerns in holding midfield positions, while another centre-back could be required should Thomas Vermaelen leave the club. But while his rivals have been able to complete significant deals, Arsene Wenger has been notable by his inactivity, even if many have come to expect it.

Watch: Arsene Wenger plays football on the beach

The Arsenal manager is currently working for French TV covering the World Cup in Brazil and his actions on the Copacabana have attracted understandable derision. Rather than keeping a low profile in what should be a busy summer, Wenger has been seen sauntering on the white sand of Rio’s most iconic beach, sidling up to bikini clad women and sunning his anaemic torso.

He is entitled to do so - it is still the off season and nobody would begrudge Wenger the opportunity to indulge in the delights that Brazil has to offer during his time there. However, images of Wenger emerging from the sea and playing beach football, although amusing, will infuriate some.

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Giving off a bad impression?

It perhaps offers the impression of a manager who is too relaxed as the club approach a season that could be a defining one. Yes, Wenger deserves to enjoy some time off after an incredibly tough season, but the fact he has done so publicly while rivals have been busy in the transfer market will irk many Arsenal supporters. And rightly so.

Fans will wonder why Arsenal being in Brazil has prevented Wenger from adding to a squad in need of extra quality. Louis van Gaal is also and the World Cup, and far busier too, but this has not got in the way of Manchester United spending over £60 million ahead of his arrival at Old Trafford.

Arsenal will be working on several deals while Wenger is absent, that is for sure. But any potential acquisition would surely have to wait until the Frenchman’s return before completion.

Manchester United have done so with out Van Gaal's presence, of course, but this was a specified plan given his commitments with the Netherlands. Arsenal, meanwhile, have placed themselves in a precarious position.

Does Wenger have something up his sleeve?

The transfer window is, of course, only two days old, and there is plenty of time to make amends. Wenger proved with the signing of Mesut Ozil last summer that he is capable of pulling off a significant coup, but Arsenal have been losing ground on their rivals.

This summer could still herald the most sizeable outlay on new recruits in Arsenal’s history, but supporters will be too cynical after years of near misses to believe anything until it actually happens.

Things can only can only get better one would think. But, with Arsene Wenger, you can never be certain.

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