Arsenal have had a rather good summer in the transfer market with Arsene Wenger having been uncharacteristically lavish so far, but many appear to believe the most valuable acquisition could be that of esteemed fitness coach Shad Forsythe.
Best summer signing?
Arsenal have spent over £60 million on the signings of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers with Wenger having acted decisively in pursuit of his targets. And there could be more to follow.
But, given the injury problems that have plagued Arsenal, Forsythe has been the arrival most heralded in some quarters.
The American was headhunted by Wenger after spending a decade with the Germany national team - an association that ended on the ultimate high with a World Cup victory.
Forsythe does, then, already have an in-depth knowledge of some of Arsenal’s key players, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil most notably, and the latter is clearly pleased to see another ‘German’ come to the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil tweeted: “Another world champion for the Gunners! ;-) welcome to #Arsenal, Shad Forsythe! #newFitnessCoach #AFC.”
Can he make a difference?
It will be interesting to see how much the influence of one man can produce an upturn in fortunes when it comes to Arsenal injuries. Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby have all been prone to serious issues, and Forsythe will undoubtedly have his work cut out.
Many of the relapses suffered by these players have happened during training sessions, with a worryingly high number of muscle problems seemingly picked up on the pitches of London Colney. A change was clearly in order, and Forsythe represents that.
This is not to say that the Arsenal squad have been under the eye of fitness amateurs in past seasons, but the volume and consistency of injuries clearly represented a problem that needed to be fixed.
Watch: The latest Arsenal transfer news
More than just a fitness coach
Forsythe certainly arrives with quite a reputation and a CV that is difficult to match across the sport. His knowledge of certain players could also affect some Arsenal transfers moving forward.
The club have been linked extensively with Sami Khedira over the course of the summer transfer window, but the midfielder’s injury history was reported to be causing something of a concern for Wenger.
Forsythe knows Khedira well, of course, from significant time spent together with Germany. He would have been an interested observer as the Real Madrid player battled to return from cruciate ligament damage last season.
Khedira was able to make it to the World Cup, and played a prominent role in getting his country to the final, but was then injured in the warm-up for the showpiece against Argentina.
Simple misfortune, or a deeper issue? Forsythe will have known, and it may be no coincidence that the trail has gone cold.
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