Are Arsenal happy to be also-rans?

By Avenell Dave

It's been a miserable, quiet, uneventful week, memorable only for us Addicts trying to come to terms with the devastation of Sunday, the wake-up call that reminds us that while we punch above our weight so often, class is class.

I use that last phrase because Andrey Arshavin has today bemoaned the situation - and I can understand why.

He may flit in and out of games, but he knows and alludes in an interview that we're punching above our weight AND that he is struggling playing as a forward.

Arsene Wenger has today revealed that he was very close to signing someone on Monday, which raises all sorts of questions.

Was he in the process of signing someone and keeping it quiet simply for terms or agreements to falter at the last minute?

Or did he decide after Sunday's capitulation that we simply had to sign a new striker and he had to pull out the stops to make just the sort of last minute, panic buy that he claims he would never make?

Either way, it makes no difference.

We know we need players in certain positions to turn from good to great and the fact that a deal was not concluded means that either we did not have or were not willing to sump up the cash or that the search was too narrow.

It's as much an admission that the squad needs strengthening as we will ever get.

We can speculate about whether it was Remy, Huntelaar, Dzeko (as if!), Chamakh or even Carlton Cole but the fact is, we will probably never know.

The strange thing was that Wenger said in the post M*nure press conference that he would not be signing anyone on Monday, so perhaps things DID change overnight and he realised the size of the shortcomings in the squad.

CEO Ivan Gazidis said a year ago that coming fourth is not good enough for Arsenal. We can't be glory hunters expecting to win trophies every time we enter a competition, but reaching finals, having a team worthy of competing rather than just being gallant also-rans has got to be the focus of the next six months.

I read an article on Europe's most threatening strikers this morning and, according to Opta, the most effective in the first half of the season was....you guessed it, Robin van Persie.

The Dutchman had seven goals, seven assists and created a chance every 26 minutes - more than Shrek, Drivba, Torres, Ibrahimovic and Higuain.

It explains why Wenger rates him so highly and we all know he is a class act.

The problem is that he misses half a season every season and I'd take a player with a slightly lower threat if we could rely on them for more of the season.

The same magazine wrote of how Theirry Henry's pace and threat has waned to such a degree that he is almost certain to leave Barcelona in the summer.

Make no mistake, re-signing him would not be a good move and I'm sure would never happen.

Wenger will buy a striker in the summer - we'll be the last ones to know.

More on Sunday's game tomorrow - the fact is we all have hope that we can get something at Stamford Bridge. Losing would be a bitter reminder of the lessons we all learnt on Sunday.

But I take you back to Arshavin's remark and have to say, if one of the club's top three performers (I include Cesc and Verminator in that list) thinks we've been playing beyond our real level and that we need players, what on earth does Le Boss think?