Wenger's newest attacking toy. What does it mean for the rest of them? (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
- What a Bargain - In this age of incredible transfer fees, it is amazing that this is (or is at least close to) Arsenal's record transfer at a mere £15 million. Given his reputation this sounds like some great business.
- Getting Crowded - We've been hearing all summer that Arsenal were getting ready to off-load a bunch of players who were viewed as surplus - Bendtner, Arshavin, Chamakh - but as you may have noticed, they're still around. This means that, assuming Robin van Persie doesn't leave, Arsenal have the following to choose from in their attacking spots - RvP, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Andrei Arshavin, Bendtner, and Chamakh. And that's before we start talking about Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Alex Song, and Mikel Arteta. Only one of those guys can play as a holding midfielder (and none of them are REALLY cut out for it). By my count, that's 15 players for 6 slots with none of them really suited for the sixth slot.
- Who Starts? - Given the amount paid, you have to assume that Cazorla will start as the farthest forward of the middle three midfielders. Podolski (left side of the attacking 3), RvP/Giroud (depending on whether van Persie stays), and Walcott (right side of the attacking 3) will join Cazorla with Song and Arteta rounding out the starting group.
- Then What? With Wilshere returning in October (in theory) with the "next big thing" label, where does he fit in? Do he and Arteta split time? Does he replace Song? How about The Ox who also carries a "next big thing" label around his neck? He seems to be at the point where he needs playing time to progress and Carling Cup duty doesn't seem like it will be enough. Is Wenger just assuming that this will all work itself out with a few inevitable injuries?
- Robin van Persie - Down Moderately - the rumors are that Cazorla is a great set-piece taker which will eat into RvP's phantom points (you know, assuming he stays).
- Mikel Arteta - Down Moderately - same reason as RvP - more takers = fewer opportunities for each.
- Aaron Ramsey - Down Dramatically - hard to see him getting much playing time with yet another high profile player in front of him on the depth chart.
- Theo Walcott - Up Slightly - if Cazorla is as good a passer as he is purported to be then he might be able to unlock the power of Theo's speed even more often that it was last season. Could see a nice bump there.
The big questions remaining are 1) where is Cazorla listed in fantasy (here's hoping he's a midfielder in Yahoo rather than yet another "wing forward" and 2) is this the prelude to van Persie leaving? As much as I hate to think it, the roster congestion certainly suggests that Wenger knows that his talisman is not going to be playing for the home team at the Emirates this season. All I can do is hope I'm wrong about that.