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Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, and seizing on instability

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If there's one thing Arsene Wenger does well, it's benefiting from the misfortune of others

Sascha Steinbach

Forget for a moment the Arsene Wenger we've seen the past few weeks and months.  The one unafraid to bid on players he once merely watched from the side, armed only with advanced scouting reports and spare Legos in his pocket.  The one with more financial constraints than his peers.

That Arsene Wenger was (and still very much is) able to spot out transfer deals at the moment's notice, pouncing on those opportunities faster and swifter than his competition.  Sol Campbell winding his contract down with those folks in 2001; Malaga's owners going full-on crazy, refusing to pay their players while adding mountains of debt to the books, getting banned from UEFA , thus obtaining Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal much easier than normal.   Werder Bremen dropping from 3rd place and a participant in the 2010/11 Champions League to nearly out of the Bundesliga a mere four months later, thus jumping at an opportunity to sign Per Mertesacker on Summer Transfer Window Deadline Day 2011.

All of that brings us now to one of the current Arsenal news items of the day.  Shakhtar Donetsk, at the moment, is trying to get six of its most valuable and talented players to show up for training because, rightfully so, they're a bit afraid of playing for a club that's based in the middle of an armed conflict.  With those reports of their absences, it's only natural to assume that a few of them are dead-set on moving away, which is where Arsene Wenger's penchant for chaos comes into play.

The Express is reporting that Arsenal and Tottenham are looking at obtaining Douglas Costa on, at minimum, a season-long loan while matters hopefully get sorted sooner than later in Donetsk - Costa, of course, being one of the six who's holed up safely away from the club and region.  Wenger's long admired Costa, having reportedly been rebuffed by Shakhtar in 2011 (we offered Denilson in exchange back then, which makes the rejection from Donetsk so blunt and quick), so the link between the two parties makes sense from an attraction standpoint.

However there's the tiny little matter that is Wenger going on record just last weekend, indicating he's not looking to obtain any further reinforcements up front.  Personally I don't believe we need another forward baring any injury before August 31st, but with most things he says this time of the year there are large grains of salt to be taken with this words.  Therefore, whether or not he was building up quite the smokescreen between the press and backdoor negotiations remains to be seen, since there's still quite a bit of time between now and when this transfer window closes.

Again, though, if there's one thing we should know by now with Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and seizing the moment when it presents itself, it's that he's completely unafraid to make a move at the misfortune and/or mismanagement of another club.