SOMETIMES it is all about the packaging. And it doesn’t take much to stoke enthusiasm. Heading into the weekend, Arsenal were sixth in the Premier League on 42 points. Never have they been this low – in points and league position – at this stage of the season in the Wenger era. But no matter. They add Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the transfer window, plus two transfer specialists for Wenger to work with (or for? or above? Time will tell…) and suddenly it is a new dawn.

When your present is pretty dire and you have lost to Swansea, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest in the past month, there is nothing like some eye candy to stoke the fires of a better future.

Aubameyang was the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga last season and notched 69 goals in his last 79 league games. Mkhitaryan was a £40 million star 18 months ago and, arguably, the player of the tournament in the Europa League last season. And, lest we forget, Mesut Ozil has extended his deal through until 2021, after many took it as a given that he would leave on a free in the summer.

That is one way to look at it. Or you can put a different spin on it and note that Aubameyang spent most of last summer trying to engineer a move away from Borussia Dortmund only to find no takers. Mkhitaryan managed to start just 26 out of 62 matches for Manchester United, where he was clearly surplus to requirements and only got to the Emirates because his agent, Mino Raiola, sniffed out a deal and inserted his client in it. It is not as if there was a bevy of clubs beating a path to Old Trafford to sign him (in part because of his hefty wages).

As for Ozil, you would rather have him than not have him (though if the £300,000 a week reports are accurate, that is a huge whack of money) though you can only assume that if he waited this long to commit it was because he spent a lot of time looking around, only to find few, if any, suitors.

In other words, they got three guys who were not exactly in high demand among the super clubs Arsenal are supposed to be competing with. Still, market it properly and it’s bread and circuses all around.

A closer look raises some pertinent questions though: does this make any football sense at all?

Aubameyang may be their record signing and a prolific centre-forward, but so was the guy they signed six months ago, Alexandre Lacazette. What do you do? Do you play them as a strike partnership, despite the fact that neither has played in a front two and, in fact, Wenger hasn’t employed a front two for more than a decade? Do you shunt one to the wing – presumably not a prospect either would enjoy – and hope he performs for you?

And that is before you consider the fact that by the start of next season, Lacazette will be 27 and the other three will all be 29. That means little resale value and a situation where your entire attack is a couple of seasons away from ageing all at once.

Plus, of course, all this unfolds on the back of another dreadful defensive performance and the increasing realisation that this team’s most pressing needs aren’t up front.

But, hey, Arsenal “won” the transfer window… didn’t they?

LUCAS Moura could make his debut today when Tottenham travel to take on Liverpool in what could end up being an early Champions League spot decider. In many ways, the Brazilian’s arrival has flown under the radar, though as far as risk/reward signings go, it may end up being the pick of the transfer window.

When he first broke into the Sao Paulo first team in 2010, he was often compared to Neymar, who was across town at Santos, a few months older and having made his debut the year before. Both were quick, creative and versatile attacking midfielders and both won their first international caps as teenagers.

Lucas moved to Europe first, joining Paris St Germain in January 2013. And that is where the paths diverged. While Neymar, who would land in Barcelona that summer, went from strength to strength at the Camp Nou, Lucas seemed stuck in Paris. It took him a long time to adapt to the European game – flashes of genius, followed by fallow periods – and when he finally seemed to get the hang of it, scoring 19 goals in all competitions last year, Neymar arrived on the scene and it became a zero-sum game: there was room for only one Brazilian with that skill set.

At £25m, Lucas is a no-brainer for Spurs. If he flops entirely, he will still retain some resale value. If he simply replicates last season, they will have a pacy, exciting alternative behind Harry Kane who can take some of the scoring load and give them a different dimension. And if he lives up to the hype he generated as a teenager, well, they will have a top-10 player.

PSG, desperate to claw back some money with a view towards meeting Financial Fair Play regulations, had no real choice but to sell. And Spurs exploited the situation perfectly.

LAST week, West Ham dismissed their head of recruitment, Tony Henry, after he wrote in an email that he didn’t “want any more Africans” [at the club] in part because when they are not in the team they “cause mayhem”. His views are obviously ignorant generalisations and the fact that he would be foolish to put them down in an email is evidence that he is not the sharpest tool in the box either and oblivious to how offensive they are.

Anyone who has been around football has been exposed to similar stereotyping. And to some degree, when it comes to acquired characteristics – ie nurture as opposed to nature – it is seen as acceptable. It is apparently OK in some quarters to talk about disciplined Germans and fiery Argentines and so on.

What is really troubling here is the way he spoke of the “African race” rather than making distinctions based on the footballing culture and education that produce a player which is the only way he might have had a leg to stand on.

And that is especially ignorant given that right under his nose are players like Angelo Ogbonna, Edmilson Fernandes, Arthur Masuaku and Pedro Obiang all of whom are – to use his language – of the “African race” but were born and raised in European countries (Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain respectively).