After yesterday’s frankly disgusting 3-1 loss to Aston Villa many Arsenal fans seem to be chastening the manager, the board and Ivan Gazidis for promising so much but delivering so little. If Arsenal were a company and not a football club the Advertising Board would of had them for promising their customers so much but providing a reality no where near the advertised product.
Gazidis at the start of the transfer window stated Arsenal were ready to “escalate” their spending on transfers and that they could afford a £20 million transfer budget and £200,000 wage on a single player and more.
Fast forward over two months and Arsenal have spent nothing despite being linked to a whole host of players and bidding for a few before pulling out as they weren’t quite “value”. Wenger has stated he doesn’t look at a players “value” just their “quality” but we know this is incorrect as why would you bid once for a player then pull out, if you were just interested in the quality you would pull out all the stops in getting them.
So what has gone wrong?
1. How much Wenger values players has not changed with the market in recent years.
When Wenger first joined we signed numerous players but as the years have gone on we have signed less and less. Players value’s have increased as more money has gone into the game from increased TV and commercial revenue. We have bid for players this summer but often been rejected as we haven’t bid the market value and bid Wenger’s value and as such clubs aren’t willing to sell.
Lars Bender- We had one £19 million bid rejected and did not go back in.
Ashley Williams- We supposedly bid £8 million and Swansea wanted closer to £10 million.
2. Wenger Socialist wage structure
Similar to point 1 but Wenger again believes almost every player in the squad should get a similar wage and as such one rumour circulating is we did meet Fellaini release clause but wouldn’t offer him £107,000 wages. In this day and age you would have to think that Fellaini is a £107,000 player but Wenger doesn’t.
Do you know we also didn’t get Arteta two years ago as we were telling him he needed to take a £10,000 wage cut on his wage at Everton which fortunately he didn’t. That is why his signing went on so late, think of how desperate we were in then and Wenger still wasn’t willing to buckle. If we hadn’t signed Arteta then we would not have got near the top four.
3. When we do go for players we often umm and urr and then someone else comes in for them
We agreed a fee and wages for Juan Mata but then didn’t sign the deal allowing Chelsea to come in and steal him, if we look at how good Mata has been for Chelsea I think it’s obvious for all signing Mata would have significantly strengthed our team. We waited as we were seeing if Cazorla was available and in the end we got neither and only got Cazorla a season later as Malaga went bankrupt. It has often been stated other clubs use us as their scouting, as soon as were linked for a player they go in for them.
It happened this summer with Higuain were we waited to see if Suarez was available and Napoli stole in and in the end we have ended with no-one.
4. A lack of structure to our negotiation team
Since we have lost David Dein we haven’t had anyone to go out and sort the transfers out leaving Wenger to do a lack of the hard work. Gazidis mainly works on the commercial and day to day side of the club and doesn’t have the football contacts or negotiation experience to help Wenger.
5. We didn’t move early and as such market has changed. Manchester City did their signings and got who they wanted even if they paid a bit other the top, these players have now had time to settle in. I don’t think many people think Fernandinho was worth £30 million but Man City wanted so Man City went and got.
The above five are five of the issues but there are many more, it seems obvious to me that all of the four above issues could be sorted it we got someone in at boardroom level to help Wenger. The AST have been saying this for ages but if we had someone who Wenger went to and gave a list of players to go get then this “Director of Football” could go out and try and sign these players and ensure we got some of our targets. If you look at the clubs who have done the most transfers this summer at the top of the Premier League both Man City and Tottenham have these Director of Football to help their manager.
Why do I think things may get worse, a few reasons:
1. No time
Near the end of the transfer window clubs don’t want to sell anymore as they don’t have time to get a replacement so they either refuse to sell or add a premium to the price for having to sell so close to end of transfer window. This means we will either have to pay more or won’t get some of the players we need. Clubs also know we are desperate so will just jack up prices, everyone knows we need players and as such will make us pay for it.
2. Less options as players have already moved
Players such as Higuain and Gustavo who we were interested in have no moved and as such there is less options out there. Fellaini release clause has run out and as such we won’t be able to get him without a big big offer.
There is such negativity surrounding the club especially in the media that it will put off potential signings slightly. We are being portrayed as a club in crisis and as such it lessens our appeal. People are now saying we might not even get through our play-off round and Champions League is one of the main pulls we have as a club and now with that doubt players will want to see us qualify before joining maybe.
4. Wenger stubbornness
If you watch his interviews Wenger feels he is being attacked in the media and even said to the media they would be happy Arsenal lost as it helps them sell “Arsenal in crisis” headlines. Wenger believes in his project and now if his back is up against the wall may believe he wants to get one over media by winning things with this current squad to prove them wrong. Sad thing is we can’t win with this squad as it’s too small, it has quality but not enough depth.
To wrap this article I’ll just add my main worry is lack of momentum, fans have been murmuring for a while about lack of signings but it exploded after yesterdays loss. Before this game we had an impressive 10 game unbeaten run and some real feel of momentum, as a manager it’s Wenger job to nurture this momentum and keep it going as when a team and it’s fans believe they are unbeatable ala the invincibles they often don’t lose. Even when their 2-0 down with 20 to go they think we can turn this round. Right now the fans support and belief in the club is wavering and it’s hard to argue against it as the see the Board and Wenger actions and weep as they are making basic errors.
Our paper thin squad has got even thinner with potential injuries to Chamberlain, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gibbs and Sagna plus Koscielny suspension for our game next week barring no extra injuries we will only have two fit defenders in Mertesacker and Jenkinson. Hopefully Gibbs and Sagna will be fit but signing a defender before next week is a priority. Ashley Williams stated his head would be turned by a Champions League club, go in pay that £10-12 million for him before next Saturday and ensure we don’t suffer further point losses.
Our midfield has the potential to be Cazorla + two youngsters on Wednesday if Ramsey and Rosicky are injured and Wilshere reacts badly to a full 90 minutes. I fear Wenger will be forced into playing players who aren’t fit and them picking up long term injuries making our situation even worse.
My final line would be though my belief in Arsenal is wavering my support has never been stronger as if we as fans don’t support the team right now things will get worse. Yes we must express our frustrations and I’m glad to see fans sending in letters but whilst the ball is in play please get behind the team.
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