You can’t help being optimistic over the summer.
There’s no football being played, and you believe the hype. Wenger will always talk about being title challengers and will never admit we’re just fighting for a Champions League place.
That’s not the way to sell Arsenal the brand.
You can always sell the future because the future never comes.
And before we sold Toure, I was optimistic as the next Arsenal fan.
We brought it Vermaelen which was great because defensively we would be stronger. But the problem is that we forgot that Arsene has a strange policy on first team players who don’t start. Wenger doesn’t like upsetting his stars, so if he can’t guarantee them a starting place week in week out then he’ll sell them, even if they’re still good enough to play for the club.
That’s why we don’t have strength in depth in the squad, and not enough to win the league.
Alex Ferguson, Rafa Benitez and even Jose Mourinho aren’t bothered about this dilemma. In midfield, Manchester United alone have Carrick, Anderson, Scholes, Giggs, Nani, Valencia, Park, Fletcher and Hargreaves to pick from every week. That’s 9 midfield options, and that’s not including youth players like Gibson and Welbeck who make appearances now and then or even new signing Obertan. Ferguson has no problem rotating players and they all seem happy enough.
How often have you heard Wenger say he couldn’t guarantee players first team football anymore?
Players who have left recently and in my opinion would still have been excellent squad members were Gilberto, Diarra, Senderos, Lauren, Freddie, Edu and Pires. Yes, some of them are getting on a bit but what’s wrong with keeping players around to fill in and help the young players along? I don’t want them to play every week, but United have proved with Giggs and Scholes that they still have a positive purpose. Just look at Wenger’s current prodigy. Cesc Fabregas is undoubtedly Arsene’s best achievement in the current squad but who was he training and playing alongside? He played with players quite rightly regarded as Arsenal legends. He grew up alongside Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires – the invincibles squad in fact.
I realise that players like Toure, Adebayor, Hleb and Diarra wanted to leave but I find it ridiculous when Wenger comes out and said there’s nothing he can do to make them stay. Of course players have more power than ever these days but you rarely see this kind of thing happen at Manchester United. They even managed to keep Ronaldo a couple of more seasons longer than he wanted and even then when he did leave it was for a world record breaking Â£80 million.
Of course, the fact we have to sell ever year is why this happens every summer.
But this summer, we’ve sold Adebayor and Toure, and Senderos is on his way to Everton. Traore is believe to be wanted by Birmingham and Nasri is injured. In response, we’ve brought in Vermaelen.
Last year, it was the same story. We lost Lehmann, Gilberto, Hleb, Flamini, Diarra, Hoyte and Senderos (again). And in response, we brought in Nasri, Silvestre, Bischoff and Aaron Ramsey.
No wonder why we’re all so excited about Jack Wiltshire.
They boy undoubtedly has fantastic potential, and even I was caught up in the euphoria after watching The Emirates Cup at the weekend. Arsenal fans have been going crazy about him, although Arsene has come out and warned us we shouldn’t put too much pressure on him or expect too much.
But ironically, Wenger’s the reason why there is so much pressure.
Partly it’s because of his obvious talent, but it’s also because we want him to play now. We look at the current Arsenal squad, and think his boy should be starting. Yes, it’s a testament to his ability but it is also down to strength of the current squad.
We also want him to start because we believe we need him.