We all know about the shambolic summer. And we all know about the shambolic display against Aston Villa. And unfortunately, we all know about the shambolic state of our squad, and the numerous injuries we have. The end result of which that it looks like, despite having a “war chest” to spend, we have started the 2013/2014 season with a squad that would be lucky to reach the Top 4.
And at the start of the summer, the club (through Ivan Gazidis) were the ones who raised the expectation levels. They were the ones that came out and said we could compete. But obviously either that’s a complete lie and we have no money whatsoever, or for some inexplicable reason we are reluctant to spend.
The general consensus is that it’s the latter. And that means this is the result of Arsene Wenger and his (lack of) actions.
Look, I love Arsene Wenger and I’m not one of these Wenger Out Brigade or some other term fans use to define the increasingly segregated Arsenal fan base.
He has done miracles for the club, of that there is no doubt, and I am annoyed that I have to actually point that out before making any point about Arsenal – just because I am critical of something he has done doesn’t mean I hate him or want him to leave. But by the same token, supporters shouldn’t think he’s perfect, because no-one is.
But over the last few months, it seems like Arsene has lost the plot. Is the pressure getting to him? I go through some of the more famous quotes he has come up with over the previous few weeks:
“At us, Chelsea, Machester United, it is difficult to find the quality players to strengthen the team and the squad who are available at the moment but there are a shortage of top, top, top players who are available.
“It’s not a question of spending the money, it’s a question of finding the right players. As I told you, you are well informed, you certainly heard that we are not scared to spend money. But we want the right players.”
But that is just not true. You can be petty and argue about how good the following players are, but the fact is they were available (for a price) and we could have afforded them and it is undeniable that they would have improved our squad. But for whatever reason we couldn’t get them.
Players who have moved clubs this summer and we could have afforded were Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic, Luiz Gustavo, Maarten Stekelenburg, Simon Mignolet, Jésus Navas, Loïc Rémy – and there’s a lot more besides. Then of course there are players such as Marouane Fellaini, Lars Bender, Luis Suarez and others who want to move clubs but no team has stumped up the required cash.
Every player has their price, and the question is whether Arsenal know what the market value of a footballer actually is and if their “lower” valuations are realistic.
When he was asked about why money hasn’t been sent after the Villa game, his response was:
“I can return your question. Could we have won the game with the players that were on the pitch today? That’s for me the real question. And I say yes. After that, if we do not spend the money, it’s because we do not find the players. I’m not the only one to work on that.
“We are a team who work on that. We are ready to buy the players if we find that the players are good enough for us. That’s all we can tell you.
This brings up a couple of glaring points. Were the players that were on the pitch good enough to win? Whatever the answer is, that being yes or no, then it still doesn’t look good on Arsenal.
If there players were good enough, then why didn’t they win? Surely it’s because of the match preparation and that is solely down to Arsene Wenger. Why weren’t they suitably motivated? Why did they play so lethargically? Why did the team still make the same fundamental mistakes defensively? The answer is because of Arsenal Wenger – he is the man who puts the players on the pitch, sets the formations and tactics, and “motivates” the players for the game.
The other answer to his question to whether the players were good enough could also easily be no. Because we didn’t win did we? We didn’t perform and do enough to get all three points so therefore, the players who were on the pitch were not good enough were they?
When asked why is it so difficult for Arsenal to buy players:
“We take our work seriously and believe me, we analyse every single player in the world. We work 24 hours a day for that. When we make decisions, we take it seriously.
“People try to think we do not want to spend. We want to. We are ready to buy players.”
Arsenal analyse every player in the world? You work 24 hours a day to recruit players? I’m sorry, but they might be working hard to bring in players but that’s a slight exaggeration. Obviously he’s saying that for effect but that’s slightly dramatic. And the bottom line is, there is no proof that Arsenal have been working hard on buying players because apart from “a few lowball bids” we haven’t seen anyone join the club.
And there was the famous quote a few weeks ago where he challenged journalists to suggest who he should buy, insinuating that it’s hard to identify players to bring to Arsenal.
But my response is that is his job, not ours or anyone else’s. He is the one who should be identifying weaknesses in the squad and addressing them, he is the one who should be seeing which areas of the pitch need improving and recruiting accordingly. To even suggest something like “who should I buy” smacks of complete ignorance.
And he started off the Aston Villa press conference with his gem:
“You got what you wanted, you should be happy.”
“Before the start the season that was all you write in the papers so what do you expect?”
All the papers talked about was the lack of signings from the club – not that they wanted Arsenal to lose football matches. I could go into more reasons why that quote is wrong but I’m sure you get the idea by now.
It will be interesting to see what will happen over the next couple of weeks before September 2nd. The latest is we’re after Yohan Cabaye from Newcastle United.
Will we get him or will it, once again, fall through? Who knows.
Source: Some quotations taken from Arsenal.com.