After a good win over Fenerbahce to confirm our status in the Champions League this season, the focus turns to the North London Derby on Sunday and the remaining 5 days of the transfer window.
And with the game with Tottenham looming as the transfer window closes, comparisons will inevitably be made between the two North London clubs.
Arsene Wenger has made virtually every excuse under the sun as to why we haven’t bought any players this summer. English clubs don’t want to sell to other English clubs, players are overpriced in the current market, we have important games to concentrate on, we will only bring in “special players” as we’ve already got special players in the squad. But despite losing Koscielny, Podolski, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vermaelen, Arteta and Monreal to a combination on injuries, suspensions and niggling problems, we have yet to strengthen our squad. Arsene has admitted several times we are “a little bit light” in terms of numbers but Yaya Sanogo aside, we haven’t brought in any recruitments.
There are reports that Tottenham are delaying the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid until the last minute so Arsenal can’t strengthen their team with possible Real players before the North London Derby and it could be designed to even scupper any signings before the transfer window slams shut.
But all of these reasons are pretty pathetic really.
A club of Arsenal’s stature really should have planned everything far better. Every man and their dog knows it’s better to get players in early and let them settle at a new club (and possibly a new country) well before the season starts. Arsenal also had several perfect PR opportunities to reveal new signings – the new Arsenal away kit launch, the Asia Tour – Arsenal had a real chance to give the fans, the ones who pay the highest ticket prices in the country and have done for a long time, a massive boost.
People talk about being frugal and not going crazy but no Arsenal fan is asking for that. All we want is a team that can compete at the top and challenge for the Premier League. All we want is to at least look like trying and making an attempt to compete at the highest level. If we don’t succeed then fair enough, but making no purchases in a summer where we have the money to spend is criminal.
The money available is from the fans. We haven’t got a rich owner who has been throwing his money around and funding big signings. In fact we’ve got an owner who doesn’t throw anything around, and is apparently a mute. You may be thinking I am repeating myself but in a time when the country is on its knees and most people are struggling financially, then 8 seasons of paying the highest prices and getting nothing in return is hugely disheartening. I love Arsenal and try and see as many games as I can but one of the reasons I don’t see them more is the cost. On Arsenal Fan TV, a fan was interviewed outside the ground after the Villa game and he famously said “in life you get what you pay for, except if you’re an Arsenal fan”.
You get these fans that still go on about how Champions League qualification and paying off the stadium is all that matters, and in fact I’ve argued with a few of these people on Twitter. But that fact is that Arsenal fans have been hugely patient over the last 8 seasons and if Arsenal have the spending power to strengthen then team then they are obliged to do it. Arsene Wenger is a genius but he has to be less stubborn and assemble the best squad he can with the resources available.
Over the last 3 months we’ve all looked online regularly to see who we might buy. We’ve been linked with Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic, Marouane Fellaini, Lars Bender, Cesc Fabregas, Ashley Williams, Julio Cesar, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Yohan Cabaye, Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez, Luiz Gustavo… the list is endless. But for all the speculation, it looks like our signings will be Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini on a free.
And in a summer where both players and fans have demanded signings, is that acceptable?