No matter which way you look at this summer’s transfer window, it has been a disaster. To be the only club within the top 5 leagues in Europe to fail to buy an outfield player is nothing short of a disgrace.
A side that last season finished 12 points behind the Champions. A team that won just 4 out of 16 games against sides in the top 9. A side that clearly needed strengthening. That for the last 3 years has needed a new striker. For longer than that has needed a defensive midfielder.
Monday night, I tweeted that if Arsenal do not sign anyone within the next 24 hours, and go on to fail to challenge for the Premier League title, then Arsene Wenger must go at the end of the season. He must fall on his sword.
We have the money in the bank to spend. Back in the late 00’s / early 2010’s, when we did not have bucket loads of cash to spend, I backed Arsene Wenger. He was doing the best job capable under the financial constraints put on him. However, over the last 3 years things have changed.
The disaster of 2013 was saved by the signing of Mesut Ozil, but it still did not mask the fact that we tried to sign Jovetic, Higuain & Suarez, and ended up with none.
A year later we spent a lot of money. The kind of money that we had available this summer as well. However, it was only a deadline day signing of Danny Welbeck that stopped us having Yaya Sanogo as 2nd choice striker.
And now we come to 2015. It has been a shocker. And it is down to Wenger.
Now I do not expect Arsenal to win the title every year. That is ridiculous. No side has the “right” to win things. 13 league titles in over 125 years. We do not have a right to win the title. However, what I do expect is to compete for the title.
We have one of the highest turnovers in European football, and the highest ticket prices. These two together is why I expect to compete. And if we are not competing, we are doing everything we can to try to compete.
“Doing everything we can” means ensuring we have the best we can. The best training centre, the best academy, the best scouting system, the best medical team, and the best players. I am not asking for the best in the world. It is silly to expect us to be better than the Madrid’s, the Barca’s, and the Munich’s of this world. They are light years ahead of us. The move to the Emirates was supposed to put us a few steps closer to them. Also the Manchester City, PSG’s & Chelsea’s of this world with the money they have. But I expect us to be the best Arsenal that Arsenal can be. And we are not.
With £60+ million sitting in the bank available for transfer (it is not £200m, let’s be fair with the debate), we are clearly not doing everything we can to win or compete for the league title. Now I do not expect us to be like Manchester City and Manchester United, spending £100m on De Bruyne and Martial. That is just silly. However I do expect us to have spent sensibly.
The problem is, Wenger is clearly reluctant to spend. He has looked at the market and decided that there is no value. That players, in his eyes, are overpriced. But what he does not respect is the market has changed. It has moved.
Back in the late 90’s, you could go and buy Nicholas Anelka, Luis Boa Morte & Christopher Wreh for pennies and hope one makes it. Now you see players at similar stages in their career, Romelu Lukaku (when Chelsea signed him) and Anthony Martial, going for many millions. And prices have increased from youngsters upwards. Players are more expensive. And Wenger has to move his valuation up. He nerds to keep up.
Wenger and Arsenal clearly banked on FFP. It has failed. It feels like that as it has failed, Wenger has decided not to play anymore. He has picked up his ball. The only problem is he has not told anyone that he longer want’s to play. And at £8million a year, it is clear why.
If Wenger is not willing to play, not willing to spend big, he should go, and someone else who is willing to spend that money should come in.
Now it might not guarantee success, but at least it will be trying to succeed. At the moment we are not trying.
All we ask is to try to the best of our abilities, using all the resources we have to compete. And currently we are not.
Now as a side note, I do not think like some that Wenger should go now. It should be at the end of the season.
The rationale of this is simple, it is my belief that Wenger is still the best man to get this current squad into the top 4. He has built the squad, and done it before. Moving him on now, with the transfer window shut, would be too big of an upheaval and risk our top 4 place, creating an even bigger challenge for future managers.
By leaving Wenger in charge until the end of the season, it would ensure that a new manager comes in with money to spend, and Champions League football. Getting rid of Wenger now would be detrimental to the club over the next season.
Arsene Wenger has let us down this summer. Some will say not for the first time. If he fails to mount a challenge with the current squad, he must take the blame and fall on the sword. He must step aside and let someone else take over.