Reasons for Arsenal’s Trophy Drought part 2

Why Arsenal haven’t won anything in seven years by Ix Techau

The plan was never to sell Henry, Pires or Vieira, instead the hope was to follow the same pattern as Man Utd did with players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. But as the long-term plan was in place, the financial benefit of selling these players would mean accelerating the reduction in debt, and that’s where the first big mistake was made. It wasn’t solely the board’s or Wenger’s fault though, the players themselves had expressed a desire to move on.

The third wave would be introduced around 2008, bringing players like Aaron Ramsey (18), Ignasi Miquel (16), Kyle Bartley (16), Francis Coquelin (17), etc, to the club, and would serve as the first expansion for the new generation. The whole point of bringing in new waves of youth players would be to eliminate the need for traditional squad generations in the future and instead have a constant flow of new players, eventually having a broad age span within the first team squad with natural replacements ready to go where needed.

The third wave of players meant Arsenal started to build a very solid foundation within their youth ranks, and with players from the first wave already starting to claim their place in the first team, Wenger knew the plan was working. But he also knew that, not until the players were old enough, would we see the true results of the plan, and he was only halfway through the project at this stage.

As the first and second wave players were becoming first team starters (Fabregas, Walcott, Clichy, Djourou, Walcott, Song, etc), and with the third wave players lurking in the wings, the club initiated the fourth wave in 2010 – expected to be ready for the first team in about 3-5 years. Players like Wellington Silva, Jon Toral-Harper, Samuel Galindo and Ryo Miyaichi would form one of the last waves before the first team players were old enough to become the experienced players at the club, and bring us to the self-sustaining state we planned for in the first place.

We still have a year or two left before this 10-year strategy proves itself to be successful. We currently have a very strong first team with more harmony than in recent years, and first wave players haven’t even reached their peaks yet. Still we’re looking to at least claim second place in the most competitive league in the world, we were only one mistake away from a Carling Cup trophy, and we were only one Bendtner mis-hit away from knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League.

In the 2011 summer transfer window, Wenger will add the last of the fourth wave players to the academy, and then follow the same pattern as before, waiting a couple of years before starting the fifth wave. The fifth wave marks the end of the 10-year plan for mainstream transfer market independence, and at this stage the first wave players bought back in 2003-2004 will be hitting their peaks, becoming the club’s experienced players in the process.

At this stage we should have the third and fourth wave players in their early/mid-20′s, ready to step into the first eleven if injuries or player sales alter the first choice setup, and with the fifth wave in their late teens, we all of a sudden have a perfect span of players in the correct age groups to dominate for years. And this was the intention from the start.

1. Our experienced players left the club too soon – Wenger or the board can’t be blamed for all of them, but could have put more effort into trying to keep some of them. Henry and Viera wanted to move on, and when a player isn’t mentally at the club anymore, there is little point keeping him. But with players like Pires or Flamini, Wenger and the board definitely could have done more to keep them at the club.

2. Unlucky age gap – the difference between the first wave players and the Invincibles generation was unfortunately a couple of years too much, and as a result the transition between them couldn’t be made in time before the older players disappeared from the club. Wenger and the board couldn’t really do much about this, but maybe the long-term plan should’ve been initiated in 1999 when the new stadium proposal was made, instead of 3-4 years later.

3. Long-term plan causing close relationships with players – when dealing primarily with 16-year olds eventually expected to be responsible for the success of a world class football club, trust and love is put into the players from a very young age. This creates high levels of harmony within the club, but also creates relationships that can be too close at times. A major complaint about Wenger is that he trusts his players too much, giving them chance after chance even though they don’t seem to improve. Wenger needs to become more ruthless in this department, but then we run the risk of upsetting harmony at the club.

4. Key replacements weren’t made exceptions to the long-term plan – losing Vieira, Gilberto and Flamini meant losing defensive stability in midfield until Song was ready to step up. And just like when Liverpool lost Alonso, the importance of a good holding midfield player in the modern game was exposed. If Wenger had made one exception to the long-term plan, we might have had a better form in the period between 2005-2010. However, we currently have very promising second and third wave players coming through, and with Song playing well, this won’t be a massive issue in 2011 and onwards. Unfortunately most if not all of the key players got sold. This resulted in a massive collapse in this plan. Arsene Wenger than went on to make some awful signings to replace players that left with the likes of Squillachi, Chamakh, Park, Santos etc. made their entrance.

With that being said, is it realistic to demand that Wenger or the board should have done everything perfectly when transforming the whole essence of the club into the modern era? Did they make mistakes? Yes. Should we get rid of Wenger when we’re at the final stage of a long-term plan? I don’t know, maybe that would be ridiculous. Every manager makes mistakes, but lets be honest: Wenger has kept us in the top 4 throughout this transition phase, in the best league in the world. But recent form suggests that Arsenal is slipping further and further away. It is clear that with injuries, big spending clubs, change in wage structures, the exodus of players etc. this plan would not work at least for the supporters, but we have seen the plan net major profits for shareholders. I personally think it’s time for Wenger to abort this mission, and make some big signings soon to get the team back to where it was. Than go back to the drawing board. Hopefully he will be successful with the experience gained from the challengers faced during his previous plan.

The final part will look at how Arsenal compare to our rivals.

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36 thoughts on “Reasons for Arsenal’s Trophy Drought part 2

  1. Arunavameister

    Interesting read…you raised some very good points…looking forward to the next part

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  2. Craig Taylor

    On the pitch Wenger is a bad manager to be honest. He makes wrong subs most of the time, and brings on strange players. Sometimes when were losing he brings on Ramsey and Gervinho. He plays Ramsey in his wrong position and then all the fans start to think he is bad because of his performance in that position. When players are performing badly he continues to play them. (Although he hasnt played Gervinho for a while). I dont know whats happening to Rosicky, he may be a little injured or something (Ih ave no clue), but if he isnt he shoudl always start or always be on as sub.

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  3. Gono

    AS ARSENAL FANS WE ARE FEEDUP WITH THE POOR PERFORMANCE OF THE TEAM WEEK IN WEEK OUT.IN ARSENE WENGER WE HAVE TRUSTED BUT 8 YRS LATER NO RESULT EXCEPT DISAPPOINTEMENT.WE NEED REINFORCEMENTS IN DM,striker.winger and defence this transfer window.

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  4. Graham

    Fantastic article.

    I think one thing to add is that there wasn’t enough contingency in the plan for young players such as Fabregas suddenly deciding they wanted to leave. Arsene, rightly or wrongly, assumed his and the club’s loyalty would be rewarded. When these players decided to leave, the lack of contingency lead to panic buys. I think the ship has steadied and personally I think this plan will come to full fruition next year.

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  5. Paul

    arsenals pursuit of david villa is over as david villa’s wife has cancelled the move as she wants the barcelona star and spains top goal scorer to stay for the birth of their child in february.

    arsene wenger is now looking to eduardo vargas as an alternative

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  6. k

    The wage structure is wrong. We should give unknown or untested players (usually of a lower quality), less wages then assess their performance after 2 years. If they have become world class, they will be offered a new, better contract. If they have become a flop, they will stay on their low wage or be sold.

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  7. Gunner 8

    That’s a damn good article.
    Mistakes happen but when your’e in a money driven business as football seems to be now-a-days, nothing more than trophies counts now for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
    He maybe doing a lot for the club but to be honest he has run out of ideas on the pitch.
    Most footy fans would know what the formation Wenger is likely to put up before the game and when most of the substitutions will happen.
    Change something Prof. or your gonna be without trophies and will mostly be OUT at the end of the season.

    COYG!!!

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  8. landi

    I dont belive in our current squad, but if our next generation of talents can fufill their talents then i belive that we can create one of the best team:

    scchezny,martinez, jenkinson, miquel,meade,gibbs, aneke,frimpong,coqelin,wilshere, kris olsson, jon toral, eisfield, oxlade,ramsey, ryo myiachi, wellington silva, chuba apkom, afobe, campbell

    +++++++

    some other star potential players : isco,zaha,shaw

    ++++++

    world class players like ”cazorla”

    = TOP TOP TOP team in 5 years

    But who knows, some may not fufill their talents, some may leave but if now then i do belive in them but i want us to win something now and next season and the season after that too…
    Wenger really messed up with his last era ”nasri,fabregas,song,vp etc….” hope he can be successfull with the next on.

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  9. GOONAZ

    @paul

    ARRRRGHHH ARSENE I WAS SOOO EXCIED ABOUT VILLA COMING AND INSTEAD NOW WERE LINKED WITH A SERIE A FLOP!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. cboy

    It’s been 7 years, 7 months and 17 days today since Arsenal won their last trophy…….*sobs*

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  11. youngold gunner

    I HAVE TO ADMITT I DIDNT SEE IT THAT WAY BT STILL THERE IS SOME STUBBORNESS(on thepitch ABOUT WENGS THAT HAS ALSO SINKING US.

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  12. khaesar

    Arsenal isn’t football club, but Football Academy! There are no trophies, just to build good financial management structure!

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  13. Green Gunner

    Wenger only offered players over 30 one years contract at a time. How could this inspire Pires/Henry/Vieira etc to stay knowing they could get lucritive contracts in Spain an Italy.

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  14. khaesar

    I think as long as wenger is still the coach at arsenal, arsenal would not have won anything, despite bringing in messi or other valuable stars having starred expensive though, it would not be useful, because the problem is in the arsenal coach!

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  15. ON14

    @Paul

    Alrightan cheers for the updates, what other updates do you have on the transfer front?

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  16. NIKK

    Trying to analysis past failures and putting everything in perspective is load of bull! The fact is that the socialist model imposed on the club was never going to be compatible with fast changing market economy in the real football world.
    Hence it was not possible to keep likes of Viera Henry etc etc nor was it possible to replace them like for like due higher wages and transfer fees paid by nouveau riche clubs.

    Nothing will change until this socialist model is discarded and the club joins the real football world!

    That is if the Board still has the honest and genuine ambition to win the League and Champion League!

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  17. Jego

    The key point is missing. The rules of the game have changed – now there are clubs like Chelsea, Man City,Real, PSG, Zenit and Anzhi, who have an unlimited budget and can buy any player ready to pay top price. That shift in itself has destroyed the prospect of self sustaining model. Of course top class players are tempted to play for a club that pay £150K – £250K a week.
    Here’s another 2 things:
    1. Wenger moaning about not being able to pay to wages yet he is one of the highest paid managers in the world £7.5 mln a year, Gazidis is the highest paid football club CEO in Premier League. Another non-sense is the wage structure of the club determined by Wenger himself apparently that pays our worst players like Squilacci, Djourou, Denilson, Park £50-60K a week. Champagne socialist…
    2. Where’s the plan B ? They see the self-sustainable model is doomed to fail, why didn’t they comen up with a plan B that would work?

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  18. usmaNOW

    Agents for quality players are only approaching Arsenal once the top rich clubs are rejecting the players…afraid a sad FACT!

    Expect nothing to materialize until rich clubs have done their shopping!

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  19. juhislihis

    1. Never STRENGTHENING the squad, only buying replacements – most of the time not even doing that.

    2. A wage structure which is a complete failure.

    3. Going for the cheap option, which 50-70% times is the wrong choice.

    4. Cannot buy world-class talent even it’s there’s to be taken. I sincerely think ie. James Rodriguez is the new big thing and available around 20M but we will not buy him bcuz Arsenal FC are s*it scared for flopping. Even if he does, so what? How much has the Squid’s wages cost us so far and what has he done for the club?

    5. A working team needs time to mold into unite one. How is this possible when we sell 2-3 starting 11 players once a year and buy players who need 1-2 seasons adapt (Ligue 1)?

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  20. craig2500

    very well written but shows how stupid the club is being if Walcott leaves now he has matured to the player they expected and wanted in the team???

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  21. Invincibles nice (1)

    F**k Holtby, he makes one good assist in the CL against us and all of a sudden hes a worldy.

    If he didnt believe he could break into our first team well then most likely he wouldnt, spu can have him, we want players that are better than what we got.

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  22. CHARLIE GEORGE

    Let’s not forget

    1. That wenger earns 7m per year for not delivering a trophy but acting as a bank manager.
    2. That the club was sold to an American that has no interest in anything beyond how much money he makes from his franchise….
    3. That greedy shareholder are making a killing while we continue to sell players.
    4. That fair play rules will have no imact when man city and others get massive sponsorship deals..
    5. That AW and the Board are presiding over the demise and dismantling of a once great club

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  23. CHARLIE GEORGE

    Oh and let’s not forget the panic buys of last season and the change in policy of getting cheap or crocked older players..santos, squid, etc etc and then playing them out of position..

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  24. Wilshere

    We arsenal fans cnt unite..dat z d problem..AW,BOARD AND AKB’S ARE KILLINGS US

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  25. leo

    It’s a disgrace, it really is. I mean come on, how the can they overlook Gervinho for the Ballon d’Or? Corrupt

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  26. Adetola

    I think our wage structure is flawed. Fringe or unproven players shouldn’t be given huge wages, so as to spur them to perform better to earn better contracts.
    We have too many players earning too much while doing nothing, thereby giving them no motivation to perform better and also making it hard to get them off our books.
    Wenger is to blame. His tactics have also been faulty. Poor selections, and playing players out of position. We need to move forward. Wenger either changes or leaves.

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  27. Clive Belcher

    ITS OFFICAL Peter Storey is coming back to shore up the mid field ALSO Norman bite ya legs Hunter as well CB

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  28. Big Gun

    I disagree with what you said about how players like Henry, Viera left. They left because of what was going on internally at AFC. That particular year, when we lost to Barca in the CL final, Henry urged Wenger to spend more money on better players, having witnessed team mates Viera and Wiltord leave and equal quality to replace that void. Wenger stubbornly refused saying the squad was strong enough. Sound familiar?? This was right before the CL final, when we started to slip down the table after United and Chelsea were tearing ahead in the EPL. When we lost to Barca, that was the final straw for Henry and a few other players. Again, it all boils down to Wenger’s stubborness and reluctancy to replace quality with equal or better quality. This is a trend we have seen continually over the last 8 years. We have lost so many good players over the same old sh*t. RvP was just a rerun of what happened with Henry.

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  29. Big Gun

    @Charlie George. Well said. In a nutshell, that is pretty much what has gone down.

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  30. Big Gun

    @Jego, please write an article for this forum extrapolating on what you said in your brilliant comment. These AKB’s need to wake up from their coma.

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