In the last 12 years since Arsenal were the Premier League champions there have been a lot of things blamed for the club’s failure to add to our 13 league titles. Injury problems and the financial restrictions caused by the move from Highbury to the Emirates are two of the biggest, but by far the main source of anger for Arsenal fans has been the man in charge Arsene Wenger.
Not everyone has laid the blame at the feet of the Frenchman, with one prominent member of the football media usually backing Wenger and defending him from his many critics, but now the Arsenal supporting chief football writer for The Mirror John Cross is struggling to keep his belief in the boss after what he describes as a shambolic summer in the transfer market.
Cross told Sky Sports that he feels Wenger has made a number of big mistakes since the end of last summer and it seems that his frustration is all the more because it seemed as though we would finally see the Gunners step up and challenge the big hitters like Man City, Chelsea and Man United.
He said, “I think the worry is for Arsenal and for Wenger is the disconnect between the manager and the club and the fans is growing ever deeper. I’ve always been a huge admirer of Wenger, but he really has lost me over this window. I think he’s been an absolute shambles.
“I think it’s been poor management, poor planning and I do think Arsenal fans have every right to be fed-up, frustrated and to voice their concerns.
“It’s been a disaster for Arsenal this transfer window because I do think at the end of last season there was a bit of a talk of a revolution with talks of three or four out and three or four in, major changes, and they fell short.
“Yes, they were second in the table but to actually challenge and, particularly with the Manchester clubs bringing in two superstar managers, major change and major surgery was required.
“You go through the summer and their only major signing has been Granit Xhaka and it’s just not enough. They need a striker, they started the summer by needing a centre-half and why-oh-why every year, do Arsenal go into August, something of a mess, a bit of a shambles, trying to drive a hard bargain on August 31.
“It looks like Wenger’s tenure is coming to an end and it’s been a wonderful 20 years but football has moved on and Arsenal and Wenger have been left in the past and this summer illustrates that.
“It wasn’t too bad yesterday and drawing at the defending champions as a one off result, you have to say isn’t a bad return. It’s in the wider context of things that Arsenal fans are fed up with.
“We were told that they were moving to the Emirates to go and compete with the big European super powers and as such, that just hasn’t happened. It is so clear that Arsenal needed an experienced, top quality centre-half and a striker and they haven’t addressed that issue.
“It is all well and good for Wenger to say he is on a one-man crusade against the transfer market escalating prices and that is very admirable, but actually it is poor planning because if you had gone out and got someone like Shkodran Mustafi at the beginning of the window, he wouldn’t be under this pressure that he is now.
“People look behind the scenes at their scouting and people making the transfers and trying to make deal, I don’t think it’s particularly their fault. I think it all comes down to the manager being dithering.”
Well if that is how one of his firmest long term supporters is feeling, how cheesed off are the Wenger Out Brigade right now? And how long can the prof stay on in the face of this ever growing tide of criticism?