Forced To Rethink? by Dan Smith
When asked throughout the summer the dangers of allowing so many players to run down their contracts, Arsene Wenger maintained that any professional gives 100 per cent right down to the last day they are being paid by an employer. It’s idealistic but also naive thinking.
After what he witnessed at Anfield on Sunday, he and his bosses may be under pressure to perhaps review their whole business model. If there is one positive about our 4-0 defeat to Liverpool it might force the powers to be to have a rethink about their entire transfer policy.
That’s how bad this beating was. Normally it would be fickle to base any long-term decisions on the outcome of something as short term as a 90 minute football match. So for this weekend to be the exception to that rule should highlight how desperate this performance was.
Forget the actual result or the loss of three points, it goes deeper then that. Any side can go away from home to one of the top 6 and take a hammering (as fans we got quite use to that in recent seasons). But fans can tell. This wasn’t simply the case of us being overwhelmed by a devastating front three or being outclassed. If it were that simple you would accept it.
This was about players not doing the basic, not giving 100 percent effort, not fighting for the shirt. No matter who you support, that is truly unprofessional and unacceptable.
It’s why I would put this loss ahead of the 8-2 at Old Trafford, the 6-0 at The Bridge, even ahead of the 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich. All of those were humiliations of course, but there’s a difference between opposition being better then you compared to simply not trying.
To blame it only on those who are free agents in less then a year would be absolving the rest of any blame. But our manager’s reaction at the final whistle may have been of a man who has just realised that this is not going to work.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t not track back because he wants to leave, but when Liverpool were playing one-twos around him as he walked to chase them, my first inclination was this is a man who has the nerve to demand more then 180 000 pound a week.
Even Sanchez…… His smile sitting on the bench was caught by TV cameras (to be fair at times he had his head down as well). But as good as the man is, if he cares so little at which point is it in our best interest to allow him to get what he wants. This is of course going to be the problem every time we are below par. Body language and facial expressions will be analysed constantly.
Now I’m not suggesting we sell Sanchez or Ozil this week. They are two undoubtedly world class players, so it wold be non-beneficial to sell to an English rival. With their talent they have every right to question if their ambitions can be met in North London, while we are not the only ones in world football right now under threat of losing our star names.
We can keep the Chilean and German and they can help us get back into the top 4. It’s when you have 4 or 5 first team players not wanting to stay for the long term where it becomes an issue. Even if they displayed a better attitude than they demonstrated on Merseyside it’s only natural that any person in any job would be mentally affected if they knew this time next year they will be representing another organisation.
If wanting a transfer now stops the OX doing the basics, would we not be better off selling? If interest from Italy is going to distract Mustafi to the point you feel he needs to be benched, is he not worth selling?
The rumors linking the German with a move to Inter Milan or Juventus actually gave me hope even before this weekend. Having only signed last summer he would not have been one of the most obvious names to sell. The fact we would even think about letting him go surely hints that we would have something up our sleeve before Thursday night?
Surely our Board would not be so arrogant to clearly make our defense weaker and think they could get away with it. Surely they would not have the nerve (having promised change) to actually make a profit in this window. They have already quietly started to recoup the money spent on Lacazette, this despite again informing us that 200 million is sitting there to buy players with.
I think they might very well have done that, using our run to the FA Cup in May as a way to paper over the cracks. Not now…
Now the pressure is on to make sure if you cash in on Mustafi, you bring in a Virgil Van Dijk. That maybe the Ox leaving is not the end of the world if a Lemar or Mahrez comes the other way. That even if you end up playing someone not as talented he would be better simply for caring about the Red and White colours. That’s what Wenger has less then a week to think about…
His whole thought process may have just been turned upside down inside 1 hour and a half…… That’s how bad we were