So Arsenal Fans…… by LD
Here we are again at the start of yet another “Glorious” EPL season and once again we are all feeling a huge sense of Déjà vu. In the build up to the start of the season I was speaking with a very old friend of mine who is a Liverpool fan and he was stating that he thought that the opening game would be a draw, for the very first time in my life, (I’m 45 and have supported the AFC since I was 5) I had to concede that there was almost no chance that we would start the season with a win .
Now I know there will be many out there who will say this is a negative view and that you should NEVER take that stance against your own club, but as well as being a dyed in wool Arsenal fan, I’m also a devout realist and finally the truth has sunk in with me, and I know in my heart of hearts that this season is going to be the longest and toughest many of us have experienced in an age.
We are a club that purports to be top tier and elite in the feted list of worldwide football clubs, we have won trophies and accolades that many of the EPL would envy at the best of times, we have gone undefeated for a whole season and we have had in our ranks some of the greatest players to ever walk out onto a football pitch. However we are now a second tier club pretending to be a top tier club as we are just NOT moving forward in any way.
Year in year out we were told that we had NO money to spend as the club was deep in debt to investors and such like for the building of a new stadium, we saw players like Nasri and Van Persie sold with no adequate replacements brought in, and we swallowed it because we were an club in transition seeking better times further ahead, Or so we were told…
We are now apparently in a far better financial position, and the purchases of Ozil and Sanchez would certainly point towards this being the truth, we now regularly hear about what cash reserves the club has and there are war chest quotes of 70 million to 120 million in each transfer window and club execs and the like as well as the press tell us how much money we can spend….if we want to. But we don’t!!!!!
Now every season it’s the same old story, everyone from Linneker to my Nan put their opinions forward and virtually all of them are the same, we need a Winger and a real top quality striker, also a CB and a CDM and a keeper.
What have we got in the last two transfer windows??
A keeper who, whilst being a brilliant keeper, is at the end of his career rather than the start, and a CDM who may or may not be the next Patrick Viera, and Elneny who (while I think he’s ok), he’s never going to set the world on fire. NOT ENOUGH TO WIN THE EPL !!!!!
Now there’s a myriad of supposed reasons for this inactivity in the transfer market, Many slating Wenger and even more justifying this with statements about the clubs cash reserves and also its self-sufficient business model etc, and there’s so much touted by everybody who has an opinion that it’s really hard to know where the truth even begins to lay.
Wenger himself is the master of the smoke and mirrors game and will never really give anything like a straight answer to journalists, preferring to opt for the “I’m far smarter than you” approach and just acts mysterious and all-knowing when questioned, OR acts like a petulant genius who gets angry when his wisdom is questioned.
So, what is the real truth behind out abysmal transfer business in years gone by? Is it all down to Arsene Wenger ???
AW clearly loves the club and has given it 20 years of his life, he has, as already mentioned, taken us from being a lower top tier club to being at one point a team who’s footballing prowess and skills on the pitch were the model and envy of all around us. He was the discoverer of Henry and Pires and Vieira, and many other skilled and wondrous players, and although the Champions league eluded him this was more down to the misfortune of being in the competition when the likes of Barcelona were at their absolute peak.
However in the last five years we have allegedly got our debts under control and are a club that each year turns a healthy profit, we were also told by Wenger that the Fifa FFP rules would limit the other big spending clubs and this would level the playing field, and we could then be able to level out with the Chelsea and Man City’s of this world. Arsene knew best and we were to be patient and we would be able to return to being challengers at some stage soon.
This has not happened, and I’m surprised that no one has ever hauled Wenger over the coals about the fact that as a qualified economist he never saw that the FIFA FFP rules would NEVER EVER bite the big spending clubs, yet this was the major reason we were never involved in big money transfers, although we were paying the highest process of any club in Europe for season tickets.
We are told again and again at the time of year that season tickets are due to be renewed that “we will spend if there are players out there that we feel will improve the squad”. Yet each year we see players that we so desperately need go to our direct competitors because Wenger is either not interested or is offering 40% of the asking price. Let’s be frank here. Does anyone wonder what would have happened if we had offered a cash strapped Liverpool 60 million for Suarez?? Would we not now have the best goal scoring striker in the world in our front line?? Instead, we offered the outrageously insulting 40 million and a pound bid and looks what happened. Each year we are told that the war chest is in excess of 70 million and that we are looking at such and such a player, then when season ticket renewal time is over and the seats are sold the transfer activity drops to nothing. Coincidence ??? I don’t think so. We are now left with ongoing statements from Wenger about who “He could have signed but didn’t” and no real reasons why when these players become superstars for other clubs. So is he the real talent spotter that everyones has always believed? Or was he bloody lucky to work with David Dein ?????
So if its not Wenger’s fault then it has to be the case that it’s the Board NOT offering up the funds to the manager to spend, we all know that Silent Stan is a business man and NOT a football fan and that he wishes the club to be “self-sustaining”. Its been stated recently that Wenger has to put a leash on Ivan Gazidis when it come to transfers as, according to AW, Gazidis is rushing around looking to spend money like a man with no pockets, Really ???? is this really the case or is it Wenger looking to put a shine on Gazidis in front of the fans and the supporters groups ?? And if we don’t have the money to spend on big name players the question must be asked…why not??
Each year we spend under budget and never go to the full extent of our proposed “War Chest” so what happened to the money that’s not spent in previous years?? We had for example 75 million last summer and spent 11m on Cech and 5m on Elneny, that still leaves 59 million so where did that go?? Was it NOT rolled over to the 50 million we had this summer to make a cool 100 million, or was the 50 million this year the leftover from last year? In which case where is the profit going from last season? And why is some of it NOT being allocated for transfers??
Taking into account the mammoth money deal with BT sports that has allegedly netted each PL club in excess of 100 million, where has this money gone??
If we’ve been paid it up front then its not mentioned anywhere, and if its it drips and drabs then why have we not made money available for transfers out of our cash reserves?? Either way you have to ask the question where is all the money going?
The biggest question for me is this; In a world of ever increasing spending in the footballing world where are we looking to be? As a club our brand is deteriorating year in year out, and this must affect revenue. Without several big signings in key positions we are never ever likely to regain our old glories and add new ones, and we can all see that other clubs such as West Ham and the Spuds are catching us up in terms of spending and in terms of ambition, and without these two things the club is not moving forward on the pitch – and therefore not moving forward in the greater footballing world.
What Wenger ought to do is give a definitive statement as to why he is not spending the cash. He needs to justify the lack of acquisitions regarding strikers and also CB’s , IF he had brought one in last summer in addition to Petr Cech then we would not be in the situation we are now, I do not, and will not, believe that a club as big as Arsenal with an apparent worldwide brand, does not have the cash resource to buy in more than one big name signing every summer. And I cannot see any genuine justification for NOT spending the money we do have, however much or little it may be. The real question is how much money does Wenger REALLY have to spend and where is the real money going at Arsenal????
And also who is he covering for and why??
If Wenger does finally take the plunge and augment the likes of Walcott – who to my mind is over paid and over valued, when in actuality he does more harm than good most of the time – with a new striker, how much will he spend? ‘If we find the right candidates, we will spend the big money,’ Wenger said back in July to leave fans salivating. Yet just days later our Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, appeared to contradict Wenger. ‘We can’t afford to make huge mistakes in the transfer market,’ he said. ‘We can’t afford to outgun competitors that have far more money to splurge on transfer fees than we do.’
Yet again a month Later Wenger is telling fans how Gazidis is like a child with extra pocket money rushing around looking to spend it, and Wenger has to reel him in from making big name signings. So who is telling the truth? – Or at least whose version is closer to the truth? Arsenal have splashed out £40m on Ozil and £35m on Sanchez in the past, but only tend to make one big signing per season. With Xhaka already in the bag for £34m, that will worry some supporters despite the noises over Mustafi and Lacazette, which to my mind are too little too late for players who are not top tier in their fields of expertise. If the financial model in place is working and we’re paying off our debts at a certain pace, then why mess with it when the money from the BT sports deal comes in, or is in ? Why not allocate that money to buying big in the transfer window?? Why spend it on other debts? Surely the club would benefit from buying in new players and winning things rather than sitting with the same failures and frailties that have not borne fruit thus far?
To come out with a statement that “The players were not physcically ready and that he doesn’t know when they will be” is throwing the players HE picked and he brought in under the bus!!!! Surely it’s a manager’s job to ensure that your team can play 90 mins and are ready to do so on the first game of the season?
If the players are NOT ready who’s fault is that??
We have ALL lambasted Robin Van Persie over the years for leaving Arsenal but looking back at it now it makes him seem like Nostradamus because he clearly stated that his views on the way Arsenal needed to move forward was markedly in contrast to what Gazidis and Wenger were thinking. Now, despite my absolute loathing of what proceeded to happen is it not worth considering that perhaps he was very much right??
Also despite our EXTREMELY SEVERE defensive crisis I read this morning that Wenger is haggling over the asking price for Mustafi from Valencia and, yet again, he seems more concerned with saving the club pennies rather than saving the club’s season – and again I ask you, why is this?? Who is holding back the funds and where has the money been salted away????
With all of our main rivals emboldened with new players and our chasing teams catching us up rapidly, with both money to spend from BT sports AND ambition to match, how long can the lies and half-truths continue before either Wenger or the Board, or both, found out in the fact that the money they are getting in (which by some reports makes us the 3rd or 4th richest club in Europe) is NOT being invested back into the club, and more importantly into the team. That is after all the reason we all exist as Gooners in the first place.
The way the club is being run is now an ongoing joke and it’s a disgusting way to treat the fan base, who in essence pay the wages. Just when you think it can’t get any worse ….it does!