Analysis – Why Arsenal were RIGHT to ignore Song and Fabregas

Arsenal should not have allowed Fabregas to join Chelsea and should have brought back Song – Could this have been possible? By Tinashe Shamuyashe (The Analyzer)

Watching PL Fan Zone could be a torture if you are an Arsenal fan. From a panel which is rabidly anti-Wenger, to purported Arsenal fans that send emails that are anything but supportive to the club they claim to support, to skypers and callers who always moan about everything Arsenal and Wenger. Yesterday while watching the program after the match there was a caller from Nigeria who claimed that Wenger made a mistake by not bringing in Fabregas and Song back to Arsenal. This provided ammunition for the anti-Arsenal panel to criticize everything Wenger with one panellist suggesting that he believed that this was Wenger’s last season at Arsenal and he would be promoted to the board.

Watching the program before knowing the results one would have thought that Arsenal had dropped points against West Ham. The theme was about how Wenger does not buy players needed for club success, how he sells his best players to rivals, and how he is stubborn. The panel claimed that we should not have let Fabregas go to Chelsea and we should have brought back Song rather than let him go to West Ham. It is against this background that I have decided to assess whether it was practically possible for Arsenal to bring back both Fabregas and Song this season. My assessment shall be based on the club’s business model, needs analysis, and affordability.

Arsenal Business Model
It is common cause that the club pursues a self sustaining business model, aimed at ensuring that the club’s longevity is not dependent on one or some few individuals. This approach ensures that the club is able to survive beyond the interest, financial capacity, or life of the benefactor. While currently Arsenal’s two major shareholders are billionaires, the club management has been refusing donations from those shareholders to enable the club to compete on the transfer market at Chelsea and Man City levels. This underscores how the club management is so embedded in the self-sustaining model. We may debate the merits and demerits of that model but the club management is in no doubt as to what business model is best suited for the club. Maybe this emanates from Arsenal’s near collapse in the early 1900s before it was rescued by some rich British chap (you can go to Untold Arsenal history for a detailed account on this). The self sustaining model hinges on positive financial performance by the club.

The essence of the self sustaining model is that the club will embark on expenditure under constrains of longevity. The club will not spend unless it is sure that its viability will not be jeopardised by such expenditure. It means therefore that for every investment in a player the club’s financial team will undertake an investment appraisal, pitting all possible financial benefits from acquiring the players against costs associated with such acquisition. If the return is negative, then forget about acquiring the player. Examples of potential revenues include incremental replica jerseys sales, finishing position in the league, extent of participation in the UCL and other cup games. Examples of costs will include salaries, depreciation (amortization), agents fees, etc.

While finance staff does detailed analysis outsiders like me can only make crude assessments of the impact of certain investments in players on the club’s financial performance. Using this simple analysis, I am of the view that the club would not have afforded to acquire both Ozil and Suarez (or any other major signing) in the 2013/14 season. The club’s reported after tax profits for 2013 stood at £5 million. Assuming Suarez or any other star player would have been bought for £40 million and signed a 5 year contract, in addition to Ozil, he would have been depreciated at £8 million per year, with an annual salary in the range of £6.7 million (based on what we are told Ozil earns). This would have translated into an extra cost of £14.7 million without taking into account agents fees. More than a third of these costs would have been incurred in 2013 depending on the timing of the acquisition. This would have meant around £5 million pounds added to 2013 costs, which wipes out the reported profit.

Please note that I have taken a very simplistic analysis, in part for want of all the relevant information. There are such aspects as tax treatment of the acquisition, incremental revenues from shirt sales, cost savings on letting Bendtner go, safety margins in case of unforeseen expenses or drop in revenues, and agents fees. However, this analysis is enough to illustrate my point. The point being, under the self sustaining business model the club could not have afforded another major signing alongside Ozil without jeopardizing its viability. This conclusion will be pertinent in discussing the possibility of acquiring Fabregas.

Could the Club have bought both Fabregas and Alexis?
From the above analysis it is my view that the club could not have afforded both Ozil and Suarez (or any other major signing). The club’s 2013/14 transfer activity is revealing of its transfer strategy going into the future, which is gradual acquisition of top tier quality to address the club’s needs on the pitch. The club’s transfer behaviour in 2013/14 pointed to the following being the club’s priorities: attacking midfielder (play maker), striker (to complement Olivier), and defensive midfielder. The club was willing to spend big on either a striker or attacking midfielder, while spending moderately on a defensive midfielder.

Wenger’s remarks about Fabregas’ status in 2013 clearly demonstrated that the club wanted to bring him back in 2013/14. Fabregas was heavily linked to Man United during that transfer window. It was Wenger who came out and categorically stated that Fabregas wanted to stay at Barcelona for another season. Wenger could not have been so sure about Fabregas’ situation without speaking to the player’s agent or Barcelona. Having regard to the fact that the club ended up buying a player who plays in a similar role with Fabregas, one can reasonably infer that Wenger inquired about the availability of Fabregas. That is how he got to know about his status which he so emphatically stated such that the rumour of Fabregas to Man United died there and then.

Around the same time Arsenal’s interest on Suarez was reported and confirmed (I am aware of the Higuain rumour but I feel the club was never in for that player because he is very similar to Olivier and was a slight upgrade on Olivier, if ever he was). This to me pointed to the fact that the club was willing to wait for Fabregas if they could find a top class striker who would complement Olivier. This transfer failed to materialize as we all know.

Ozil then became available on the last day of the transfer window, with Arsenal acquiring him at roughly the same amount they had offered for Suarez. In my opinion it is this transaction that pulled the plug on the potential return of Fabregas to Arsenal. Had we succeeded in getting Suarez, we would then have bought Fabregas in the 2014/15 season, with Alexis not coming to us unless Suarez was to go to Barcelona. The question therefore is whether Arsenal should have allowed the Ozil chance to pass? In the circumstances then, the answer for me is no. Fabregas was struggling at Barcelona while Ozil was flourishing at Real Madrid. Ozil appeared to represent an upgrade over Fabregas. Getting Fabregas in 2014/15 was dependent on him failing to nail a starting spot in the Barca team in 2013/14 season. If he were to nail a starting spot he would not have left Barca.

There was a great deal of negativity from some fans because the club had not spent a dime. Passing on the Ozil chance would have added to that negativity, with the potential of affecting performance on the pitch. Ozil would most likely have gone to Man United or Chelsea, because the former was on the market for an attacking midfielder while the latter had a manager who had worked with Ozil before. The failure of Arsenal to win the championship in 2013/14 would have been blamed on the non-signing of Ozil, although we all know with the benefit of hindsight that he would not have helped us win the league. Based on the above considerations it is my view that buying Ozil was a right decision. It meant therefore that priority shifted to a striker that would complement Olivier.

In the 2014/15 transfer window, the club had other priorities, viz: replacing Sagna, Fabianski, and Thomas Varmelen (TV). Added to that was the need to buy a striker to complement Olivier. The club ended up spending nearly £80 million in filling those positions. I must also note that the club needed and still need a successor to Arteta after Wenger stated in the 2013/14 season that Arteta was left with at most two seasons at top level. It would therefore have been grossly unreasonable and irresponsible for the club to buy a player who is not a priority solely for the purpose of stopping him from going to a rival club, while not strengthening critical areas.

From a viability point of view it is my considered view that the club after spending £80 million did not have capacity to make another major signing, thus ruling out luxurious purchase of Fabregas. The acquisitions translate into yearly depreciation of £18 million, add agent fees, and wages – particularly for Alexis, the financial impact of such acquisitions is becomes clear for everyone to see. As I stated earlier, the club’s transfer strategy is one of one major signing at a time. This strategy is influenced by the business model. I do not believe therefore that the club could have afforded two major signings in 2014/15 season.

The option available to Arsenal was therefore to pass on the chance to sign Alexis in order to get Fabregas. That option would have had its own negative implications. First Alexis would have gone to Liverpool. Second, Fabregas would not have brought the dimension which Alexis brings to our game. At most Fabregas would have been another option for Santi and Ozil. Liverpool would have remained much stronger than they were with Suarez, while Chelsea would have been slightly affected negatively. Hazard and Oscar would have alternated as the number 10, or Chelsea could easily have bought another top notch number 10 with the limitless resources they have. They could as well have brought in De Maria (although he is not a number 10) ahead of Man United. This option therefore would not have benefited Arsenal but Liverpool.

In the final analysis, Alexis was a wiser buy compared to Fabregas. The club could not afford the two players at the same time, therefore a decision had to be made, which decision was to let Fabregas chance pass but get Alexis. Fabregas is flourishing at Chelsea while Alexis is flourishing at Arsenal. So instead of moaning about practical impossibilities, why not concentrate on the possibilities that became reality and are proving their worth.

Should Arsenal have brought back Song?
Wenger stated towards the end of the 2013/14 season that Arteta had at most 2 seasons at top level. We all know that Flamini was brought in as a short term measure after we failed to get our targets, Cabaye or Gustavo. The latter was concerned about playing time ahead of the 2014 World cup and felt Wolfsburg (which had finished 12th in the Bundasliga) afforded him that opportunity compared to Arsenal because of the midfielders they had. Cabaye’s price target was too high and it turned out PSG (a club with limitless resources) wanted him as well. If I am not mistaken Flamini’s contract expires at the end of the season. So clearly the club needed a defensive midfielder who would succeed the ones we have, provided the funds were available and a player of the right quality was available.

Apparently Song was available with no top notch clubs interested in him. As a result he ended up at West Ham. The question therefore is whether he was that defensive midfielder needed at Arsenal? We had Song at Arsenal for nearly 6 years, and in those years he impressed and disappointed at the same time. As a matter of fact at the end of 2011/2012 season most fans here wanted him to be offloaded. The club did that and he flopped massively at Barcelona leading to his loan move to the Hammers. His greatest undoing is that odd momentary lapse in concentration at crucial points of the game. If you watch our game against the Hammers again you will notice one or two such lapses that could have been catastrophic to West Ham.

Coming to performing the defensive duties, I feel he was not able to do so in that game, and had it not been for their keeper and our poor finishing we would be sitting above Southampton right now. Conversely West Ham never posed a threat to our back line in circumstances attributable to defensive midfield performance. They resorted to aerial balls from wide areas and from around the centre of the pitch, hoping to maximize on their height advantage. I do not see how Song could have stopped their goal if he was in our team because it came from aerial bombardment rather than nice build up play. The latter can be effectively dealt with by good defensive midfield players. No doubt Song is a valuable player for mid table teams like West Ham, while he will be a mere squad player in top teams, and will struggle for game time.

With our increasing capacity to buy top class players would you rather have us buy an average defensive midfield player now or make such a player our major signing in 2015/16 season? I outlined my belief about the club’s current transfer strategy, which is gradually strengthening the squad through one big signing in a window. In 2013/14 we spent £41 million on one player while in 2014/15 we spent £35 million on one player while we spent a total of £80 million on players. In the next season we could spend even more, and considering that other areas are well stocked except for defensive midfield and central defence, I believe we will spend big in acquiring a defensive midfielder.

I believe so, because we do not have any promising players in that area from the academy, while at central defence we have Hayden, Ajay, and O’connor, in addition to Chambers. Added to that Per and Kos still have about three years of top flight football. I say this notwithstanding claims by some that Per is now a liability. My view is that a player does not turn from being a top class player in one season to become crap the following season. Players lose form from time to time but I do not think a club should go into a transfer market every time a player loses form. I recall in 2011/2012 when both Terry and Cech lost form, we started hearing rumours of Chelsea going into the transfer market to replace them. This season Terry is the bedrock of the Chelsea defence. What Per needs right now is the support of everyone associated with the club and he will come good. This was by the way.

As I believe a defensive midfielder is the next big thing the club will buy before the 2015/16 season begins, I just wonder who this player maybe. Names such as Wanyama, Schniederlin, Carvalho, and Martinez are being put forward by supporters. My view is that Wanyama is definitely not such a player, because his only asset is physique. Carvalho has not received high ratings from those that have seen him play, while I know nothing about Martinez. Every time I watch Southampton play, I have noticed how Schniederlin spends more time up field than in defensive areas. I do not know whether it will be by the manager’s orders or he gets carried away and unnecessarily joins offensive moves.

Considering how Wolfsburg has performed this season Gustavo could be interesting but he and his team struggled heavily against an English team in the Europa League. A player who is interesting me for that role is Bentaleb of Tottenham. He is young and has shown tremendous improvement since he got the opportunity at the tiny Tots. I am not sure though whether the Tots will let him go particularly to Arsenal. Whichever way I believe the big thing to join Arsenal will be a defensive midfielder however not in the January transfer window but before the start of the 2015/16 season.

There is no point in supporting a club whose philosophy you do not agree with because you will be forever unhappy with that club’s decisions. Knowing the business philosophy of a club you supports helps you make realistic expectations. Arsenal’s business philosophy is one of self sustainability, and this means spending what the club generates without compromising on longevity under that model.

This means that Arsenal cannot afford to just buy any player on the market, like what Man City, Chelsea and Man United are doing. Buying Fabregas and Alexis in the same transfer window was just not feasible. The purchase of Ozil coupled with the club’s failure to seal the Suarez transfer pulled the plug on the potential return for Fabregas. Since the end of the 2012/13 season the club has not been selling to be able to buy, however it has been spending big on players, although the magnitude is still lower than the three mentioned clubs. From management’s pronouncements and actions on the ground, the club is gradually investing in big name players. The next big name transfer for Arsenal will be a defensive midfielder of better quality than Alex Song. This transfer will not happen in the January transfer window but before the start of 2015/16 season. I rest my case.

Tinashe Shamuyashe (The Analyzer).

Tags Cesc Gustavo Song Suarez


    1. Into the chain smoking, ball losing love machine, we all love SO SO MUCH.

      He makes a decent elf tho, cant lie

      1. Interesting that once Jack was injured, Ramsey and Cazorla suddenly started to hit form??!!
        With Ozil back in Jan, will Jack inherit Poldi’s seat on the bench?

        1. It is only injuries that have allowed us to at least attack well. Otherwise Cazorla would be as LW or on the bench.

    2. Stopped the development ? Wilshere has developed to the max and please get over the illusion that he will still one day produce a magic wand out of his hand and become a world class sensation. I rarely see such an overrated and overhyped player and for an English player (who are overhyped already), this says a lot.

      Fact Check : Fabregas has more assist in 16 PL games for Chelsea than Wilshere has in his over entire Arsenal career. Let that sink in you for a while.

        1. so m not the only one who thinks jack is not good enough for us…nd stop this finacial bullshwicky arsene did right by not signing cesc he paid to leave us nd abt song he made mistake by letting him go at the 1st place nd also by not resigning him

      1. Really, I baffle at the way people overhyped the not-too-good Wilshere. He spoils our game alot.

    1. Simple and precise.

      I remember Wenger/Gazidis announce a transfer budget of £100M – before sales (which added up to a total of £122.5M if we exclude Fabregas money).

      122.5-80= 42.5 million pounds left to be spent. We could have bought Fabregas for £28M, Song for £8M, dropped Welbeck and rushed for Costa early in the window (£16M above Welbecks price). This would take us £10M above the transfer budget, but my god, what a team. Surely the board would allow this “risk”. Or! We could have bought Vela back as well, paying £3M instead of getting 7.5 from cashing in on the buy-back clause termination.

        1. Twas right before the season tickets went out on sale again, lots of promises, lots of disappointments months later. We spent 80, earned 30. net spending 50. 50%.

          1. they never specifically said they will spend 100mils.. they said they will spend more on big signings after we signed sanches

      1. If you do the research you will find out that Costa was NEVER an option; Mourinho with his Atletico connections and his fingers in too many dodgy Portuguese/Spanish/agent pies – meant that Costa was nailed on for Chelsea a long time before it happened.

  1. At this moment even Wenger cannot say he was right to ignore Fabregas … I really hate it … let’s skip that now and forever …

    1. Like the way song confirmed that wenger turned down him an fabregas to come back, when wenger said fabregas turned arsenal down.

      Either songs a liar – Or wengers a liar

      1. Actually I think it was Mourinho who said Fabregas never considered coming back to Arsenal but preferred Chelsea – one of his typical psycho tricks. Fabregas is playing well because he’s in a settled team (with few injuries) and Matic as enforcer. DMF (+ CB) should be priority for Jan window, to protect Ozil and Santi

        1. Your right I think, if we can get decent holding CM to help protect the back 4 then Ozil and Co will be able to focus on attacking more often, how-ever I will highlight how little effort Ozil puts in to winning the ball back 🙁 For me Cazorla would be the starter because I have more confidence in him in getting back and winning the ball back with the TEAM and help us press higher up to force the opposition into making mistakes and letting in goals.

          If Wenger was given the choice to swap Ozil with Cesc then I would want to see that happen but Cesc made his bed and we shouldn’t blame Wenger for it, cesc wanted to leave, Cesc didn’t want to come back when we tried last year… we can’t sit around for-ever.

          Instead of wishing for the impossible I do hope we do (as you said) and find a holding player to compliment Ozil and the B2B player they’ll be sat next to.

  2. I liked the article. The conclusion where you ask the fan if there is point in their support without knowing the clubs philosophy is my favorite.
    I know where we stand and the only realistic solution is to have FFP look into every transfer, shut out every loophole, and reward the teams that do it right.
    Funny how Man City wins a title but gets fined for doing it.
    I just enjoy going week to week, year to year, knowing that the club I support will be staying true to their philosophy and perhaps a FA cup win like last year will be in the cards this year.

    1. This philosophy stuff is nonsense. We are big spenders and have amazing players.

      The squad that finished 7 points off the top and added Sanchez to the squad should not be where we are now. The mismanagement of the squad is rediculous and no amount of philosophy detracts from the fact that Wenger moved on 3 defenders and bought only two and now his team are hanging on for dear life every game.

      At least we used to have an identity. Now Wenger is telling us that a 19 year old with half a seasons experience before joining has hit a brick wall. No shit Sherlock given that you sold too many defenders.

      1. Some good points… but i think the reason we were only seven pts off top was the fact of everybody playing shit for large parts throughout the season. Last season i said to myself that mourinho will never again have a season so under par and that now is our biggest opportunity to end the title wait. If we had of won the liv game it probably would have been us that gained confidence but thats all history now.

      2. Philosophy is not BS, if you are a fan then you would know this, Wenger has always wanted to develop majority of the squad from within and to compliment that with star signings.

        !st thing he had to do was massivly improve our development of players which has happened, either from buying in youths or developing them, we have a decent youth squad with some exciting prospects.

        We couldn’t stay in the smaller Highbury stadium if we wanted to compete with teams to make those ‘star buys’ so we had to move, the part I feel betrayed about it how Hill-Wood said that he didn’t belive that a club should have a majority share holder (over 50%) and talked the other members into not selling until the prices rose 🙁 Money grabbing gits! Usmanov offered us an interest free loan… board rejected it and pay the interest to a private bank instead, to me that is disgusting.

        As for moving out 3 and only bringing in 2, that is BS.
        Out = 3 which is correct.
        In was 2 buys AND Bellerin supposingly stepping up, why Wenger didn’t show more faith in him while Debuchery was out I can’t understand but to deny that Bellerin is a defender and has featured as a player for us would be idiotic. Bellerin was the 3rd man but hey, lets not count promoted players! They dont mean anything do they? Pfft.

        Chambers hitting a brick wall = Arsenal FC losing it’s identity?????????

        I can’t fathom what logic you used to get to that conclusion, trusting in young players is part of our identity! Trusting in Chambers fits in with Arsenal FCs philosophy!

        Sold too many defenders?
        Sagna didn’t want to resign a new contract, not sold! Jenkinson is loaned out to get regular game time, not sold! TV was sold but hey, he is not exactly Mr Fitness is he? Chambers is defenatly an upgrade to Verm!

  3. I was involved in this until I got to the part where you said most fans wanted song gone after having his best season, really?

    1. Yes, fans wanted m’vila to replace song when m’vila was heavily linked to us. Many said stuff like ‘we need someone who sits back and makes the tackles’. At the time song was a creative outlet who often bombed forward, which explained his 10+ assists that season. He was often caught out of position when it came to counterattacks.

      1. You are right ! Fans were in dire need of a sitting DM then, I remember.
        He (Song) was having discipline issues as he was picking up too many cards.

        1. Please tell me how he has become suddenly disciplined under Sam for West Ham. May be Wenger could not control him or was clueless on how make him more disciplined? Or may be Wenger wanted him to be box to box as you know, he likes attacking style of play? LOL

          1. No… its because one mistimed arsenal tackle gets carded by many refs whereas sto che and others get punished after three mistimed challenges.

          2. Song was Lazy, he was arrogant and in the end had to be shipped out.
            “almost had Alex Song by the throat for being lazy and not listening to instructions”

            Hmmm…. Not listening to instructions from Bould, not Wenger, meaning his defensive instructions was thrown out the window. Explains the bombing forward when he should of sat back… but ignorant fans will always blame Wenger and not the player.

      2. I know fans wanted mvila in but song had just provided the most assists in his arsenal career and was seemingly getting better, not worse. I understand he wasn’t the defensive mid we needed but as a box to box he wasnt bad by any means, and certainly was one of the better performers in our team that season

        1. I think he would be awsome alongside a strong holding mid. Then i think with the protection they offer Ozil would flourish.

  4. All these may ozil assist you jokes are now owned an trademarked by cesc fabregas. He will rip henrys record.

    Problem with song was he was told to sit back an protect an he didnt-even tho he was one of our best players at the time,but I would have him over flamini an arteta in a heartbeat, hes got better since barca.

  5. The title of this “article” just relates and shows why we will never be a top club again… Or not in a near future…!!

    Obviously one of the reason the “deluded one” did not bring Fabregas back was not to hampered the so called “Wilshere progresses”…!!

    Can Wilshere reach Fabregas level of play? I doubt it. As a matter of fact, Wilshere is just another “could have been”… He does not have the discipline, the skills and the mentality. But what is more obvious, is that he does not have the right guidance. In order to improve and progress one day, he will need a fresh young manager, not a “father figure” who has proven his weaknesses for years.

    After 2 wins in a row, fans are talking about pushing on (well, Arsenal Fan tv)… Pushing to where or what?
    We are not going to win the league, unless you are “sickly” optimistic and that still would be a stretch.
    Yes, it is the “usual” “money aim” CL. We don’t even qualify to win it (because that would be in the domain of fantasy), but just to be gratify by the cash reward.

    I don’t think we are a “middle table club” (even though it seems like it), but Wenger is talking about winning the league in 2017…!!! Heard that before. The guy is just buying himself some time (lying again) because we all know he won’t deliver.

    Winning the league in 2017 will incurred reinforcing the squad year after year and keep our best players. Will Sanchez be willing to wait until 2017 with no clear progress? What about Koscielny? What about Ramsey (I can see him make a “Bale move” in a couple of years)? What about Ozil (he won’t be here in 2 years… For sure)?

    Just another statement that basically means nothing because he cannot back it up.

    Again, it is utterly wrong, unacceptable, unfair to the fans (the ones paying for that crap) and inadmissible that a manager earning more than allowed (£8millions/year… F*cking farce!) is incapable of delivering trophies, major trophies (f*ck the FA cup and pity to the ones it means something valuable… Wigan won it before being relegated…!!) on a regular basis.

    His arrogance and stubbornness is not even backed up by strokes of genius…!!

    1. To be honest i would take fab over wils without any concern and i think almost everyone would unless he was your fav player or you wont admit to it because fabs at the scum and wils is with us.

      I also think that it is totally unfair to compare an English international attacking mid to a Spanish international playmaker, i would have used playmaker for for both but wils is not a pass master and all top playmakers are great passers. You cant compare any English players to fab in my opinion as England dont produce these sort of skills/players – methodical thinking versus aggressive forward play.

      Gerrard is very good at the long ball and at times can produce good passes – assists. Thats why i was totally shocked when i realised that Arsene was serious about adopting English attacking players. On the wings its fine as England have always produced dangerous wingers but up top… there is usually only one or two stand out strikers in each generation or so. As for pass masters… i cant remember one true playmaker.

    2. How much longer do we have to put up with Wenger’s ” we’ll win the league next year or the year after?” With the players we now have we should be a lot closer to the top than we are. Fab coming back would have at least increased our chances of getting closer. To be brutal, Wenger is past it and should go at the end of the season. Our team, our players, our club deserve so much more.

    3. Couldn’t agree more,and God knows why all the thumbs down,wonder how many this one will get;

      If you want to stick with arsene then you don’t support Arsenal because you’re happy with mediocrity

    4. Can you read?

      “but Wenger is talking about winning the league in 2017…!!! Heard that before.”
      I recall when he said we could go unbeaten and everyone laughed at him, how is humble pie?

      Given your knee jerk reaction then I bet you was one of those who lol’d at him.

      Your post was nothing more than the ramblings of a crazy idiotic child who reads the papers and thinks that what they are saying must be true like the bible is full of truths…

      Wenger is paid 8 mill a year to please his bosses, if his bosses have made the decision not to spend outside of a stratagy then Wenger can not spend outside of that stratagy.

      Before you stupidly try saying “Wenger runns the club, even the board have said so”

      Do you think Wenger would keep his job if he was open about how Silent Stan is more concerned about his own profits, How he takes out money as “Stratigic and something services” rather than reinvesting in the club?

      I doubt he would, I bet he wants to keep his job and doing more than any other manager because the board is too weak in the support, they know how to make profit but not really how to win. Dein was the winner in the Arsenal board, 1 FA cup since he left…

  6. Great article, just one thing i dont understand how can you call Alex Song a squad player for top teams while we have Flamini/Arteta as our two DM’s. Song is by far an upgrade on our DM, atleast he can break up the play, can handle physical type of players, has great passing range and can handle pacy players. I mean once we play against pacy players in the middle of the park we’re dead, Arteta/flamini are so damn slow, they get passed so easly. The only player in our squad whom i consider to be potentialy good enough to play as a DM for arsenal would be Coquelin ,he is athletic, strong, great tackler, has pace.

    1. I don’t think Song would ‘by far’ be an upgrade to Arteta and Flamini. An effective DM is one that sits deep, intercepts the ball and distributes the ball effectively. However, the most important thing a successful DM must have is DEFENSIVE DISCIPLINE. This means NOT bombing forward at every opportunity, and has the self-control to hold the fort. Unfortunately, this was the one thing that Song did not have throughout his Arsenal career. He kept going forward at every opportunity, leaving our defence heavily exposed. If we got him in the summer, I’m very sure the fans would be dissing his lack of discipline and might even go so far as to label Wenger ‘desperate’ for wanting a Barca reject.

      1. Good point you got there, but i don’t believe its really hard to tell somebody to stick to his positions, last season or the season before Song played at arsenal he kinda had the role of the ” creative midfielder”, or even box-to-box role, he wasn’t really given the role of a defensive mid. My point is, Song played at CB for us and he obviously wasn’t bombing forward, so getting him to stick to the only role of being a defensive mid isn’t or wouldn’t have been a problem i believe.
        Second point, i don’t mind defensive mid’s picking up yellow cards as long they break up the play, or stop counter-attacks. What i find unbelievable is that our current DM’s ( except Coquelin whom i highly rate ) cant do that. Flamini is reckless and below par

        1. He was given def duties, he didn’t fulfill them. This was due to his personal attitude by reports.

          “almost had Alex Song by the throat for being lazy and not listening to instructions”

          Bould was that p*ssed off with him that Arsenal FC decided we wanted to get rid of him there and then, better to get rid of disruptive players before there influence cpreads and disrupts multiple players.

      2. The only reason he did that was because he was given the freedom to do so. Not his fault, but a managerial one. I doubt he would have gone forward as much if Wenger had made it clear to him NOT to. Also, I doubt you were complaining when he put through some dazzling through balls and assists for the cutch dunt. Song was our most consistent player and I was very sad to see him leave. I also believe it is primarily because of him why West Ham are suddenly doing so well. I rate him better than Arteta and Flamini as he possesses a more all rounded ability, where as Arteta is very technical, but sluggish and small statured, very weak in the air and hates pressure. Flamini is complete opposite, all heart and fire, not afraid to get stuck in, but lacks composure and discipline. I would pick Song over them any day.

  7. When he said “We don’t need Fabregas” you realised that the decision was not sportively motivated, but financial (penny pinching twat!).

    Which manager in this “football” world would choose Wilshere over Fabregas?
    I would have shipped the English and get the Spanish, no luring of a doubt. Both cannot be compared… At the same age, Fabreagas was already an essential part of the team set up. Wilshere is just another midfielder and may be the worse we got.

    1. precisely, I think he’s trying to keep fans on his side because he knows they’re not as quick to turn on the british players, even when its clear they are either out of form or not good enough to be playing for arsenal. cesc at jack’s age was wc, jack at this point in time is just an average footballer. Speaks volumes that pep said barca have a 100 jack wilsheres in their academy, thats why he signs a player like cesc and not jack from us after we beat them, its because jack is bang average unfortunately.

  8. Firstly I completely agree with Arsenal not signing Song. While his last season at Arsenal was his best. He quickly became a cliched player who thought he was better than he actually was and got found out when player beside the best players in the world. The fact that no other big club was in for him speaks volumes.
    I find the argument you’ve put forward for Fabregas hard to digest. The point of the piece appears to question whether Arsenal should have signed Fabregas as well as another top player in either Suarez and Alexis. Let’s deal with Suarez fist. The simple answer is they couldn’t sign him along with Suarez as he wasn’t for sale despite the rumours of him going to Utd. Utd were effectively used by Fabregas’ agent to increase his wages at Barca.
    In dealing with signing him alongside Alexis I believe the question is flawed. The question should be whether we could afford to have Ozil, Carzola and Fabregas in the same team. I would agree this would not be the optimal squad but I also believe that Fabregas is the best of the three as a Premiership play-maker. While I love Carzola, his inconsistency is a constant irritation and not what you would expect from a top player. Ozil has the same issues in terms of consistency but has also never hit the same heights he did when he first arrived. He expects to be the play-maker and is often played out of position to accommodate others. Unlike Carzola however, Ozil does not have the will to change his fortunes when things are going against him. If things don’t go well in the first 15-20 minutes his head will drop and he won’t be seen for the rest of the game. Fabregas on the other hand is a constant force for Chelsea. He is a born winner willing to both battle for the ball, if sometimes a bit hot headed, and effective when in possession of the ball. In addition to this he is a proven premiership player and would have easily fitted back into the Arsenal team and possibly at less cost than is proposed above.
    If Arsenal had of cut their losses on Ozil selling him for 30m, they would have been replacing him with an upgrade in my opinion. Again I like Ozil as a footballer but he appears to be a luxury to the team. He would appear to be suited to a more technical league where teams are less likely to play 10 or 11 men behind the ball. The other alternative was to sell Carzola for 20m, then add 10m to get Fabregas. Fabregas would be an upgrade on Carzola. As I’ve stated he influences games on a far more consistent basis than Carzola. In the case of Ozil the wages would be like for like and in the case of Carzola the increase would be the same as signing an average player.
    So in conclusion I’m in agreement Song should not have been signed but think Wenger’s loyalty to Ozil and Carzola stopped him missing out on signing a player with a hunger and desire for winning football matches. It is this hunger and desire that Arsenal still lack in most departments.

    1. I think our differences lie in the basis of argument. Your argument is based on having players that play the same position, while my argument is financial. What I was saying is that Arsenal could not afford two big name signings considering what had been spent on replacing keeper, RB, CB, and CF. In addition Arsenal had a right of first refusal meaning that it would not have had influence over the price at which Fab would be sold. Right of first refusal gives you the first option to buy at the going price. If Chelsea were to offer 60 million pounds for Fabregas, that would have become the price at which we would exercise that right. We know Chelsea can pay any price for a player (Torres being a recent example), so Arsenal were definitely not going to get Fabregas for cheap if they had expressed interest.

      1. Don’t both your arguments include position?

        As for your argument about the 1st refusal, did Arsenal not have a option to buy him for £25million? I just had to double check my memory with google and it appears that way at a quick glance…

        If that is the case then I hate to say it but I would go with LOC logic over yours, Wenger is known for supporting his players and Ozil is his player, Cesc isn’t…

        Bad decision? Thing is with hindsight… it hurts. Right now it feels like to wrong decision BUT what about in 12-18 months time? Ozils head does drop if things do not go his way, his defencive side is worse than my efforts (30 year old heavy smoker!) but he could work on that side and become a better player than Cesc, if that is the case then I bet I’ll be reading articles about how great Ozil is and how much of a genius Wenger was to do what he did.

        If it was just down to funds then what about Campbell? He had a good WC and we could of sold him for at least £10 million, reports was around £16 million? Even dropping 6million from that would of gave us (along with reported 20mil for Jan window) the funds to purchase Cesc.

        I wish I could have heard the conversations Wenger had, something is nagging in my head that Cesc turned down us rather us turning him down, that nagging is that cesc could of been seen by Wenger as the man to replace Arteta?

        Was Arteta a holding CM before we got him? He may not be able to put in a tough tackle but I have seen Cesc put in tough tackles when he was with us.

  9. Ok lets do a quick poll.

    Song-Fabregas : Thumbs up
    Flamini-Coquilin : Thumbs down

    I dont know which world you live in.

    1. But I know which world you live in…..a footballing management virtual reality world. Song/Fabregas look pretty on paper and both are better footballers than MF and FC. But a front 6 of say Song/Fabregas/Walcott/Ozil/Sanchez and Giroud is just another way of letting the better teams rip us an even bigger new a&*hole every game. For a team crying and screaming for better defensive players I cannot see the logic of bringing in two essentially attack minded players to replace existing, albeit average/above average CDMs. How does that work? Song and Fabregas cannot and do not defend. Mourinho builds a defensive unit around CF and plays him a further 10 yds forward in the big games with NM and/or JOM behind. In the less competitive games he may play CF next to probably the best proper CDM in world football at the moment. (And not to mention possibly the best back 5 in world football behind as well). I am not a big Wilshere fan but not sure why he is the brunt of some of the abuse on here – both Mourinho and Wenger knows that Cesc’s best position is further up the pitch and it wasn’t JW who was in the way of CF returning – it was MO/SC/TR and AOC who can all play there. We know Song inside out – he looks good at WH precisely because he is at WH. And this should not be an either/or debate – we need better CDMs not taking back departed players and force them in to roles they are they are not equipped to deal with. If we were about to play one of the big teams tomorrow with a fully fit squad with a front 4 of say Sanchez/Walcott/Carzorla/Giroud then on balance, if it was a straight either/or choice, then I would take Arteta/Coquelin sitting behind them over Song/Fabregas all day and every day. You really need to take a look at the balance in such teams as Bayern/Chelsea/Atletico and not get drawn in to a paper exercise of seeing how many stars you can cram in to a 1st X1 line-up.

    2. Okay, first of all this isn’t a correct poll. I’d be more like:

      Song-Fabregas : Thumbs up
      Flamini-Sanchez : Thumbs down

      Since arsenal spent their transfer money on sanchez instead of Fabregas.

      1. Flamini-Sanchez : Thumbs down? I say up.

        Flamini isn’t good enough as a starter but I do think he is a good squad player, someone we can bring on for the last 20 mins to try and keep leads…

        Alexis is a thumbs up, we needed him more than Cesc. Last season please remind us all what fans was saying after we lost ramsey and Theo? What was we missing? Pace up front!

        Cesc is not pace. Cesc would of been another player trying to find ther magical hole to pass through and with a slow attack that would of decreased the amount of oppertunities he could of created, thus not having the effect for us like he has had for Chelsea unless we bought Alexis as well as Cesc.

        Alexis is doing fantastic for us, a bit slow on his passing at times but still without a doubt our best performer so far this season, I just think it is a shame we don’t have Cesc ASWELL as Alexis.

  10. didnt know song was such a good player, is he not the same guy everyone use to complain about? as for fabregas he chose to leave and he chose to go to chelsea, its hard for some people i know, but try and get over him. an inform ozil might help.

  11. My point is this for Fabregas

    1. Fabregas assists AND scores
    2. Top Assist leader in Premiership
    3. Because of injuries and playing in 4 tournaments, he will always play
    4. he and Ozil can play in different positions
    5. By taking him we would have possibly made Chelski weaker

    My points for Song
    1. A decent DM is better than getting none
    2. We were short in defense anyway
    3. He isn’t the best but would still have improved us.

    Honestly, with Fabregas and Song we would have been closer to Chelski. With a top striker like Benzema or Cavani we would have been at the top

    But hey, Wenger screwed us and what’s done is done. This can’t be reversed

    What’s guaranteed is that Fabregas or Nasri will be standing in the winners podium. Actually, even RVP has a better chance then us.

    Wenger must get as a PRIORITY
    1. TOP defender ie Reid, Hummels, Schar or Van Dijk
    2. TOP striker ie Benzema, Cavani, Huntelaar

    If we have enough money
    1. TOP DM: ie Carvalho, bender, Schneiderlin or Kondogbia

    1. First of all Song is hardly an improvement over Flamini. Both suck but at least Flamini is paid less. We know that. Secondly no one foresee the injury crisis of such a magnitude. We can live without one CB or one B2B/DM but not really without both. Chambers was meant for CB/DM duty and not RB even if he ca decently do the later. This is why I will never understand Wenger why not give time to Bellerin as he’s the same age and having almost same experience in top flight football as Chambers.
      You don’t weaken a team like Chelsea or City when you pay more than them on a player. You weaken yourself financially because they can pay it and beyond. They would have bought any Mendes bound players (including Kongdonbia) and be done with it. However I prefer Sanchez over Fabregas anytime. The guy is so stupid he fell right into the trap set by Barcelona and his agent. You can say whatever you want but Sanchez is the one standing out from a team while Fabregas and Nasri just happen to be there being somehow part of an expensive great team. Nasri doesn’t even play for France while Fabregas struggle to get on the bench for Spain.

      1. About Bellerin
        I wanted to see him play at RB instead of Chambers soooooo much, I can’t understand Wengers logic when he didn’t play Bellerin 🙁

        All those games with Monreal at CB and Chambers at RB could of been better results IMO if Bellerin had been RB and Chambers had been at CB.

  12. Our biggest mistake as fans is that we don’t realise that, for every club there is time for everything, there was a time liverpool ruled the industry and Man U’s time is out, we had the opportunity do rule the industry and we did, we went unbeaten the whole season and everyone knows now that record will not be broken anytime soon, imaging the Arsenal Fans before Wenger how they felt about the Club. we want glory all the time but sometimes it belongs to someone else at the moment. we have double digits in most English competitions, Chelsea does not have it, maybe its their time, but should we curse the club because we can’t get the trophies needed, maybe our grnachildren will see the glory(if they will support our team) what guarantee do we have that if we had bought all these players we wanted we would win the Champions league let alone the premier league? Man city will not surpass our success in 2 decades to come, because we are not far off from their performance.

    i like the article one of the most realistic articles i have read here. and the Aurthor sounds Zimbabwean,

  13. There are a lot of comments here that just prove exactly what the writer of this article is trying to point out in that many fans of this club support it without understanding or believing in the club philosophy. I reckon most people didn’t even bother to read the whole article, just judged using the headline. I for one am glad that there are still knowledgeable and observant fans like you Tinashe. Justarsenal’s best article of the year might just have come with little more than a day left.

    1. My stance on the matter has always been. Fab and Ozil do not play the same position, ones cm the other cam who plays similar to a Bergkamp role. We have Diaby wasting everybodys time and on allot of money. We have Arteta aging ever more. Wilshere who really cannot hold a candle. Rosicky is getting on now and also Cazorla is catching up.

      Sanchez is exactly who we needed but from what i mentioned above your going to tell me that we couldnt of made room for a genuine worldy. Easily two or three from that buch would have given us the space and necessary funds.

    2. Im sorry but a 7 year old me didn’t sit down and browse through the premier league club’s philosophies before I decided Arsenal was the one I liked most. There are various reasons fans support clubs, family, location all of these factors have a contribution. I accept you should probably have an understanding of the philosophy of the club if you’re old enough to fully comprehend exactly what it is your club strives for, but you don’t necessarily have to believe in the CURRENT philosophy to be a fan because clubs go through transitions.

      If we were to suddenly shift from trying to develop youth players to assembling world class players in every position I’m sure we’d lose some fans but the majority would remain because regardless of what management, philosophies or transfer budget we have fans only know how to support the team when the whistle is blown. The philosophy of the club is governed by those who own it, but its the fans that generate the money that will keep the club going beyond any current ownership and into the future

  14. When are we going to stop going on about fabregas? No point crying over spilt milk. Whether it was right or wrong, he is a Chelsea player now. He’s moved on and I doubt he is still sitting around thinking and debating about Arsenal. I mean is this a break up? If so, she has left us and is dating a complete d*ck (Maureen), and we’re still sitting at home wondering where it all went wrong.

  15. Well thot out piece… Give Credit where it is due…..But I feel, using the same model,, Wenger could have flogged a few players,, can’t mention Jeke or even Pod 9 and Sanogo (1st),, or loan Campbell and sell Coquelin to Lisbon,, poach Cavalho,, see how it pans out… Coz nomatter how you try, tightening bolts on an old rusty something won’t strengthen it…. It’s somehow unthinkable that we expect to choke results wen the defensive mid we hev is crap…. Cavalho would learn from Arteta and Flamini would kill space on bench, so Podolski finds game time….
    Otherwise thanks Shamu…….

  16. Arsenal can live without Song but Wenger slipped up by not getting Fabregas back. He is the backbone of Chelsea he looks stronger his assists are fantastic. Arsenal would have been much stronger with him in our side. I don’t know where Wengers head was when he turned down the chance to re-sign Fabregas am I right in saying Arsenal did have first refusal on him.

    1. And the more times you say it the weirder it gets… Arsenal refused Fabregas… for 25m… crazy times we are living in.

      I have never seen a player who has filled a jigsaw puzzle final piece in the way that Fabregas has for che. Truly what they were missing.

      If the roles were reversed Mourinhos war like mentality would see him buy fab just to stop us from getting him and then either rival him with Ozil or sell him abroad next season.

      1. He was the final piece of Chelsea’s jigsaw – he was a long way from being the final piece of our jigsaw. Different teams, different styles, different set ups and different needs. If you want to talk about final bits of the Arsenal jigsaw and I had first dibs on taking any Chelsea player Fabregas would be near the bottom of the list; would take Courtois, Cahill, Ivanovic, Azpilicueto, Matic, Hazard and Costa before I would give Cesc a look in.

    2. CF is a very good player in a very good team. Of course he is performing. But he is a long, long way from being the “backbone” of Chelsea; he is their creative focal point in a team massively formatted and designed to let that happen. He operates as he does because of the “backbone” provided by 8 or 9 others. He has to be the most protected and cosseted creative player in world football at the moment. Put another way, we have 2 or 3 players who would thrive in that set-up and would probably be double digits in assists as well. We have first hand experience of an “assist king” coming from a great team and not being able to translate that in to PL assists in a lesser team – step forward Mr Ozil. CF would be just another talented midfielder at Arsenal and in the system we operate and the players we have he wouldn’t be blazing such a path.

  17. Probably a great article, but I haven’t got the patience or time to read a long article about 2 players we didn’t sign / resign and are never going to sign (under Wenger).

    I’m more interested in who we are going to sign in January (LOL!) or who we are shipping out.

    Yes, Wilshere is overrated and injury prone. His lower bone structure looks weak and misaligned to me, but I’m no skeletal expert of course..

    We need (I’m getting a sense of deja vu here…) a solid / world class DM and 2 solid / world class defenders, or 1 defender and recall Jenkinson maybe?

    Back to the article. Whilst I applaud the analysis and time taken to write said article, it is just far too in depth for the average footie fan with the attention span of a gnat. There, I said it… 😉

    1. Yes, probably posted on the wrong site – not much in terms of cerebral input required on here. Many on here are only interested in the title sound bites, don’t read what is said, then just roll out their own cut and paste responses/agendas that they drag in to every thread whatever the title. Sad really that a demand for a 5 minute read these days is considered an insult but 5 hours on FIFA 15 is no sweat.

  18. F**k Song and f**k Fabregas! They wanted to leave when we needed them most. They left to the same club but failed to live up to expectations. Now they needed a fall back plan and wanted to come back. Arsenal is not a fall back club. You cant just leave Arsenal hanging out to dry and expect the doors to be opened for you to walk in. F”·k em both! I know Ozil will eventually come good and we will get a world class DM if not in January,in the summer. Victoria Concordia Crescit. Gunners for life!

  19. F**k Song and f**k Fabregas! They wanted to leave when we needed them most. They left to the same club but failed to live up to expectations. Now they needed a fall back plan and wanted to come back. Arsenal is not a fall back club. You cant just leave Arsenal hanging out to dry and expect the doors to be opened for you to walk in. F**k em both! I know Ozil will eventually come good and we will get a world class DM if not in January,in the summer. Victoria Concordia Crescit. Gunners for life!

  20. Get rid of all the dead wood and replace them with good hard EPL players who can come on and just do a job for the last 20-30 min of each game. So much crap at arsenal that would never get in any of the top 6 teams of the EPL.

  21. First I would like to thank admin for publishing my article, and also would want to thank those that took time to read my article and made comments. I knew my article would not have made instant hit here because of the general perspective taken by readers here. However, I believe in a society where divergent views are expected to exist side by side without resort to vitriol. I also believe that an average Arsenal fan is intelligent and discerning, who has been refraining from commenting on most articles because of their quality and quality of comments that follow them.

    I would have submitted my article for publication to untold arsenal but I felt it would not add value there, because the site is mostly educative and publish many articles of similar nature. I could not have submitted the article to le grove, because of the editorial policy there. I was however impressed by the policy here, although I feel the readers here do not do justice to that policy. As I understand it, the policy at just arsenal is to promote debate and cross pollination of ideas, however those that call themselves AOBs have contaminated the good policy by their obsession with Wenger sacking.

    Turning to the general thrust of arguments by those that think we should have signed Fabregas, they push the view that we should have disposed of one of our midfielders to accommodate Fabregas. This is a very different dimension to the thrust of my article. I feel somebody needs to explore that angle looking at the pros and cons of offloading a player who stood by us when Fabregas deserted us to accommodate the deserter. I believe there are good reasons for and against that line of argument.

    Somebody asked why I did that article when the players themselves moved on. That is a good question, and I also thought like that until I watched PL Fan Zone where an anti-Arsenal panel went on and on as to why it was negligence by Wenger not to resign Song and Fabregas. I thought keeping silent will be tantamount to tacit approval of such views.

    On a final note, we need to be realistic about our performance targets for this season, having regard to how the first half went by. There is no need for the club to spent big to get players we would not have bought in the next summer window, simply because we want to bring our title chase back on track. Yes Chelsea are showing signs of vincibility, while Man City remain unpredictable. Our chances of overhauling them are very low even if we buy all your FIFA football ideal players. It is time to keep our powder dry until the summer window so that we get the best available defensive midfield players. The current team will give us third no doubt, and depending on teams which we will draw we can as well retain the FA Cup. It will be a bonus if we get to the semi final of the UCL, because that will continue to add belief in our players.

    Lastly somebody suggested that I am from Zimbabwe. That is true I am a Zimbabwean gunner for life.

  22. I’d say Wenger was right to not re-sign Cesc.I mean,why would he?especially when we have got Santi and Ozil.its easy to say Cesc’s an upgrade on these two but that’s just being naïve and silly,honestly!And Song???really?lol…quit whining.I think we have got better players than those two.

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