This current version of Arsenal remind me of the class of 2008-2011. Back then we had youngsters such as Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie and others.
I remember when they faced Birmingham in the League Cup Final, at that point top of the Prem in Feb, still in the FA Cup and having just beaten Barcelona in the first leg of Champions League.
The manner of how we lost that final saw our team mentally unable to recover and we seemed to lose everything in the space of days.
The mistake Mr Wenger made was never surrounding youth with senior pros to help them manage certain periods.
We were comforted by the fact though that these kids would only get better the more experienced they got.
The sad part of the story is we never saw their talents that we developed mature in North London, they would all hit their peak elsewhere, not willing to wait for ‘jam tomorrow.’
Mr Wenger has said since, at Highbury, he could lose a player in their thirties, now it was common to lose his best talents in their late twenties.
The club were either unable or unwilling to match the ambitions of their best players.
It’s well documented paying off the stadium debt meant we were restricted in terms of wages we could offer, and more importantly building a squad that would reassure we could compete for trophies.
Whoever left us both became richer and has medals to show for their careers.
Where Arsenal should be questioned was how many contracts, we allowed to run down, which essentially gave all the power to their employees and their agents.
Maybe we were scared of a PR backlash of selling to our rivals so thought it better to force players to honour their deals.
That was like putting a plaster over a wound.
When players were not renewing deals with less than two years left, our board put their fingers to their ears and chose to worry about it a year later.
It meant that even as a worst-case scenario we couldn’t get decent money for assets worth more than we got.
The comparisons are obvious, as yet again we have a side built around youth who we will be told to be patient with and wait till they mature.
Yet for the process to work, they have to mature with us and not elsewhere.
If it’s at Liverpool, Chelsea, in Manchester, etc, then this ‘process’ has been a waste of time.
The likes of Ray Parlour are seeing the signs of a repeat.
In the summer Saka and Martinelli will either have to be sold or can leave as free agents the following next year if they don’t renew first.
The same with Saliba (although some reports say we have an option to add a year on).
Vini Venkatesham promised that after Ramsey, no Gunner would hold us ransom again. That was an effort to blame the last regime.
Once in the final 24 months of their deals they either commit to us, or we sell at a point we still get close to their true value he insisted.
Only difference between us and Liverpool over the years was in this department.
Coutinho had a lengthy contract so they could demand over the odds from Barcelona. They used those funds to buy VVD and Alisson.
When we lost a Ramsey, Sanchez, etc, there was zero money to reinvest because they left essentially for nothing .
A reader wrote the other day that it’s been years since we lost a star player to a rival.
Yet it was allowing deals to run down that led to the club feeling pressured to overpay the likes of Ozil and Aubameyang.
Lacazette, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, etc, either free agents or paid to rip contracts up.
By Vini’s own rule, Saka and Martinelli should soon he given the dilemma of extend your deal or be transferred.
If it’s true Martinelli wants 200,000 pounds a week to stay, Arsenal need to be ruthless. Do they think the Brazilian is worth that much at his age?
If not, sell him….
To be a big club you have to act like one.
Getting our best players to stay is something we have never done since the Kroenke Family became major shareholders.
We became a feeder club, a stepping stone for others.
We no longer have to raise funds to pay off debts, but it remains a case that a club with more money and more chance of success can still tempt our stars away.
Getting Martinelli, Saka and Saliba to sign new deals ……that would be the biggest sign yet of the ‘process’ working.
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