ARSENE WENGER AND THE ARSENAL TRANSFER WINDOW by Uche
Hello everyone. Long time. Hope you are all great, despite our typically miserable transfer window. You know who Arsene Wenger reminds me of at this time of the year? He is like that grumpy old lady that refuses to hand over bags of candy to little kids trick-or-treating on Halloween. Instead he chooses to give the occasional candy bar to that rare deserving kid, by her standards. That old lady will tell you that too much sugar is not good for the kids and that diabetes is no laughing matter. Guess what? She is kind of right, even though she remains a party pooper. 72 million pounds for a 29 year old Higuain? 100 million pounds for Paul Pogba? That is lunacy. I am with Wenger on this one. The man does make a point when it comes to current player valuations but he never does enough when he needs to. If Leicester could do it without blowing millions, what is his excuse?
But strange enough, Wenger remains a success story of sorts. He is truly an enigma. He is that guy that never does the obvious things that need to be done but often ends up making folks look stupid at the end of the day. We have been here before too many times. The demise of Arsenal has been predicted a billion times and for the billionth time, Arsene Wenger’s team is still playing Champions league football while spending next to nothing. How did Asrenal spend only 10 million pounds on a goal keeper last summer and still finish second in the league? That is the mystery that is Arsene Wenger. When Arsenal is in a crisis, we finish in fourth place at worst. When Chelsea and Man U are in a crisis, they totally capitulate and no amount of money they throw at the problem is able to rescue them for good. You have got to admit that for a guy who refuses to spend money, Wenger is overperforming in a way. Champions league qualification may not be enough for most fans but for the kind of money we are spending, you can also argue that we don’t deserve the success we have had. That is why Wenger is an enigma.
But fast forward to this transfer window and this is the way I see our current team. We have a bloody good team. All that transfer noise wouldn’t let you realize how good our moderately priced stars are until out of the blue, we play a full strength Man City side that is currently managed by the demi god, Pep Guardiola. And what happens? Not only did we outplay them, we beat them fair and square while missing a host of chances. And we were without Ozil, Koscielny and Giroud, the three first team players that have formed the modern arsenal spine. Do we need to buy more players? Absolutely, but just two players at the most. A mobile striker and an experienced defender will do. Numbers wise, we actually have a lot of players. Before writing this article, I was counting the number of central defenders we have and I suddenly realized that if and when Wenger does bring in Mustafi or whoever his real defensive target is, we will have six central defenders for two positions. Koscielny, Per, Gabriel, Chambers, Holding and possibly Mustafi. So really, if not for these injuries, we are stacked in central defence.
And how do I feel about us not getting Mahrez or Draxler? Well, if their clubs decide not to sell, kidnapping them is not an option we can explore, is it? It is not always Wenger’s fault. I personally will not throw a 100 million pounds at Mahrez in the name of making them an offer they cannot refuse. Not when we have very promising youngsters like Iwobi and the Ox anyway. And let us not forget Takamu Asano, our Japanese striker that is kicking ass in Rio.
By the way, Wenger tried to buy Vardy. He made the effort this time. Everything was set. He triggered the release clause, thrashed out personal terms and set up the medical room. Vardy had a change of heart was a no show. I cannot blame Wenger here either.
In conclusion, Wenger is a guy that has found a formula for success that his employers seem to like. He generally lowers the bar by not spending enough and gets his critics predicting doom and gloom. And then out of nowhere, he over performs by qualifying for the Champions league and winning the occasional FA cup. That is the Wenger code. Mystery solved. It took me a while to figure this man out but I finally nailed it. Follow the pattern. However you analyze it, this is what has been happening to us in a nut shell. With so much money in football and our stadium debt giving him nightmares, Wenger cannot guarantee a trophy anymore so he redefined success all by himself. He used to win things until the influx of big money pushed him to the edge. Today he spends his days setting very low expectations that will enable him over perform. And that is why he still has a job. Check mate. Kroenke and the board cannot beat Wenger in this intricate game of chess. He owns them. He is a master in this football game of what success entails. And he makes them money too in a field that nobody seems to make money. Who will fire a guy like that? Not a profit loving Stan Kroenke for sure.
So where does this leave us? I say to hell with transfers. I have chosen to play the long game so I can cope with disappointment. Wenger will not change but he will leave someday and then we might get the opportunity to try something different. I think we may still buy one or two players before this window closes. That is the good news. The bad news is that no matter who we buy, we will not win the league. Why? Because the competition is fiercer than ever and Wenger has set the bar way too low to inspire his players to go for the biggest prize in the land. Success is in the mind they say. That is how Leicester won it when their opponents were spending tens of millions. But splashing out on the right players also makes a difference and inspires a team in a manner that makes them win trophies. That is the success model of the Madrids, the Chelseas and Barcelonas. Wenger can neither inspire his team nor spend the money. And this is why the ultimate prize will forever elude him. Peace.
Lagos – Nigeria