Happy Thursday to you and yours. Hopefully you’re enjoying your time on this Earth and you haven’t spiraled in to a pit of despair after Arsenal didn’t sign fifty bazillion players on Transfer Deadline Day.
Arsene spoke yesterday after the window had ‘slammed shut’ – to coin a hyperbolic phrase – and he referenced the Martial signing for United for €80million as an example of why the money in football is there, but the quality of players signing was more difficult. I’m pretty sure there would have been a selection of gooners choking on their cereals upon reading this and whilst I’m no complete Wenger sympathiser, I fail to see why he doesn’t have a point on this one. How many ‘big’ moves happened this summer? And when I say ‘big’ moves, I mean for mega stars. Kevin De Bruyne is not a ‘mega star’. He could be yet, don’t get me wrong, but he isn’t now. Neither is Sterling. Neither is Morgan Schneiderlin. Neither is Benteke or Firmino, yet combined they went to Liverpool for £60million or thereabouts. That’s nearly a couple of Alexis Sanchez’s from just a year ago. Schweinsteiger, Kondogbia and Khedira are big players, but the two Germans are injury prone and Kondogbia has been plying his trade in French football for a couple of years, which is hardly the most challenging of leagues.
Perhaps we could argue that the Vidal transfer was ‘one that got away’, but we don’t know if we were truly in the hunt but got wind of Bayern Munich’s interest and backed away, because if that was the case then a) we wouldn’t get involved in a bidding war and b) Munich win their domestic league pretty much every season so it would always be difficult for us to compete.
So in a sense I can understand Arsene’s comments. The teams that spunked a lot of cash appear to have predominantly done so on potential talent, or whether there was a clear mandate for a player to move on because they wanted something new i.e. Pedro and Vidal.
It’s not just us that haven’t been able to do our business as we’d like to. Madrid, United, and the Spuds have all had their own issues and having watched the previous two summers be dominated because of a ‘domino effect’ i.e. one player signs and other clubs move off the back of it, I do wonder if it is because neither of the two big Spanish clubs made a mega signing that had an impact. Those two teams usually stockpile quality players and seem to make new signings just to excite their own fans, which means other players are available from their team that could improve other squads. We’ve profited from that in terms of Barcelona last season with Alexis and Real Madrid the season before with Ozil. That ‘mega transfer’ never happened and so there was no Archduke Franz Ferdinand catalyst that sparked everything else off.
That’s just my take anyway. Others have different opinions, like the Arsenal Supporters Trust, who have called for a review of our transfer dealings. I like what the Arsenal Supporters Trust do, I really do, because they give an opportunity for fans like you and I to operate as a collective and give the club a singular voice to speak to instead of asking fans to line up outside Ivan’s office one-by-one and ask him questions. The line would probably stretch back to John O’Groats and back! However, I really don’t see why or what purpose a review of the spending of the club will do, assuming that the club conducted it.
Do the AST want to see a committee of people deciding transfers for the manager? That wouldn’t be for me, because look at the mess it got Liverpool in to? Do they want to see a Director of Football and a Chief Executive make all of the decisions and the manager become a coach? Again, that would be a little bit worrying, especially when you only have to look along the Seven Sisters Road and see how disastrous that can be?
So what would a ‘review’ of spending conclude? Arsene should spend more money on players every season. What happens if he gets Benzema in January and a defensive midfielder and then we have next summer as Champions – does he still have to spend more regardless of how good the squad is? It just doesn’t seem to be too conducive to a successful environment to me. Committees of people rarely get things done.
Perhaps Arsene needs some help. I accept that. But the only thing about that, unlike five or six years ago, when we had trouble like getting Mata or Higuain deals over the line, the club have proven they can get their business done. So it’s clearly not a problem like United are having at the moment. The Cech deal was done with consummate ease. So what the options after that for this so-called ‘review’? We don’t want committees, I don’t think we want a Director of Football set up, we probably don’t want to change our negotiating team, so what are we getting at. A change of manager? I can’t really be having that I’m afraid. We all wanted trophies and for the last two season we’ve got them. We were happy two months ago. Now we’re not? What happens if it turns out the squad harmony gets us in to a position where we’re challenging for the league for most of the season like the 2013/14 season? Isn’t that what we all wanted?We don’t have an expectation to win the league, we have an expectation to be competitive. But we have no idea yet whether we’ll be competitive until we’re ten games in, so why the heck are we all getting a little too over-excited?
I don’t get it. But then again, I’ve divorced myself from the transfer window this summer, so perhaps that’s why I’m just shrugging my shoulders and saying ‘bring on Stoke’. Because I want us to ‘bring on Stoke’. Not another transfer window for us to sign players.
See thee tomorrow. Let me know what you think in the comments.