Well here we go then folks. We’re now in to the transfer ‘silly season’ and no sooner is the ink beginning to dry on the contract of Arsène’s new deal, than we’re getting snippets of information to get fans all worked up and excitable that we’re ‘going big’ this year.
It was L’Equipe yesterday evening where news started to filter through that Arsenal had tabled a €100million bid for teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, who has just been proving what a talent he is by bagging all dem goals in the Champions League, whilst Arsène had previously admitted that he had tried to buy the player last summer. It all sounds rather delightful and were this 2012 I’d probably start to entertain the notion of such a move.
But it’s not. It’s 2017. And in 2017 we have already had countless summer stories in years past that Arsenal are ‘going big’ on players, only to get to the summer with no such action and a supermarket dash to fill an unprepeared squad. So given that it’s 2017, and given that we’ve seen and heard this all before, I’ll be holding back from crying tears of joy and instead recount my cries of woe at the farcical nature of this summer and summers of recent memory.
Perhaps I am also alone in this cynicism but I also find the timing of this transfer guff, well, rather insulting actually. Whether or not somebody has fed this spin to L’Equipe from Arsenal or not we’ll never know, but coming just days after Arsène’s new deal seems a little too convenient for me.
Look! Arsène has changed! He doesn’t give a flying any more! He’s going to spend ALL THE WAR CHEST!
Well forgive me for not believing it one iota. This Mbappe story is as likely as me sitting through an entire episode of Vicar of Dibley, followed by the Kardashians and then topping it off with The only way is sh*tting Essex.
It. Ain’t. Happening.
And whilst we’re on it, is there anybody that believes the ‘WAR CHEST’ stories any more? I mean come on people of the media, it’s been five years, can we just stop now? Can we all just accept that we have another two years of supermarket trolley dash signings in August and a spirited but ultimately fruitless end of season pick up in form that means we were never near the title but have shown we can string half a dozen wins together?
That’s just what we are under Wenger. We just need to accept it.
We’ve even got echoes of the RvP situation of a few years back, with news filtering through that Özil and Alexis have held talks with Arsène about what players we’re going to buy, before committing to new deals. I mean come on! We’re a “I wanted to give you guys –the fans – a chance to understand” away from a statement from one of those players and we can all cry ‘Bingo!’ and go home.
How has anything from the last few years given us any evidence that this summer will be different and will compete?
And before I get lambasted for not drinking in trophy success with three FA Cups, let me tell you that I am delighted that Arsène has delivered those, because I’ve been to all three and they were fabulous days out. Seeing my team lift the FA Cup in the flesh is a dream and getting a high five from Jack Wilshere at the Hull game was awesome. They are memories that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life and you have to be thankful for everyone who was involved in making those days so great.
But that’s not the dream we’ve been sold. That’s not what Ivan has spun to us. We were going to be the ‘Bayern’ of England in the way we were run and the ambition we showed. As of today, you can say that we have been nothing of the sort. We look like we’re run by a collective of spotty sales attendants in an Alders store, who have been told to lock up and count the cash because the managers are all sick. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing and they certainly don’t seem to know how to conduct some aspects of the business efficiently.
Which is why there will be no marquee signing this summer. We will make additions and by all accounts that left back Kolasinic looks good. But if he’s one of the ‘one or two signings’ Arsène has spoken of, then he’s got his head in the sand because something has to be very different to catch the league winners, who finished 18 points – that’s an additional six wins – ahead of us this season. That’s a massive gap when you think that it’s a 38 game season.
The solution a lot of us want is for somebody to take control of the same set of players and see if they can draw any more out of them. But we now know that it isn’t going to happen, so the only hope we have is that Arsène assembles some of the best players on the planet and they are told – like the Invincibles – to just go out there and manage the game on a minute-by-minute basis themselves, with Arsène on the side offering little by way of tactical development, and more by the way of motivational and ‘arm round the shoulder’ management.
That he’s good at.
But in order to do that, he’s going to need more than just a free signing at left back. He needs a striker, creative midfielder, another world class centre half and a top drawer stopper in goal. He probably also needs another midfielder alongside Xhaka. To get the best of the best in those positions, you’re probably talking about the best part of £200million spent on a new spine.
I don’t believe that will happen in a million years. And I’m not sure there are many out there who do either.
So we are where we are. More of the same this summer as last summer. Strap yourself in,