Daily Archives: March 30, 2012
Arsenal in the Summer: To Spend or Not to Spend
In the tail end of last season, Arsenal was faced with a task of amassing a series of wins to secure league honors for the first team in seven years or so. While fellow title rivals had the “distraction” of the Champions League and FA Cup, Arsene Wenger’s men had only Sunday Premier League fixtures to contend with.
We all know how those fixtures panned out. Arsenal became the first team in eons involved in a two-horse title race to end up in fourth place.
In an amazing twist of fate triggered by Bacary Sagna’s strong header against 5pur2, Arsenal overtuned a potential 13-point deficit to a three point lead over fourth placed Tottenham and the Gunners are in pole position to finish behind those bullies from Manchester.
However, the Arsenal faithful have braced themselves for yet another trophy-less campaign and the Black Widow Spider residing in Emirates Stadium trophy cabinet has extended her rent for an extra year at least.
Centuries ago, I published an article on why Arsenal remains trophy-less and I created a list of reasons why the club is still in that predicament.
One of the points I emphasized on was the club’s lack of transfer ruthlessness:
In the days of old, Arsene Wenger wasn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth was in terms of signings. There were times when we paid fees for players like Thierry Henry, Jose Antonio Reyes, Dennis Bergkamp and a host of others. But after our move to the Emirates, Wenger hasn’t been as callous as he needs to be when it comes to signing the top talent.
In recent times, he has changed his approach by honing younglings from our Mutant Academy or other academies in the Milky Way to give them a chance at the very highest level. If a player is massively overpriced there’s no point attempting to sign them unless you’re Real Madrid or Manchester City, but it appears, in the transfer market at least, Wenger does take no for answer instead of pressurising the Board of Directors into increasing the transfer budget slightly to clinch that marquee signature. This has made us lose a few players that would have contributed immensely to taking the club forward.
Arsenal was a few million pounds away from buying Xabi Alonso, Gareth Barry, Ryan Tower of Babel and a host of others. The first two players mentioned would certainly have done a much better job than Denilson and Abou Diaby. While it’s always good for his job to maintain a healthy relationship with the Board, Wenger could’ve won many more trophies in his Arsenal tenure had he had the ability to attract the top players to the Emirates.
We have a very strong first team but our second tier isn’t up to scratch. Last season, the shameful draws against Leyton Orient in Brisbane Road, Leeds at the Emirates with the defeat to Ipswich in the Carling Spoon semis first leg proved that fact.
Even if Wenger doesn’t want to halt the progress of the younglings like Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Johan Djourou, he has to remember that Arsenal is an injury prone squad. A center back, a recognized defensive midfielder and a striker are badly needed in Arsenal FC. I hope he gets it right this summer.
However, there’s a Gunner that doesn’t believe that Arsenal has to splurge this summer.
Mikel Arteta believes that the squad has what it takes to challenge for the title next season provided that they have better luck with injuries. He has paid attention to the many transfer rumors linking the club to targets such as Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze, FC Cologne’s Lukas Podolski and Lille’s Eden Hazard.
The fans have urged Arsene Wenger to bring in star names that can help relieve the burden on club captain Robin van Persie amongst other reasons.
However, Arteta is uncertain that there is such a strong need for new players and has instead pointed out the debilitating effects of injuries on the squad’s rhythm and depth in the current term:
“Obviously if you spend a lot of money to bring in top players you have a better chance because you have a bigger squad and you can change the team around but, for me, a key thing with our squad is the injuries.”
“We’ve been hit with important, long-term injuries the whole season that really, really affect the team.”
Arteta went on to say that he would like to see the same XI playing for 10-15 games on the trot, then they can be judged on their abilities. He also talked about the togetherness and mental strength of this present lot and promised that the run could continue till the end of the season.
To an extent, I understand the angle Mikel Arteta is coming from and I’m not really in the opinion that we should break bank for the likes of Hazard or Gotze. There are many quality players out there that can do a good job for Arsenal but Arsene Wenger has to get them this summer as well as keeping his squad intact.
The performances of Wojciech Szczesny has ended any pleas for a new goalie while Lukasz Fabianski, Vito Mannone and Emiliano Martinez are good deputies. The return to full fitness of Bacary Sagna as well as the other full backs have changed Arsenal’s fortunes as they’ve returned with their width, guile, perfect balance in attack and defense and most importantly, crosses.
There’s a lot of personnel in the midfield but Alex Song needs another strong enforcer like Yann M’ Vila. I know that the likes of Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin have hugh potential but they still need a series of loan deals to bolster their confidence.
We also know that Robin van Persie needs an able deputy to relieve the goal scoring burden off him and the tales of Lukas Podolski have become tiring to say the least.
Arsenal in the summer: to splurge or not to splurge.
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