As an avid Arsenal fan, recent developments are truly killing me. With so many players potentially walking through the exit door, times are trying for the club and its fans.
Manchester United have already significantly strengthened their team adding Phil Jones, Ashley Young, and David De Gea. United are heading into the new campaign as defending champions and Champions League runners-up, but they are not waiting for others to catch them. They have already spent close to £60 million and look like they could still be adding more pieces to remain at the top.
Liverpool who failed to qualify for the Champions League have also strengthened their squad adding Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing as well as still being active in the transfer market with the backing of their new owner John Henry, who also owns the Red Sox. They also made a big splash in the last window adding Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez after Fernando Torres’ departure.
Chelsea and Manchester City both of which are usually big spenders in the transfer market have yet to make any major moves, but it seems only a matter of time before the checkbooks come out. Manchester City have recently signed Gael Clichy in a reported £7 million deal from Arsenal. This isn’t quite the signing they’ve been making in recent windows, although Clichy is a solid addition to their roster.
Also Tottenham with their failure to regain qualification into the Champions League will surely be looking to add to their squad to make a return to the Top 4. They have already added Brad Friedel on a free transfer and if they can keep Luka Modric, they will look to build around him.
This leaves Arsenal, who up until recently were stagnant in the transfer market, but have since added 19 year old defender Carl Jenkinson and forward Gervinho. However, are these the signings Arsenal need?
Man Untied have already spent close to £60 million on quality additions and they are the defending champs. Liverpool have significantly upgraded their midfield and even teams like Sunderland have spent the money and significantly improved from last season. Looking at Arsenal’s two new signings it doesn’t quite improve the team from last year as fans would have hoped. Up until this point instead of making a splash in the transfer market, Arsene has only skipped a few rocks on the surface.
Arsenal are notoriously known for acting late in the transfer market and looking for bargains, but bargain time should have been done a few years back. Six years without a trophy may not seem long to some considering a team like the Chicago Cubs who have been 102 years without a championship, but the fans desperately need a trophy. Even the Carling Cup, which was thrown away in a horrendous defending gaffe this season would be a welcome addition into the Arsenal trophy cabinet. Arsene still has a month to significantly improve the squad, but will he do it?
Although Arsene has been a game-changing manager since his time at Arsenal, the rest of the league has finally caught up.I wrote an earlier article, wondering if Arsene’s time could be coming to an end as Arsenal’s manager and as a fan I am becoming increasingly more negative about Arsenal’s chances next season, even though I would never support a different club.
Every soccer fan knows the transfer market is extremely inflated, but Arsene needs to spend even if he has to pay a little extra for quality players. With almost failing to qualify for the Champions League qualifiers last season with abysmal end of season form, it is imperative Arsene makes more signings soon. Arsenal still haven’t qualified yet for the group stages in the Champions League and new additions should surely be signed before then. Also any new player needs the proper pre-season to gel with his new teammates.
Several Arsenal players may have one foot out the door and Arsene has to stand up and be counted. He needs to sort out the transfer sagas of his own players and then add the necessary quality. It would be a disaster if the top class players at the club leave. Clichy, although not seen by many as top class is the first to head out the door. If Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas follow him out of the Emirates, a mass exodus could be on the cards. Players like Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshire and Thomas Vermaelen surely won’t want to stick around in a team built destined to fail.
I don’t know who Wenger’s targets are, but if certain players leave the replacements need to be of the same quality. One has to wonder though if Arsene still has the pulling power he once had. If Nasri goes and the signing of Gervinho is his replacement, that is not good enough. He is unproven in the Premier League and will be leaving for six weeks to play in the African Cup of Nations with Cote’D Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Up to this point I maybe seen as reactionary, but I am not. I am not expecting Wenger to spend £40 million on one player, but I expect him to spend enough money to overhaul the squad into champions like the teams he had in the early part of his Arsenal tenure.
The necessary quality is out there and not for necessarily the exorbitant fees seen in world soccer today. Arsene and Arsenal should have enough in the coffers to go out and add several players, even if they are in the £15-20 million range. Arsene also needs to find proven Premier League players who won’t need so much time to settle in. Signing another one for the future and a player plying his trade in Ligue Un aren’t exactly the signings who are going to push the team into champions.
I still have faith in Wenger to do right for the club that he has managed to some great heights over his career, but the clock is ticking. Even as a more optimistic fan, my faith is severely starting to wane. Wenger needs to act now before the Arsenal ship sinks. For now, I, like all Arsenal fans will play the waiting game in angst.