Transfers – What Transfers?
Another transfer window shuts and once again the exit door at the Emirates was busier than the entrance door. Not for the first time have Arsenal fans anxiously awaited the window to open, speculated as to what players will join us, only to be disappointed with the final outcome.
It has become an annual ritual at Arsenal to see more players leave than arrive. Every summer we have seen our experienced players replaced with fewer and less experienced players. Every season, for the last three summers we have spent less money than we have recouped in transfers. Not only do our rivals outspend us, but nearly every team in the Premier League has done so too.
Whilst spending does not equal success, look at Tottenham, failure to strengthen the squad year after year will eventually be detrimental to our club. No longer will we be annual title contenders, instead we will have to be content with the occasional cup run and a title battle until the last few games of the season when our inexperience start to let us down.
Over the last three seasons we have seen the following players leave:
2006 – Bergkamp (retired), Pires (free transfer), Campbell (contract terminated), and Reyes (loan), Cole (£5 M plus Gallas).
2007 – Henry (£16M), Ljungberg (£3M), Aliadiere (£3M), Muamba (£4M), Reyes (£8M)
2008 – Diarra (£5M), Hleb (£13M), Flamini (free), Hoyte (£3M), Gilberto (£1M), Senderos (£8M), Bentley (£5M sell on clause)
Total income £74 million
The following players were purchased in the same period:
2006 – Rosicky (£8M), Gallas, Baptista (loan)
2007 – Diarra (£2M), Eduardo (£8M), Sagna (£7M), Fabianski (£2M), Nordveit (£2M)
2008 – Nasri (£13M), Ramsey (£5M), Silvestre (£1M)
Total expenditure £ 48M
A net inflow of £26 million, plus a loss of all those experienced players to be replaced with relative novices.
We have had pronouncements and announcements from Arsene Wenger this summer. Once the season was over he said we will see things within a couple of weeks. All we had to show was Ramsey arriving and the promise of Nasri. Departure followed departure, yet we still waited to see what Wenger was going to pluck out of the sky. Following the FC Twente first leg, Wenger stated that we were short of bodies in midfield and the situation will be rectified by the return leg. All we saw was Silvestre, clearly not what anyone had expected. After the Newcastle game, the boss said the squad will be augmented and clubs often do deals at midnight. Well midnight came and went and we are still waiting for our squad to be strengthened. It might still happen with players like Smertin who do not have a club, they can join at any time, but this summer has been another one of disappointment to all Arsenal fans. Wenger has more faith in our squad than any fan has, the reality of the situation will hit us in December and January when our midfield could consist of Silvestre and Eboue.
Wenger persists with a policy of allowing youth a chance to shine, but is this policy at the expense of trophies? Would a big name signing or two not help in the pursuit of the Premier League title? With our rivals adding to the squads, we seem content to allow the squad to get thinner and thinner, is this not a certain route to UEFA Cup football? Wenger has transformed this club, but we cannot be beholden to his past achievements, we cannot sit back and enjoy beautiful football whilst Chelsea and Manchester United move onwards and we are caught by Tottenham, Aston Villa, Everton and Manchester City.
Failure to win a trophy this season and failure to get into the Champions League next season should also result in the departure of Wenger, due to his bloody-minded and stubborn transfer policy. Arsenal fans are sick to death of Wenger’s policy that produces great admiration from the media, but no trophies. We expect to sign big name players, we not expect the club to become a nursery club for the big teams in Europe, and we have built a new stadium to generate the funds to win things, not to be a beautiful team with no trophies.