Gallasgate – The Aftermath
Following William Gallas’ revelations that al is not well in the house that Arsene built, Gallas has had the armband taken away from him and will leave in January. But will that solve the problem?
Gallas, contrary to many opinions, was not the problem, the problem is that we are not competitive on the field, the club are not competitive in the transfer market and the only thing we win these days are awards for the Emirates Stadium. Gallas was pointing out to all and sundry that Arsenal has an endemic problem. We are full of over paid, over inflated youngsters who do not care about winning trophies.
This was unacceptable to Gallas; it should also be unacceptable to Wenger, the board and the fans. Alas, the manager chose to support the spoilt ones not his captain. How we come out of this will determine Wenger’s future and the future of Operation Wenger.
For some years we have all agreed that things are going wrong, more and more experienced players leave every year, yet we do not bring in either the same number of players that leave nor do we replace experience with experience. We have not Plan B if injuries ravage the squad, this Saturday saw Walcott, Toure, Adebayor, Rosicky and Eduardo all out injured and Fabregas was injured. You look at the bench and the cupboard is bare. Once upon a time an Arsenal bench contained internationals, Bergkamp, Reyes, Edu, Wiltord amongst others, now it contains players still eligible for the FA Youth Cup.
Never have Wenger’s decisions been so questioned by the press and increasingly by the fans. We will not accept another mediocre season. We cannot accept that our title challenge ended on 31 August when Arsene did not strengthen the squad as he promised all summer. We will not accept UEFA Cup football, as that is all we might achieve if there is no change fortune. We will not accept yet another season of youth rebuilding and we under no circumstance will accept another transfer window of smokes and mirrors when our top players leave to be replaced by even younger and younger players.
Arsene needs to hold an emergency meeting with his coaches and re-assess the plan that was embarked upon five years ago, namely the purchase of young players at the expense of experience. Arsene needs to be man enough and admit he has made a monumental error and embark upon a buying spree in January that will at least four players come to the club.
This must be just the start, there now needs to a policy of mixing youth and experience, as happens at every other club. Look at Manchester United, Ferguson has not allowed Neville, Scholes or Giggs to leave; he knows that they are vital in the development and integration of his youngsters. Look at how Ferguson has kept Brown, Fletcher and O’Shea at the club. None of these players will set the world alight, but they are reliable soldiers who will fight for the United cause. At Arsenal we jettison our experienced players too quickly. Pires, Ljungberg, Campbell, Lauren and Gilberto all allowed to leave. We also have a tendency to allow too many of our young players leave, these are players schooled in the Arsenal tradition, but sold too early in their career, the likes of Sidwell, Hoyte Larsson, Muamba and Bentley. Could these players not have been kept on for a few more seasons and then they could perform the same function as the United fringe players.
The Arsenal youth project is a failure, it is failure not because we have not got good young players; it is a failure because youth on its own will win nothing.