Summer of Disaster – The Transfer Market
We have a torrid start to the season, let’s not get deluded we have lost 3 games and are now languishing at the bottom of the table. This is not acceptable for the fans nor is it acceptable for Wenger. His comments after Saturday clearly show his frustration with what is happening at the moment, more so is his inability to do anything about what is happening.
Our problems have been rumbling under the surface for some time now, we have year after year papered over the cracks, but fundamentally we have been on the downward slide ever since we move to the Emirates. We have sold or lost good players and failed to replace these players, no team can lose the likes of Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Vieirra, Cole, Campbell and Ljungberg and expect to maintain the high standards set by that team. Recently we have lost Adebayor, Fabregas, Toure and Nasri and yet again the replacements have not been of the same standard. As a team we have been getting weaker and weaker every season and this season all of our chickens have come home to roost.
We must ask ourselves how this has happened. Think back to when we talking about moving to a new stadium, the rationale was that with the increased income streams we will be able to compete with the best teams in Europe. The reality is that over the last six years we have spent £130M on players and received £185M in sales. Whilst spending does not always equal success or mean attracting top players, which top stars have we bought in the last 6 years?
There are fundamental problems at the club in terms of attracting players or even in securing our main targets. This summer was a classic case. The club identified our weaknesses and decided upon targets to rectify these problems. What actually happened was a farce.
Every Arsenal fan knew that Fabregas would leave once Barcelona showed any interest in him, we also knew that if Nasri had not signed a new contract by the end of June, then the club had to sell him, that is everyone except Arsene Wenger, who decided this was his summer of imitating an ostrich, stick his head in the sand and everything will be ok.
In Malaysia Wenger stated, “Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri – you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. I believe for us it is important that the message we give out – for example you see about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving – if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club. Because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take [players] away from you.”
This statement was made on 11 July, within 6 weeks both players had left and by Wenger’s own admission we were not long a big club.
We spent the whole of the summer trying to negotiate the transfer out of two of our top stars and we neglected any replacements, why? Surely Wenger had a plan to cover the sales of Fabregas and Nasri? Gervinho was not a replacement for either player.
The same day Wenger stated that Arsenal had no need to recruit a left-back following Clichy’s move to Manchester City. “The plan for left back is that we have Kieran Gibbs, Armand Traore and Thomas Vermaelen can play there too. So we have what we need,” said Wenger.
Everyone who had seen Traore’s development at Arsenal over the years realised early on that he was never going to be top left-back. Yet Arsene thought otherwise. In the same context was it sensible to move our best centre back to left-back?
Having decided that we did not need to recruit replacements for Nasri, Fabregas or Clichy, our transfer policy for the summer started to blow up in our face.
Linked with Ricardo Alvarez we failed to land him for a reported difference of £1.7M. We then moved on to Juan Mata, but we failed to make a bid for him before 31 July, so his fee went from £13M to £23M. Centre backs were targeted, with Arsenal prepared to spend £13M on Jagielka yet not prepared to spend more than £10M on Cahill. Wenger then realised, having stated this was the case all summer, than Bendtner was going to leave in the summer, so a striker became a priority.
Following total humiliation at Old Trafford, where not only were our defensive frailties exposed, but also the lack of players in our squad became apparent when you saw the bench. Arsene or the board forcing Arsene, embarked upon a supermarket sweep style spending spree. We recruited a left-back, Andre Santos, centre-back Per Mertesacker, striker Ju-Young Park and two midfielders, Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun. Whislt it was good to see the club address the issues of defensive frailties, in-experience and sheer numbers, what Arsenal fans want to know and have a right to know is why weren’t these players bought in July, given a proper pre-season with the club and bedded in to the Arsenal way before the season started.
The further exacerbate the problem we decide to get Ryo Miyaichi an special talent work permit a player who has had only a handful of professional games instead of utilising this option for Joel Campbell a striker of greater promise and potential than Miyaichi.
This calamitous transfer window has led to this disastrous start to the season, the players did not know who was coming in and who was staying. We started our pre-season with one set of players and all of sudden five more are brought in once the season has started. This has been a completely disjointed transfer window and someone needs to explain how we got to this stage, when all the fans knew who was going and where we needed to strengthen.
The transfer disaster is one reason why we are where we are.