Summer 2012 needs to see a change in direction in Arsenal’s transfer policy. Out must go this incessant desire to collect 15-16 year olds from around the world and expect and hope that they will develop.
Arsenal have many youngsters in the reserves or on loan for whom the time is ripe for them to be given their chance.
Kyle Bartley will have played the better part of two seasons for Rangers, the time is for Kyle to come back and be given a real chance at Arsenal. In addition we have seen Ignasi Miguel this season at left-back, 2012 must see play at centre-back.
In midfield we need to allow Frimpong and Coquelin a real chance. Wenger needs to play these two guys next season regularly. Arsene needs to learn the art of developing and bringing young players through the ranks. This means resting your regular players.
In addition to these two, is the precocious talents of Henri Lansbury. This youngster has Arsenal running through his veins, he has spent the last two seasons on loan at Championship teams and he was a vital member of Stuart Pearce’s England under 21 team. If Wenger fails to keep Lansbury and develop him, then Wenger can be discounted as manager who develops and gives youth its chance.
Another youngster who will be given his chance, next season or more likely this season is Connor Henderson. His progress has been hampered by severe injuries for the last two seasons, but Wenger believes in the young Ireland winger.
The final person that needs to be given an opportunity is our other summer signing Joel Campbell. Campbell will develop into a good striker, only through Arsenal’s folly in applying for a special talent work permit for Ryo rather than Campbell, has the Costa Rica international had to ply his trade in France,
These seven youngsters along with Szczesny, Gibbs, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be the basis of Arsenal for years to come. They will fight for Arsenal and feel Arsenal, every defeat will mean something to them, they will give heart and soul for the club.
This is the promotion from within that we failed to undertake for many seasons. Too often our talent has been releases, only for them to flourish elsewhere.
The club then needs to invest in three top quality players. A central midfielder, a creative player and a world-class striker. The argument that buying these players will curtail the advancement of the players mentioned above is utter rubbish. Young players will thrive by training and playing alongside top players. The youngsters will develop better and faster in a winning team.
This summer needs a clear-out of our deadwood, and we have a lot of deadwood, we need to promote and give young Arsenal players the chance to flourish and we need to invest in three world-class players. This is the mix that Arsenal need to overhaul our squad and put us on the right track.
Over the last few seasons Arsene Wenger has gathered an assortment of players, paid them good wages and has waited for them to deliver. Unfortunately, they have not delivered the goods nor have they developed into the world class players we thought they would turn into.
For a few transfer windows we have been expecting these players to be sold, but the ridiculous wages, for their limited wages has meant we have not been able to get rid of these deadwood players. This summer the board and Wenger need to bite the bullet and clear them out.
Out must go goalkeepers Almunia and Fabianski. How Almunia is still at the club is a miracle, Wenger’s refusal to pay Fulham £3.5M for Schwarzer and Almunia’s crazy wages of £50,000 a week, sees the clown of Pamplona still at the Emirates. Lukasz Fabianski will leave as he needs to play regular football to enhance his international career.
In defence Sebastien Squillaci, Arsenal’s very own self-destruct button will be released in the summer if not earlier. Squillaci would have left in the summer, but no club was prepared to pay him £50,000 a week! The other defender to leave must be Johan Djourou. As with his Switzerland colleague, Sendeross, after a promising start, everything he does turns pear shape, it is time for Djourou to find a new circus to perform at.
Mifdfield requires the biggest clearout. Arshavin has failed to impress after his first six months at the club and every performance nowadays is an embarrassment to everyone. Roscky has never been the same since his injury and his time at the club must now be numbered. The next player to depart must be Diaby, not because of his inability to perform, but because he spends more than 50% of the season injured. He will never show his full potential at Arsenal. Finally Benayoun should not be offered a permanent contract at the club. He provides very little to the squad.
Both our strikers, Chamakh and Park need to leave in the summer. In the case of Chamakh, Wenger has done a great job in destroying the player by stating he is finding the going tough in the Premier League and then only playing him when we are chasing a game. Park is a mystery and the cynic in me believes we was bought as a favour to Wenger’s old club or as a marketing ploy to sell Arsenal merchandise to South Korea.
In addition to these players we still have three “world class” players on loan who need to be sold this summer, Denilson, Vela and Bendtner.
This shows us the mess our transfer policy over several seasons has created.
In May of 2011, a sort of palace coup was engineered at the Emirates with the two remaining substantial shareholdings of Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith going to Stan Kroenke and in effect Kroenke was anointed the new “emperor” of Arsenal Football Club. Except the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov refused to play ball and increased his holding in the club too!
Usmanov’s holding of just under 30% is a nuisance to Kroenke as this prevents him from passing special resolutions and doing whatever he wants with the club. The Russian’s shareholding should entitle him to a seat or two on the board of the club, but such is the animosity towards Usmanov from the club’s old hierarchy that they would rather the club collapsed before affording this courtesy.
So where does this leave Arsenal? Kroenke has wealth, but the sort that will result in him writing blank cheques for an Arsenal manager to spend on players. Kroenke has many sporting interests in America which means he will not get involved in the day to day running of the club nor will he sanction major transfers. In effect Kroenke is running the club by remote, by Skype! This at a time when Arsenal’s position as a top 7 club is being threatened. Whilst other clubs have active hands-on owners / chairmen, Arsenal is being run like a major corporation with budgets set for wages and transfers, and regardless of the change in circumstances we will keep to those budgets.
Football is not like a “normal” business. Unless a club spends big in the transfer market it will not attract top players and without top players trophies cease to arrive. Take a look at Wenger’s early years, top players came to the club, not top potential, top players and trophies followed, now look at the last 6 years, we have brought in potential every year and with that we have achieved nothing. The model needs to change, but the board are powerless to authorise a change in this model as the owner is happy with our financial results!
The club is at a major crossroads and the ownership of the club will determine whether we enter many more years of trophyless seasons or the trophies and top players start to come back. The continued ownership of Kroenke will see Wenger rule the roost at the Emirates, a frugal approach to the transfer window and many promises of potential followed by seasons of disappointment. This in effect is the ghost of Arsenal seasons to come, but these can be changed. Kroenke can sell his stake to Usmanov in the summer for a very good profit and then we enter into a completely new ball game.
Whether David Dein re-joins the board is another matter, but Usmanov will not only give Wenger a very large transfer budget, he will insist that he uses it. Usmanov will explain to Wenger that the club needs to win trophies and if that means breaking the bank to bring in top players like Goetze or Hazard, then we MUST do this. He will also explain to Wenger that UEFA Financial Fair Play rules are null and void. There are too many big clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and PSG too name but a few who are too big for UEFA to take any sanctions against. In no uncertain terms Wenger will be told to spend to win trophies, for 6 season operation youth development has failed, and now is the time for change.
These are the options faced by our club, more of the same under Kroenke or a dash for gold under Usmanov.
Arsenal has suffered some terrible bad luck with defensive injuries this season. We lost Sagna, Gibbs and Jenkinson all with a 17 days in October, but the loss that has hurt us most was the loss of Santos in December. Santos was an attacking full-back and gave us extra attacking options something that has been lacking in recent weeks.
With the loss of Santos and news that Gibbs had a further setback, Wenger stated that he will look at a full-back for a loan option as we do not wish to drop points because we are short of full-backs. This statement was made mid-December. Arsenal have an extensive scouting network and great contacts throughout the world. We are now mid-January, having dropped 6 points this year and still no sign of any defensive re-enforcements, neither at full-back nor central defence and there will not be anybody arriving either.
Once again Wenger makes a statement of new recruits and the result is zero activity. There are two reasons for no players coming back.
By the end of January Vermaelen, Sagna and Gibbs will all be back in contention for the starting line-up, so Wenger will try and patch-up the defence once more against Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers in the league and hope we do not drop any more points.
The second reason why Wenger will not enter the transfer market, is that there is no room in the squad for an overseas player. In fact unless Wenger sells one of Almunia, Squillaci, Arshavin or Rosicky, there is no room for Henry in the squad! So unless we have a minor clear-out there will be no new signings this window. The maximum number of non-home grown players is 17.
Arsenal Squad 2011-12 (Non-Home Grown Players)