Following Saturday’s performance, we were slightly buoyed yesterday to be linked with Arteta, Kaka and M’Vila. Wenger has also gone on record that we are looking bringing in experience and we are looking at a couple of buys, this was however qualified with the usual, we are not near bringing in any players yet.
Today, Monday we read that Rennes are not looking at selling M’Vila, Mertesacker wants to see out his contract at Werder Bremen and it appears as if the Kaka story was all pie in the sky. So where are we at the start of a vital week for Arsenal FC?
Arsenal fans all over the world are worried about this season and the general direction the team is heading towards, the displays so far this season have not been promising so unless there is a influx of 3-4 players the season looks doomed.
There will be no transfer activity, in terms of players coming in before Thursday. The squad flies out to Italy tomorrow, so it will be amazing if we sign anybody today. If we fail to qualify for the Champions League, then the board will probably tell Arsene that he will have a reduced transfer budget. Failure to qualify will cost us £25M, the amount Chelsea are spending on Juan Mata a player who was due to sign for us at the end of July.
This means that our transfers, if any will happen after the Manchester United game. Wenger is playing a high risk game, wait until the transfer deadline and then try to tempt clubs like Everton, Bolton and Blackburn to sell their players. If it comes off and Wenger gets good deals for players like Samba, Cahill and Arteta, then well done Arsene, but is saving £10M in the transfer market worth risking a Champions League place?
Arsene made an impassioned defence of his transfer activities over the last 15 years and to be fair his bad buys have been very few, but what is worrying the fans is the inactivity at the moment. We expected more than Gervinho and the noises coming out of Arsenal was that we were going to get some experienced players in this summer.
Arsene has said we have focused a lot of time negotiating the outs, but the transfer of Fabregas and Nasri were known to all of us in June, why did we not have the replacements lined up?
On the outbound trail, further stories today have Arshavin linked with a move away to either Juventus or Galatasaray. The Russian will be a free agent next summer, so here we have another player that the club failed to secure his future. Neither Arshavin nor Bendtner played in the first leg against Udinese and I doubt either will play on Wednesday.
Nasri is expected to finalise his deal within the next 24 hours, it appears that his agent is holding out for £3M from Manchester City for delivering Nasri to them, so there we have the reason why Nasri is leaving his agent wants £3 M.
Two other players who will probably leave by the end of the month, but there have been no takers are Almunia and Squillaci. Wenger says that Squillaci is injured, but this the type of injury that kept Cesc from taking part in our pre-season and the type of injury that plagued Almunia all of last season.
As an aide memoire, here are the players that have gone or likely to leave this season:
Alminua, Eboue, Clichy, Squillaci, Fabregas, Denilson, Arshavin, Nasri and Bendtner.
It’s now or never for Wenger. The squad is the weakest since Arsene’s reign started that there is no doubt. Suspensions and injuries are mounting and we have only played three games. Our squad for today included two players who are outward bound and contained 8 youngsters.
Whilst we could see the potential in both Frimpong and Miguel today, trophies are not won with potential, but as Wenger told us in May with experience.
Our attack was blunt today with the only Nasri showing any inventiveness. The defence was on the whole solid but Jenkinson looked exposed on several occasions.
Arsene has insisted that the players he has brought in Gervinho, Jenkinson, Ryo and Oxlade-Chamberlain are good quality players and by implication adequate replacements for Febregas, Nasri, Denilson, Vela, Eboue and Clichy. I think Wenger is either deluded or lying to the fans. Defence is the main area to strengthen, yet Arsene has refused to move for any of our “targets”, why? Is it that he thinks they are not good enough for Arsenal or does he think they are too expensive? We have had bids turned down for both Samba and Jagielka within the last 12 months, so they must be good enough, but Wenger appears to refuse to spend. Arsene needs to spend money and strengthen our defence there is no other option.
Midfield is devoid of players with invention. We were missing Gervinho and Wilshere, but that is no excuse. Wenger is culpable allowing this situation to develop. Everyone know that Cesc was leaving, Denilson wanted out and Nasri was not prepared to sign a new contract, so why were so indecisive in the transfer market? If we go back to Ricardo Alvarez, how did we let this one slip away over a reported £1.5M difference in valuation? At the end of July we were about to sign Mata for £13M, but failed to lodge the bid before his buyout clause expired and now Chelsea are favourites to sign him for £28M.
In attack we have let Carlos Vela go out on loan and Niklas Bendtner is due to leave, this leaves us with van Persie who only plays 50% of our games and Marouane Chamakh who looks like he’ll never score again.
Frankly our squad is too weak to compete this season, not to challenge for the title but too weak to even try and make a fourth place finish.
Why has this happened? The board needs to accept some of the responsibility. They have, since David Dein’s departure allowed Wenger to dictate and conduct transfer negotiations. This adds pressure on Wenger in terms of spending, he is fearful of spending say £17M on Cahill and then the player not producing the goods. The situation at Arsenal is calling for a Director of Football who is responsible for transfer and contract negotiations. Wenger hands this person a list of players in priority order and he then goes out and buys the player within the transfer budget.
Arsenal now have two vital games, away to Udinese and Manchester United. Defeat in these games will be disaster; we will have Europa League football at Arsenal and potentially out of the title race by the end of August.
Unless Arsene brings in a minimum of three players this week, Arsenal fans are going to have a very long and frustrating season.
Today saw swarms of fans leave the ground once Liverpool took the lead, there was dissent from fans calling for Arsene to spend the money and for the second game in a row there were hundreds of empty seats. The latter has prompted the club to stop announcing the attendance during the games.
At the end of last season we heard that this was going to be a busy transfer window, Arsene Wenger had stated that we lacked some experience, we were weak in defence and all Arsenal fans cheered. At last Le Boss was prepared to spend money to resolve our defensive weaknesses both at the back and in midfield.
All Arsenal fans expected some departures, none of us expected Fabregas to stay and Nasri was 50:50 as to whether he stayed or not.
As the summer entered into full swing, noises from Arsenal were encouraging, from Wenger, Gazidis and Hill-Wood. Wenger then threw cold water on our excitement by stating we were likely to move for players towards the end of July, this then moved to the beginning of August and now we are still waiting.
It was not a shock that Cesc joined Barcelona and it will not be a major surprise if Nasri also follows him out of the door. The major shock for Arsenal fans is that we have not bought a centre-half yet and that Wenger and the board have spent all summer negotiating the departures of players.
Wenger is under pressure from the fans to buy players as was demonstrated on Saturday and probably tonight. Wenger does not know who to buy or is reluctant to spend big money. This is naïve business by Wenger; it is not his job to make money for Arsenal. We should have bought Cahill and Mata before the season even started. Everyone knows this yet Arsene insists that Jenkinsson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyaichi and Campbell are suitable additions to the first team squad.
Arsene has dithered yet again in the transfer market, selling the club’s jewels in return for more under 20 year olds. This is not the sign of a club wanting to challenge for trophies, this is a sign of a club willing once more to allow the manager to indulge in his philosophy of “Youth will Win a Trophy”.
Arsenal fans deserve respect, the respect I am talking about is from our captain Cesc Fabregas. Everyone knows his club as a child was Barcelona, but he of his own free will left them when he was 16 years old to join Arsenal. He and his family made the decision that his career will flourish at Arsenal rather than at the Nou Camp.
Arsene Wenger took Cesc under his wing and nurtured him, built a team around, sold his captain, Vieira, to allow Cesc to develop.
Arsenal fans took to this player, enjoyed his football, creativity, vision, scoring and when it was revealed that it was Cesc that threw the pizza at Ferguson a legend was born.
Cesc was given the captain’s armband, even though he was not a real captain, but became the Arsenal talisman, everything went through Fabregas.
Then the courting with his boyhood club started. Barcelona wanted “their” player back, a player that they did not make a strong enough attempt to keep when he left, but now he had developed into a world class player, they had second thoughts. Fabregas, at first, remained silent on the matter, but soon his representatives were leaking stories of his desire to leave. The most embarrassing picture was Fabregas being made to wear a Barcelona shirt during the Spain World Cup celebrations. Cesc pushed the issue to its limited by asking Wenger to let him leave, but Arsene was not prepared to let his captain, talisman and prodigy leave.
Reluctantly Cesc stayed at the Emirates last summer for one more season. The season was a mixed one for Cesc, injured for large parts of it, the highlight being the 2-1 victory over Barcelona, but in the return leg, we saw Cecs sharing jokes, handshakes and hugs with Barca players before the game and it was his flippant flick that allowed Barcelona to break the deadlock just before half-time.
The season over, Barcelona proclaimed that Cesc was not a target for them this summer and they only had a budget of £30M to spend on players. Relax, Arsenal fans thought, but Barcelona started to leak stories in the press of Cesc wanting to join them, the usual suspect Pique and Xavi started to release stories of Cesc’s desire to join Barcelona and then the club made an offer £26M for our captain.
Cesc has remained silent in all this, except to make a stupid comment that if the club (Arsenal) are prepared to sell him, then he is no longer wanted. Cesc has since declared himself “injured” and has missed our pre-season games and will also miss our Emirates Cup tournament this week-end.
Barcelona meanwhile, refuse to increase their offer. Their logic is that why pay more for a player that was theirs 8 years ago.
Arsenal have rightly dug their heels in and want the full asking price or Cesc stays.
What Arsenal fans want to hear from Cesc is a statement of truth. Tell us that he loves Arsenal, but Barcelona are his boyhood team and his dream is to play for them, if the two clubs agree on a fee then he will leave Arsenal, but until that happens he is focused on playing for Arsenal and he looks forward to a successful season at Arsenal.
Instead we have our captain sulking, hiding behind a phoney injury and refusing to play for the club that is paying his wages. He is showing complete disrespect to his fellow team-mates, to Arsene Wenger, to Arsenal FC and to the fans. If Cesc does not leave this summer, he should be stripped of the captaincy and be made to apologise to the fans for his behaviour.