I am normally one of the most upbeat, optimistic Arsenal fans around but my observance of the tale of ‘Two Merseyside’s, Two Years’ has changed that a little. This (my) blog post was helped along by this fantastic read and I’ll add my own little thoughts on the matter here.
Last transfer window, I was one of the fans who G4L described as “putting it down to one of those things”. My reasons were twofold: Firstly, I honestly believe Wenger thought he could persuade Nasri to stay and even possibly Cesc. He couldn’t. That both sagas went on so long, forced the trolley dash through the aisles of the market. Some buys were fantastic, some cuddly, some really great, others….. well. You can’t say anything as no chance was given due to their perceived lack of quality. So while it was frantic, I thought the players bought were good. I compared Arsenal to Liverpool last season. People said that Liverpool went about their business swiftly, professionally and they were using the ‘moneyball’ factor – buy good young talent who will hold their market value. Except Henderson, Downing, Carroll, Adam were all crap. As you can now see with Brendan Rogers actively getting rid of them. Liverpool vastly overpaid for every single bit of mediocrity in their boots.
This summer however, like so many Arsenal bloggers I read, I thought things were going to be different. I had resigned myself to Van Persie leaving a long time ago. The way he announced his decision has long been discussed so no need to detail what a horrible way to do it, but by that stage we had Giroud and Podolski in the bag. When we got Cazorla, Sahin was literally 5 minutes from signing too! I mean he was at the training ground in his full kit! There to sign on the dotted lines! He was just waiting to find a pen! There’s never one around when you need one. SOMEONE FIND HIM A PEN……
he’s what now? That’s not him?
Who is this guy?
And he ended up at Liverpool.
Across the trash scattered field that is Liverpool, Everton have done what I always argued Arsenal tried to do. Yes we have to sell players, but the money would be mostly reinvested in the team. For those are the words we always hear the people ITK speaking. But this year, Everton sold Rodwell for £12 million and all that money has been reinvested in the team. One player sold, four or five brought in. Wenger made a comment earlier in August that Podolski and Giroud were bought in the knowledge that Van Persie may leave. This isn’t good enough anymore. Why was Wenger never afraid to spend the money on players at Highbury where we were in debt and the stadium couldn’t pay for the success we tasted. That was where players were sold and the money was reinvested in the team. Take the Nicholas Anelka fee: a training ground was built for example. Our money now sits in the bank. I think our transfer philosophy is easier to debate when a Liverpool comes along and spends a ridiculous amount of money on crap. But when Everton come along and show you just how well money can be reinvested to make the squad stronger, it hurts. Don’t get me wrong – I feel we have a very strong first 11 and our defense thus far has been vastly improved due to (the probably/possible) influence of Mr. Bould. But our squad is thin in quality. And that is why I for the first time in a long time, see the glass as half empty, rather than full of mystical cloudy liquid. I want Arsenal to win the league more than anything. I believe it can be done. I look at France and Montpellier; Germany and Dortmund. Smaller teams punching massively above their weight and winning. Winning against the budgets of PSG and Bayern Munich.
But we need a squad. Not just a first 11. If we keep doing what we seemingly do, then the only thing that will change with this fantastic image is the face of the exasperated manager and the name. Oh and follow this hilarious man
On a slight side note, I rarely concur with Tim Payton on twitter (he’s a little bit too pessimistic for me – no offence meant if he should read this!) but the few times (for me) he raises a valid point, it strikes home:
Why aren't we using our money better? If we’re sitting on vast reserves of cash and seemingly don’t want to spend it on transfers – why can’t we make tickets cheaper for fans? In these times of financial squeeze for the ordinary fan, why not use the cash reserves to take even 10% off the cost of tickets? Just a thought. That's all for now!