Arsène’s The Right Man To Spend
Strange times around Arsenal at the moment. With the exit from the Champions League, there is nothing on the pitch to look forward to until Sunday’s visit to the seaside. It means plenty of navel gazing, lots of bickering and diminishing levels of rational debate. Normal stuff for this time of season.
Arsène has, according to the media, blamed the fixtures – he didn’t – and a lack of focus – he did – for the current malaise. It is a strange complaint to be making. The team is second in the Premier League and the most obvious attribute of getting and staying there, must surely be mental application.
Certainly some of them are distracted, Cesc for one must have been wandering mentally judging by the state of his Merc following his crash. Thankfully no-one was hurt and he is able to continue his recuperation from injury.
That might seem a strange statement but given Arsène’s comments about the player’s concerns of recurrence of his injury, physically he might be fine, mentally he is not. Still, Nike will no doubt count the photos of yesterday as a promotional opportunity with their logo splashed all over the media.
Back to point. Martin Keown observed that whilst the title is United’s to lose, the ‘competitor’ in him believes Arsenal can still finish top. It is this belief that the players need to tap into. That alone is not enough. The ruthlessness in front of goal so evident before the onset of Winter needs to rediscovered with the buds of Spring.
If it is not, Keown noted that Wenger’s patience with some players will run out. He did not name names, only positionally. Goalkeeper, check. Midfield, check. Forward, no. Surely a defender? Oh, come on Martin, get with it. Apparently a fully fit Thomas Vermaelen is like a new signing whilst Laurent Koscielny is one for the future. That’s without mentioning Johan Djourou.
In short, according to Keown, a respected ex-member of the playing staff, the curent squad is not far off the real deal. The solution is,
some more experience dotted around the place – players who don’t necessarily get guaranteed a starting role but who can bring competition for places
In other words, the drastic surgery demanded is not necessary. This from a man reportedly sacked for being too vocal in his criticism of the 2006 squad. He has loyalty to Wenger and that shows through when he noted that Wenger is an astute man when it comes to spending.
It might not be the answer though,
If he wants to spend the cash then he’ll be able to do so but whether that’s the answer to the problem remains to be seen
In other words, throwing money at a problem is not the solution in itself. It is how you spend that provides the answers. Arsenal do not need to spend in the same league as City, United and Chelsea. Wenger has an entirely different philosophy to Ferguson who believes in one or two big money signings and some tinkering. It is worth remembering though that he had to sell his best player to fund the current spending spree.
Wenger will no doubt be deciding – if he has not already – on which players cannot take the club any further. Emmanuel Eboue is apparently off to Spurs, Nicklas Bendtner to Hamburg according to the latest rumours, if the manager needs any help in his decision-making.
The Summer will reveal all in that sense. The manager has been ruthless in the past. How ruthless he is now will be influenced by the coming eight games.