A Pre-Season Warning For Arsenal
The weekend is over, yesterday by all accounts marred by booing which is, well, bizarre. A pre-season tournament, the club’s highest goalscorer returning, sunny weather and on Saturday at least, a good atmosphere for youngsters to enjoy. Instead the abiding memory is going to be one of dissention.
There is a time and a place for discontent to surface but I question the manner and timing . Is The Emirates Trophy really the place? Is booing the manner?
Arsène did not help matters post-match though,
They have to put that into perspective. People always want to win and that I understand but I don’t think we need to put any extra pressure on ourselves. The most important thing now is to prepare and take the pressure when the results really matter. I don’t think you can compare playing friendly games with playing in the championship.
Ignore the sniping about winning your own tournament in The Sun, lifting this particular trophy has been no guarantee of success previously. There is a legacy from last season, that is for certain, and to an extent Wenger and Gazidis shoulder that blame. Early in the summer, quick and decisive action was promised on the transfer front, it did not come to pass and in that there is no particular issue as deals can break down as we have seen.
A simplistic view is that a quick PR win would have arisen with a key signing happening before the weekend, unveiled on Saturday or Sunday. It seems Arsenal are incapable of that, negotiations interminable for players coming in or leaving. I hope for Arsenal’s sake that there are new faces to arrive, to freshen the place up and to drive the players forward. Jack Wilshere is of a similar mind,
We are not a spending club but we still managed to stay up there with the top teams. And we have to win things this year. Maybe if we had a few more faces we could really push on. If we get a few more players we can really challenge for the title.
Around March and April we have to stay really strong. We are confident we can be up and around it then so we have to remain strong at that crucial time.
Arsenal do not help themselves. As much as he is a self-publicist, Redknapp constantly makes noise about signing quality players. None happen but the point is that there is a sense of activity – I am sure though it is equally frustrating when none arrive. Arsenal allow the media to set the agenda which is never a good starting point and requires a change of mentality. There are signs that this is happening gradually with more chatter from the manager and board but right now, they need action.
If a key player in the squad believes it needs to be strengthened, surely the manager must be acting to do so? What mental effect arises if nothing changes and the deadline passes? Do the players bond, pull together and drive themselves onwards? Last season suggests otherwise.
The real problems come from two key players wanting to leave, neither doing so (yet) but neither committing to the club in totality. Each story is irritating, nothing more. Collectively, the paint a picture of a club that has no leadership, no drive forwards since key personnel do not want to be there. Arsenal are not to blame for Barcelona dragging their feet but I believe they are resigned to Cesc leaving otherwise they would have been more decisive in setting deadlines. Wenger and Hill-Wood contradicting each other indicates a lack of cohesive policy in this respect.
Nasri will stay for another season (at least, if you are optimistic) but to be honest, if he is not going to show the necessary drive and commitment, he can leave now for a fee rather than dawdle for a season and leave on a free. As for Cesc, according to the Spanish media, the real deadline for signing Cesc is this weekend but it will pass with nothing having happened, dragging on for another week.
Friday is the closing date for registering players for the Champions League qualifiers, Cesc will no doubt be included in the Arsenal squad should he still be at the club. We need to be clear, this is not for the Champions League itself, simply the two-legged tie this month. Even then, this deadline is somewhat spurious since he will not be necessarily cup-tied for the tournament having played for Arsenal. The rulings have changed, presumably to cover new signings at the highest level of the game, and unless Arsenal are drawn in the same group as Barcelona, Fábregas is free to play for both clubs in this season’s competition.
The manipulation of the fee has already begun, this week will be the final offer coming from Barcelona apparently. It is presented by Mundo Deportivo as €40m when in fact it is no more than €35m. Their rationale is €29m is fixed, €6m is variable and Cesc is forgoing €5m which makes the fee €40m. With adding up like that, little wonder that banks and governments are always in trouble. It is simply too bizarre for words.
The view in Spain is quite simple; if Cesc refuses to play, he will force the issue. Well, his absence this weekend has brought some backlash with his critics using it as a stick to beat him with. The only issue I see is his continuance as captain. If he remains at Arsenal, remains captain, the sop is there for all to see.
Personally, I would find it hard to believe that he will be able to inspire or lead the team, it would be better for all if he passed the baton willingly – and somewhat – voluntarily, a course of action that offers him the chance to save face. The media will make of it what they will in any case.
Right now there is a feeling that the club is lacking direction. This needs to be addressed decisively and quickly. The season is less than a fortnight away and we need to be ready for it, opening in a positive frame of mind. The warning signs are there that it will be a long season if a bad start is made.
Posted on August 1, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 406 Comments.