There are many things I want to get across in the blog but I want to start by saying that this is in no way whatsoever an anti-Wenger or Wenger out post so if that is what you were hoping for then I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed but I hope you’ll stick around for the rest of the post.
The title of the post isn’t deliberately misleading in order to gain more hits, I truly believe that Wenger should not be involved in the financial aspect of transfer negotiations. I believe that finance should be left to the club to deal with. We employ football managers not general managers.
Wenger is infamously frugal and there are reports that we may have missed out on M’Vila because of penny-pinching. Whilst I rate M’Vila as a good prospect I wouldn’t be devastated if we missed out on him although I would be annoyed if we lost him to another premier league club.
We have also reportedly missed out on many players over the years in negotiation stages because we didn’t meet the asking price, Mata, Cahill and Jones being examples. When we went back in for Jones, United had declared their interest and that was us finished.
Had Wenger or even Arsenal as a club not have been so concerned with saving a few pennies we may not have lost Nasri just as he was starting to become influential, we may never have lost Cole over £5k a week and Van Persie might only be midway through a more lucrative contract than at the end of a relatively poor one for someone of his ability.
I’m sure Arsenal could benefit in transfer and contract negotiations if Wenger concentrates purely on the football side of negotiations and the club decides what we can afford to pay for a player Wenger wants. If we have a budget to bring in 3 players and target 9 players then the club should focus on buying within the budget rather than allowing us to miss out only to realise once the transfer market has closed and our other transfers have been concluded that we had enough in the coffers to pay the asking price in the first place.
It is also the penny-pinching that has for so long stopped Wenger from buying experienced premier league players. We saw this season the impact of players like Arteta and Benayoun to an extent can have on the team with their years of premier league experience and keeping him out of transfer negotiations might help us recruit more of these types of player.
I don’t think we are going to spend the sort of money that some people want us to spend and if we did manage to get M’Vila for £17m I don’t see us spending loads more. Last summer was a one-off, we needed to bring in 6 or 7 players to compensate for the loss of 2 and I don’t see that happening again.
If you look at the only other successful non-benefactor club in the premier league, Manchester United, you see that whereas we tend to buy mostly from abroad and purchase nationally every now and again United compliment their overseas purchases with experienced premier league performers.
Players like Valencia, Ferdinand, Carrick, Rooney, Berbatov, Van Der Sar, Jones, Young, Smalling, Tevez, Smith and Saha have all been purchased from other premier league clubs and were instantly and consistently effective as they needed to adaptation to the league and I could like many more.
Players like Nasri, Arshavin, Chamakh, Koscielny, Hleb, Eduardo and Adebayor all needed to adjust to the league just as Santos, Gervinho and Mertesacker have had to do this season and Koscielny has attributed his improvement mostly down to knowing the league better.
Arsenal are currently being linked with M’Vila, Kagawa, Vertonghen, Giroud, Lewandowski, Radu, Capoue as well as experienced premier league players such as Dempsey, Kalou, Hoilett and N’Zonzi.
I personally think we should forget about the M’Vila’s, Giroud’s and Kagawa’s (even though I rate them all and would like to see them at Arsenal) for the immediate future and should be focusing on experienced premier league players.
We have lots of young players with excellent futures ahead of them but I think we have been foolish in recent years by investing far too heavily in youth and overseas talent. Talent that needs time to adjust that we cannot afford to give to too many players if we want to challenge.
As I said, I don’t think we are going to spend lots of money, in fact I think the money we will spend is mostly going to be on redressing the balance in the wage structure. There are plenty of players available on free transfers this summer that could do a job (not wildly improve the team but decent options in the squad) for Arsenal including Owen, Kalou, Drogba, Gordon, Hargreaves, Hoilett and Bosingwa as my guest blogger on Monday suggested.
Apart from Gordon I am not going to suggest any of those players as it seems suggesting any sort of experienced player who is available on a free transfer is like a personal insult to some fans.
I’ve thought about this a lot and I’m basing my thoughts on how the season panned out, the performances of our players and their experience of the league, the players we’ve been linked with, experience of many Wenger transfer windows and potential departures.
I’m going to base this on Van Persie staying put (M’Vila signing or not doesn’t affect these ideas). What I’m looking for is experienced, gutsy, hard-work, technically sound and versatile players.
Gordon is one. He will put pressure on Szczesny and is a very good keeper. A free transfer too!
The next one is Clint Dempsey. Sure we could have Kagawa and yes he would be preferable for the long-term but we’ve thought in the long-term for a while now and it’s not getting us anywhere. Is is a coincidence that we bought experienced players and a few proven EPL performers and finished with more points and higher than the season before after our worst start in living memory for most fans with a team that was supposedly our worst in 16 years and significantly worse than the season before? I don’t think it is. I think our experienced players brought a solidity and calmness to the team and took us over the line in a number of games where we probably would have collapse in with the previous years team.
Dempsey is an experienced premier league player, versatile, hard-working, tough and gutsy. He is also a very talented footballer and scored many goals for Fulham last season. He is a player who would fit in well at Arsenal and would give us something different.
The last player might be a bit of a shock for most of you but I’d really like to see us make a move for Kevin Doyle.
Doyle could be the player we signed Chamakh to be and more. Doyle is another hard-working, gutsy player and he holds the ball up well and is comfortable and suited to a number of formations. Able to play upfront on his own, in a partnership, right or left in a three or wide right in a five. He is strong, good in the air, stretches defences, brings other players in and is good in defence. I don’t think he is going to be a starter but he could take the role Chamakh occupies at the moment and actually be able to influence a game from the bench. He’s not prolific but he is so much more than just goals and personal glory.
They’re not the signings we are going to get nor the signings some want us to make but they are signings who would fit our budget, be instantly influential, add experience, guts and steel to the team and are old enough to not hold back any of our promising youngsters.
They’re not marquee signings or big names but I don’t care about that. I want a team that can compete in a manner of games and therefore across the season not a team full of players that might be half-decent in a few years time.
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