To this day, not one penny has been spent from the £70 million “war-chest” that Arsene Wenger had at his disposal for this summer’s transfer period. The whole summer Arsenal fans were frustrated, media skeptical, Wenger stubborn and rival fans maliciously happy. It is a hardly hidden fact that the central figure in the transfer business at the Emirates is always Wenger, and hence the one responsible. And his response has been the same throughout the summer, “We are in the market. We are here to buy.”
Admittedly, Arsenal have been busy in the transfer market looking for players. And they did manage to bring in Yaya Sanogo. The term ‘buy’ was deliberately not used here, because ‘buying’ involves ‘spending money’, and Sanogo was a free transfer. But yes, Arsenal have been pursuing signings. They chased Higuain, Gustavo, Fabregas, Rooney, Suarez and Benzema to name a few, but secured none. The stumbling block in all these negotiations has been the hardline on transfer fees Wenger stubbornly likes to take.
The whole summer Wenger tried to justify this by insisting his current pool of players is good enough. So the new season finally went underway with Yaya Sanogo being Arsenal’s only summer signing. They lost their opening game, but then scored 3 apiece in Turkey and then at Craven Cottage to cruise to victories, affording Wenger a smug ‘told you so’ smile. So has Wenger been right all along? Was his claim that the current squad is good enough, fair? Well that depends. What vision does Arsene Wenger see for the club? If he wants another season of fighting for the top 4, then he might just be right, although with Spurs doing some heavy spending this summer even that might be too much. If he wants to fight for the title itself, then the answer is a resounding NO. Yes the first 11 players in the squad are class, but you can’t expect 11 players to play the whole season, especially with Arsenal’s hectic schedule. And with Sagna having to play at centre-half after Koscielny and Vermaelen’s injuries, the symptoms are beginning to appear.
It has been 8 years since Arsenal fans had a taste of glory. From then on, the ones in-charge have apparently lost interest in winning silverware. The fans for their part, have also been satisfied by consecutive top 4 finishes. A club regularly chasing titles would never sell such star players as Robin Van Persie, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri to clubs in direct competition with them. Ask City if they would like to sell Aguero, and Sheikh Mansour will have a heart attack. Ask Barca if they would like to sell Messi, and they would have you taken away by the mental asylum. Does Wenger really think he can win titles with the quality and quantity of the current squad? If yes, then he has lost touch with reality and should be replaced. If no then the fact he failed to secure signings knowing that he needed them should be the final nail and he should, again, be replaced. In any case something needs to be done. Their fans deserve more, and Arsenal Football Club deserves more.