How Has Arsene Ended Up With All This Power?

I can’t imagine ever wanting Arsenal to lose in order to force a change at the club. I suppose the only circumstances I might hope for a loss would be if it were to prevent Spurs winning the league, or perhaps more likely, if we’re out of the running for top four come the last day of the season, and our opponents need to beat us to finish ahead of Spurs and keep them out of the top four, then so be it. Mind you, I think our last game is Norwich, so that isn’t very likely either.

I digress already. Probably because There’s not a lot to say about Arsenal right now that hasn’t already been said, and footballistically it’s all depressing anyway. There are so many questions you can ask about what has happened at Arsenal this summer, but the real problems are the relationships within the club.

If you’re one of those who insists on saying “We don’t know what really goes on within the club” then you may as well stop reading now. Of course we don’t know the fine detail, we don’t know who says what to whom on a daily basis, but we do know the big picture. We know enough. Information gets out. People talk to other people, and of course sometimes they have their own agenda and reasons for saying things and you have to take things with a pinch of salt, but you can piece things together.

And the big picture is this:

Arsenal have an owner who doesn’t care much for the club. He cares about the value of his investment, but that’s about it. He’d like some success on the pitch to share in, but it’s hardly his passion. He supports the manager unless things go so badly wrong that the value of his investment takes a tumble and doesn’t look likely to recover.

Arsenal have a chief executive who is less powerful than his employee, the manager. The CEO answers to the owner, but doesn’t have the owner’s power. Why is he less powerful than the manager? Because by the time he arrived the manager had worked himself into such a powerful position that he had a say in who got appointed as CEO.

How did the manager become so powerful? Two reasons: he was amazingly successful in his first nine years at Arsenal, and when he’d reached the peak of his success the club’s Board and ownership disintegrated around him. In-fighting and selfishness on the part of several, ahem, ‘custodians’ of the club left the Board in the position of having to invite one of the two billionaire shareholders to join them. I’m not saying they made the wrong choice, but I’m not saying they made the right choice either. But they made a choice, and went with Kroenke.

Having invited him in, the remaining Board member shareholders decided that as they were mostly getting on a bit and they’d seen others disappearing into the sunset sitting on uncomfortably large wads of cash, Kroenke was perhaps fit to own the whole club, so they spent £3m of the club’s money for advice to sell all their shares to Kroenke at a price of £11,750 a share. Two years later Kroenke has just bought two shares for £15,500 each, so if the advice was really worth £3m then Fred Goodwin still has a chance of a comeback as a consultant to the banking industry. Compared to the sheer underhanded ruthlessness of the Glazers’ takeover at our former rivals Man Utd, it pales into insignificance, but it wasn’t the best behaviour we could have wished for from the Board, that’s for sure.

So, due to a combination of factors the manager found himself in the most unusual position of having everyone at the club deferring to his every whim. He didn’t ask to be put in the position of losing his best mate on the Board, nor to be granted quite as much power as he was, but like Bendtner and his outrageous salary, you’re not going to say no, are you?

Arsene got the chance to do exactly as he wanted. You don’t like what I do? Sack me then. But you don’t want to, do you, because I’ve won things and made money. And I know about football and you don’t.

So we come to this summer. Now, as most people now accept, Arsenal have had reasonable sums of money to spend for at least four transfer windows – I’m talking tens of millions – and it hasn’t been spent. And that is down to the manager.

Arsene likes players to fit his system. He has a strategy far more than he has tactics, and he only wants players who can work with his strategy and who he believes are perfect for his system. He’s also not a big fan of confrontation with players, so he’d never grab a player by the throat (like Mancini with Balotelli) or speak out against a player (like Fergie with – well, just about anyone eventually). If players want to leave he tries to talk them round, and if that doesn’t work they go with his blessing. If he can find a ready made replacement, great, but if not he’ll make do.

When one big player wants to go and the unspent money leaves maybe £30m in the bank, it’s mildly annoying that nothing happens. When another goes and that money doesn’t get spent either, it’s a bit more annoying, even if the club continues to (just) make it into the Champions League each season. When a lot of new commercial deals come along and the build up of cash is getting embarrassingly large, then some people want to make it plain that the money is there waiting to be spent. Hence Ivan’s comments at the start of the summer. It was going to be ‘a big summer’ he said at the fans’ Q&A. He didn’t promise spending – not actually promise – for the simple reason that there is only one man who decides on spending on the team at Arsenal, and that’s the manager.

It’s not his fault he couldn’t promise, it’s just the situation he’s inherited, but that’s why I treated Ivan’s comments with a pinch of salt at the time, and haven’t been shouting about ‘big summers’ myself. Other people who shall remain nameless speak to people within Arsenal and got the same kind of message: the money is there and we all want to spend it. (So they shouted about it, somewhat rashly in my view.)

Okay, YOU all want to spend it, but how about the manager? Because unless you’re taking the decision out of his hands – and I think we all know how that’s going to end, and it won’t be well – I want to hear it from him.

But of course Arsene never promised to spend anything.

And here we are having lost the first game of the season and he still hasn’t spent anything.

Arsene has his own values for players and doesn’t like to exceed them – this is also a fact, however many people say ‘You don’t know that’. Yes I do. He’d rather walk away than pay what he thinks is over the odds. I think he’d rather spend more on giving all his players what he thinks is a fair wage than spend extra on transfers. He may have other reasons; I’m not going to speculate on that. Of course there is always a balance: how much is it worth to the team to spend an extra few million, and how does that affect what’s left to spend on wages? Given the injuries today I think the balance might move a little towards some higher transfer fees quite soon.

It’s sad for Arsenal, its fans and Arsene Wenger that it’s come to this. I just hope it’s not too late to save the season already.

There are people who seem to unconditionally support Arsene Wenger. The problem with totally unconditional support is that you end up looking a bit foolish when things change so much that the vast majority now hold an opposing view. Arsene is now in more danger than ever of tarnishing his reputation for ever. The next two weeks could be the most crucial for Arsenal in very many years.

Good luck, Arsenal.

Twitter: @AngryOfN5

ps – Some will see the title as a dig at Arsene. Truth is I didn’t have a title, and the bulk of the post actually explains the title. So suck on that.

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56 thoughts on “How Has Arsene Ended Up With All This Power?

  1. In my section, there were a few scattered chants of spend some f-ing money. I rose and shouted, HOW DARE YOU, WHEN THE OFFICIALS OF ENGLAND ARE SO CORRUPt. No one within 30 feet of me continued. Angry, if you are English you have to ask this question. 2 key English players were knocked out of the match for ONE YELLOW CARD. English officiating is corrupt to its core. Bitch at Wenger and you cover up the corruption inherent in your game.

    • You know this is not down to only one game. Wenger’s mismanagement has been going on for years. Things have reached the point where most fans can’t take it anymore. No more excuses. Change is necessary. Wenger is finished and has to go.

    • Finally someone gets it. JW – thank you for pinning the tail on the donkey. The masses are clueless. They get fleeced on all sides, including at the betting office.

  2. I am beginning to find the posts very reactionary, Good managers do not become bad managers overnight. I can understand the frustration at the perceived lack of transfer activity and the first game of the season ending in defeat will only add to this further.

    I prefer to wait for a while before behaving like a spud!

    I will give the manager time to get things right, before adding to the weight of opinion asking him if he would be kind enough to vacate his current post and tootle off to Monaco or one of the other many options that I am sure that he will have.

    I think that I can guarantee that when “Le Prof” decides to call it a day we will all be very sorry.

    I am also of the opinion that there is nobody around (including mourinho et al) who would even half fill the shoes of the current Arsenal manager.

    Be careful what you wish for- you may just get it!

    • Give Wenger time? He’s had all summer to strengthen the squad and up to now he’s done nothing..How much more time do you suggest Wenger should get? Where is the defensive midfielder? Where is the back up centre back due to Vemaelens injury? Getting a world class centre forward, never was a priority, getting solid DM and CB was and is.

    • “Good managers don’t become bad managers over night”. How right you are Peter , however it’s been years in the making. Where have you been? Loses ,like 8-2 at Old Trafford, suffering cup eliminations by Bradford City and Blakburn Rovers in the same month, aren’t easily explainable and you can’t just blame them on Russian and Arab oligarchs . I agree that letting Wenger go won’t be easy and will require a massive effort and revamping of the Arsenal boardroom structure. But to say Wenger is indispensable , is just as naive like saing he should go now. There are plenty of managers who could do the job given the right resources and circumstances. Klopp, Heynckess or Ottmar Hitzfeld ( who’s Swiss national side played Brazil off the pitch four days ago)just to name German speaking ones.

    • He hasn’t become a bad manager overnight at all.
      I don’t think you’ll find many people moaning about the way he has the team play, and the performances he drags out of increasingly limited squads.
      No, the gripe we have with him is his views and policies re transfers. He has always been conservative. In previous years this has been justifiable (stadium move, etc.). However what is angering a majority of people is his continuing reluctance to spend.
      This summer was our big summer. I am of the belief this summer could have been one of the most important (and potentially famous) summers in our history. In the future, will we look back at this summer and think that was the time to turn back into a GREAT club, a superclub if you will. I think this is a massive opportunity missed. I feel it was owed to the fans to go for it now,become title contenders again and leave this difficult period behind.
      I appreciate as much as anyone Arsene’s contribution in the past, but feel personally let down by him this summer. I am coming round to the idea that it is time for him to leave. Simply put, we desperately need strengthening, the money is there, AND WE STILL HAVEN’T SPENT A PENNY. That lies solely with the manager. It cannot be justified. It cannot. I think we will see some arrivals, but they’ll be along the lines of transfer deadline day ’11, reactionary signings to fill emergency gaps in the squad, most definitely not of title winning caliber.

      So, I believe Wenger’s time is truly up. Sure he has been a fantastic servant to us, but nobody, NOBODY, is bigger than the club. His manners are beginning to negatively affect us more often than they do good. His beliefs and policies have wasted this glorious summer of promise for us. I believe he is replaceable, he by no means is a tactical wizard, that can be found elsewhere. Also, a different manager more willing to spend would be beyond and improvement.

      As one of his previously staunchest defenders, it pains me to be thinking this, but it is game over for him, he’s tainting his record and must go for the sake of Arsenal Football Club, we must move forward.

    • “Good managers do not become bad managers overnight”

      “Overnight”??? Really???

      “Overnight?”

      Have you been paying attention these last 8 YEARS???

      “Overnight”! SMH!

    • OVERNIGHT, OVERNIGHT!?!
      Have you been in an 8 year coma?
      Why do you think Henri left? Dont tax yourself, he left because he was privy to Wengers thinking and even back then could see he would not win any more silverware.

      Muppet

      • You call him a ‘muppet’ yet you can’t spell ‘Henry’ who’s potentially the most well known footballer to play for Arsenal during Wenger’s reign.

    • Wenger has a couple of really unfortunate traits – he doesn’t react quickly to deal with issues, and he is so set in his ways/views they are now seriously dated.

      For a club of Arsenal’s stature to be in a position where a manager serially fails to improve our squad, and we are struggling to field 11 first team players at the start of a season, is unthinkable. And unacceptable. But who is there to act on this?

      It seems Kroenke is the only who can initiate any change. If we miss 4th place this season and a handful of our best players leave the club, you will start to see the club’s value seriously eroded on several fronts – season ticket sales, bums on seats, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and ultimately profit. And after all, that’s the only reason Kroenke has any interest in Arsenal FC.

      If you think it’s difficult for us to secure any talent now, wait another year or 2. The vacuum of junior talent that Wenger has created in the Academy (by filling the holes in the first squad) is bringing out youth players to their knees. It will be impossible for Arsenal to attract world class players at any level.

      • I agree with your points about SK. Surely, if he is looking at maximising the value of the club in order to sell, his sponsorship revenue, season ticket sales and general success of the club is inextricably linked to all of these. Surely he must see that in order to make money, he needs to spend money. I cant see how he would be happy watching all this go on and not try and do something about it?

    • How long does Wenger get to get it right? It is now 8 years without a trophy. Probably about 4 since we actually competed for the league?

      No other manager in football today would have been given the amount of time to turn it around like Wenger, so in my view, he has already been given that time and look where we are – not enough fit or un-suspended centrebacks to play in Istanbul. No defensive midfielders in our club, thus Villa were able to slice through our team with no issues and this was a team who battled relegation last year. The team is a shambles and all signings now will be completely reactive and probably half of those will not be good enough because your leader sat on his hands all summer and won’t pay over the odds for needed talent.

      And you say that no one in football today would fill in half of the footprint of Wenger?

      Get a grip!

    • Sorry – this has to be a wind up? Right/

      Good managers do not become bad manager overnight. Absolutely correct,. Unfortunately we have not had “overnight” decline at all – where exactly have you been the last 5 years – are you sitting with JW in his section watching something else.

      BTW – “be careful what you wish for” – please don’t change, I’m scared of change – has to be the worst possible motive to (not) do anything in any profession, let alone competitive sports.

  3. I remember Blackburn winning at Highbury a few years back 3-1 and Arsen rallied ,but not so sure he still can. I hope he can.

    • That wasn’t a few years back, that was 1997. Then we had a dressing room stuffed with winners. Now we don’t. Wenger has hollowed out the club over the years, he hasn’t moved with the times.

      The point about player valuations is right. We miss out on the players we need because the boss applies an arbitrary value to every player and won’t go above it. Sadly for the rest of us that value is stuck in 2005. We could have had Higuain for £30m. We could have had Gustavo for £14m, Williams for £10m and god knows who else if only we would pay the market price. French fantasist does not inhabit Football World 2013.

  4. I keep telling myself …..
    Life is hard enough as it is and far too short to be stressing about what’s going on at Arsenal.

    But it doesn’t work….. Im absolutely gutted with what’s happening at the club…. Or the lack of it…
    So why would wenger want to weaken the club before he goes?

    Because that’s how I’m starting to see it.

  5. One of your better posts! I have been very pro-Wenger and as a season ticket holder have witnessed first hand the many magical, sublime moments of football that his teams have produced. I have been generally supportive of his efforts to cope witht the financial constraints that moving from our beloved Highbury imposed, and it has been near-miraculous what he has achieved given the oligarch and sovereign wealth that has surged into the game to an extent that could not have been foreseen when the Ashburton Grove project was hatched.
    But Wenger hasn’t managed to move with the times. The player market is inflated no doubt, but look at the definition of “Fair Market Value” and it always refers to the price agreed between a willing buyer and a willing seller. As an economics graduate, Wenger has forgotten one of the most important doctrines, and is now so entrenched in his deluded views that he is blaming the press for the problems in tonight’s interviews.
    Sadly he needs to go now and let someone in who understands the new state of football.

  6. This is only the beginning of woes. Arsenal will be dumped out of CL by Fenerbc and Wenger will be served right. It’s heartbreaking for us fans, but so be it! Was so looking forward to this season, now I am already wishing that it is over. Wenger keeps talking about “top top quality” … But he wants them for peanuts and as the saying goes, ” you give peanuts, you get monkeys”!

  7. almost as if he pans to see out his last year of the contract, leaving a mega-coffer for the next manager to do as he shall see fit.

  8. I’m happy to lay the blame on Wenger, but the disunity and disinterest higher up will still be there whether or not he is at the club in 2014.

    Those are problems that will have to be fixed (how?) regardless of whether the manager stays
    or goes. A new coach would suffer from a lack of pressure/guidance too.

    That’s not to say Wenger In or Wenger Out, just that the real difficulties at the top of the club will not be reduced either way. The next coaches personal defects will not be tempered either.

    • The point that you are missing is that a proper balance of power within the club would bring pressure to perform. Arsene does know one thing, it’s that Gazidis and the board don’t have the power to sack him. By changing the internal power structure you will get improved accountability and therefore performance. The way it should be is: CEO answerable to the shareholders and the board; director of football who looks after footballing infrastructure (player contracts included) and manager responsible for results on the pitch, both answerable to the CEO.

      There is no disunity higher up in the club BTW – Stan is not divided. The division is between the board and Gazidis on one hand, who want the money spent, and Wenger whose fantasy valuations prevent any business being done.

    • That’s awful truth about our current state – it’s too late to get the right players in.

      When Wenger throws his arms up and says ‘Who can we Buy?’ it’s not to say the quality doesn’t exist. He should have had targets identified to improve the squad before last season’s end, and they should have been acquired weeks ago. Now most of the best prospects have moved, and clubs aren’t willing to sell good players so late in the window.

      The notion Wenger spouts about all the transfer business taking place at the end of the window is rubbish. Many teams have made major signings weeks ago. He is seriously deluded about the capability of the existing squad and its capacity to compete (and note that he never talks about the team actually winning any trophies, just challenging). Our keeping situation is incredible, but the fact that our squad also needs CB, DM and ST signings is so worrying. To have spent nothing at all is truly alarming.

      Unfortunately removing and replacing Wenger also needs to be accompanied by some structural reform at the club. I cant see all this happening – there is no effective catalyst for great change. The cries of the fans are ignored wholesale. I’m afraid what is more likely is several more years of gradual decline.

    • the really big problem about sacking wenger or not is nobody on the board know anything (or very little) about football .. so would you trust them about getting a new manager. i can tell you , for me its a big no-no

  9. Wenger has been instrumental in changing the landscape of English football. Before Wenger came, only Liverpool and Manchester United plays passing football. Look now at all the teams in the Premier league, they’ve began to realize that the “kick and rush” or the “the aerial bombardment” tactics in the old days are as obsolete as Sam Allardyce or Tony Pulis themselves. There are a new breed of managers who are not only adopting Wenger’s blueprint but advancing them in a their own mould that Wenger himself would have been proud of. Just look at AVB of Spurs, Laudrup of Swansea, or even Rogers of Liverpool. Yes, they are no where near Wenger in terms of success but what they do have are the “blueprint” to achieve the success in the futue.

    Now, this begs the important question. Does Wenger has the blueprint to achieve successes any more ? When Vieira left for Juventus, SAF was astounded Wenger didn’t replaced him with like for like type of player but instead relied on Fabregas. It was at this point of time that Wenger realized that his midfield was no longer as dominant as during the Vieira days, to such an extent he had to change the team formation from 4-2-4 to 4-3-3. Wenger will always be remembered for transforming Arsenal into what it is today but his basic flaw is to refuse acknowledging changes in the footballing world around him. Abramovich has been despised because of his wealth but put together ” a football fanatic ” and ” a billionaire ” and you’ll have the most potent football visionary that exceeds the genius of Wenger himself. The point is, Wenger cannot change the footballing world, but needs to adapt to it. Financial fairplay is just a restriction but not a hindrance for the rich.

    • the truth is dat asene wenger has lost focus and he doesn’t have anything to offers,we should all be praying that he leave so dat our belove club will move forward.if it sack ,wenger is unsackable.

    • From Wenger’s perspective FFP is not about reining in sheikhs and oligarchs, it’s about making his life even cushier. FFP makes it harder for the clubs behind us to spend their way into the top 4. FFP takes the pressure off Arsene even more. We’d get top 4 every year without even trying. He could play his kids and get top 4 because nobody below us would be allowed to spend enough to challenge.

    • Sorry, but the SAF comments are way off base.

      First Fabregas did not replace Vieira – Gilberto did. Gilberto was brought in to replace Vieira as defensive midfielder and Vieira was moved forward to a more attacking role. They played together and Gilberto + Vieira was the established midfield at Arsenal. It only later after that, when Vieira was getting injured more and more and constantly agitating for a move, that Vieira sold and Fabregas fielded in the attacking midfield. Either you dont know your facts or you are just out to lie.

      What is more interesting, Wenger was very close to winning the premiership with a midfield full of midgets. He replaced Gilberto eventually with Flamini – and almost won the title, with a midfield of: Flamini, Fabregas, Hleb, and Rosicky. So it’s not all that simple to predict. I absolutely agree, you have a better chance to win the Premiership with bigger athletes, especially with these horrible refs, who are most likely bent, as we saw yesterday, but its not an absolute thing.

      More interesting on SAF. The SAF you are talking about NEVER replaced Roy Keane with like for like, And he even had Paul Pogba on his hands and refused to play him! yes – Paul Pogba, that’s correct.

  10. our club wont achieve any thing , i guarntee that n the hope is always top4 thats it!!! no more trophy nor the new players( i mean top class players)!! the mentality is that players n manager think that they can win the title but the reality is nor we can defend nor the we can score goals as much as we want. To be great we need 2 make whole changes around the squad not just the makeshift.
    We are all the passengers in the sinking boat or the patient lying in a coma. So depressing 2 c manager saying all the positive shit while we lose the first game of the season n even if we sign any new players, our menatlity is we wont achieve anything n thats reality. But i support my club, i love them 2 win every match but nowadays even if they dont win i dont feel the same passion n emotion because we r not the same force anymore nor our players are up to the standard.
    We as a fans r dying slowly n the board knows it but they hav got no medicine for us. Theres no positive whatsoever!!! 😥

  11. This club is so disjointed, off and on the pitch. there is just so much uncertainty about everything. Headless chickens springs to mind. The philosophy of Arsene is all well and good, but achieving it just seems so difficult, painful and expensive, so much so that you have to question whether it’s worth it.The owners have to demand success from the manager and team. Loyalty shown to Arsene is commendable, but they need to realise it’s time to change. Not because he is a good or bad manager, but because a new direction is needed. I fear the worst because I believe the board isn’t ready to make those changes for many more years. By that time, the club may have plummeted to new lows. A new manager, has to be at least a year in the making, could this be the season? Unless of course, Arsene himself changes but there doesn’t even seem to be anybody to help him do that. This has transition written all over it unfortunately there just seems to be too many transitions going on at the same time, and it’s taking too long.

  12. I am sitting here wondering how big idiot fans we become.

    Arsenal Football Club is An American Franchise exactly like McDonald’s.Period.

    You can name any football manager that you want to replace Wenger the truth is who ever the new manager is has to oblige to put profit first for the Lord Stan Kronke.

    Wenger is no immune on this. He knows from day one where or which direction the club was heading.

    Onto the football matters Wenger has an immense believe that the likes of Ramsey -Theo-Jenkinson-even the unproven Willshere are world beaters. Fact is that they are mediocre to describe them at best.The unbeaten 11 games of last season hardened Wenger’s belief hence the no new buys.
    The whole summer they were busy to clear 17 players out of the club and still there is another BIG headache Mr.Bendtner to off load.This is are not coincidental action but I rather believe direct orders from Stan as he is not here to waste his money on unwanted dross.Stan sees that there are no more valuable player in the first team that can be sold for good value any more.

    Unless we accept the fact this so called Arsenal Football Club has become an American Franchise we will go nowhere.

    Stan out !

  13. The problem with your analysis is that you insist on inserting uttter nonsense alongside any decent thinking in there.

    – ALL owners are out for their own financial interest first and foremost. Anything they do at the club, including results on the field, are aimed at filling their own pockets. Evidenced by the fact that the previous owners of Arsenal gladly sold the club for cold cash, without a second thought about say for example, giving 10% to a trust controlled by loyal fans of the club. Why Billionaires do not get to be that by playing Robin Hood, not even for you.
    – The snide remarks about the share price are utterly pointless. That Kroenke bought shares at 15,000 is a function of the situation today, which no one, yourself included, would have predicted at the time. Nonetheless, the price the previous owners sold at was the best they could get, at the time, and they were all ready to cash out at THAT time. So what’s the point of 20/20 hindsight. It’s silly.
    – I would imagine that very few Arsenal fans are “blindly loyal” to Wenger. However many are not stupid enough to get caught up in the idiocy of making false equivalents. There are far too many dimwits who peddle the idea that if we are dissatisfied with results from Kroenke or Wenger, we should become pawns of Usmanov, who is just another greedy billionaire (see point 1). Anyone with ideas about change should have more to offer than that.
    – Should Arsenal reinforce the squad? Yes. Why isnt it happening? That’s something that obviously has more to it than we see. Wenger is nearing retirement age and it is unthinkable that he would refuse to spend money to win, especially going into the last year of his contract here. Arsenal has for years been bleating that Wenger was allowed to spend money when in fact he wasnt. I suspect there is some money budget to spend this summer, but a less than people think.
    – The real issue for me however, is that looking at the major transfer targets that Arsenal has been serious about over the past 9-18 months (Goetze, Jovetic, Higuain, Suarez) Wenger is hell bent on buying an expensive striker. And he doesnt need one. If he has 40 million to spend, all he really needs to have done this summer is buy a Diaby/Viera type of midfielder, a central defender on Koscielny’s level and a goalkeeper good enough to either replace Szczesny or force him play more consistently. That’s it. Arsenal is very close and only needs defensive reinforcement in order for the attack to have a fair chance to flourish. Passing game is all fine and well and good, but not when you give up goals so easily at the wrong time. For me, this is the real issue here. All the rest is parlour gossip.

    • There is much to disagree with in this contribution. The biggest point is that you accuse others of supposition when you yourself make statements that aren’t supportable based on what we do know. Wenger is not hell-bent on buying an expensive striker. We missed out on Higuain because Wenger wasn’t prepared to pay a 2013 price for him. That is all in the public domain. He won’t pay the going rate so we don’t make any purchases. There is nothing more complicated to our situation than the fact that Wenger is out of touch and unsackable. Solution: let his contract expire.

      As fans of Arsenal Football Club (note: not Arsene Wenger) the most important thing to do this season is to make it impossible for Kroenke to extend Wenger’s contract. If he’s still with us next season we really are in trouble.

      • The 23 millon that Arsenal was willing to spend on Higuain could have paid for a central defender and midfielder. Which the team needs more than another striker. And has done for two seasons now.

        So I dont know why the obsession with expensive strikers. If the team is actually using the “moneyball” strateg, then there are more mundane needs in the squad that would produce far better bang for the buck – on the field at least.

        This leads me to conclude that the pursuit of an expensive striker is purely for commercial purposes. Which is insane, because this team does not need much more to get over the hump.

        Like I said, there is clearly more going on here than the club is letting on and than the clueless sports “journalists” are willing to dig into. But we wont find out until a long time from now when the likes of Dein Wenger and Bould are writing their memoirs.

      • Ziontrain, I can’t reply to your reply for some reason.

        I agree that we need to strengthen across the board and that £23m could have bought us, say, Gustavo and Williams in the positions you mention at prices the selling clubs would have accepted. But Wenger refused to meet those valuations.

        The problem is Wenger refusing to pay 2013 prices, not the pursuit of an expensive striker.

      • I think it’s related – they are hanging on the the idea of signing a marquee striker and so keep skimping on the prices of the defenders and midfielders. Capoue for instance – Arsenal made a bid for him last january. Now we STILL need a midfielder and the guy is sold to Spurs for 8-10 million. I’d have paid that and moved on. These kind of signings at the back will make us harder to score on and open up the attack – t a star striker is not needed. The league table last year showed that we scored roughly as many as Man City and Chelsea, who have spent half a billion pounds on strikers.

        So what’s the point – all this star striker obsession is about commerical attractiveness, not what we need on the field. And I cant see how it would be Wenger dictating that policy. We have no evidence either way, but it’s hard to see how it isnt the business people who would prefer a marquee striker to shoring up the defense.

    • “Anything they do at the club, including results on the field, are aimed at filling their own pockets.”

      Obviously false. The profits of football are captured by the players, not the owners. Motivations behind buying football clubs vary, and Kroenke is certainly enigmatic, but the only owners who’ve come into football purely to make money are idiots.

      “Wenger is nearing retirement age and it is unthinkable that he would refuse to spend money to win”.

      Not really, considering it’s happening.

      • People have been buying into the Premiership to make capitlal gains. That is the main aim at Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Villa, Fulham etc. People are buying into what the view as a growing income strea. The footballers’ share of profits will be cut down eventually as these new owners slowly buy up most of the large European clubs.

        PSG is not an ego trip – Paris is the largest capital city in Europe that has not had a top level club. And the people who own PSG are also using it to grow the value rights to lique 1, which they own. Abramiovic at first needed a western profile but of late has turned to looking for ways to monetise Chelsea – its not a concidence he has bene trying to do the grround share with Fulham and then the failed Battersea project. Man City is the one exception where they are not purely about money – if they break or lose some they dont mind as long as they win for the ego trip. They are the excetpion.

        Its only a a few football fan with no clue with think that british football teams are exchanging hands purely for ego.

        Kroenke is here to make money – and by the way so were Dein, Fisman and all the rest of previous Arsenal owners who sold out to Kroenke and Usmanov. They were here to make money and the did.

  14. I agree with a lot of this but we’ve seen this ‘the next month will be the most important of Arsene’s career’ a few times over the past few years and every time he has weathered the storm. People are flipping out and rightly so – but really over a potential drop out of the CL and a lack of cashing in on promises to progress. We’ve proven conclusively this summer that the crucial 4th spot that we all desperately hoped for at the back end of last season isn’t actually important to us, we don’t us that to attract big players – never have and it looks like we never will under Wenger, so it won’t actually change much for us if we finish 5th, it seems more significant than it is.

    Obviously I’m not happy with that but until Wenger leaves this is how it is – over the course of a season we’ll do OK, we might even make 4th again this year and with the squad available that will once again be a relatively decent result but Arsene’s ideology will prevent us from becoming contenders again – partially because other teams keep strengthening at a faster rate than us and partially because players will continually lose faith in Wenger’s methods – next summer I expect Koscielny and perhaps Cazorla to leave as they’re entering the back end of their careers and will want the opportunity to win trophies and will undoubtedly receive better offers.

    The real issue is the structure above Arsene – when he first came to the club he wasn’t entering the secure atmosphere he now enjoys, he earned his money by making us win things, as that atmosphere has changed due to a long list of events, many listed above – to one of complete security, he began to operate under different goals and parameters. I still think he could be a good manager working under those original circumstances again but his managerial weaknesses hurt us all the more because of the specific set up at Arsenal.

  15. It just comes down to one thing – Wenger refuses to pay market prices! He has his own valuations of players and that’s his limit. Remember Xavi Alonso a couple of seasons ago – couple of million over Wenger’s reckoning so we didn’t sign him…….same old, same old

  16. Great article!
    Wenger just has to go with the board, to think tthere’s been a reasonable amount available for quality transfers since the past 2 windows and Wenger still choosed to make do is appalling. It goes a long way to show he probably had no plan to spend summer.
    The fact they had to lie to us for tickets and shit explains what mugs they are. I love Arsene but I just can’t defend him anymore, I always wanted him to leave on a high but I can’t see that anymore.

  17. Like all Arsenal fans I too am frustrated with Wenger’s transfer policy. “Why doesn’t he just spend the money?”, “WHY DIDN’T HE BUY HIGUAIN AND GUSTAVO?” these are the kinds of questions that I keep asking. It’s pretty clear that if Wenger had signed a few players before today’s game we would have done better. However, I’ve been thinking and there has to be a reason why we are not signing anybody. We have the money and thats for sure, and the transfer window is still open. I don’t know if to support Wenger or not. Let’s not forget that he is one of the best managers in the world and he goes to his office every day to sort out all this mess. He obviously knows more than us. He has professional scouts and advisors and accountants who know what they’re doing.Yet he let Higuain go like all our other transfer targets. Wenger has pressure from the fans and if he is still not doing anything then there has to be a plan. Maybe there is a very sophisticated plan that Wenger thought up and it could win us the league. But being realistic, all the squad needed was a few good players to avoid disasters like yesterday against Villa. We’re travelling to Turkey with 3 fit defenders and f we lose, all out efforts to get the 4th place spot would be for nothing. I just don’t understand what is happening. I have always believed in Wenger, and a part of me still does, but I can not see my club being humiliated and things being managed so carelessly anymore.

  18. I wept all throughout the night. Not because we lost but the manner in which the tyrant in wenger resurfaced. Wenger in his usual xteristics will not spend to improve the team. My question to Mr know all but knows nothing is, if he knows that biz done under pressure is not good for the team?

  19. I guess Wenger wants to wait til closer to the deadline as it strengthens the buyers position, players realise this is their chance to leave and they have to make a decision. Earlier in the window, there’s more time and it’s more fluid. The one thing I am really frustrated about is not having an understudy for Arteta. Even last season it was evident that the team was very reliant in the tactical and positional discipline Arteta brings. His partnership with Ramsey was exceptional. But he’s all we have in midfield with those qualities. Indeed Arteta played on the last day last season despite being injured due to his importance. I sincerely belief we would’ve won the game yesterday if Arteta were available. Our biggest problem was a somewhat structure less midfield with two players who like to hunt the ball. In the double pivot it’s important to have an anchor, not an outright DM but someone who is disciplined.
    Everything else can wait til deadline day but this deficiency should’ve been addressed because it’s a longer term issue

  20. Pingback: What now? (This may get a bit ranty) | Talking out their Arsenal

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