Buy buy Arsene, or is it Bye bye, Arsene?

So CL qualification has been seen off in quite short order and after a first day loss Arsenal have now won three games in a row fairly comfortably. Twitter informs me that Arsene has overseen 12 CL qualification matches, scoring 29 goals and conceding three. I think it’s fair to say Arsenal (as third or fourth best team in England) are easily better than third or fourth placed teams from other leagues. That’s nice, and helpful for the bank balance, though not necessarily for winning the damn thing.

Several years ago Arsene was famously reported as saying that if he was given £100m to spend on players, he’d give it back. How we laughed. When we were winning trophies we had a right old chuckle about that. Well now we really have £100m that could be spent with no danger to the club’s finances or well-being, and at the moment it looks as though AW is stuck in the same mindset.

He doesn’t want to spend it. I am past caring about the exact reason. Is it more to do with his perceived value of players or is he somehow scared of spending big on a single individual, or some other mental block? Or is it just a determination to prove everyone wrong and build a winning team from parts everyone else had overlooked? Maybe it’s all of them.

The problem is we have now gone from a massive squad of largely average players who were
Premier League ready, to a very small squad of players who are PL ready. The talent level may be on average a little higher, but the numbers are well down. We simply don’t have enough players to mount a proper title challenge right now. We have reached the stage where we just have to sign players, and whether they are better than the ones we’ve got is less important than just getting them in. As long as they are in the ballpark talent-wise – the Cabayes of this world – then the squad will have more depth, even if a signing is not going to immediately push someone else to the bench.

I have never had much of an interest in whether any one player will stifle the development of another. I support Arsenal, not individuals. Obviously you have to look at the effect on players of any action (and the longer term effect for the club), but if they are good enough they will make it and if they’re not they won’t. Those are the hard facts in any job, and the overpaid world of football is no different.

Three months ago I was very much in the camp of “£20m for Benteke? Too much at this stage” and “Why would we need Cabaye? He’s not improving us much.” I wanted marquee signings, as most fans did. I wanted a Higuain or Cesc or Mata. But things have changed. Now I’m thinking, “We need players. I don’t care who, as long as they can play Premier League football.”

I don’t care if Arsenal have to overpay a little. I don’t care if they’re not superstars. I just want to see a squad that can compete, not just a first eleven. Injuries and suspensions will take their toll, that’s the way football is. To not prepare for that is ridiculous, and a disservice to supporters. The whole summer has been a shambles for Arsenal supporters and there are only a few days to sort that out. Get it right and we could conceivably have a very good season with a core squad that’s settled and has some very good (if not all great) players. Get it wrong and the season may be a long struggle for form, hampered by absences to key men at the wrong times.

Get it wrong and Arsene will depart in 12 months under a cloud. It doesn’t have to be that way Arsene, I hope you can see that.

twitter: @AngryOfN5

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29 thoughts on “Buy buy Arsene, or is it Bye bye, Arsene?

  1. I can see that you may depart from this club and take your garbage comments with you, Mr AngryOfN5.You are not a manager and Arsene does not operate as you want.

    • I suppose you only talk about your job then? You talk about nothing else? You need an education in the beauty of free speech and an education in critical thinking. This blog is one of the best researched and one of the least sensationalist blogs out their which relies on facts and not rumours. You comment as if you have only ever spoken about subjects in which you are a world leading expert. In that case you must be very very quiet. Only dead fish swim with the flow of the river.

  2. More scaremongering
    You are an incompetent idiot if you think we are not going to sign players go down to ladbrooks it’s 100-1. For arsenal not to sign any player

  3. Nice post.
    Seems to me like it is Arsene trying to prove everyone that a good team can be made from slightly above average players if they apply their tactics properly. He also thinks that the players in the market are hugely over valued. Therefore the reluctance to get deals done. Somehow I can sense the end of the Wenger era. Only time will tell…

  4. Am I the only supporter who thinks that Wenger is ill? He has, to me, a mental health problem. He can look at Di Maria, Juan Mata, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, but he CANNOT buy them. He has, I believe, some kind of OCD over money. He faces massive inner torment when the big money has to be spent and CANNOT buy at that level and price. Wenger is a ‘car boot sale man’ not a Southeby’s man. He cannot buy big. However good he is at bringing players through and however good he is as a coach, by definition it is very unlikely he could win trophies again unless he gets his issue sorted out. Because of his issue he does not find the supporters people are to please and give joy, he sees us as a cross to bear. Ex players, players, Pundits too. I really hope I am wrong but I suspect our signings will be Flamini, Cabaye and a goalkeeper. The problem is another season will pass us by followed by the usual excuses. When will the supporters stop accepting this. The cards it seems have always been marked and all our hopes and wishes were blunted from the off.

    • “…Wenger is a ‘car boot sale man’ not a Southeby’s man. He cannot buy big….”
      – You think 10 million for Francis jeffers was play money at the time? Think again.
      – Forget about the team he came from: 100,000 per week for Sol Campbell was a hell of a lot of money for a defender – seismic change, because those were seismic numbers
      – Theirry Henry off the Juventus scrapheap for 12 million back then was actually as big or a bigger an investment than 30 million for Higuan off the Real Madrid bench
      – I dont think that 16 million for Arshavin, or 12 million and rising for Reyes were “boot sale” numbers, do you?
      – Ox and Walcott were basically 10-12 million buys from a Championship team
      – Even Pennant was a british record fee for a player of his age. Did you know?

      Some of you work VERY hard to colour the world you see into your own particular shade of black. Which is fine, as long as you dont run around trying to convince people that the blue sky is black.

      • Ziontrain
        Many of us are actually looking at reality. Reality is the squad is compromised. If Wenger DOES buy genuinely marquee players…who can make a difference, I will be very happy. It seems you are ‘reality challenged’. You seem to think Wenger bought big. We are living in the ‘now’ not the past anyway.He allegedly has anything for £70 mill-£100 mill to spend. Why hasn’t he filled out a desperately thin squad with top players who can make a difference? Do you think he will pay £35 million for Mesut Ozil, £25 million for Mata, £30 mill for Rooney. Are you one of those who say he is unlucky? You say little to add to the critique put against Wenger. Most fans with clear minds are trying to figure out what is going on. You are just saying absolutely nothing. of consequence. Thankfully most others have a totally different idea of ‘buying big’ to your interpretation.

      • You dont know what you are looking at at all.

        The “Wenger is and always has been afraid to spend” camp are implying that Wenger a) is a cheapskate or b) that he is gutless and risk shy. In fact neither are true.

        Wenger has a low NET spend over the years, but in absolute gross volume he has been spending healthy amounts of money, primarily funded by his ability to find cheap young players who can be moulded and resold for much higher amounts.

        The latter is a clue to what is really going on at Arsenal. The club has been in fact playing so called “moneyball”, long before the term was popularised by the Americans. This principle is what underlies the financial engineering behind AFC. Try to buy undervalued assets, not par value or overvalued ones. Sell the ones whose sales value exceeds their talent replacement cost (to you, given your player-finding capabilities).

        Wenger isn’t “afraid” to spend – but he does operate under a hidden constraint which is Arsenal’s principle of sticking to buying undervalued players.

        Arsenal needs to get better yes. But it’s hard to do that when the club executive expects that if you spend 20 million, it should be on a player worth 30 million and if you spend 40 million, it should be on a player worth 50 million. The latter is what was actually going on in the failed pursuit of Suarez. Do you actually grasp that?

        Also untrue that Arsenal and Wenger are not up to date on the reality of player prices. They are – they just insist on sticking to the principle of buy under valued – even in an overvalued market. They were indeed willing to by Suarez for 40 million – precisely because they believe he could be polished up a bit more and moved on before he is 30 for an even larger sum. But 50 million makes that gamble an exponentially bigger one, as it means you have cut a whopping 10 million out of the gamble already.

        To sum it up – some of you need to wake up and look deeper. Arsene is NOT afraid to spend – real problem is Arsneal is constrained by the fact that now the club can only get better by buying marquee players – and those type of players rarely fit the “moneyball” strategy.

  5. Why are so many idiots spouting this nonsense.. we are and were always going to sign some players this season, just like we did last season and the season before etc.

    You can complain all you want if the tranfser deadline closes and we haven’t, but until then just please shut up.

  6. Can somebody please give me an answer to who this magical manager will be to replace Wenger? Because I cant think of anyone who could replace him. If he got the sack we would be ruined, I understand all the frustration of wanting to strengthen because I feel it. But after the past few years of fans complaining about loyalty to the departures of some of our best players and Wenger is the man who has stuck by us for what 17 years?! Have some respect and be patient, or is it too hard to keep away from the rubbish that gets printed on a daily basis. I’m sick to death of all the fans turning on the club Its pathetic 8-9 years without a trophy boohoo what about all these clubs like Tottenham who spend millions every season and don’t even match our ability not to mention all the other clubs that haven’t won anything for years. Wait until the window has shut before making your judgements or go and support a club that spends how you want them too!

  7. This post is spot on. Catches the mood of the vast majority of genuine fans perfectly. Such a shame too; this was the summer for us to kick on from 4th place also-rans and there was no reason other than our own disorganisation not to do so. Since December i’ve moved from being pro-Wenger to seeing no option other than moving on without him.

    And if I, a big supporter of Wenger, am infuriated by him this summer, I can only begin to consider how angry the less sympathetic elements of our fanbase feels.

    T’is gonna be a long season…

    • The time to judge is 3 September.

      If we get better players by waiting, great. The “bigger the bang we get for our buck”, the better.

      In an auction, imagine you are shopping for a ring. Two rings catch your other half’s eye – one she loves (a ruby) and one she likes (a diamond). The running order of the auction is the one she likes first, followed by the one she loves. How do you bid – take the second choice one because you can, or wait for the one that is really wanted – but lose the ruby? Either way it is a risk decision. My guess is Suarez was the diamond and Higuain was the ruby – a striker with track record (of various forms…..) versus a real Madrid benchwarmer unproven in the premier league. And Wenger made the decision to go for the diamond – when you go make a risky decision, it is not necessarily wrong simply because the outcome does not work out. Let’s hope there are some more diamonds to be found later in the auction.

      • Look, I get it that there’s still time for Wenger to pull the 4 or 5 rabbits we need out of the hat. But, to use your analogy, if I needed a wedding ring I wouldn’t leave it until 5 days before the day of the wedding. That would be shocking planning and, frankly, disrespectful to the whole wedding. And if I missed out on both the rings that my other half wanted (through bungling my bids), she’d rightly be p!ssed off. What I certainly wouldn’t do is then not get her a ring or run around frantically trying to get whatever was available, potentially ending up with either a sub-standard ring or even a bracelet!

        My issue with this summer is that it didn’t need to be this way. Why are we the only club seemingly incapable or unwilling to get at least the majority of our business done in a timely (i.e. before the season has started) and clinical way? We had the money to pull off the deals for any of the players that we’re now trying to sign in June. It all comes down to penny-pinching again and Wenger’s willingness to play brinkmanship until the very last moment in the hope that he gets a bargain. After the Santos/Park debacle I don’t trust him to get it right this time. It’s about time we behaved like the big club we want to be. Highest paid manager, highest paid CEO, highest paying fans and an unwillingness to pay market prices for the highest quality players.

        I

  8. We need to spend the money wisely, maximize our bang for the buck.

    Remember Kenny Dalgiish’s mad expenditures? We only get the money once – spending catastrophically badly is the bigger of the risks we face.

    The media eggs us on and feeds us lies. It’s a media game – “Arsenal snubbed by/miss out on/ fail to get ‘so and so’” – mostly players we were never after. Whilst we are not brainwashed, we are on the end of an Anti Arsenal campaign, mostly by journos whose self professed support is for teams like Man U, Chelsea, Newcastle Tottenham etc….

    Remember all those other Tottenham players we “missed out on”, and the media said would be great for Arsenal – Winston Palacious, Rafael van der Vaart, Scott Parker, Sébastien Bassong etc etc.

    Let’s see what 3rd September brings.

    • Agreed on everything you say.

      But, if you were the manager of Arsenal, would you have waited more than 100 days after the Newcastle game before bringing in the players you needed to improve the squad?

      Whilst everything you say about the media is true, the fact is that we’re no nearer to an improved side capable of competing at the top. To be fair, we were quite happy to use the media to spin how we were going to spend megabucks this summer, so we can’t bleat when the inevitable backlash begins. We’ve talked the talk but so far not walked the walk. We look ridiculous and would do even without the media.

  9. Ziontrain.
    You are confusing what you believe and interpret with Empirical reality. At the moment Wenger is the only manager in the Premier League not to have signed players to build up a squad that is extremely diluted. If you believe that not strengthening the squad is a responsible thing then you have a very different view to the majority of Arsenal supporters. All the principles you mention…moneyball, your American model, shows you for what you seem to support. How sad. Thankfully other football managers and clubs, that also have other economic models and are conducting business in a much more interesting way. They include the needs and joy of supporters in their models. Wenger seems to think supporters are “brainwashed” and unable to make their own minds up. It seems they are a ‘cross to bear’ to Wenger.
    So you are saying Wenger buys undervalued players according to the American model. Are you proud of buying “undervalued players”, to make a profit. The majority of Arsenal supporters want excitement, joy and the best team not undervalued players. The truth about you Ziontrain is that people like you turn clubs into businesses, deflate the joy and try to use counterfeit economic wisdom as your support. You have a lot to learn about the heart Ziontrain. But you know that already.

    • “Arsenal-Steve”

      I will write you a detailed reply, primarily because it seems that you either lack integrity and are deliberately misrepresenting my words, or you lack the reading comprehension skills to digest them.

      Since I am WRITING you a reply, you can guess which one I believe to be true.

      1) (“…If you believe that not strengthening the squad is a responsible thing then you have a very different view to the majority of Arsenal supporters…”)
      – If you have read my post and saw any such claim on my part, I’d like to know where. You didnt see any such thing. Dont lie – and if you must lie dont try stupid ones that are so easily exposed.

      2) (“….All the principles you mention…moneyball, your American model, shows you for what you seem to support…)
      – i) if you actually READ my post, you’ll find that I noted that Arsenal has been using this strategy before it actually got this name in America and before Arsenal had American owners
      – ii) I made no claims for or against the strategy. I merely explained that it was clearly in use at Arsenal, even for large bids

      3) (“….So you are saying Wenger buys undervalued players according to the American model. Are you proud of buying “undervalued players”, to make a profit…”)
      – see my answers to 2)

      4) (“…The truth about you Ziontrain is that people like you turn clubs into businesses, deflate the joy and try to use counterfeit economic wisdom as your support…..”)
      – As far as I am aware, I own no shares in any football club, nor have I EVER claimed that it is good for football to be a business. And certainly not in the post you responded to. So why would you tell such a bad lie?
      – In fact I have often said the opposite: football clubs should NOT be businesses as there is not a sufficient commercial basis for ALL of them to be run on such terms and as such once a few clubs are allowed to be commercialised, the game ceases to be a genuinely competitive one: it’s becomes like a game of polo with a handful of the players on motorcycles and the rest on horseback.

      Last but not least, I am surprised at how clueless you and many others are about what is going on at Arsenal. No business can make outside returns of this nature for such a long time without it becoming obvious that they are taking more risk. Unusual profits over significant generally follow unusually high risk taking. In this case Arsenal’s financial success is arguably due to the fact that Wenger is asked to keep the club in the top four while simultaneously and consistently running a high risk game with assets i.e gambling on turning players into profits.

      Whatever the reasons, this is clearly an ingrained principle at Arsenal, no matter the amount of money they invest in players, its about beating the odds. With the huge cash stash now the Arsenal game seems to be to try pick off assets from distressed clubs with cash bids at undervalued prices eg Mertesacker, Cazorla, Monreal. Most likely Liverpool is in this category too and thus the attempt to fleece them of Suarez. With Real Madrid now they seem to be hovering and looking for a chance to pick off assets because they know Real needs cash now to balance the books. It’s all quite deliberate.

      Other than that they make small bids for undervalued players (ie high volatility in asset value) whose value can potentially rise when polished on the big stage. This is what is going on with Sanogo, Giroud, Kos, Eisfeld etc.

      Some few dimwits will view this as “the club isnt serious about these bids, they make cheap transfers or they lowball big money bids that they know will fail.” No – they are dead serious about what they are doing – even those lowball big bids. It’s quite deliberate and even with huge wads of cash to spend, they seem to be incredibly disciplined about it.

      So please no more crap about Arsenal being risk-shy – in fact they are risk hungry in terms of player acquisition. But that is the reason why you are unlikely to see a “banker” purchase like say Rooney for 35 million.

      I’m not saying it because I like it – i’m just telling you because that’s what is going on. Stop trying to shoot the messenger and try and hear the message. The sure thing will not likely happen this summer. The chances are that if a superstar player walks into the Emirates locker room this summer, he will likely do so because he was “financial value” more than because he was “footballing certainty”.

      • Ziontrain
        You now claiming to be the messenger and ask us not to shoot you. So for whatever reason you gave your initial response to me, when I argued that Wenger does not want to buy ‘big’. My argument was that he has some inner demons that stop him. They may be motivated by his character or perhaps as I put forward they are part of something more uncontrollable such as OCD. There are many who believe he will not buy big. Your attempt to explain to all us dimwits has certainly been understood. You now claim innocence and say you are only the messenger. What shows up clearly is your belief that you fully understand what is going on at Arsenal. It is only your opinion. Is what you offer wisdom or hubris. Your initial reason for replying was to point out that Wenger does buy big. As your diatribe progresses you include many points that were not initially put forward. You point out that Wenger likes to buy undervalued players and get a return. There is no disagreement there with that. It is clear obvious to most supporters. He bought Anelka and sold him for a large profit. Fabregas the same etc.. Of course that was not within my initial point. I was suggesting he will not buy big because he can’t. We have a different interpretation of buy big. To me buy big means something different to buying Jeffers for “10 million. I am also talking about ‘now’. The place life is lived. In the ‘now’. Wenger ‘now’. You are saying it is part of a business model which Wenger follows. I am saying the business model is preceded and caused by his inability to buy “big”. My suggestion is that he will not buy big because he cannot do so, either because of his character or something more out of his control such as OCD. To me other things show up from how you reply. I wish you could see them, but you are a strangely defensive character. Good luck and never stop examining your mind. You are welcome to the last word as I have to practice my guitar and will be off line.

      • Again you display a lack of either reading comprehension. I didnt say WENGER “likes undervalued players” – I said the CLUB’S financial strategy revolves around finding unvervalued players – and it has been so for a long time. Implication for those not too thick or rabid is that it might not entirely be a matter of “liking” for Wenger either – it’s the mandate he has and they pay him to execute it.

        So when Gasdiz runs around telling everyone that Wenger has 70 million to spend, you should ask yourself what is he NOT telling you – namely that there are strings that go along with that. Which one can easily decipher by looking at the club’s transfer activity.

        Expect to see some bodies to fill injury gaps, but as I said you are not going to see a super star coming un unless it’s on some sort of discount – even at nosebleed prices, they will be determined to squeeze a discount out of it. That is the only circumstance under which any such monies will be made available to the manager. Same as it ever was.

  10. Was listening to Liam Brady being interviewed on Irish TV tonight and he suggested that AW could surprise a lot of people before the weekend is out . When pressed by the interviewer he smiled wryly and said that unlike other managers he had the “nerve to stick it out” ( fan criticism) because he insists that if Arsene does not feel that a player, no matter who he is , dosen’t fit the profile of the team he won’t buy. I got the feeling that Brady did not in fact know anything more than the rest of us but was merely reminding us that the Boss does his own thing regardless. Worrying to say the least , but then whats new .

  11. Ziontrain.what a load of tosh.If Arsenal are operating some sort of Moneyball system then please explain why we have had to shift more than 20 players this summer mostly on free transfers.Not really working this Moneyball is it?I would respectfully suggest that,unlike Porto,or indeed Tottenham,Arsenal have completely missed the point of Moneyball.Look at Tottenhams signings.ALL great players with the potential to become massive world stars who can then be sold to Real,PSG etc for loads more than they paid for them.They will then buy a load more.top players.And in the meantime they will definately take our fourth place trophy, further increasing their revenues,and lowering ours,by at least 30 mill a year.Yet deluded Arsenal fans think WE are a well run club? Levy is a genius,and they deserve that CL place because they have shown ambition,intelligence bravery and a real desire to improve,unlike Arsenal whose owner and management have been guilty of arrogance,ineptitude,greed and complacency.Unfortunately, unless there is a seismic shift in policy at Arsenal, it will take years to make up the ground lost to Tottenham over the past few seasons.There is no grand plan at Arsenal,just a policy of fleecing the supporters,indulging a stubborn,out of date know it all manager who regards the fans as brainwashed idiots,and making money for a man with no love for this club whatsoever.SHAME ON ALL IN CHARGE.THERE USED TO BE A FOOTBALL CLUB THERE ONCE.And we moved to “compete”.B******T.And PHW ,spare me your sanctimonious tosh about Stan wanting to uphold the clubs traditions.Sick of the lot of them.They will soon get what they deserve.

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