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It's Groundhog Day At Arsenal
Footytubeblog (Blog) 3 years ago

Arsenal Football Club appears to be caught in some sort of sinister time warp. It's been eight years since the Gunners' last trophy, and in that time period, the North London outfit have failed to escape for better or worse the Premier League's equivalent of purgatory, as they battle it out in an eternal fashion for 3rd and 4th spot.

The Emirates faithful have been patiently waiting for years, first for the club's stellar cast of promising youngsters to effectively break through, and second for Arsene Wenger to reinvest heavily in a senior squad caught in a disturbing malaise, as every campaign from 2005 onwards gets labelled as a transition season. Both scenarios failed to effectively materialise, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie sold before they could bring success to the Gunners, and Wenger persistently refusing to spend big on established players.

This summer was meant to be so different, but once again it's beginning to feel like Groundhog Day at the Emirates. So much for a £70million transfer kitty, all the Gunners have to show for their unprecedented summer budget is Yaya Sanogo - a twenty year old from the French second tier, who moved to North London under the bosman ruling.

It's an all too familiar type of transfer from a manager who seems to have a personal affixation with French starlets and  refusing to spend money. So far, the £70million jackpot remains untouched, whilst another recurring issue of Wenger's inability to sign centre-forwards continues in a repetitive pattern.

Last year, Arsene Wenger promised an adequate replacement for Robin Van Persie and came up with Olivier Giroud, in January, he promised the same thing, realising his error, and offered to Gunners fans Spain left-back Nacho Monreal to soften the voices of discontent. This summer, the Frenchman is still on the same mission, to replace a world-class striker at the lowest cost possible, but is yet to find a delicious fruit of his and Ivan Gazidis' labours.

From touching distance to signing Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid for a figure believed to be around £25million, Arsenal dithered and dallied in their customary fashion, allowing Los Blancos to bump up the price-tag just in time for Napoli to announce their interest in the Argentine. Higuain has now joined with the Serie A runners-up instead of the Gunners, and another opportunity to sign a top class player has passed the North Londoners by, due to Wenger's stingy taste in front men yet again getting in the way.

The Arsenal management have now turned their attentions to Liverpool bad-boy Luis Suarez, but their penny-pinching £40million plus a quid bid, triggering the most pointless contract clause of all time, already alludes to how the saga will end. Gazidis will say £45million, Brendan Rodgers will say £55million, Gazidis will ring up Arsene Wenger for his opinion, Arsene Wenger will choke on his late-night cup of cocoa, and ask if his South African colleague has lost his mind.

Liverpool are insisting on doing the talking in the Suarez negotiations, and Arsene Wenger is yet to break the £17million mark for a single transfer transaction. For the second time in a single summer, Arsenal are set to be priced-out of prime transfer target.

Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day. But no repetition of events will scare Arsenal fans more than Arsene Wenger's recent statements on the club's pre-season tour of Asia.
The Frenchman told journalists, as reported by Sky Sports News; "We are ready to do quick deals but all the transfers do not depend only on us. We still have a strong squad but we are there on the market to try to strengthen our team. With or without additions we can be title challengers next season.
" What we want is not a name but a good player. The name is less important. What is more important is the quality of the player. At the moment I must tell you we are not close to signing anybody. Of course we want to do as many top players as we can. But we also have to focus on the players we have and develop them"

The words are in stark contrast to what we've heard from Wenger throughout the season, who even alleged upon announcing his £70million transfer budget that he would be willing to use the sum in its entirety to bid for former Atletico Madrid star Radamel Falco. Rather than sourcing Europe's most prolific and expensive goal-scorer, the Frenchman has effectively turned down the opportunity to sign two forwards of similar quality at a lower cost, and is now prepared to settle for what he's got in all departments.

He's even rejected claims of a £21million bid in the pipeline for Brazil starlet Bernard, and it's been months since we've heard any respectable gossip on the £10million-rated Ashley Williams, QPR's £90k per week shot stopper Julio Cesar, or Everton's Marouane Fellaini, who will be available for £23million until his transfer clause expires in early August.

Sticking to what he's already got is a plan we've heard far too many times from Arsene Wenger, despite its lack of logic. The Gunners roster upped their game at the end of last season, and amid the managerial turnaround at Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, could easily improve upon their final league standing last term.

But to suggest a side that finished fourth the year previous could go on to claim the domestic title without changing a single member of first team personnel is a worryingly deluded claim, as is the Frenchman's perpetual insistence that Arsenal's failed transfer pursuits are due to unnamed external factors, not his inability and downright refusal to bid for any particular player at their club's asking price, rather than his personal valuation.

Fear not Arsenal fans, I'm sure the Gunners will make a small dent on their £70million surplus at some point this summer. But with priority target Higuain already gone, and Liverpool's expected return on the Suarez deal far too rich for Wenger's taste, a more cost-effective addition seems most likely at this point; another £10million purchase from the Champions League rejects collection to join Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta perhaps.

It's a disturbingly familar pattern from Arsene Wenger - promising big, dipping his toe in the water, getting cold feet, and instead finding the cheapest like-for-like counterpart available. The Frenchman insists he's waiting, but what for? Nobody knows. Perhaps, like TV's Quantum Leap, he's waiting for the time warp to end. But whilst Wenger still values world-class players at price tags belonging to the turn of the Millenium, the rest of the Premier League has moved on.

A transfer window of false promises from the Arsenal management, filled with excuses and rationales that avoid the actual situation at hand - how many times have we said that already about the Gunners, and how many more Groundhog Days can the Emirates faithful handle?

By Christy Malyan

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.

ScouserDan (Liverpool) 3 years ago
Love that picture of Wenger lol
Shaymoose17 (Arsenal) 3 years ago
He kind of looks like George W Bush lol
Chrisg (Birmingham City) 3 years ago
Couldn't really agree more. Wenger has needed to make a number of signings for years now and every year the number needed seems to go up. They had weaknesses in the squad before the likes of Fabregas, Nasri and RVP left and weren't replaced. Now Arsenal fans sound like a kid on Santa's lap: "I want a goalie, and I want a centre back, and I want a central mid, and I want a striker".

Wenger keeps starting the season with almost exactly the same squad as he finished the last with (except those who jump ship) and then after the first few poor performances starts looking to panic buy.

And for me the big question surrounding the mystery 70M prize pot is: can you trust Wenger with it? Let's face it, his 'big money' signings don't always work out:
Reyes and Arshavin never really paid off their 13 and 15m price tags, Mertesacker at 10m is hardly a bargain and the less said about spending 10m on Gervinho the better for le prof

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