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October 2016
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Like most of my Gooner compatriots, I have been following the transfer shenanigans and misadventures of EPL and European Clubs with what one can best describe as educated disinterest combined with bemused incredulity. That said, I also was negatively impressed with the barrage of whining and angst far too many naive and gullible supporters are displaying at the moment because of Wenger’s so-called ‘failure’ to bring in some new signings (specifically strikers).

Tony and Walter have very efficiently dealt with the nuances of the transfer process but there are a few aspects to consider that are rarely mentioned in this mishmash of emotional and often irrational finger pointing the media, aaa and even some respectable Arsenal websites are wallowing in.

Here is my take on what the crucial issues for Wenger and Arsenal were during the last transfer window and how this fits into the bigger picture of AFC’s plans for the future:

  1. A number of recent media reports have supported Wenger’s claim that there is penury of first-class transfers available and a pronounced willingness for other Clubs to spend major amounts to obtain what could be considered as risky and marginal improvements for their teams.
  2. It has been an oft repeated and ubiquitous theme on UA that big money spent does NOT necessarily guarantee big results in the short, medium OR long-term. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but they are few and far between. Big investments signal big risks. Liverpool knows this all too well.
  3. Arsenal’s decision not to bring in anyone other than Cech and 2 youth players over the summer transfer window could be seen as a missed opportunity to strengthen the squad in areas so-called expert pundits claim are absolutely necessary to win something significant this season or in the future, IF the Club was patently short in many areas or in specific positions. This particular fantasy is based on 4 games and a less than impressive goal-scoring efficiency in these games. According to this ‘logic’, Arsenal has failed to take their chances and therefore, based on 4 games, we will never be able to meet these pundits’ expectations for the rest of the season. With 34 games yet to go, the sheer blindness of this claim is evident to every rational Gooner.
  4. Had Wenger bought the toys our fickle plastic fanboys were screaming for, the message he would have given his current players is as follows; Our current squad is not good enough and I don’t have confidence in its ability to win anything, so I’m hedging my bets by adding what the media claims I need without regard to your abilities and commitment to the Arsenal. What he did say by not adding anyone just yet is: Our current squad has the potential and the togetherness to achieve great things and work out our scoring issues with full commitment and confidence, so let’s get to it.
  5. I have done an analysis for every position in the starting 11 and have come to the inescapable conclusion that we have first class players available to start every game, with very sound backups and with the eventual return of Wilshere, Wellbeck, Rosicky and Arteta, our squad has the depth and cohesiveness, chemistry and motivation to achieve something special this season. What that special achievement(s) might be is yet to be seen but the addition of 1-2 players of the same calibre as our backups would NOT guarantee anything and as Wenger has repeatedly said, he would only STRENGTHEN the team not just add numbers.
  6. It became very apparent in the transfer window that he intended to prepare younger and backup players for first team places by farming them out to other clubs in order to ensure they got the experience and confidence needed to break into the first team eventually or regain their place there. He was astute enough to realize that sitting Szcesny, Zalelem, Akpom and others on the bench all season would do more damage than good. Following our loanees to date, I am impressed how much they add to their new clubs and how likely they will come back highly motivated and better prepared to fight for a first team place. IF he had felt that these players could step into the first team he would, no doubt, have kept them here. With so many going out on loan, why would he then go and diminish their motivation by bringing in 3-4 new faces?
  7. The media, and to some extent their aaa sycophants, have really enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame (to quote Andy Warhol) while at the same time taking not so subtle swipes at Wenger and the Arsenal, for a perceived failure to fill the ‘ obvious’ gaps in the team. This fits their double-standard and hypocritical value system to a tee. Shit all over Wenger and AFC when they don’t transfer in anyone BUT mock and demean the players like Ozil and Cech, when they don’t meet or exceed the media’s lofty expectations.  Far too many so-called supporters fall for this bait and switch technique, but that is to be expected when dealing with short-term gratification syndrome they suffer from.

Wenger is NOT one to suffer from regrets and self doubt. He knows what he has and what he wants and the least likely people to understand his reasoning are the media, pundits, the aaa and many supporters. As someone once said, don’t confuse Wenger with someone who cares about your opinions. The post-mortems are usually reserved for the end of May each year and it is certainly a good idea to wait until then before drawing ANY conclusions.


Untold Anniversaries – the full list of today’s anniversaries is here – just scroll down the home page

  • 2 September 1964: Johnny MacLeod sold to Aston Villa after 130 league games for Arsenal.  He continued playing until 1975 although the last three years were on a part-time basis.
  • 2 September 1976: Eddie Kelly sold to QPR.  He had played 222 times for Arsenal including 175 in the first division and stayed one year at QPR and then was signed by Frank McLintock at Leicester, leaving after three seasons as they were relegated and then promoted as champions.

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  • Frankantz

    we need a striker. wenger himself admits this. henry too. hell, even Giroud thinks its a goood idea. are we honestly to believe there are no strikers available in the world who won’t do a decent job for the team? It doesn’t send a negative message to the players. on the contrary experience tells us it sends a message that the management mean business and no-one can take their place for granted.

  • sukebe

    but hey, it’s already 4 games…
    why wait may?

    we already doomed!!


  • Frankantz

    As for waiting until May to draw conclusions thats what most of us have been doing for the past 5 years, and the conclusion is more or less the same. We are short in certain key areas.

  • sukebe


    and for the past 5 years Arsenal has failed?

  • sukebe

    err… wait..

    oh yeah.. it’s already 4 games…

    we are doomed!!!


  • LB

    We need a striker, yes. But who? Benzema was not available and Cavani was prized at 50m. Who else?

    No ones says we shouldn’t have bought. But who and at what price?

  • Fred

    I agree let’s wait till may to judge and then I pray if wenger has not challenged for the title then he has the dignity to resign. It does appear on this site that if you disagree with wengers transfer policy then you are labelled gullible which is arrogant and patronising at best. To run a post on how we all laughed at the media for being the only club in top 5 European leagues to not buy an outfield player is misguided at best. I have a season ticket and was at the villa game when the atmosphere was the most toxic I have experienced under wengers reign. We then signed ozil and went on a fabulous run. The momentum alone at times carrying all. If we are struggling against Stoke in iur next game then I predict it will be similar over there. The pressuse on players then is a huge ball and chain as every mistake is met with hostility. More will be revealed.

  • colario

    First of all the media and its following believe that all Arsenal players are useless and therefore must be replaced to quote a former famous magician in England ‘Just like that!’

    Therefore they are not worried about what the present players feel or think. (That would now include our new goal keeper!)

    They see looserpool, spuds,chelski and now manure have a high turn over of players and this gives them something to rant about about. These clubs did and do buy and sell not that Frenchman at Arsenal so he must be wrong.

    In every situation where you lead and are trying to be the best there comes a time when you stop building or adding or changing and just do it.
    We have reached that point.

    I believe that had Petra Chec not wanted to leave chelski and stay in London we would not have bought him. Which means this season we would not have added to the first team squad from outside the club.

    The message given to the players is one of belief and confidence in them.
    Forward Arsenal

  • Nick

    I never saw a confident and focused man like Arsene. I agree he very well knows what he has and what he needs. All of us were swallowed with the expectation of new signings though he kept saying he’ll only sign if he gets something better than what he has. It’s true we all cant manage AFC, the job has been given him so let’s trust him with it and give him all the space he needs. Haven’t we held on to our top players unlike the past when we had exits each summer? Has anyone imagined an AFC with smart homegrown players and a few top additions? Look at Chuba Akpom, Serge Gnabry, Ox, Gibbs, Zalalem, Belerin, Jack, Rambo, Theo, and a few more not-yet-known academy grads. I surely believe we’ll have the best and cheapest assembled team in Europe. Just give Le’ Prof a chance and please rally your full support to our beloved AFC.

  • ola

    Arsene wenger is a coach i respect so much and was happy that he was the 1 that broke the trophy drought himself…To be fair with you,arsenal av a good group of players to challenge on all fronts buh I wld av like him to add another striker…I believe of all the strikers in the world,we can get some1 lk aguero,rooney in his best days,torres in his best days, tevez and so on….with all due respect to Giroud, I don’t believe he can trouble defenders of best teams the way those players wil do…while rely on him for a whole season… By December,I knw we wil be able to access the team more.

  • Frankantz

    Not failed. Underachieved.

  • Usama Zaka

    To show that Arsenal already had a big squad without any additions compared to the big clubs in the league I will list all First Team players of each of these clubs from their official websites.

    Arsenal First Team

    Goalkeepers – Cech, Ospina (Total = 2)

    Defenders – Debuchy, Bellerin, Gibbs, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscienly, Chambers, Gabriel (Total = 8)

    Midfielders – Arteta, Flamini, Coquelin, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ozil, Rosicky, Chamberlain (Total = 9)

    Forwards – Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott, Sanchez, Campbell (Total = 5)

    Total First Team Players = 24

    Chelsea First Team

    Goalkeepers – Begovic, Courtois, Blackman (Total = 3)

    Defenders – Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Djilobodji, Baba Rahman, (Total = 7)

    Midfielders – Fabregas, Ramires, Oscar, Hazard, Mikel, Traore, Matic, Willian, Loftus-Cheek, (Total = 9)

    Forwards – Costa, Falcao, Remy, Pedro, Kennedy (Total = 5)

    Total First Team Players = 24

    Manchester City First Team

    Goalkeepers – Caballero, Hart (Total = 2)

    Defenders – Otamendi, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Kompany, Mangala, Sagna, Zabaleta (Total = 8)

    Midfielders – Delph, Fernando, Fernandinho, Nasri, Navas, Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Toure, Zuculini, Roberts (Total = 11)

    Forwards – Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho (Total = 3)

    Total First Team Players = 24

    Manchester United First Team

    Goalkeepers – De Gea, Romero, Valdes, Johnstone(Total = 4)

    Defenders – Jones, Rojo, Smalling, Shaw, McNair, Darmian, Blind(Total = 7)

    Midfielders – Mata, Carrick, Young, Herrera, Valencia, Fellaini, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Lingard, Pereira (Total = 10)

    Forwards – Rooney, Depay, Martial, Wilson (Total = 4)

    Total First Team Players = 25

    Liverpool First Team

    Goalkeepers – Mignolet, Bogdan, Fulton (Total = 3)

    Defenders – Clyne, Enrique, Toure, Lovren, Gomez, Sakho, Moreno, Skrtel, Flanagan (Total = 9)

    Midfielders – Milner, Coutinho, Firmino, Henderson, Lallana, Lucas, Can, Allen, Rossitier, Ibe (Total = 10)

    Forwards – Benteke, Sturridge, Ings, Origi (Total = 4)

    Total First Team Players = 26

  • Frankantz

    The ball and chain has been put around Wenger’s neck…by Wenger! We were spun tales about how the club would be able to compete with the big boys in the transfer market, and here we are with the lowest net spend of any club since virtually the dawn of time. Then there was FFP and how it would herald a new world of sensibly run clubs, led by Arsenal. How we all laughed. The club are a Wenger vanity project, just like Abramovich’s Chelsea and the Mansours at City, except in our case the cash just keeps piling up in the bank so Kroneke and his cronies can draw their dividends.

  • nicky

    Whether or not we need an additional striker and a defensive midfielder, the criteria which has to be met, 100%, in order to achieve a successful transfer, remains forgotten.
    The parent club must be willing to sell. The fee must be acceptable to Arsenal. The player must agree to the personal terms. And he (and his family) must be prepared to move to London.
    No-one can be surprised if just one of the above fails to be agreed, in which case the transfer does not proceed.
    It’s a sad reflection that behind every football manager today, there lurks the black-suited accountants and economists, who largely control the financial body that every successful football club has now become.
    The current report that Arsenal were not prepared to pay £50m for 28year old Cavani from PSG solely due to the absence of his sale-on value speaks volumns.

  • bob mac

    For those who have been demanding additions to the team, I have a couple of questions.

    Who do you think would strengthen the TEAM, not just the squad.

    If they are that good, do you really think they would be for sale.

  • Arsenal has a good squad to challenge for titles but its up to the lads to live up to expectation. Adding a player or two ain’t bad coz it gives a psychological advantage over rivals but I would be able to keep Giroud than I would Falcao. Sometimes the best players are not for sale, are over priced or comfortable where they are. Let’s have faith in the team and find someone tangible to blame. My opinion.

  • Menace

    Some of you really amaze me with your knowledge of football. How many Messi’s are there around the English parks? Yet there are so many more knowledgeable than Wenger. Most of you don’t know how to pass a ball let alone select a team from a squad.

    Here we have one of the most gifted football brains in the history of the game & yet there are so many who think????? he doesn’t know what he is doing.

    ola – I’m sorry I do not rate Rooney. Aguero is a different type of player. Both are hard to find duplicates of. Just as it is difficult to find another Theo or Joel or Giroud.

    Our team is Arsenal. Any player that pulls on the shirt & Wenger sends out to play for us, I support. He may not play at his best but if he plays for Arsenal, I will support him.

  • Jambug


    Underachieved? That’s a new one.

    Compared to what?

    This is what the bookies expected us to achieve.

    Odds to win the Premier League 2014/2015:

    •Chelsea 8/11

    •Manchester City 10/3

    •Manchester United 8/1

    •Arsenal 9/1

    •Liverpool 20/1

    And this from Bet365:

    City 7/4

    Chelski 9/4

    Man Ure 9/2

    LFC 13/2

    So I ask again, under achieved in who’s estimation? Yours?

    Because as far as I recall, most people expected us, yet again, to finish outside the top 4.

    Perhaps when we are competing against 3 Clubs that make net transfer losses of £50 Million per season, and can spend whatever they want, whenever they want, without ever having to balance the books, you should consider tempering your expectations to something resembling the real World.

  • Sande Ambrose Odongo

    You might be right in your own way but wait for the time to swallow your own words.
    Developing young players and maintaining moral in current squard is ok but having Giroud at Arsenal as first choice striker is like when we had Gael Clichy as our first choice LB. These are players who make big mistakes that cost us winning V.I Matches like Giroud against Monaco.
    I expected Arsenal and Wenger to sign either Ibrahimovic or Cavani. These are two players that would play with and teach our young stars on what to do practically for those who can copy on the pitch for one or two seasons respectively before they leave. Hence young players improved and they would make current strikers to work harder for fear or being benched. Remember our creative players always get disappointed for their wasted energy and calculation on accurate passes which produce no goals by blind striker. We had very prolific strikers who are let go and clubs like Wolves, Spuds, Baca etc are benefiting from.
    Time will tell, you will swallow your own words.

  • Frankantz

    Not sure what the bookies have to do with anything. Id be the first to say Its not all about how much money you spend.. Its about spending it where its required, when its required. Its about factors such as the experience and longevity of the manager, the funds at his disposal, the players he already has in the squad, the infrastructure built around him. By any yardstick Wenger and this club should be achieving better than fourth place, regardless of what the other clubs are spending.

  • Rich

    Must admit, I suspect we were very keen to add at least one player, and put in a great deal of work to try make it happen.

    I base that on Wenger saying as much, and on my own assessment of the squad’s potential and strength, in its own right but more importantly relative to rivals.

    I believe we have a chance of the title this year, that there are plenty of players (say,more than 5 and, once you’ve removed the fantastically improbable, less than 20) who could have improved our chance, and that the club pursued all avenues, and found nearly all of them closed and those that weren’t involved ludicrous prices (so were effectively closed,too)

    Of the players who have moved, among those there was a very good chance we could get, Benteke being the best example, there’s not a single one I’m sure would have been a good option for us.

    This becomes squeezed even further in the knowledge that, for good reasons I suspect, we are completely locked out of the Mendes circle.

    Then there are the patterns of player movement between a small number of clubs – Monaco, Inter, Utd, City, Valencia, Athletico, AC Milan, Real- again I suspect this is a further limitation of our options. I don’t believe for a second that the price a player eventually moves for is always the price anyone could have paid on an open market. Not where Mendes is concerned.

    Have to belatedly add, that I was startled today to realise the massive increases in prem money don’t kick in until next year. This means things can only get madder, which, by my reading, is a big inducement to do something at this (less mad) time.

    But still, massive inducement or not (and that does all rely on my own reading being correct, which is far from certain) it seems easily possible to me that less mad was still too mad.

    Handily for my little theory, there were two transfers in the last week which point towards this being true : City and Utd had to pay obscene money for De Bruyne and Martial.

    Two things matter about those transfers: (1)they are very obviously completely different propositions for us than for the clubs in question (both feasible, just about, on paper, but in practical terms…no fucking way); and (2) they are a good reference point to the state of the market and more than just a reference point.

    I believe the club (and all clubs, other than a couple of those without budgets) have sustained an unpleasant shock to discover the conditions of the market as these last months have unfolded, and that this wouldn’t be proof of naivety, foolishness or any other negative quality.

    It would just be how things are in contingent, real-time reality, where often the only way to discover what’s what in complex difficult environments is to live through it.

    All clubs have to absorb this new information about a crazier-than-ever transfer market which is very likely to be crazier again in the future. Quite simply it looks a new era to me : the medicine of ffp has been greatly diluted at the same time as more money has pumped into the system from elsewhere. No one could know what that would look like. Now we do : 80 million Euros for an uncapped 19 year old.

  • BarryL

    Like many Gooners I thought it would be good if we got back-up CB and DM, and an upgraded striker.
    But…. as AW said they have to be better than we’ve got, and they’ve actually got to be available to buy!!
    At CB who has been available? (remember John Stones still at Everton);
    At ST, Madrid were not going to sell Benzema, ditto PSG for Cavani (other than unrealistic sum) and Napoli wanted silly money for Higuain who was useless in the Copa America.
    At DM we were never going to buy Vidal after drink driving incident, and while Schneiderlin is OK for EPL, not sure he’s got plus for CL. Kondogbia, however, could have been big. We wait and see.
    The real question is can Walcott, Ox, Ramsey, Ozil and Giroud really step up. They all owe AW big time and have to deliver this season.

  • jayramfootball

    We needed a striker.

    The ‘so called expert pundits’ you speak of include the likes of Thierry Henry and Ray Parlour. I will accept their analysis because Wenger has been proven wrong time and time again. This latest mistake on his part is not new. We have continues to fail to challenge for the league title seriously for many years. Years in which his judgement about the qulaity of our squad has been revealed as misguided.

    I find your willingness to cite ‘a number of recent media reports’ to defend Wenger’s view that no one was available to be rather dishonest in the sense that you openely rubbish other media reports that suggest otherwise.

    Unfortunately big investment does equal success in the main. That is totally undeniable. There are exceptions to the rule, but look at the league table year in year out and correlate the finishing position to the wages and transfer fees of each club. You will find your answer there about investment and success. Using individual cases to tell a broad story is an old media trick and again dishonest.

    Your ‘inescapable conclusion’ is not unreasonable – we do have top players in every position and often two. That is not the frustration of fans that have been outspoken about Wenger’s latest decision not to strengthen. The frustration is that we are not good enough to challenge for the title. We have the funds to invest but have chosen not to do so.

    If your conclusion is that Wenger thinks that there is no striker in world football better than Giroud that is willing to come to Arsenal then that just strengthens my view that Wenger is no longer the right man to be in charge.

  • Dazza64

    You state that “We have the funds to invest but have chosen not to do so”, this is pure guesswork on your part. Which club was willing to sell? Which player was willing to move? You don’t know and neither do I, so your conclusion is based nothing more than a whim.

  • jayramfootball

    If you choose to believe that no striker was available or has been available, then fine. That is your choice. I do not. We have not had a top striker since RVP left. If Wenger is not able to get the job done then move over and let a new manager build the squad.

  • Luscious Lisa

    Of the possible contenders for the PL title, is it fair to say that only Arsenal have brought in a proven world class player? You can only play 11 at a time, so bringing in someone, even very good, does not necessarily strengthen. If we say Bony has come in and Dzeko has gone out, does that make Man City stronger? If we could get Suarez or Aguero, then say, Giroud making way is probably progress. But Cavani? A possible Falcao waiting to happen.
    Arsenal are probably the only PL contenders to have brought in a world class player. In that sense, the window has arguably strengthened them relative to the competition.

  • bjtgooner

    test comment on new machine

  • bjtgooner

    Ah good, I was not sure if it would go into moderation or not.

    Over the last few days there has been a lot of absolute rubbish written and spoken about our transfer summer.

    We (i.e. the supporters, not the aaaa creeps) all want the team to maximise it’s success and consequently it is easy for the expert winder uppers in the media to play on genuine hopes.

    However, the windwer uppers are themselves disingenuous, dishonest and deliberately misleading – no wonder some of the fan base become upset. Added to which we have the aaaa, who have been looking for an excuse to gripe and make mischief for quite some time – they think the transfer window is their opportunity.

    Arsenal have reportedly money to spend, but, unlike the obscenely rich clubs, we cannot afford to waste money on overpriced players – and lets face it, the antics of the obscenely rich clubs have vastly inflated player prices.

    When the right player becomes available at a sensible price Arsenal will buy!

  • Rich


    You know perfectly well that most people on here believe the only reason we didn’t strongly contest the title for years is because of vast financial differences with the only clubs who do better than us. Similarly, you know the same people regard a new era as having begun in 2013.

    Therefore, while i could get where you’re coming from, sort of, if you stepped up and set ‘hey, you people are wrong. There was no vast difference in finances, no big change in 2013, and the gap has closed even further now’… it mystifies me when you speak as though you’re in the company of those who already accept such things as true.

    It would be very simple for you to tell us we’re wrong in that respect, yet you don’t seem to.

    It’s always just off to the side – ‘big investment does equal success in the main’- or leaves out one crucial element of the argument- as in the argument made here is more like ‘there isn’t a striker available ,who wants to join Arsenal, at a price which is acceptable to us’

    You left out the price bit. Yet it’s as vital as any other bit of the argument. And you know it’s a part of the argument. You’re clearly too sharp not to know what the real argument is. So why do it? I’d understand if there was some gain to be had, but there isn’t.

    It feels deliberate. As though you know your point becomes a lot weaker if you include everything that ought to be in there. Same with not addressing our belief 2013 was a new era. I think you know very well it was, but again it weakens the scope for complaint when you admit to it.

    I think instead of there being something to gain in choosing not to address all the arguments as they are (instead of as they are after a bit of reworking and an omission or two), it’s more that there’s something to lose if you do : the right to be angry.

    Try it out. Rewrite your last sentence mentally with the addition of ‘at a price that is acceptable’ and, boy, it loses some kick. But it’s the argument as it really is. So if you want to take it on, take it on.

    I’m sure you know how it would play out from there. Either you can name someone who has moved who we should have gone for, or speculate on someone who didn’t move. From there we’ll want to hear the sort of prices you believe would have done it. A bit of work,yes, but you post quite regularly and so could probably find the time to talk it through.

    I don’t think you want to though, because you know your audience here too well and know the anger will just drain away as you elaborate and get specific.

    Try the obvious ones- Benteke for 32, Son for 22. Yes or no? Cavani, from the cash giants PSG, when his departure would weaken them a lot and when the market is awful for them to find a replacement? Benzema, same story? How about this Aubameyang.

    What would the ambitious, financially secure Dortmund need to be offered, in this market, when it appears they could be right back on track after a rotten year, for their most potent attacking weapon? 40 million sound right? Maybe 50? Definitely as important to them as De Bruyne was to Wolfsburg.

    The answers aren’t good for someone who doesn’t want to jeopardise their right to be angry.

  • Dazza64

    @jayram 9.45
    You are avoiding answering the questions posed, in terms of ” If Wenger is not able to get the job done then move over and let a new manager build the squad.” who in your opinion is the ideal new manager and why will be better than Wenger?
    At least provide a reasoned argument that will stimulate debate.

  • Richard

    If I recall, it took 8 games for Thierry Henry to score his first goal for Arsenal. If Wenger had listened to the experts and got a new striker after 4 games, I don’t think Henry would have been an Arsenal legend. We have Theo, Campbell, Giroud and Sanchez yet to score goals. I am so delighted we didn’t sign anyone because it seems with the media, the AAA and experts, the best players are usually the ones we haven’t signed or played.

    I do hope and pray Wenger persists with Theo. Trust me, the lad would come through once the team adapts to his game. A team that scored 71 goals, 2 goals less than the champions last season is considered not good enough by the media…

  • Zedsaunt

    A great article.

    The woman on the bus this morning thought Wenger had blown it again. Now if she ran Arsenal she would…

    And so it goes on. It’s endless. How much do Man U spend on an attacker who has scored 11 goals? Where did anyone ever get the idea that Benzema/Cavani ever wanted to leave?

    Why is it that English fans seem to believe you can pick up players just like!!

    Wenger defined it exactly right – players had to have the quality that would enhance what they already have, How many players fit that? How much do they cost? Do they want to move? Do they really want to come to London and the EPL?

    ManU spend over thirty million quid on a teenager – why didn’t they get Gareth Bale? They’re a big club, he’s a big act. Why didn’t they get him? Why didn’t he come? Why didn’t Ronaldo come? Why doesn’t Ronaldo leave Madrid for Manchester? Why did they finish up with a teenager that cost over thirty million?

    Wenger was absolutely right. It was a market with an average run of talent and an enormous amount of dosh. Put it together you are paying over the odds for talent that doesn’t give you more than what you’ve already got. So why play the window?

  • Shakabula Gooner

    It seems to me that what the summer 2015 transfer season showed is that the so-called smaller clubs are now not only astute enough to build good teams from the glut of well-trained and talented but “unknown” players; they are also rich enough to stoutly resist being casually raided for their emerging star players by the bigger or richer clubs….unless they are willing to pay crazy money to satisfy their covetousness.

    It seems also to me that unless a club has access to immense riches AND is ruled more by ego than by commonsense, the ability to spot good players early and have a good academy to groom them into stars from within has become the most important asset or Key Success Factor for football clubs.

    Lastly, it seems to me that Arsenal has identified this eventuality much earlier than the rest of the pack and is probably in a better position today than in the past to meet most of its first team’s needs from within.

    Clearly, Wenger and his team tried hard to do some business but wouldn’t pay crazy money to the target clubs and players. This not motivated by foolishness or miserliness on Wenger/Arsenal management’s part but by the need not to put the club’s overall player cost on a high, accelerating and unsustainable curve as well as to create disaffections in the giving the impression that a few overpaid stars are all that the club needs to win laurels.

    Irate Arsenal fans are giving free reign to their anxiousness which are natural – in the light of Arsenal’s preference to do things differently from the way the rich/moderately rich clubs act. While this may be a justification, it has not allowed for Wenger’s long history in proving the prophets of doom wrong ever since he arrived at Arsenal.

    Personally, I am concerned about the hugeness of Wenger’s faith but calm. Indeed, I am happy (not in the morbid sense that some AAAs are) that we’ve started the season poorly (relative to Manc and ManU) because it signals to Mr. Wenger the enormity of the challenge he has taken on so that he will not be complacent at any time in the season. There is also that fact that there is another transfer window coming up in January. May be then, the market would have calmed down a bit; some more interesting players would have been unearthed and the club will more successful in filing its revalidated requirements then. i am happy the club doesn’t pander to pundits and journalists no matter how greatly they think of themselves or their credentials.
    Folks, it ins not the end of the world; just an interesting turn in the unfolding 2015/16 narrative.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think there is enough circumstantial evidence out there to suggest maybe Wenger has looked at high profile players at high profile clubs, including allegedly provided from one of Arsenals board in a weak moment, but maybe these players were not available.
    If benzema were really available for 45mil, and I have heard of no named replacements should Real sell, then there are richer clubs than us that would have bitten. Chelsea and Utd could do with strikers. Other than that, how do we get Bayern to part with strikers, PSG to part with Cavani. I actually heard some on phone ins suggest we sign Danny Austin, a guy with dodgy knees who can only play in a 442. Then there are the Icardi Lacazette officianados.
    Believe me, the future in a crazy market with FFP defunct and major TV deals, is develop your own.
    My only criticism of Arsenal, in the absence of forward signings, keeping Podolski may have been an option?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Shakabula , agree with 90 percent of what you write, but don’t think Wenger has a complacent bone in his body, nor would he rely on Jan transfers.
    I also believe there is a player or two he would have signed if he could, but for whatever reason, it did not happen.
    Over to the players, coaches and medics to live up to Wengers faith in what he has.

  • Menace

    Jayram – you want Wenger to move over. I think it would be easier for you to stop your stupidity about strikers & DMs. Wenger built the squad. Wenger chooses the team. He gets paid to do the job despite the likes of you, TH14 & Piers Morgan who think you know better. Which part of ‘shut up’ do you not understand. Go play in the traffic & take any anti Wenger idjuts with you.

    I prefer Wengers mistakes to your prime ideas. He has created a club to be proud of. By the time the next window comes round there might be an exodus from Chelsea & Abramovic might be on the ‘personna non grata’ list because of events in Ukraine. Stranger things have happened.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    As we wait for the rest of ‘them’ to catch on and get smart , here is a fine article titled ,
    Truths I Learned as I Got Older-

    As I was lying around, pondering the problems of the world, I realized that at my age I don’t really give a rat’s ass anymore.

    If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.

    A whale swims all day, mainly eats fish and drinks water, but is still fat.

    A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years, while a tortoise doesn’t run and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years.

    And you tell me to exercise? I don’t think so.

    Just grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to remember the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Now that I’m older here’s what I’ve discovered: I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

    My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
    I finally got my head together, and now my body is falling apart.
    Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
    Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
    Some days, you’re the top dog; some days you’re the hydrant.

    It was a whole lot easier to get older, than to get wiser.
    If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
    I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.
    Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
    Accidents in the back seat cause kids.

    It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
    The world only beats a path to your door when you’re in the bathroom.
    If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.

    When I’m finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.
    It’s not hard to meet expenses – they’re everywhere.
    The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

    These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter – I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I’m “here, after”.

    Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.

  • para

    Brickfields Gunners 🙂

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Brickfileds: The beautiful thing about Alzheimer’s is that you make new friends every day.

  • para

    Arsenal are building a team, and hope to be able to keep their core players long term. You will see this by the contracts offered to them.

    Remember, the other teams, pool, spuds and maybe others are looking to build a new stadium. Only Chel$ has the money outright. Arsenal has done that now. West Ham got a very good deal without having to be in debt(at the cost of the taxpayers. B Moore was from here was he not? Maybe they are looking for WH to produce another Bobby. 🙂 )

    Anyway, When Arsenal spend money, i think they will be pretty sure the player is worth what they pay(maybe a teenie bit more than they pay 🙂 ). We have many youth on loan, and some of them very promising ready to join 1st team or be sold.

    So, that article someone posted a link to. You know, the one about Silent Atan and Arsene Wenger etc. It makes very good reading, presents a lot of good points too.

    One point: As long as supporters and fans religiously and blindly “believe”, then Arsenal has to do no more than they are doing at this moment, much like all religions do.

    But even if that was really the case, all it shows is that Arsenal is a very well run business, and their owners can be proud.

    Many will be looking more closely at Arsenal in the coming years and Arsenal will have to step up when the right time comes.

    Who decides that time?

    The players!

  • Pete

    Frankantz/Fred –

    1. Who would you have bought?
    2. How much would you have paid?
    3. Which current first team player would they displace?

  • Pete

    Sande Ambrose – How much would you have paid for Ibrahimovic or Cavani?

  • Pete

    Jayram – you have written a lot of words, but they are useless because you have not specified, regarding a striker:

    – Who you would have bought?
    – How much you would have paid?

    Simple questions…

  • Pete

    I see that the fans demonstration outside the stadium against Wenger/the Board/lack of transfer activity was a resounding success…

    Perhaps we should give ourselves (the fans) more credit? Seems to be only keyboard warriors as opposed to real fans who are complaining.

    Perhaps the ludicrous self-important AST should take note as well?

  • Jayramfootball


    Thank you for your post. Pretty reasonable challenge.

    I would say though that I have gone past anger. These days it is more sadness at way the club operates at the hands of Gazidis and Wenger.

    In terms of the finances, we have a different view. I have already written a piece on the finances using the accounts as my source. It shows that Arsenal were never financially constrained. Not even for a year. Yes, they have less money than the cheats at City and Chelsea but the club were never in a position where they had to sell players and have had the money to add to the squad for many years prior to 2013. There was no new era in 2013, just an injection of even more money.

    As far as naming players and fees, I do not feel it is necessary. I do find it somewhat amusing that the challenge to criticism of Wenger or a player is always ‘who could replace them’ or ‘you don’t know what Wenger tried to do’. It is a disingenuous response. Often it is just used as a response because it is a common defence mechanism rather than a consciously disingenuous act.

    The people who defend Wenger using this method also have no information and use no information to argue their point. It’s also common to incorrectly cite terms like ‘burden of proof’. Seen that one a lot. Yet there is no proof that Wenger has tried and failed or whether he tried at all .

    There is only one truth that we know relating to the team and that is the outcome of Wengers management and on the financial side the only truths we know are contained in financial statements.

    In terms of outcome I, like many others including some of our great players of the past, see problems with our strike force. The evidence is there clearly in terms of goals scored not just this season.

    Now in terms of a striker, my position is quite simple. I do not believe a club like Arsenal can not improve upon its current strike force. Note the word believe. We do know that Wenger believes it to be good enough. The truth will come in the outcome. If we go on to score more goals and are successful with what we have then Wenger will have proven me and many others wrong. If not, he will be proven wrong.

  • Pete

    In Wenger’s own words:

    “The problem at the moment is finding the players that guarantee you are a better team.”
    He added: “What happened last night with Monaco, who sold Martial to Manchester United for 80 million euros – Martial scored 11 goals in the French championship – that sums it up well.
    “That means it’s not the money that’s missing at the moment, it’s not the desire of investment that is missing, it’s the number of players available who can strengthen the big clubs.”
    Arsenal were the only club from the top five European leagues not to sign an outfield player in the summer transfer window, leading to criticism from fans.
    But Wenger said: “Am I happy with the investment I make? Yes, every time. I bought (Alexis) Sanchez, I bought (Mesut) Ozil, I bought Cech, I bought Gabriel last year.
    “You have to find the players to invest in.”

  • JohnW

    I thought Arsene is still Manager at Arsenal, and therefore, he knows what’s best for the club. Does anyone think a manager can wish to diminish his chances of silverware, even when the chance is there to increase his chances? In this case, Arsene has analyzed ( and as far as I’m concerned, rightly so)very well his squad and realizes that its competitive. It’s his team, he selects it, so why does anyone want to bulldoze him into buying what he does not want?I still think we will be in the top two this season.

  • GroovT

    Great article. As usual medias applause big spenders. But remember tottenham after bale departure. Every newspaper told you that there were considerably better than arsenal. However it was not the case in May.
    I was among the people who wanted a new striker. However, thinking twice about it, it is not easy to find obvious better strikers than giroud, walcott, wellbeck and Sanchez (who is mentionned as a striker on in an article about tactics today).
    Even Benzema wouln’d be a great choice. There are debates about who is the best in the French national team. lacazette? Unsure if he is better. Cavani? Certainly not a good choice. Apart from Aguero, neymar and suarez i can’t see an obvious better striker than what we have

  • apo Armani

    Theres another way of looking at it – if you are like me an optimist:

    The last time we signed only a keeper (Jens Lehmann), Arsenal won the league 🙂

  • Rich


    Fair enough.

    I can’t go back over all the accounts. Not my forte but I try my best to follow them at the time. Someone posted a link yesterday to just one year’s account (2014) and ,fair to say, it’s about an hours work to give it a proper read.

    I quickly skipped through most of it yesterday and ,while I was surprised to see there is apparently that huge figure in cash reserves, the author of the piece estimated that it worked out as about 40 million we could actually spend on players.

    The other key point was that Utd were bringing in something like 120 million more than us in commercial deals, before their new kit deal of 75 million-per-year started. Ominous.

    So that, combined with the effectively unlimited budgets of the terrible two, is pretty much in line with my understanding of where we stood financially. Fourth ,by a distance, locally, after 2013 when the finances improved.

    My guess at this point is that your interpretation of the figures, and conclusion that we always had plenty to spend, is based on those cash reserves. Clearly, I’ll have to brush up on that topic to arm myself better for any discussion of it!

    In the end, I think it’s impossible to avoid assumptions or something close to that down at this level of argument. At every stage where an unknown comes into it, I assume well of Wenger, you assume something else.

    No doubt, like me, you feel that your assumptions are the product of careful evidence-based study and judgement over the years. But all the same, it still functions much like an assumption when plugged into any argument. Wherever Wenger and unknowns come into it, for me that means a great football manager; for you, I’m thinking it’s more like ‘he may be great in some respects but he also has serious flaws which now undermine him’

    So I imagine him to have gone to great lengths in pursuit of a different striking option, and see nothing happening as proof the market must have been extraordinarily difficult. You imagine either he didn’t see any great need for a striker, or did but didn’t do the work he should have done to bring one in.

    I could get myself in bother with people I respect here for that last paragraph there, revealing as it does my strong hopes we would bring somebody else in. Much worse than that,though, the biggest assumption I make, all the time, is that, well, Wenger sees things as I do.

    It’s not as bad- as arrogant- as all that,though, because my real assumption there is that my thinking is (a) largely right and (b) therefore similar to Wenger’s. So I think ,when I assess the squad and our relative strength to rivals, that I am seeing what a great manager sees.

    Therefore, I think he would have absolutely loved to have found either a striker who was a nice mix between the physical qualities of Giroud and Walcott, or one who, in the elite of the elite terms, was an 8 or 9 out of ten finisher, where they are both about 7 in my book. I think he tried hard and has been looking for years, and that the market is pretty terrible for us.

    People get excited about Gomis going on a good run, but he is not that player, nor, for me, are Bony and Benteke.

    Finally, I can’t quite get your reluctance to name names. In the last couple of years, I’ve found doing so an excellent way to keep track of my success rate, and ensure I don’t get carried away and start imagining my judgement is better than it is or the market is easier than it is.

    Too easy otherwise to, a year or two down the line, take the evidence of one or two players flourishing as evidence we were fools not to pursue them when we had a chance. The success rate is the thing. That’s where the reality of the market for players becomes almost apparent to us outsiders and amateurs. If you picked ten players and two turn out great, that doesn’t prove too much.

    A club can’t operate like that. Or rather, one out of five, two out of ten, is messy and does not a league contender make. Spurs and Liverpool are putting on a clinic of gambling on signing lots of the players available in the 10-30 million bracket.

    The evidence suggests the end result is not enough for the league, or even the champions league for Spurs, and that in time the one who makes it big gets picked off by a rival, with the player citing ambition and the clubs inability to compete.

    Very easy to watch an incredible amount of football these days. I do, and there is a massive shortage of strikers we could have brought in at this point. Keep those fingers crossed it all starts fitting together spectacularly for Akpom.

  • john

    Merson on Sky Sports News talking shite about our failure to buy “top, top” players – presumably they are better than “top” players. In that case, perhaps we should buy “top,top, top” players, or even “top,top,top,top” players.

    I wonder what he gets paid to churn out such meaningless cliches?

  • Menace

    Rich – you mention Gomis which reminds me of Michu. There were all & sundry saying buy this prolific striker. Where is he now? There are many ‘one hit’ wonders in the world of music. Similarly in football there are a few who score in bunches & then lose their touch. What it is really is the understanding of the player & methods to nullify the threat.

    Wenger is a phenomenal individual with intelligence far outweighing that of his dissenters. Not only does his expertise cover holistic football but economics of the business. Yet there are minions thinking they know better.

    Just ask yourself this question. If you were going shopping for a dinner party, who would you choose to accompany you, Wenger, Jayram, TH14 or Rooney? 😉

  • Frankantz

    TH14…no question. I’d be certain Theirry would open his wallet.

  • Frankantz

    Top Top Top is Wengerspeak, isn’t it?
    Still not sure what it means exactly.

  • jayramfootball

    Dinner party? TH14 or Wenger? TH14 any day!

  • Jambug


    September 2, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    “By any yardstick Wenger and this club should be achieving better than fourth place, regardless of what the other clubs are spending”

    Explain why ?

  • Up the Gooners

    Arsenal players getting injured again.

  • Frankantz

    I thought I had…

    1. Longevity of tenure. wenger is the prem’s longest serving manager. He, more than anyone, should know what it takes to win it.
    2. Infrastructure – After building a training facility and stadium that is the envy of europe this team should be well equipped to finish higher than most. So why do we continue to just scrape in ahead of Tottenham?
    3. Money in the bank and 2 billionaires in the boardroom -enough said.
    4. Almost unrivalled constant participation in the Champions League – and yet weve only got near the final once.
    5. London base (part of infrastructure if you like). most players want to live here, and they can’t all go to Chelsea.
    6. Fanbase and revenue – massive.
    7. History- that lot down the Kings Road would kill for the kind of history and class this club oozes. Not important? don’t say that to United and Liverpool.
    8. Widely regarded as one of the most skillful teams in the league. So why are we not beating City, Chelsea and United? it cant all be about the money.

  • Menace

    Frankantz – which part of shareholder club do you not understand. Read a little about company structure and company accounts so that ‘shareholder’ allows you understand that their worth is not owned by the company. Besides only one is a board member.

    The board only makes administrative decisions & gives its officers direction. They do not choose who to buy or who plays on Saturday.

    Point 8. who won the last time we met? Boy, you are shortsighted or blind or perhaps a PGMO mole.

  • Zedsaunt

    Frankantz posts – ”Money in the bank and 2 billionaires in the boardroom -enough said.”

    That doesn’t say anything at all. Having money in the bank and two billionaires on the baords still does not get a team playing football on the pitch. Does the ball stop moving because there’s money in the bank and two billionaires on the board?

    Do pound notes dance on the pitch, swirl in patterns? Do these two billionaires – old Stan and Usmanov – are they going to come on the pitch and play ninety minutes?

    Is there a chap from the bank who runs onto the pitch before the kick off and releases the mint?

    The central fact of football reality is that a team, to win, has to defeat another team. That is the start and end.

  • ColG

    Clearly, one half of the Arsenal fans are deluded. But which half? Only time will tell, but I can’t see any reason to think this season’s squad and therefore prospects are any better than any of the last 9 years’. The arguments to the contrary have all been used before – why should this year be any different? With substantially the same squad, and all rivals having strengthened, to think otherwise seems illogical. Yes, some young players are more experienced, but equally some older players are more past it. Perhaps Cech really is worth 12 points! I now feel blase about the inevitable 3rd or 4th place – a lot of teams would love that, so can’t complain I suppose.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Pete – September 3, 2015 at 9:03 am – Are those people the faceless and silent majority we always hear about ? Well , silence is golden ! And deafening too !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Just because the main shareholders are billionaires , they MUST spend THEIR money on the club ? Really ? Why ? Is there a moral or some other obligation binding upon them ?
    Lets just assume , and it is a justifiable assumption , that they ARE billionaires because they are smart investors and shrewd in their dealings . If they were carefree with their money , and threw it around as hoped by ‘them’ fans , they’d probably end up as millionaires !
    Or worse – just like ‘them’ !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Making money…

    A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a locked chest on top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

    For all of these years, he had never thought about the chest, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

    In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the chest and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the chest. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

    He asked her about the contents.
    ‘When we were to be married,’ she said, ‘ my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.’

    The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two Precious dolls were in the chest. She had only been angry with him two Times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with Happiness.

    ‘Honey,’ he said, ‘that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?’

    ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’s the money I made from selling the other dolls.’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.”
    ― Jess C. Scott

  • Jamie

    This is incredible…. Barcelona, coming off a treble and on a transfer ban signed more first team players than we did. Are we honestly saying Cech was the difference between us and the EPL & UCL last year?

    We can choose to wait till May, but I criticized our transfer window last year and by mid season we had lost too many points to challenge for the EPL. wenger made mistakes by not signing Gabriel in the summer(or a similar player) even though Kos had an injury , and we ended up playing our fullbacks in CB. Now we have Coq(top 3 DM in the league) as our only player in that position that can be trusted, teams have targeted him already this season, and it’s only going to get worse because premier league managers are generally nasty. Are we all going to be comfortable with Arteta and Flamini playing big games if Coq gets injured?

    Another point is the often repeated point that out under-25 players will improve, and that this will help us gain more points… are we assuming that we’re the only team with players that will improve? how many times have we heard that our injury prone players will finally avoid injuries (Jack is injured already) and have a breakout season. Doesn’t the same apply to other teams?

    A general idea is that we were financially restricted in the years after we built the Emirates and so could not compete for titles and had to settle for 4th. How does it make sense that when the money comes along, we don’t spend more than we used to when we were restricted. If spending was the key then, how is it not so now? how is the key suddenly cohesion?

    We complain about inflated prices and we refuse to consider that transfer fees are rising every year. Not spending that money now only means we spend more of it next year.What happens when a player of DeBruyne caliber is going for 70m, will we abandon the transfer market altogether?

    Big investment, big risk, big rewards
    Small investment, small risk, small reward

    PS: I have stated my points without insulting anybody. I would like for any replies to not be derogatory or condescending. Thank you.

  • Richard

    Same people who didn’t consider Welbeck an option, are complaining the loudest because it was reported yesterday he is out for months. With the criticisms, it is always about the one we didn’t sign or play. Or the one out injured

    Get behind the team, and the manager. That is the only way we can achieve success. Never mind rival fans in chat rooms trying to sell the idea we can’t compete after 4 games. Simply because they know their clubs have wasted money buying players just for the sake of spending. In Wenger I trust.

    Bellerin and Coquelin came good last season. Imagine young Bellerin displacing our £12m Debuchy? Why not Chuba Akpom, Alex Iwobi, Hayden, Theo, Ox amd Ramsey this season?

  • Jambug


    September 3, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Honestly, I started off trying to answer all your points, until it dawned on me that almost every point you are making had NOTHING to do with underachieving, and everything to do with spending more money.

    You have made a statement, that Wenger has underachieved, and then made a completely different argument, that we should ‘spend more money’ to support it.

    We should ‘spend more money’, or indeed, whether we had more money, is a completely different argument.

    The 1st fact is we didn’t, or couldn’t or whatever.

    The 2nd fact is, given that, Wengers achievements are remarkable, and FAR FAR from an underachievement.


  • Frankantz

    My points are not all about money. But if thats what you choose to see that is entirely your perception. Money is part of the equation, yes, but only in so far as it being spent when and where its required. A striker right now for instance. And I dont think what I have said is contradictory. I’m pretty certain half of my points are about such inconsequentials as experience, history, skill levels and support. But its understandable that some will choose to lean on the crutch of abject poverty as an excuse for not winning more silverware. I simply dont see it that way. When I say Wenger has underachieved i mean he should be doing better with the resources he has available. Not winning champions league groups we should really have walked in 5 successive seasons leading to tougher games and earlier exits. Losing in crucial cup games to much weaker opponents. These aren’t one-offs. They’re repeat performances. There’s a table somewhere that even illustrates that, after Pellegrini and Van Gaal, Wenger spends more money (transfers, wages, sales) on fewer points than all the other managers. If that’s accurate its pretty damning.

  • Jambug

    I’ll take just one point then leave your to your contradictory opinions.

    “i mean he should be doing better with the resources he has available.”

    -If that isn’t about money I don’t know what is.

  • Jambug


    September 5, 2015 at 1:35 am

    “There’s a table somewhere that even illustrates that, after Pellegrini and Van Gaal, Wenger spends more money (transfers, wages, sales) on fewer points than all the other managers. If that’s accurate its pretty damning.”

    In deed there is, and you’ll find it here:

    You really should know what you are talking about before you dig yourself a hole and then jump straight in.

  • Jambug


    Funny, I didn’t think I’d see you again.