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The Summer of our Discontent
By Ian Trevett
There is no doubt that this summer has been a disaster and it is a bad time to be an Arsenal fan. Manchester United has spent in the region of £60m. Chelsea and Manchester City are about to splurge their limitless cash any day now. Meanwhile Wenger is counting his pennies, refusing to invest in his flawed squad, stubbornly clinging on to the piggy bank while the club faces a period of stagnation and decline. Our big players have seen the writing on the wall and they want out, ready to desert the sinking ship.
Does that sound about right? I think it sums up the consensus among the majority of on-line gooners and the ranks of the TV, press and radio media. But is it true or is it just paranoid ranting?
For a start let me nail my colours to the mast. The way we fell away at the end of the season was unacceptable and there is no doubt that the club needs some new blood. The ability is there but the belief seemed to be lacking. Some players definitely went missing at the end. So there are issues to be addressed.
But has the summer been a disaster? ‘Who knows?’ is the simple answer. Has anyone had a great summer? So far, definitely not. The business hasn’t been done yet and reports about us falling behind in the transfer window have simply been made up.
Most of the anger seems to be based on what fans think Wenger will do, rather than any knowledge of what he actually will do.
In truth, the window has yet to come alive for anyone.
Manchester United have been held up as an example of how a decisive transfer policy can pay dividends. Well they have spent some cash, but is their squad actually any stronger than last year? They have replaced a retiring keeper (they hope), added a defensive back-up and bought a wide man (to replace Giggs who will be eased out).
But they haven’t replaced Scholes. Are they any better? They have better cover for Vidic and Ferdinand, but I don’t really see them as being any better. Would we really be celebrating now if we had bought Jones and Young? If they can get Schneider I will be concerned. But as I write they haven’t.
Chelsea have bought a reserve keeper and a Barcelona reserve player. So what! In fact the most important news on the player front is the loss of Essien for the bulk of the season. Their midfield remains heavily reliant on Lampard. They may get Modric, but as I write they have bought no-one of short-term significance.
Man City look closest to a major signing in Aguero, but as I write the main news out of City is of Tevez trying to leave and Balotelli being an idiot.
Liverpool is perhaps the only club that has upped the quality, with three midfield acquisitions: Adam, Downing and Henderson. This does represent an improvement but they were well off the pace last year and have a lot of ground to make up..
Spurs have been very quiet. The only news is Modric’s flirtation with Chelsea.
And Arsenal? We have bought a forward plus a reserve right back and lost a left back. We will have a struggle to keep a couple of key midfield players Again hardly spectacular.
Looking at the summaries above just proves that the summer has been incredibly slow for everyone.
I am impatient like everyone else. But that doesn’t mean the summer has been all bad news. One big deal will probably kick-start the whole market. And then we will have a better idea about where the club is going.
Until then any comment is just hot air based on completely unfounded speculation. Frustrating it may be, but I’d much rather the manager takes his time and gets it right.
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