Reading through all the current stories on Gooner News, and looking at today’s posts on the RedAction news group it is clear that a substantial majority of people who post articles believe that the Lord Wenger is no longer a Lord, and not even a Sir, but in fact little more than a guy who once had it but has now lost it.
The posts call him stubborn, stupid and a lot worse, and return to the theme that we heard all through the summer – that the club needs to sign, and sign big.
Mr Wenger has made just one comment on this that I know about – that through the summer every major club in Europe was looking to buy a centre half of top quality and no one could find one.
But today there was a second insight into the problem for the story has just broken that 15 members of Chelsea’s scouting division have been sacked, as the club pulls the plug on its attempt to catch up with Arsenal’s famous “world-wide scouting”. Their chief scout and director of youth development, Frank Arnesen, has been asked to “justify his position at the club.”
Now you might remember that just after A Cole was tapped up, so too was F Arnesen, and in the end Chelsea had to pay £5 million to the Tiny Fantasists for Arnesen’s services – a world record fee for a scout. In fact the same amount as the Tiny F’s had to pay for Harry Hotspur.
What makes this so very interesting is that after 3 years at Chelsea the only result of the Arnesen revolution is Argentine forward Franco di Santo who is now in the first team squad. That’s it, after 3 years.
I pull these points together, because I wonder how many people have really thought through in depth what will happen if the chant that we heard at Stoke of “Wenger out” is taken up by a significant number of people who go to Arsenal matches and he decides to walk.
The notion from these commentators is that as a club we should spend, spend, spend, but as Wenger himself has said, and Chelsea’s action reveals, there simply aren’t the players out there that are worth buying.
The reason is quite simple: there is a limit to how much better players can get. Of course there is the occasional genius like Theirry Henry, but they stand out because they are occasional. Arsnesen can’t find them, Wenger can’t find them – they are not there. We have more or less reached the limit of speed and skill, and there are few players who go much further.
So we would spend millions upon millions buying players that are no better than what we have. That would lead us into difficulty financially eventually, and so we would invite in Mr Usmanov, and rival Chelsea in that way…. and that still doesn’t guarantee a victory in the league, as Chelsea found last year.
I must admit that emotionally I like the idea of bringing in young talent and moulding it into the players of the future. That way we don’t have to wait for a year or two for players to mature into the English game – they are there already. I also like the fact that we didn’t have to pay £25 million for Cesc – which is what we would have done had we had a Chelsea type set up.
But if I set my emotions aside, I still can’t quite see the alternative to the Wenger approach. I can’t really see which manager is available that is a better manager than Wenger. I can’t really see who we can buy, and I really can’t see the benefit of having a club that is beholden to the wealth of one man (as per Chelsea) or loans from banks that are themselves in dire trouble (as per Manchester and Liverpool).
What I would love to see is a reasoned argument that tells me who the new manager would be, and why he would leave his current employer to join us, what players we would sign, how quickly they would settle in, and what guarantee there would be of financial stability.
Maybe that’s too much to ask, and maybe that’s not what the silly twirp who chanted “Wenger out” at Stoke meant. Maybe he meant, “I’ve had too much to drink so I am going to say something silly”, and maybe the guy who hit him felt the same.
Whatever he meant, I don’t really think he is right.
Here’s a final thought. I personally always rated Pires as one of the greatest players I have ever seen, and I believe Henry at Barca is less of a player because there is no Pires to play alongside. But Pires in his first season with us was very average – he took a year to get going and there was no certainty he would. And since he left every attempt to find a new Pires has failed – possibly until now with Nasri.
That’s how long it takes now – everyone is on the prowl and it isn’t easy to find the best players in the world, and persuade their clubs to say, “yes, sure, of course you can have him, he’s a genius, but really, we don’t want him. Take him, please do.” I wish it did work like that, but it don’t.