By Tony Attwood
No, Arsenal are not slipping behind in terms of ideas on who we could buy – over 70 players coming in according to the media thus far. And of course there is still more than a month to go before the window creaks into a closed position (or “slams shut” as the media so love to put it). But even so, thus far, the window is not looking very exciting.
And indeed compared with the rest of the top six from last season, things don’t look too impressive, neither in terms of spending money nor getting any in through effective sales.
In the list below only transfers for money included – no loans, no frees, no retirements, and no end of contract players are listed…
|Buying club||Player in||Cost||Player out||Buying club||Income|
|Liverpool||van den Berg||£1.3m||Camacho||Sporting CP||£5m|
And of course we have lost a number of players including
- Danny Welbeck
- Julio Pleguezuelo
- Stephan Lichtsteiner
- Cohen Bramall
- David Ospina
- Jordi Osei-Totu (on loan to Bochum)
- Aaron Ramsey
- Bayli Spencer-Adams
- Daniel Ballard (on loan to Swindon)
So why is nothing happening on the incoming front.
Reading through the blogs that do occasionally look for explanations rather than just put down gloom and doom and disaster all the time there are a range of reasons…
1: Kroenke really is the problem.
If this is the case it is an enormous problem. The owner and his family hold the purse strings and so control the club. The owner’s history with his clubs is awful with a disregard of fans and heritage that is hard to imagine, even when printed in black and white.
And because, for the previous two years, some Arsenal supporters dedicated themselves to kicking what was (in my view) the wrong target (Mr Wenger) that means that all credibility in terms of supporter behaviour has been lost. A loyal and dedicated set of supporters of the club, the manager and team turning en masse on the owner would be one thing. A group of supporters who spent two years blackening the name of the manager now turning on the owner because it turns out it wasn’t manager’s fault after all, looks like ineptitude, an inability to see where the real problem is, and a simplistic desire to kick anyone when things go wrong. Passing stray cats should watch out.
My view (which of course is just my view, nothing else) is the Kroenke is most likely to be a huge problem, but of course I could be wrong.
2: Do not sell to Arsenal
We looked the other day at the possibility of transfer deals being made in which the deal includes the agreement that the buying club will not sell a player to Arsenal in the next five or ten years. Of course if that is true it might also be imposed by other clubs in deals – we are unlikely to know. But if as a result of Mr Wenger’s brilliance at turning unknown, moderate or failing players into extraordinary exponents of the game, such conditions have been imposed on certain clubs, that could be causing us difficulty.
3: Inept senior management
This is really hard to judge, although it is often given as a reason for Arsenal not buying certain players after it has been touted in the media that Arsenal have put in a low bid and refused to up the bid in the light of offers from elsewhere. It seems unlikely to me; after all, why would our top negotiators be so bad while most other clubs manage to employ key men who can get the job done?
4: Players don’t want to come to Arsenal
There is most certainly something in this, as can be seen by the disparity between our home and away form in the last couple of seasons. How could a team that was only slightly behind Liverpool and Man City in terms of home form be behind Crystal Palace and Leicester when it comes to away form? Psychology and preparation must be part of the answer. Maybe we simply need a new psychologist.
6: The big deal is yet to come
Of course we won’t know until the transfer period is over, but maybe this won’t be such a bad window afterall.
7: Change positions – Iwobi to central midfield
Tactical changes have occasionally been made at the start of a new season with considerable effect, and one that has been talked about of late is using Iwobi as he is used on occasion by his country, as a midfielder not as a winger. Players have often been moved around with great effect. It can happen.
8: £40m was just a story
It is quite an amusing thought that the whole £40m maximum for transfers was a story put out by Arsenal, in order to deflect attention from real deals that were going through and to help push down the prices of players we want to buy. If it was, we all probably owe an apology to the negotiators. If not, then the promise that all the years of austerity caused by building to stadium were for nothing, and we should certainly be letting the board members who sold their shares to Kroenke know what we think of them. They will be the biggest betrayers of the vision of Arsenal since the new board took over the club in 1927 and overturned the previous vision of a club owned by its supporters, which had existed since the club’s founding as a limited company in 1893.
Willock, Nelson, Smith-Rowe and Nketiah are the most obvious players who could be seen by the management as ready to make an impact this season. In effect they could be rotated so there is only one youngster in the team at any one time, except for Europa and League Cup games where they could all come in for more experience. There is no sign of them going on loan, so that would seem to be the intention.
We were very unlucky with injuries to our defenders last season – something that is rarely noted in the media. Bellerin we know is almost back, and will be followed by Holding. Chambers did look promising at first, and then lost his way – maybe he is now returning from loan with some of his original form. We haven’t seen much of Mavropanos but he is very much listed as a first team player. And it is possible that just having Bellerin and Holding back in the team could totally transform the defence.
So maybe it will all work out in the end. I’m not sure, but I do like to try and be positive. It just makes life more enjoyable.
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