It appears as if the Gunner brain trust, or lack thereof will be focusing on trimming more deadwood from the squad, and working to resign current team members in the dying days of the summer of ’17 transfer window instead of choosing to bolster the team by injecting some much needed creative talent before the window closes.
During the past week pundits, bloggers, and armchair managers the world over are offering up their strategies to assist the team of their hearts to glory on the pitch. We Gooners tend to pontificate more than the average diehard due to the sedentary nature of the much maligned Ivan the terrible’s transfer strategy. Arsenal have paid 52 million euros in transfer fees this summer for two players ( Kolasinac arrived free of charge). 52 million is nothing to balk at, and if we were West Ham United fans it would be considered a summer of significant intent towards a higher league finish. Unfortunately, we are Gooners, and 52 million is not nearly enough. We spent just under 90 million last summer and still trailed Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United by a sizeable margin. This season we are trailing the aforementioned clubs by an average of 125 million pounds, but the pundits will blindly chastise the club when we struggle to finish ahead of clubs who spend four to five times the amount that we do on new talent.
I am an enormous Arsene Wenger supporter. I believe that he is pound for pound one of the finest managers to ever grace the Premier League and European Football on the whole. Although, I was relieved to see him sign one last two year contract with the Arsenal I am perplexed by his strategy pertaining to transfers during the current window. I cannot understand why he would resign to manage the club if he was not going to be able to procure the talent to compete for the title. It is not 2009. We are not hamstrung by the Emirates Stadium construction restrictions. There is more than enough money in the coffers to spend freely, yet he continues on with the same pragmatic, spend thrifty transfer policy.
Wenger commented earlier this week that his priorities for the rest of the window were to trim the squad down, resign players whose contracts were set to expire, and that the team was filled with excellent players and that he would pursue only extraordinary talent. Is Francis Coquelin extraordinary, is Mohammed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Danny Welbeck? Extra ordinary yes, extraordinary, no.
Alexis Sanchez will not resign, no matter what Wenger offers. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will not resign, regardless of what the team offers. Mesut Ozil will consider resigning if the squad takes the necessary steps forward. There is 115 million pounds on the table for Sanchez and the Ox. It is time to cut our losses before we lose both players next summer for no compensation. I’m not the general manager of a football team but I know that trying to resign players who have made up their mind that the exit door is the one they want to walk through makes no sense. We purchased Ox in the summer of 12 from Southampton for 12 million pounds, and Sanchez in the summer of 14 from Barcelona for 38 million. That is a grand total of 50 million, by selling them both this week for 115 million represents a 65 million pound profit after getting some productive years out of the players, Sanchez in particular.
It is clear that Sanchez and Chamberlain alike lack respect for Wenger or the Club, when City, Chelski, and Liverpool represent their chosen landing sites. Sell Sanchez abroad to PSG, and The Ox to Chelsea so that he may ride the pine and then go out on loan to Norwich next season when they can’t find consistent playing time for him.
The only problem with this school of thought is if you are not going to sign anyone of consequence you might as well hold on to these expiring contracts. I laid out a feasible strategy earlier this week for recouping quality for Sanchez and for the OX, In the form of Draxler and Rabiot from PSG and purchasing Seri with the proceeds from the Ox sale. Unfortunately, it appears we will head into this season with the squad we have, staring down the barrel of some enormous holes in next season’s team. While United, Chelsea, City and even Everton have strengthened considerably and are still mulling around an additional signing or two before the window closes.
I love Arsenal, I love the squad, the boss, and most of all the crest. I support them ardently and defend them staunchly. However, If I’m honest I don’t know how we can be expected to compete for the title with the lack of quality in the midfield compared to our title rivals. Compare the likes of Xhaka and Ramsey to United counterparts Pogba and Matic. The gap continues to grow by the year. We needed Seri at the very least, even a Ross Barkley, but now it looks as if the strategy is trying to convince our current players that we are title contenders as is. Good luck.
As the window draws to a close, I see one last viable option to inject some creativity and firepower into the side. Barcelona have deemed Arda Turan surplus to requirements and have even go so far as to waive any transfer fee to get his exorbitant wages off their payroll. Turan is the right winger we have lacked since the days of the invincibles. Contact Barcelona, negotiate terms with Turan’s representation and get him signed immediately. He is a world class talent, who has a chip on his shoulder to show his worth to the world after a less than prolific spell at the Nou Camp and most importantly he is free.
I have nothing left to say, hope is almost lost. Get something done for us the fans, if for no one else.