The new Premiership season is likely to bring a number of surprises, both to supporters and to gamblers, but one thing that seems eminently predictable is that Arsenal will continue to fall behind their competitors in the Premier League unless they spend some money in the summer. Of course these two issues are inextricably linked, as it is clear that the club has not replaced vital players from the glory days – such as Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry – with players of comparable quality; but this leaves fans wondering why Arsene Wenger appears so reluctant to spend.
Of course it could be argued, probably quite rightly, that too much money is spent in the Premier League – but no one could realistically accuse Arsenal of that. The club is in a healthier financial position than most of the other top clubs, but the price that they are paying for this is on the field success. One argument that has been put forward to explain Wenger’s reluctance to spend is his desire to bring through young players, so that he can mould their development every step of the way; but the problem with this is that, in order to get the best from young players, they arguably need to be balanced with experience – which is where Arsenal have been found lacking over the past seven years.
A manager of Wenger’s quality and intelligence can scarcely fail to be aware of the need to balance youth and experience however – not least because it was that balance that marked his great Arsenal teams. Therefore, many have searched for alternative explanations; with one being that he is covering for the unwillingness of the board to make money available. If this is true, it would represent a first in the history of football – making it doubtful for many observers. The expected loss of Robin Van Persie – on the grounds of the club’s lack of ambition – may at last prove the catalyst for a change of transfer policy at Arsenal. The worry around RVP seems to have created some sort of buzz as the additions of Giroud and Podolski seemed to show a real statement of intent of goals goals goals. If only they could grab Yann M’Vila from Rennes Arsenal really would be a potent threat next season.
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