George Graham has launched a stinging attack on Arsenal’s title winning credentials by claiming the Gunners need to admit to their fans that they can not compete financially with the big-guns of the Premier League.
The former Arsenal boss believes the trophy drought will continue unless they can change their ways to keep up with the massive wages offered by the likes of Chelsea and the Manchester Clubs, and this can help to prevent future star players leaving every summer.
But one thing Graham does not blame on the Gunners is the contract predicament with Robin van Persie that has seen the Dutchman edge closer and closer to an Emirates exit, however the Scotsman believes it’s time for the striker to be sold.
He told Sports Talk Tonight TV:
You have to sell Van Persie and move on, and Arsenal need to tell everybody that they can’t compete on the financial aspect, that they can’t compete with Chelsea, Manchester City, even Manchester United.
If the club have to sell their top player they also have to tell their fans it has to be done this way. Last year it dragged on with [Cesc] Fabregas and players were brought in late and Arsenal had a bad start, culminating with an eight-goal hammering at Old Trafford.
With Van Persie it needs to be done and dusted, he has made his statement, he has said the club lack ambition so the club need to get the best offer they can and move on. Van Persie has another year left on his contact and Arsenal tried to negotiate.
The way it works is they would have come to him with an offer six months ago, but he is not prepared to talk about the finances. He knows he can get a better offer elsewhere but it’s not just about an offer it is about winning trophies and Arsenal haven’t won a trophy for five or six years and that comes into the equation, whether the club are ambitious enough.
What more could Arsenal have done with Van Persie? I am not sure they could have done more, or if I would have done it any differently.
I can see where Graham is coming from, however Wenger has admitted time and time again that they cannot compete with the likes of City and Chelsea for wages, with their previous pay structure and philosophy of developing players aimed to help the club through UEFA’s FFP rules which should hopefully be enforced in the coming seasons. However they have admitted they are changing their wage structure in order to cater for more expensive players.
Arsenal’s inability to hold onto top talents is increasingly becoming an issue, and while many Gooners are hoping Van Persie will see out his contract this season, it seems inevitable that he will be sold this summer.
So should Wenger be going public and admitting Arsenal can’t compete financially with the best like Graham said? He already has. But will the Gunners challenge for the title next season? Yes, they definitely can even without Van Persie. They managed to beat a host of Europe’s top clubs last campaign, and now they will be a stronger unit with the additional signings this coming season.
If Van Persie is indeed sold off then Wenger will be busy in the market once again, and hopefully they can bring in at least one more versatile defender and perhaps one of the linked Brazilian attacking midfielders!