So far, this transfer window – one that Arsenal fans have waited for with the biggest excitement in the last ten years – hasn’t produced any big signings for the Gunners. A lot of players have been connected with the north London side since 1st July but none of them have actually been signed. Some of them will definitely not be able to be brought as they have found themselves more determined buyers (Jovetić, Higuain). Some of them, on the other hand, are waiting for the right bid from Arsenal to their respective clubs (Cesar, Ashley Williams, Fellaini, Suarez – practically, a whole new spine of the team) however nobody can say that will happen.
There is one more person that might sign a contract with the Gunners during the 2013-14 season. He is a French and has a contract already but it’s going to expire in the 2014 summer. And, his name isn’t Bacary Sagna.
Arsene Wenger has entered his last year of his contract with Arsenal. After eternal rumours that have connected him with move to PSG next summer, it seems that the appointment of Laurent Blanc as the new PSG manager has put that rumour to the grave…or at least to sleep. If Blanc fails to maintain PSG among the clubs that will fight for Champions’ League title next year and/or to retain the Ligue 1 title despite the upcoming super-rich AS Monaco, he won’t last for long as he wasn’t among the top 5 choices for the bench of the Parisian club anyway. That’s where Arsene Wenger might receive another call from PSG.
When Alex Ferguson retired, Wenger became the longest serving manager in the Premiership, he has been at Arsenal since 1996. During this time, the Gunners have never ended a season below fourth place. He has won Premiership three times, every time in spectacular fashion, and on five occasions his Arsenal were the second best team in the league. However, Wenger hasn’t won a single trophy since 2004-05 and the transfer policy – mostly due to the huge investment that has been Emirates Stadium – has been rather frustrating for Gooners as Wenger sold his best players and failed to replace them with equal or better quality. One of the reason for that was the socialistic wage structure imposed by the Frenchman that turned out to prevent Arsenal from signing world-class players. Arsenal lost a lot of games due to a lack of physical presence in the defence and midfield or due to the incredible ability of their strikers to miss golden opportunities to score. Wenger has been heavily criticized for his policy and his stubbornness to correct his mistakes but most of these critics could have been denied with a strong financial argument that states Arsenal can’t compete with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea due to their financial power.
Now, after mega-deals that will pump a lot of money into Arsenal were arranged and most of the deadwood cleared from the team, there is no excuse for Arsenal not to act properly and like the biggest club from the biggest city in Europe. All important players are tied with the club, some of them have stated their desire for the Gunners to sign new players and – if we take a look at the statistics – we will start a new season in the Premiership with a 10-match-run without a defeat from the previous season.
Unfortunately, the Asia Tour 2013 has ended and we haven’t signed a top-class player yet. With less than three weeks before the start of the Premiership and two important players out due to injury for some time (Vermaelen and Monreal), we are yet to make any real additions to our small-sized squad (I know, it’s not about size…). The departures of Squillaci and Djourou has left us with just three senior central defenders but one of them is out injured for at least three months.
One man that – according to Ivan Gazidis – has the last word when it comes to transfers claims that our current squad is good enough to challenge for the title even without reinforcements. However this seems like preparation for another season in which we will need a painful defeat that will force Wenger to change his point of view. We suffered two of these over the pasttwo seasons – the first was a horror 8:2 defeat at Old Trafford that forced Wenger to sign Arteta, Mertesacker, Benayoun, Santos and Park and the other was the defeat in the North London Derby against the Spuds that forced Wenger to change his defensive line-up, drop captain Vermaelen to the bench and drop midfielders Arteta and Ramsey deeper in order to form a shield for the defence. As a Gooner, I don’t want a painful defeat to be a slap of common sense that Wenger needs, especially given that we are playing against Spuds at home on August 31st, just two days before transfer window closes.
If we could have learned anything from Wenger’s acts in the last three seasons, it is the fact he does things his own way as long as his minimum goal – Champions’ League qualification – isn’t in a danger. The run-in in which we won 26 out of possible 30 points and pipped Spuds for fourth place and Champions’ League qualification is an argument that he holds firmly in his hands. However, those who watched that run-in shouldn’t forget that in some of those matches we gave an awful performance (Fulham, Norwich, QPR, WBA) or had a lot of luck with referees’ decisions (Manchester United). And, against two teams from the top 6 (Manchester United, Everton) we failed to win.
Ivan Gazidis has already stated that he would like to see Wenger remain as the Arsenal manager for years to come. There have also been reports that negotiations for Wenger’s new contract have started. If I were in charge, I wouldn’t open negotiations with Wenger before the end of March when the toughest streak of matches (Spuds, Manchester City, Chavs) is on the schedule. After the last match in the tough fixture streak, we should know for sure whether there is a chance for any silverware. If there is not, them we should let Arsene Wenger’s contract expire. If, however, we are still in the race for the title(s), I’d hand him a new three-year-contract.
Conclusion: I want Arsene Wenger to fight and earn his next contract with Arsenal. It’s simple as that.