According to Arsene Wenger, the Gunners are beginning a new cycle, and still stresses the importance of sticking with Arsenal’s youth policy with investments made in the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson.
After a crazy transfer window that saw seven first-team players head out the door permanently, nine were brought in to bolster the young, inexperienced side that was also hit with serious injuries to key positions. Wenger believes that this is essentially the beginning of a new era for the Gunners after the club brought in established stars in the final days of the transfer window. Wenger reflected on the summer just passed at a pre-match press conference:
“We were a team on the up and that was not rewarded last season because we were maybe too hungry to go forward for four trophies. But the basic qualities were there and we were certainly very close to winning last year.
“Then we were suddenly hit by major departures. And so we had to review and just with the injuries we had with Jack Wilshere out, with Abou Diaby out, we couldn’t survive without buying players. And the players available now have more experience.
“So the cycle starts again because we have taken five players. But we have invested as well, our highest investment has been in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a young player. We have the work permit for Ryo too, so we will not give up on our youth policy.”
On whether Arsenal should be challenging on all four fronts this season:
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“I agree completely but we want our fans to be happy, we want to win trophies and we will give absolutely everything to do it, that’s all I can say.
“Is the balance difficult to find? Of course. But look at the Champions League results of all the English teams – it is not as easy as it looks to cope with both.
“For me [standing still is not an option] and in the modern society a cycle takes zero days. But I will judge myself by giving the best of my intelligence, experience and commitment to the Club and after I let other people judge what I do.
“At the end of the day and at the end of the season you know yourself whether you took the maximum out of the team and the team’s potential or not. I want our fans just to be happy and you make your fans happy if you win things and if you win games. That I think is that.”
This is certainly the beginning of a new era, but it feels like we have taken a massive step backwards and are now starting from scratch with Oxlade-Chamberlain our new Cesc Fabregas, who will eventually become a great player and be sold back to Southampton for a cut-price fee in one of Englands longest transfer sagas ever… just joking. But seriously, we need a team that can challenge with the best in the next year or so, but in order to get there we need to qualify for Champions League and still have a successful run in the Cup competitions to entice top players to stay/come to the Emirates, do you think we have a team to do this? When Wilshere and Vermaelen return I think so, but Wenger and the Arsenal board need to buy at least one more long-term star that is already establishing a name for himself like Gotze, Hazard or Martin. The defense is nicely bolstered now, just needs a little tweaking and we need stability and commitment from our current players.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that Wenger is heading is in the right direction with continuing the youth policy and placing his faith in developing these players the ‘Arsenal way’? Or should we splash the cash like the other top clubs?