The transfer window has slammed shut and Arsene Wenger has done the unthinkable. Wenger, whose public perception is that he detests the transfer window and everything it entails, has taken his reputation to new heights.
The Arsenal manager has gone throughout the summer transfer window without adding a single outfield player – the only manager to sanction such an action in Europe’s top five leagues.
Before I go into the manager’s flaws, a few myths that remain among Arsenal fans must be banished if we’re to get to the bottom of what has been a shambolic window.
Wenger controls the club. Despite the presence of the board headed by an absent American owner, nothing around the club moves without Wenger’s command.
Chairman Sir Chips Keswick highlighted as much in our last AGM: “If Arsene has a plan we back it, if he doesn’t have a plan we keep quiet.” (via the Express)
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Also, the financial situation at the club is healthy, largely due to the investment from fans through ticket prices and matchday revenue. We can compete with the richest clubs.
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Wenger, on a number of occasions, has highlighted that we’ve entered a new financial era and repeatedly states that we’re now able to fight for the best players.
“Now we are competing with everybody on the financial front,” Wenger told Sky Sports during our tour of Singapore.
With those myths put to rest, just how can a manager of a team that finished 12 points off the Premier League champions – having not won England’s top division in over a decade – feel that we’re not in need of any outfield players?
Wenger may point to a lack of availability on the market, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea adding players.
Are those clubs in more of a need to strengthen than us? Are the likes of Arturo Vidal, Douglas Costa, Arda Turan and Raheem Sterling players who are not good enough for our squad?
Wenger may say that the players listed above operate in a position we’re currently not in need of strengthening, something which could’ve also been said before we signed Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
These clubs have won trophies in recent years we can only dream of getting close to, but they seem to strengthen year-on-year despite possessing squads filled with sensational players in each position.
When the argument is put in that context, Gary Neville labelling Wenger as “arrogant” (via the Mirror) seems like a justifiable criticism considering what has transpired.
But the worrying part of all this is that Wenger genuinely believes he has a squad capable of challenging for the major trophies, which is, quite frankly, delusional.
How can we possibly compete with these clubs who are already ahead of us by standing still while they strive to improve their squads?
If, as Wenger’s supporters will inevitably argue, he doesn’t necessarily believe this squad is capable of winning the league, why doesn’t he address our deficiencies? Deficiencies that have been prevalent in our squad for the past four years.
The only subsequent explanation, then, is that he cannot identify players capable of strengthening our squad – a major flaw in his line of work.
With modern football providing managers with a huge database and access to many players, if Wenger cannot find players around the globe better than Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta or Olivier Giroud, having been given five windows to rectify these areas of our squad, then he’s professionally incompetent.
We can shout as much as we like as fans, but the truth is that we have a man at the helm not capable of competing at the top level of football in the modern climate. And, more importantly, there isn’t a single soul at Arsenal who is able to tell him that.
Every single manager in European football is accountable to a club official – except for Arsene Wenger.