This season could be going a lot worse for Arsenal, but there isn’t much of a silver lining for Arsene Wenger and his club. Wenger’s spending policy during the midseason transfer period is a big reason for that.
After failing to do much at all in January, Wenger moved forward with his club looking up at Manchester United in the Premier League table. He promised to “spend big,” but that assurance fell by the wayside with the passing of an uneventful transfer window.
You have to give him immense credit for what he has done. And it has been overlooked that while they have not done well in the cups, they have been consistent in the league. They have won their last three matches. But maybe there has to be a change regarding transfers. It should be done on a more case-by-case fashion. I think the fans deserve that.
Wenger’s recent stance on bringing in new talent hasn’t been a popular one. Time and again his club was linked to big-name players with a lot to offer Arsenal, but no player was ever quite good enough to improve Wenger’s squad and justify spending money.
According to Owen Gibson of The Guardian, Arsenal reported a healthy profit of £17.8m recently, and the club isn’t without extra money to spend; according to Gibson, the Gunners have cash reserves of £123m.
With the FA and Capital One Cups out of the equation, a top-four EPL finish is the best Arsenal can hope for this season. The Champions League looks to be out of reach, and failing to bring in more talent this season (and prior) is a big reason for the mediocrity that has doomed the Gunners’ season.
With fans spending big to watch their club, Wenger owes it to them to adjust his approach to spending this summer. As Gibson points out by quoting the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, fans have had enough of football that isn’t quite competitive enough to challenge for a championship:
These figures contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash reserves. Arsenal fans have contributed to this financial health through paying some of the highest ticket prices in world football. A further improvement in the club's financial strength is expected when new TV monies and commercial deals come on stream in 2013 and 2014. AST members want to see this money used for more and better investment in the team.
In his interview with Stammers, Campbell acknowledged the difference in the approaches of Arsenal and Manchester United as they pertain to the departure of Robin van Persie and his signing with the Red Devils.
“Sir Alex Ferguson clearly looked at what United could win if they had van Persie and decided that if they succeed, that would justify the fee.”
Van Persie is just one example of a player who could be helping Arsenal to an EPL championship this season, but the writing is now on the wall.
The spending has to come before the production. If Wenger expects his club to dominate the league in order to justify spending money, the Gunners are never going to get to that point. He has to be willing to go get the talent that will put Arsenal over the top in the Premier League.
This summer could be a turning point for Arsenal, but Wenger must make a new commitment to do what it takes to maximize the talent on his roster, starting with a new approach to spending for top players.
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