Arsenal fans have made it abundantly clear to the club's hierarchy they view summer signings as a higher priority than a new deal for Arsene Wenger, following the club's shocking home defeat to Aston Villa.
As disappointing as the Gunners' transfer failings have been this summer, it was still not expected that they would suffer a humiliating opening-day home defeat against Villa—a side battling against relegation for most of last season.
With a growing injury list that now includes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is potentially sidelined for six months according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, fans are desperate for new signings to boost the Gunners' prospects and view such matters as a firm priority.
Arsenal's title rivals are now already three points ahead of them, and anything else can take a back seat to transfer dealings, which includes contract negotiations for Wenger.
The Gunners manager is out of contract in 2014, but Ben Curtis of the Daily Mirror reveals an understandable frustration from fans over news of possible negotiations and includes a statement from the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust:
In recent weeks Ivan Gazidis (chief executive) has spoken of the club’s intent to offer Arsene Wenger a new contract.
The AST believes this is inappropriate. For now the club’s entire focus must be on using the remaining days of the transfer window to strengthen the team significantly.
This is a perfectly acceptable stance for supporters to take. They have seen their once unbeatable side continually plucked of star performers such as Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, while all around them rivals strengthen.
Too much has been invested on promise and potential—with Yaya Sanogo the latest low-profile addition—and too little on the peak ability needed to thrust Arsenal back into contention. And it's all come during a time when the club's fine financial health has been a frequent topic of discussion.
As Sam Lee of Goal.com notes, this theme is evident during the latter part of the statement, which continues:
For several transfer windows now Arsenal have not used all the resources available to strengthen the team.
Arsenal supporters are dismayed by this continued lack of ambition most notably illustrated when the manager describes fourth place as like a trophy.
The failings we highlighted in Wenger holding far too much power have only been amplified in recent weeks. These must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Reports in the Daily Star of interest in Monaco's Radamel Falcao—potentially available due to the French club's tax disputes—will boost sections of support, but many will doubt their club's ability to compete with the other teams involved. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are also mentioned as interested parties, if indeed Monaco are suddenly forced to sell.
For all the illustrious achievements during his early years at Arsenal, eight years without a trophy is clearly a major blemish on Arsene Wenger's record and is something fans aren't going to stomach much longer.
As innovative as so much of his initial work was for the club, most of those foundations are in danger of being deemed irrelevant due to the progress of rival sides around them. Wenger needs to add major players to this current squad, and he's quickly running out of time to do so.
It seems the prospect of another year without silverware, coupled with no Champions League football the following season, would be too much for supporters to take.
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