Arsenal Fans Right to Be Angry as Arsene Wenger Reaches Last-Chance Saloon
On Saturday, Arsenal Football Club confirmed what the large majority of fans had been fearing for 90 long summer days.
Squad depth absent, star quality absent, injuries piling high and fan disgruntlement at unprecedented levels, Arsene Wenger is in a rather uncomfortable position.
An opening-day loss to Aston Villa—a team who scraped clear of relegation last season and finished in 15th place—compounded the misery, and with injuries to Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sustained, the Gunners head to Turkey to face Fenerbahce in a sorry state.
There's a chance Arsenal will play the first leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier—they had to win eight out of 10 games at the tail end of last season to earn the right to play—with just two fit defenders.
This, plus the fact that despite boasting £154 million as a cash balance, only Yaya Sanogo (free) has been signed, is making Wenger's position as manager close to untenable.
"Spend some f***ing money" was the chant that rang around the Emirates Stadium late Saturday afternoon, and one fan in particular made his feelings clear on Arsenal Fan TV (warning: expletives used).
Wenger has been at the club so long it was always difficult to envisage him leaving at the end of his contract in 2014, but recent events point toward his exit.
As per ESPN, the Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) has again urged the club to halt contract negotiations with the manager and instead focus on the transfer market:
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis has spoken of the intent to offer Wenger a new contract. We believe this is inappropriate. The entire focus must be on using the remaining days of the transfer window to strengthen the team significantly.
Ambitious football clubs invest the money they receive from their fans, and sometimes their owners, to make themselves stronger.
Arsenal supporters pay some of the highest ticket prices in world football, providing the club with considerable financial resources, but the ambition and ability to use them appear to be missing.
The statement sums the situation up perfectly, encapsulating the wide divide in what both fans and board feel is the most important course of action.
If reports are to be believed, Arsenal have bid for a number of players this summer only to be blown out of the water by asking prices, wages or competing suitors.
These failures, in combination with the mass release of deadwood this summer and injuries sustained, leave the club with around eight players who don't have injury concerns ahead of the Fenerbahce tie.
Arsenal need players, and if Wenger doesn't spend between now and the end of the summer transfer window, it's difficult to see anything other than mass opposition to him signing a new deal.
The opening-day loss, the stack of injuries and the paling reality of travelling to Turkey with a botch-job first XI is the last straw for Arsenal fans. Their grievances are both legitimate and reasonable.
Wenger has a big 12 days in which to save his reputation, but the damage may already have been done.
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