Let's talk about Arsenal's transfer policy—there isn't one.
No club needed a better summer window than the Gunners. They've hemorrhaged their best talent over the last few years. This was the time to move—especially given the fact that David Moyes, Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini are fresh managers and their clubs are perhaps more vulnerable than usual.
But, all too predictably, nothing's happened at the Emirates. Arsenal have become a farce.
Arsene Wenger has become too controlling, but it's the fault of the board of directors letting him do so.
Does he know economics? Yes, Wenger was a very good amateur economist at university. But that's not what Arsenal need him doing at their football club. That's why they employ chief executives—to manage the club's finances.
Wenger's strengths lay elsewhere. He used to be the man who identified targets, developed them into good players and showed them how to play attractive football. It's almost as if Wenger has forgotten that role.
I honestly believe Wenger has been spending as much time on Arsenal's stadium transformation and pouring over their finances as he has on his playing staff. Again, that goes fair and square at the board.
Wenger needs to get back to being a football manager. Look at guys like Mourinho, Moyes and Paul Lambert—they have very little interest in finances. They work within their budget. They know the deal. They get on with the important details.
If Wenger continues to be distracted, Arsenal are going to drift outside the top four. Players like Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott are going to start having their heads turned by clubs with greater ambition.
Right now, I'd say Arsenal fans are split 50-50 on Wenger. The only reason the dissenting number isn't higher is because there's still the hope he might get one or two deals right and make Arsenal title contenders again.
There's also residual respect for what he's achieved in the past, along with gratitude for building the club a new stadium.
Some fans will also be afraid that, if Wenger goes, they won't be able to replace him with somebody worthy. There are only so many Mourinhos and Jurgen Klopps on the market.
But for Wenger to be successful again something needs to change. The geeky professor who arrived from Japan has evolved into the most powerful man at Arsenal. He won't listen to anybody else and his stubbornness is hurting the club he loves.
If Arsenal were going to sack him it would have happened already. Wenger needs to learn the lesson on his own.
Villa Have Got It Right
I was doing the commentary for Chelsea vs. Villa on Monday. You might remember the same fixture ended 8-0 to Chelsea last season—it was a right hammering.
This time around it was a completely different story. Villa lost a well-contested game, 2-1, and suffered two poor referee decisions—Branislav Ivanovic should have been sent off, and Villa should have won a late penalty.
Villa's big improvement this season is down to a cohesive transfer policy, something sadly lacking at Arsenal. They brought in Lambert, who was my choice from the start, and they've allowed him to build a solid foundation for the future.
Lambert's evolution of the Villa squad shows what's possible over a short period if everybody is on the same page. Lambert has a proven record of getting players from lower levels and moulding them into talents.
As for Christian Benteke, I fully expect a bid to come in before the window shuts, but I expect him to stay for one season. My guess is Villa agreed that with him verbally when they offered his new four-year deal.
If they can hold on to Benteke for one more season and he scores 20 goals, we're talking about a potential £30 million player by this time next summer. At that price, Villa would sell and have done some brilliant business.
Some more brilliant business.
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