After a long and painful season, the time has come for us all to admit the truth: We really did suck as a team sometimes this season!
Yes, we're in fourth place, but not too long ago we were chasing a quadruple. Lofty ambitions you may say, but they weren't so lofty when we were firing on all cylinders in February.
It is no longer an issue of "where did it all go wrong" as it will seem that all the flaws in the team are plain to see. Rather, the more important question is "how can we fix it?". What really is wrong with Arsenal Football Club?
It is obvious that change is needed, but what kind of change? A new manager? New players? A new board? New thinking? Or a new philosophy?
In my own opinion, I believe we need all of these, but only in the right measure.
I do not subscribe to the thought that we need a new manager. I believe that Mr Wenger is still the best man for the Arsenal job. However, I do think that he takes too much responsibility for the inadequacies for some players (his players) and the Arsenal management.
Based on performances alone, some players who have turned out in the red and white of Arsenal this season, or is it yellow for away games, don't deserve to be professional footballers. This also extends to goalkeepers. Read Manuel Almunia here!
Even if the so called "dead weight players" are shipped out, of what good is it if they are not replaced? It would be criminal to repeat the mistakes of 2007 and 2008 when players like Flamini, Gilberto and even Lassana Diarra left the club without being properly replaced.
It took us nearly two seasons to recover from that, as we were forced to wait for the likes of Wilshere and Song to develop properly.
For me the worst case scenario is for us to do nothing. Our current priority is to secure the future of our first teamers. Players like Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri need to be tied down to new contracts as they have a year left on their current deals.
If this doesn't happen, I expect the club to ship them off to the highest bidder to avoid them leaving for free in the summer.
Arsenal have been known to do their transfer business either at the beginning or at the end of the transfer window. Last year, the club swooped in early for Chamakh at the beginning of July and signed Squillaci at the close of the window. I do not expect it to be any different this year.
However, the longer the contract negotiations are drawn out, the more difficult it will be for the club to act swiftly and we run the risk of losing out on key signings to the squad.
Arsenal have several players out on loan at other clubs and apart from Benik Afobe, Henri Lansbury and Rio Miyiachi, I do not think most of the others will make the grade at Arsenal. Let's face it, this is Arsenal Football Club! I do believe that Hull city will make a bid to sign Vito Mannone on a permanent basis and I think the club will be willing to sell even though he surely has potential to be a great keeper.
Rangers have shown signs that they would like to take Kyle Bartley on loan again and to be honest, I think that will be a good move for his development. As for the others, the sooner we can get them off the wage bill, the better. The funds saved on them can be used to invest further in the squad.
It is one thing to speculate and it is another for the club to make the right choices. The price increases will bite harder given the fact that Arsenal haven't won anything in six years.
Many season ticket holders are also putting up their seats for sale and I wonder if the club will be able to sustain the "reported" attendances at the Emirates stadium.
Till then...Victoria Concordia Crescit
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