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Arsenal's Transfer Inactivity Could Prove Disastrous for Arsene Wenger

Matt Clough@@MattJCloughFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal reacts on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on August 9, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s decision to make the club the only one in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player over the summer has been met with much criticism.

The Frenchman’s refusal to sign players is part of his longstanding philosophy of developing youth players, but with expectations at the Emirates high thanks to the club’s substantial coffers, every window he avoids a significant overhaul of the squad is a risk.

The woeful European Championship qualification campaign currently being waged by the Netherlands is a telling reminder that idealism is simply not compatible with the cut-throat world of modern football. Even with Wenger’s legendary standing among Arsenal fans, there’s only so long that he can continue to plead ignorance of the contemporary football landscape.

Although his unshakeable belief in Arsenal’s academy may appear shortsighted, it’s possible that Wenger is taking a calculated gamble. Looking at his refusal to dip into the Gunners’ considerable funds in a cynical light, it’s possible that Wenger sees his self-imposed reliance on youth players as a way of reducing expectations on his team.

However, while Wenger would have hoped that two consecutive FA Cup victories would have bought him more time to allow his current crop of players to mature, the opposite appears to be true. Having been given a reminder of the taste of success, Arsenal fans are in no mood to see their fallow period continue in the league.

Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud (bottom) reacts after missing a shot on goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates stadium, north London on August 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL

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BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

The need for a reliable goalscorer has been glaringly apparent for some time, with Olivier Giroud failing to hit a consistent vein of form in his three years at the club and Danny Welbeck’s injury woes continuing into the near future at least.

Frustratingly, this is one of the areas that Wenger appears most reluctant to supplement with youth players, an issue compounded by promising youngsters such as Benik Afobe leaving on a permanent basis.

Defensive midfield is another problem area, and despite Francis Coquelin’s sparkling form since his return to the club, relying solely on him is yet another unnecessary gamble.

Whether Wenger’s reticence to utilise the transfer market is down to his belief in his philosophy or a calculated gamble that it will lessen the expectations Arsenal face this season, there’s no denying that the Gunners need to achieve beyond “just” fourth place if this campaign isn’t viewed as a wantonly missed opportunity.

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