Arsene Wenger has to take a large part of the blame for Arsenal's shambolic summer in the transfer market. Ivan Gazidis and the rest of the board have to take a huge share as well but I'm going to concentrate mainly on Wenger's contribution, otherwise I'll be here all day.
The man has had 3 months to find players and buy them. And to do this he has had around £80m to do so and a huge amount of wage money freed up. The club have had no excuse not to buy players. Wenger keeps coming out with comments like saying there are a shortage of quality players out there and saying they're looking but can't find anyone with the quality to play for Arsenal etc etc. It's complete rubbish, there are obviously quality players out there who have been available this summer. The fact that our rivals have gone out and bought a variety of them is evidence of that.
This week we lost out on Luiz Gustavo, a player who has just won the Champions League, Bundesliga and Confederations Cup with Bayern Munich and Brazil and is a strong, experienced, quality defensive midfielder who is energetic, battles well and breaks up play effectively. That's just the sort of player we've been crying out for years and we just let him go somewhere else when we could have had for a small fraction of our available money.
Then there was Marouane Fellaini, an equally brilliant and accessible option for Arsenal, he had a release clause of £23 million but did we snap him up? No, we dithered and cheap-skated out. Either that or we didn't even have the intelligence to recognize he was a player that would have been at least a good signing for us.
Gonzalo Higuain was available but Wenger and the club were so tight and unwilling to pay a penny over the asking price that we lost out on him. Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney are want away players but we haven't really seriously gone for them. We've bid twice for Suarez but not bid enough and not gone back in for him for the last 3 weeks or so. Then there's the likes of Neymar and Falcao out there. I'm not saying they'd come to Arsenal necessarily but the point is there are "top top top quality players" out there.
There's Lars Bender, Bernard, Jovetic, Paulinho, Soldado, Schurrle, Capoue and Benteke. All players who would improve Arsenal so Wenger coming out and saying there are no players to buy is laughable. Especially for a manager renowned over the years for being able to find players from nowhere and turn them into stars, someone who has had a wide scouting network and he's telling us he can't find players and even saying other clubs are having the same problems. All of the clubs around us have found players to improve and we haven't. We're the only ones who haven't found the players. It's unacceptable.
It's the broken promises and the missed opportunity that gets me most. We have the chance to really kick on this summer, we've got this huge financial firepower and been told we're going to spend big and ambitiously this summer by Gazidis and then come the opening day the only player we've signed is a 20 year old French striker from Ligue 2 on a free. It's like we've been given a Porsche and are refusing to drive it, we're sticking with our cheap Mini Cooper.
Not only that but it's been an opportunity to capitalize on big managerial changes. Man Utd have lost Ferguson and Man City and Chelsea are adapting to change, and we haven't taken advantage. The board make these promises and then take a dump on us by breaking them. I'm starting to come along to the extremist thinking that the only reason they said all that stuff was to get fans to renew their ridiculously expensive season tickets and that the club is all about making money. They don't seem to care much what happens on the pitch as long as they're making a lot of money. As long as we're in the Champions League we've succeeded it seems is the attitude. There's not enough ambition to improve the team and achieve footballing honours and trophies.
It all seems to be about making the money, it's like a business and I feel so distanced from our club as a fan. I've never been so disillusioned with the club. The manager is coming out with more bizarre quotes by the week, he's rested one of our best players on the OPENING DAY of the season, not prepared tactically at all for Villa's obvious counter attack game and has us ridiculously unprepared for the start of the season for the 3rd season running. I just can't comprehend why we haven't got our business done before the season, or at least some of it, so that we are prepared and ready for the new season. We've already lost 3 points because of that lack of preparation. We go into the second weekend of the season with one available centre half and disillusion and frustration surrounding the club. £80m is burning a whole in the club's pocket and they aren't doing anything about it. It's just utterly crazy. Not signing any players is doing a lot more damage than signing a couple that Wenger thinks might be too expensive for their value.
It's maddening and the manager isn't even under pressure. Any logical club with sense would at least have their manager under pressure in this situation but not us. Our lack of ambition absolutely astounds me.
(Image source: Telegraph, Sunday 18th August, URL: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02646/Arsene_Wenger_2646660b.jpg Accessed 18/08/2013)