Who’s next for Arsene Wenger?
In the third and final part of The Beck’s trilogy of posts, Arsenal’s most recent signings are revisited and the timely question raised: has Arsene lost the ability to sign players good enough for Arsenal Football Club?
In 2010, we signed Squillaci, Koscielny and Chamakh, as well as Miyachi, Wellington and Lehmann.
Squillaci looked more solid than Koscielny in the opening games of the 2010-11 season, but Koscielny has grown like a beanstalk and has shoulders the size of Mount Everest. We now look at him with pride as he plays with heart and quality. Squillaci had 3 average seasons and didn’t manage to make a good partnership with any of his defensive colleagues.
Chamakh had a very good start to his career, but Robin came back from injury and made Chamakh’s career outlook quite bleak; he has never shown promise sufficient to return to the squad or the first team.
Miyachi was given out on loan and has come back looking bright and many are hopeful of good performances from the raw winger.
I’m not sure Wellington exists, but if we get to see him play, I’m told he has nice feet (people at the shoe shop love him).
In 2011, we had a quick dash at the last minute and Arsene opted for Santos, Mertesacker, Arteta, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Benayoun, Park, Eisfeld and a certain Thierry Henry (a further blast from the past).
We also gave Frimpong, Meade, Neita, Monteiro, Martinez, Hajrovic, Ebecilio, Rees, and Hayden chances to make the grade but only Martinez and Frimpong remains though Frimmy’s days now appear numbered.
Santos never was a solid left back for us. He was an attacking alternative to Gibbs (who got injured a lot) and left a lot of space behind. He was never quite received in the same way after he ill-advisedly hugged van Persie and swapped shirts with him at half time during a key competitive game.
Park Chu Young, scored a goal for us versus Bolton and after that, well I don’t know if he continues to exists either.
Gervinho had erratic form but showed his true value in his second season following a good set of displays towards the end of the season. He’s now left for Roma for a few million less than we bought him.
Jenkinson looked incredibly raw when first bought but has grown into a fine, attacking right back, though he probably has a few years to go before he truly learns it all.
Benayoun was for one year a great squad player, popular with the fans and crucially helped us get into the Champions League.
Arteta and Mertesacker have been revelations. They’ve found themselves in positions where they are consistent and show the qualities they have of reading the game perfectly.
Eisfeld looks a quality player, but is very young and whilst I say he might need years to learn the other tricks of the trade, if the boss feels he is ready, he will be ready. Same with the rest of them.
In summer 2012, we added Podolski, then Giroud, and finally Cazorla. This was followed by Monreal in January of 2013. Monreal has proved to be a stable option at LB and much more so than poor old Santos.
Podolski appears to have had a decent season considering he was apparently carrying injuries for most of it. He has a terrific left foot and whilst his movement didn’t seem great enough to play through the middle, it appears he is forging a brilliant partnership with Olivier Giroud.
Giroud could have scored a lot of goals in his first season. Like many strikers coming in and adapting to the league he had a decent tally but the second season is often where you see the development of a great striker in his mid-twenties. He has a great first touch touch and a terrific finish.
Cazorla has been different class, a signing that just personifies Arsenal in so many ways.
In 2013, so far, we’ve only signed Sanogo, but I am 100% sure in a couple of weeks things will look very different …
The whole point in me writing this, was to show the thinking behind most of the moves at the time and how at the time they may have been the best option considering the budget and the availability.
I also wanted to showcase how many signings Arsene gets right because people often paint it as though he doesn’t get signings right anymore. I think partly this is because good players get sold but people live with the idea that the sale somehow cancels out the fact that Arsene Wenger signed that player, made him world class and then was either forced to sell him or wanted to sell him because the club had moved on and he wanted to find the player and the club a solution.
It seemed only a few were not of the quality Arsene Wenger wanted. The ones who were, stayed and many of them went on to develop and became world class. Those who did not, were either sold, or were loaned out. Our perception of events are often skewed by personal wants and needs and misunderstanding of causes in the past.
When I go through each of those signings, considering what our situation was (both in a sporting sense and financially), I find that Arsene got many right, that the ones he got right, made our club bigger and better and more financially stable. I find that the ones which he got wrong, whilst we were winning trophies, didn’t seem to matter as much.
Initially, I personally believed that between 2006 and 2011, Arsene’s Wenger’s ability to spot a signing had deteriorated. But looking at history, it appears that he’s always got most of them right, especially those he spent a considerable amount on. When you are financially restricted, either by your own club or by the market (or according to some observers, by yourself), you will find it hard to get the best players.
I think our way of self-sustaining, which led to us selling a whole starting 11 of key players of the last 8 years (especially from 2009 to 2012) with some not even reaching their prime under us, has had a devastating effect on the perception of supporters and the team itself.
I don’t believe he has lost his touch, certainly not based on the entire list I just went through.
I originally believed he had lost his touch prior to this research. But perhaps this is just a personal perception due to player sales and injuries. And most importantly, trophies.
Trophies tend to change your perception of a manager’s ability.
The scouting system has changed, we have more competitors and they’ve caught up with both our business and the business of other clubs. We’ve had competitors that make us seem financially poor, even though technically we’re not.
But despite all of this Arsene is still pulling the likes of Koscielny out of the bag, putting faith in the likes of Ramsey, and finding ways for old-timers like Rosicky to find rich veins of form. Mertesacker, who was often criticized for lacking pace, is now lauded for his tactical abilities, due to partnering him up with a fast recovering Frenchman. And finding steals like Cazorla, even in 2012, when his normal price should have been around £30m – and perhaps even more considering this crazy summer.
Arsene is now in a position where he can buy more than one Reyes. He can buy 4 of him and he can afford that one or two might want to go back to Spain because they miss the weather.
I believe he will get even less wrong with more financial capabilities and we might see an Arsenal who has young players that are under less pressure and have great players to learn from.
The only way is forward so I have no idea why everyone is so nervous.
The Beck can be found on Twitter @The_Beck_
we are scaring off CL winning Brasil international players because they are not able to get in ahead of the midfield we already have.
This site is a sanctuary of sanity. I’m going to read a book till the football starts tommorrow.