A Guest post by Eduardo (stolen from the comments) I have no shame.
Since the upturn in form in the second half of the season the thought has occurred to me many times, and was only reinforced by the outstanding performance in the FA Cup Final, that this summers transfer window will probably be Arsene Wenger’s most difficult. yes more difficult than when the rats Cesc and Nasri jumped ship, much more difficult than when the skunk ran off to ManUre.
You may say in those years we were handicapped by both a lack of money and of not having the sex appeal to make us desirable to world class players, not to mention that we had to contend with Man U, Man City, Chelsea in England who could all pay bigger fees and much bigger wages, and then we had Real, Barca, PSG and Bayern who could do the same across Europe.
But the reality was that we were only battling with them in the transfer market in one way, and that was in our attempts to keep our best players, which we were unable to manage, we certainly were not battling with them for new signings, we just could not compete with them, and in truth we really still can not.
Back then the players we were after and could afford did not interest any of those mega rich clubs, Arteta, Per, Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski etc were not given a second thought by any of those clubs. Those players were not expensive enough, they were not big enough names to gain interest from the sugardaddy clubs. They were the next level of player, but they were exactly what we needed and what we could afford. With the disloyal scampering all over the place to get away from Arsenal, we needed good pros who wanted to be at Arsenal, who knew we were a step up from where they were, and who would give their all for the chance to play for us. This made convincing said players to join us a fairly easy job, it was a bigger job to convince their clubs to sell them to us, and in some cases it took the intervention of the players themselves to force the transfer through.
I think some of you will have already spotted my trend of thought as to why this summer will be Wenger’s most difficult. Simply put, Man U, Man City, Chelsea, Real, Barca, PSG and Bayern are still all able to spend more, pay bigger wages and offer what looks like a better chance of success to the world class players, and that is the core problem, cos we now are at the level where to improve on what we have, we will be competing for players that will be of interest to some, most or all of those clubs.
We are told Arsenal need a young David Seaman in goal, a young Tony Adams to lead the team from CB, a young Patrick Vieira to drive us on from CM and a Thierry Henry in his prime to shoot us to the titles and CL’s we all want. Now no one has yet explained the three big things here,
1. who are these clones that we should get,
2. why are their clubs willing to sell them to us,
3. why would these clones join us over the mega rich clubs
For me Arsenal are very close to having the best squad we ever had, but getting those few extra players of real quality to make it so, has never been harder to pull off.
On Saturday Arteta, Debuchy, Chambers, Rosicky, Diaby, Podolski, Campbell, Sanogo, Jenkinson, Welbeck Hayden, Akpom and Martinez, were not even in the 18, and Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini and Ospina did not get any game time and I would contend that in those couple of seasons of deserters we often fielded a match day squad worse than that lot
Debuchy, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs
Campbell, Rosicky, Podolski,
subs: Martinez, Hayden, Diaby, Jenkinson, Sanogo, Akpom
So I suggest that we have real squad depth, and to improve it will mean bringing in real top quality, the sort of top quality that all the other big clubs will be after too.
Having said that, I fully expect the likes of diaby, Podolski and Campbell to leave Arsenal this summer, others likely to go too, I will not be surprised if its announced that Arteta is joining the club on the coaching side, maybe a player coach, some of the young lads need loan deals and Jenkinson is likely to at best get another loan deal, so there is room for us to bring in one or two who are not world class, a la James Milner, but this sort will not on their own bring us to the next level, another Ozil/alexis type quality signing will help more, but who ?
And that is why for me this summer is likely to be Arsene Wenger’s most difficult transfer window, but for all the right reasons, and not cos of money grabbing traitors, rats and skunks