Make no mistake, this is one of the most tragic Arsenal summers of the last ten years. The manager took his contract right up to the wire and undertook even less preparation than usual.
He had three jobs this window.
One was to sell the deadwood that’s clogging up the squad numbers wise, but also from a salary perspective. My calculations yesterday left that figure at £32.5m in wasted wages this season. You can’t drop net £30.5m in CL money and not address an over indulged squad size (31 players). It is absolutely beyond the pale someone at the club wasn’t working on moving those players on or cutting a deal for them to go for free. So far, we’ve shifted 3 players.
Second job was to make changes to the backroom team. Whether you call it a general manager, a sporting director, or a Director of Football. We needed to hire someone who could be in charge of overseeing the machinations of the playing side. You need someone identifying weaknesses, working on deals to move on players, and taking care of contracts and wage distribution. What did we do? Brought in a contracts lawyer who was briefed to the media as ‘taking the second part of contract negotiations’… a completely pointless hire who has achieved nothing so far. Chambo wants out, Ozil isn’t signing on, and Sanchez is leaving. We’re so f*cked, Wenger is keeping Jack Wilshere on the books. A player who couldn’t make it into the Bournemouth starting 11 come the end of the season.
We also finished 5th last year. We were humiliated on the big stage by a club with similar finances to us. It’s clear our backroom team needed a massive upgrade. So what did we do? We signed a fitness coach to an already strong team (who is working part time, and we paid over the odds for). We gave all the deadwood coaches that protect Wenger’s power structure new deals. We added Jens Lehmann as a token signing for the fans. Also questionable how broad the recruiting process was considering Wenger was undecided on his deal until the last minute. We basically didn’t add anyone with experience to the playing side of the backroom team.
3rd job was to recruit like a demon. Address our failings from last season by plugging clear gaps. We also needed to up the quality of the squad. There’s a reason we finished 5th, and it’s disgraceful that Wenger thinks it’s because of his indecisive and selfish behavior on his contract, because it shows you he’s not looking at his consistent average performances of the last 6 years. Anyway, Wenger has added a grand total of two players. A left back and a striker. He had this to say on his summer.
“I am very pleased with our market because we bought good players who can integrate with our style of play,”
“That’s what we want. On the other hand, it is very difficult. Today, the prices are out of proportion. The transfer market has become very demanding today.
“There is no transfer market anymore because the price depends only on the identity of the buyer and when you are English, you have straight away 50 per cent [extra] on the price of a player and that makes it difficult to act.”
Luis Suarez was out of proportion when we stupidly bid £40m and £1 on a buyout clause that wasn’t a buyout clause. But guess what? Next summer he went for £75m.
The same summer, when we refused to meet Florentino’s £32m price tag for Higuain. He ended up at Napoli, a team with far less resource than us, then moved to Juventus for £90m a year later.
The horrors of Paul Pogba moving for a world record fee… a year later, it’s doubled.
For an economist, Wenger really doesn’t seem to have much understanding of value or market trends.
According to Wenger, it’s been a tough market for 12 years. Same excuses every summer, while other teams simply crack on and get things done. We’re fishing around shooting for perfection both in terms of talent, and the optimum price… and consistently losing out. Thomas Lemar was never going for £40m. Why didn’t we sell Alexis for £60m at the start of the summer, and throw the same cash at the Frenchman?
Aurier for €25m. Matuidi for €20m. Coman €20m. Tielemans €25m. Is this a market we can’t play in?
Instead of playing it smart, we’re trying to pass off keeping players as a strategic win.
We are in such terrible shape, and it’s all because we afford too much power to a man who isn’t winning on any fronts these days. This season will be a car crash, and we absolutely deserve it.
Two things: Read yesterday’s post if you didn’t.
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