So Arsene Wenger had a few interesting things to say during his press conference yesterday.
Firstly he said that he puts his team before profits.
“At the end of the day I feel that [profits] are an internal matter,”
That all sounds pretty good to me but sometimes I wonder how true it is?
You do have to ask whether he is forgetting that he sold Diarra to Portsmouth because of profit. I can’t find the quote, but I remember he was asked why he wouldn’t loan him and he said something along the lines of, ‘you couldn’t guarantee he’d get first team football if he was loaned’…
So he was essentially saying Arsenal would end up lumbered with a worthless player if he failed to get a first team spot at a lesser club (Aliadiere is a prime example of this). So we sold him in January to maximise the profit.
Wenger said this in December,
‘I understand the frustrations of players who don’t play but at the end of the day I will do what is best for the club. That is my first responsibility.’
Would responsibility to the team include keeping players who will be useful, even if they are unhappy? Fergie didn’t flog Ronaldo when he kicked off after his behaviour during Euro 2006 (I know Ronaldo is a better player, but Diarra was still important).
Wenger also took time out to talk about the fans,
‘People pay a big price to watch a football game and they don’t care how much money you make or how much money you lose. It is down to you to do the job of making this Club survive and to give the fans what they want when they come to a football game – enjoyment. That is our responsibility.’
Again, I completely agree with what he is saying but he is missing the biggest part of what we enjoy… winning trophies! We’re not Newcastle fans, we don’t go purely to see a good game… Our footballing style is a tremendous bonus, but like Chelsea fans always say, ‘I’d prefer our trophies
and souless club, to your pretty football’.
Now, I am not criticising him, I am merely pointing that he maybe a little off the mark when he suggests we only go to enjoy the spectacle.
He went on to talk about the management of finances.
‘I was never in a club with any deficit. I spend what is available and not more. If it’s not enough, it’s not enough. But that’s the basics for every manager for me at the start. You cannot put the life of a club in trouble or in danger because you want to buy players that you cannot afford.’
He is doing a great job managing our finances, but I think the club has grown to a sufficient size now where if there is a player we wanted… and the price was inflated (Like all great players prices are)… we should compete. I know that sounds silly, but if the price is inflated and big clubs are willing to pay it, its normally because they are worth it. Okay, I know there are flops, but Torres ain’t half bad, Rooney is okayish and Tevez is doing the business. All players we could have competed for.
When the summer comes, will we be in for Benzema? Doubtful. Will we be in for Sammy Eto’o? Not a chance. Will we sign an established star to compliment our youth? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Wenger reckons after he secures his current players he may add to the squad,
‘If I can add one or two more and I have funds available I will do it. But the first priority is to keep the team together and the first case I have not solved yet is Flamini.’
… that quote should go into Wengers famous cliché’s… Its as famous amongst Arsenal fans as, ‘I did not see the incident’ and ‘The spirit in the team is great’!
Its all by the by, but I just thought he kind of contradicted himself a bit. We can’t argue with his success this year so far, but it would be nice to be able to compete on 4 fronts instead of two, maybe this is the summer where we start acting like a big club in the transfer market.
Onto more important things. His comments about Flamini’s contractual position were not as positive as I’d have liked! Citing Flamini as a problem that has not yet been solved doesn’t fill me with confidence! He is key to our future success, replacing him would cost millions and I’m struggling to think of a player capable at the moment?
Still, in Arsene we trust.
Today it is Birmingham. Wenger has not revealed who will take up the reigns in goal, but many suspect it will be Almunia. Most people on the site yesterday were in favour of Almunia between the sticks, because he has had a great season so far and his pacey distribution has been missed.
When Wenger was asked if Lehmann would retain his place he said,
‘Come to the game tomorrow and you will see.’
Trying to shift a few extra tickets eh?
He had this to say on the state of the squad,
“From Wednesday night we have lost Kolo and Emmanuel Eboue through injury and suspension,”
“We have no-one really back from the squad who played in that game apart from Manuel Almunia.”
So I am predicting a 4 or 5 goal haul. I think we’ll come out of the blocks desperate to bang a few goals in and get the ManU game well and truly out of the system!
How good does 8 points clear sound!
See you in the comments section!