Quite a bit to race through today, so first up, we’ll tackle the news story from the Arsenal Times about wage structure. Basically, the jist of the article is that the board are willing to stump up big transfer fees but they’re not willing to go to the next level with wages for players. Now some of the article makes a lot of sense. The idea that salaries should be restructured this summer is something that I alluded to last week. Firstly, I don’t for one minute believe that the strategy for doing that was Arsene Wenger’s idea. He believes in paying everyone similar wages. The idea for changing the way we pay players would have come from Gazidis.
Now, looking at what we’ve done so far this summer, you can see that happening. We’ve been trying our hardest to ship out the middle earning dross. Eboue, Denilson, Almunia, Squllaci and Nik Bendtner have hall been put on the list of players to go thus freeing up a fair whack of salary. From what I understand, Ryo, Alex OC and Joel Campbell have all come in on aspirational wage levels. They’ll have to play well for the big money. This leads us onto the big boy wages that apparently Wenger can’t sanction. Well, I’m a bit confused here. Firstly, it’s apparent to me that the reason Nasri and Cesc are leaving go beyond just money. Nasri has gone on the record saying he wants to win trophies, Cesc took a pay cut because he was stagnating.
So the idea that Wenger has been thwarted because of a pay ceiling feels like another nonsesne excuse to get him off the hook. The idea that we’ve been scouting Cahill, Jagielka and Samba for the best part of two years, even up until a week ago, and we don’t think they’re good enough is also a nonsense. Simple fact is, the squad is falling apart because of Wenger’s lack of ambition in the transfer market. Vieira, Thierry, Hleb, Adebayor to Nasri and Cesc all leaving for the same reasons.
He could have signed Parker, Cahill and Enrique for £25million. Our squad would have been vastly improved with those additions. Parker is a great player to have round the squad, he was the player of the year last year, he’d be a perfect replacement for Denilson. Enrique is a big powerful left back who has Premier League experience. He’s good on the ball and he has far superior distribution to Gibbs. He is a vast improvement on a left back that can’t see out more than 3 games in a row. Cahill is fast on the ground, he can play the ball out of defence, he’s the right age and John Terry reportedly told Chelsea that he’s good enough to play for them. He’s a horrible person, but lets not pretend he doesn’t know about defending. Also, not better than JD and Squillaci? Do me a favour…
None of the above players would have broken our pay ceiling, all of the above would have joined.
Talking of this supposed pay ceiling, is this the same ceiling that pays Wenger £140k a week? The same ceiling that paid Thierry Henry £10million in his final season? The ceiling that reportedly paid Cesc a £3million loyalty bonus last summer and was planning on giving him a £4million bonus this summer? We might have a basic pay ceiling, but there’s no evidence to suggest we don’t do workarounds.
I’ve heard two things, number 1 was that Mata didn’t come to us because of salary. Now would that be because we didn’t want to match his demands, or two, that if we gave a Spanish 21 year old that money, we’d have to give Jack and Ramsey similar money very soon? The second thing I heard and reported on this Saturday was that we’d look to bring in Eden Hazard before the window closed. Rumours from his agent say he’ll be advising him to stay. If I was Hazard, I’d be thinking… I’m young enough to make a name at Arsenal, if the worst happened, I’d develop as a player and I could move again. It’s a no brainer to come to us.
Anyway, simple fact of the Mata is that I don’t believe it’s wages stopping Wenger. I have no idea what the issue has been, but it’s something we’ve watched time and time again. The team is on its knees and it doesn’t need to be. Everyone at the club is flat and the only man responsible for this is Arsene Wenger. He needs to pull his finger our and fulfill in the biggest 9 days of his career.
He can still turn it around. The biggest worry is this Wednesday. We’ve got the good news that Jack is back in contention, Rosicky should be around and Alex Song, Gervinho and Frimpong can all make the trip. I’m still very worried about the game though. The Italians walked through us on numerous occasions the other night. They’ll take great joy in watching Liverpool take us apart at the weekend. We weren’t great against the Scousers. We created virtually zero. Ramsey is our chief creator and that’s not really his natural position. It’ll be interesting to see if Nasri is on the plane over there.
One thing I refuse to believe is that Champions league dictates our policy. If we don’t make it, Nasri is our Champions league revenue for the year, that still leaves us £50mill to spend.
If Wenger is going on this rumoured massive spree (Mirror) it shows the money was there from the start. If he signs Hazard, M’Villa and Jagielka, those are 3 players that were there before the season started and three players that earn well below a £100k a week. Why weren’t they purchased in June?
Wenger has 9 days to make a difference… If he doesn’t, two things will happen, one, I doubt he’ll last the season. Gazidis said Wenger is ultimately accountable to the fans, if this goes wrong, expect a massive showing of dissent at the Swansea game, especially if the United and Udinese results aren’t favourable. Problem two will be that our other players, Theo, Song and Robin won’t re-sign and we’ll have to sell them next summer. Now, I’m not fussed about two of those 3, but their transfers would be symbolic. Two players we’ve suffered with for years leaving to give their prime to someone else… again.
It’s up to Wenger. He controls the future by making sure the present is well equipped.
Armed with cash and intent, he’s one of the best.
Come on Wenger… prove us all wrong.
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