Like clock work, the annual… Arsene has failed > but dun ya worri we spending a warchest simple fns. (See the Le Grove Warchest Classics Lists).
Fuck me, how amazing is this.
Read this article: Link One
How far did you get before you realised it was from last year?
The interesting twist this year is that the stories have stoked even more anger than normal because the players being linked are so underwhelming, you have to look back to Stepanovs to reinvigorate any enthusiasm for what we’re planning.
Now, I know that it’s only early doors. But look, here’s the thing. The ‘warchest’ stories don’t leak for no reason, across multiple papers on the same day. Think what you like about journalists, they’re paid meet people. The club use them like pawns through the season in exchange for exclusives. That doesn’t mean they’re not critical, but it means they’re often onside of the club. Patrick Barclay wrote an incredibly offbeat story last year about how great Wenger was that he admitted at the AST Meet up was total nonsense.
I’ll give you an example, there was an article on sports channel website recently that outlined how Arsenal fans owed Wenger a debt. Basically indicating we’re spoilt. Do you think that journalist really believed that? No chance. But look what happened yesterday. One of the biggest leaks yet… spend, names and reasoning. Massive exclusive. Which keeps his paper in the spotlight. Which keeps him relevant.
So you’re rewarded with information. And look, all the major players are in the trusted circle. So regardless of whether they’re getting accurate information, they are getting information. This idea that journalists earn six figure salaries to make up stories is, in the main, a nonsense. That’s not to say they might not take an against the grain opinion to help out their club. But the information, of the major club journalists, is almost always from a proper source.
Also, whilst we’re on this. The idea that if you get a transfer story wrong, you’re a liar and a fraud is also wrong. Buying players isn’t like buying a loaf of Hovis, it’s like buying a house. You have lots of houses you look at, some are in price, some are out, some are waiting on other houses to be dropped, some look like you’re nailed on to make the purchase, then they collapse. It’s a complete chance act with no guarantees. That’s not to say it’s as embarrassingly complicated as we make out. It’s just to say that the list of players we’re looking at now may change, because that’s the nature of the beast.
Now, let’s have a look at the list. Chambers of Southampton to replace a 31 French international. Drmic of Leverkusen, to compliment Giroud. Manzuckic of Bayern, a man deemed surplus, as our star striker. Tom Cleverely. Chris Smalling.
The warchest? £70m! We’ll have £180m by the end of the summer. What does £70m buy you these days?
What are the above players achieving for us? We’d have a better finisher in Mansuckic, but for me, no pace. Where are we injecting power into or set up? Where are we injecting rocket fuel into the mix? Where is the strategy in that mix of players?
Now I’m not pertaining to have the answers. But that list doesn’t inspire me. That list doesn’t say ‘well thought out Arsene’. It doesn’t scream world class anywhere. It doesn’t scream ‘upgrade’. You know what it screams? Smart arse and cheap.
You can say things like, ‘wait until September’, a line about as annual as the warchest story. The point is, I have no faith in Wenger and Steve Rowley to deliver what we need. Their scouting abilities have dwindled. They have way more misses than hits and they don’t shop for the right attributes. Even the hits are so obvious, any football fan could make them. We haven’t replaced Robin Van Persie for the best part of 4 windows. We’re still rocking along with a 3rd choice centre back who Arsene clearly doesn’t trust (and it shows in TV5s play). We haven’t replaced Alex Song. I love Flamini, but there’s a reason Wenger isn’t playing him much at the moment, instead opting for Arteta. We have no natural wide players. Where are the players that actually want to play on the wing? Where are the pace setters? Obviously we have one player in Theo. Pace in general. Where is it? We have runners in Rambo, Ox and Theo but it’s simply not enough.
Where is the balance in the squad? Why don’t we have an adequate back up at right back? Why are we scouting players like Viviano?
Here’s the thing though. Our demise isn’t simply about players. It’s about Wenger and his inability to keep up. Warchest stories serve two purpose, firstly, they keep the season ticket holders interested. But let me drill down a bit further on that. It’s not about keeping me or you happy, it’s about keeping the corporates happy. How many genuine season ticket holders are going to sack in their ticket? It could take 5 years to get it back if things pick up. No, these stories, for me, are aimed at the box holders who can take their business to another club. The not so hardcore hospitality people. The club levellers who have two seats for clients.
Secondly, the ‘warchest’ creates the illusion that the only reason we don’t compete is a few players. In The Mirror article, it clearly states Wenger feels our season has been let down by injuries. If your army is depleted because soldiers keep getting injured in battle, do you just bring in more soldiers, or do you perhaps investigate why you’re men are incapable of dodging danger?
Forget the premise it’s just players that’ll plaster over the incompetence. The truth is a mixture of signing the wrong players, which sadly, I have to report, is all the fault of Arsene and his team. He employs the scouts, he makes the calls, he trains those guys. But the reality is, even if Wenger did have all the players, he’d still be an old school manager and he’d still have all the same failings. Great players can’t make up tactical deficiencies. Great players aren’t immune to exhaustion. Great managers make the difference at the highest level… and we don’t have one these days.
Bayern Munich lost 1-0 to Madrid yesterday. They dominated the game with possession but failed to get in behind Madrid. They were lambasted for being one paced and predictable last night. That’s one of the best teams in the world, who have just smashed their league, who are one down in a semi against Madrid being lambasted. Think of Bayern, now think how far away we are from them?
This season was a monstrous failure mainly because it was a monstrous chance to power on and take advantage of the mess that was going on at all the other top clubs. This is was the season stability was supposed to be king. This was the year we finally had a chance to take advantage of a settled squad.
We didn’t do that.
So now we head into a transfer window with a Liverpool side armed with Champions League funding, United armed with a new manager and £150m to spend, Chelsea with a manager who has been telling the world his disgracefully talented side can’t compete all year so he can carve cash from his owner this summer and a City side who probably won’t fail FFP and will probably ignore and spunk all the cash this summer.
… and we’re sitting there telling the world we’re going hard with £70m for Tom Cleverley.
Sorry if that doesn’t give me a footballing hardon. Sorry if I find this totally predictable. But for me, that’s life as an Arsenal under Wenger. Total, utter predictability from transfers, to injuries, to tactics all the way through to the end result of a season.
Arsene needs a Director of Football. Someone to run these ideas past. Someone to shoot down some of his ideas. Someone who has the experience to deal with him.
It’s a shame. But at the very worst, all we have is two more years of this. Then we can all look forward to Arsenal 2.0. A new vision, fresh ideas and a break from predictability.