3 years for Arsene Wenger? Do what?

by .

Commemorative Nike Shirt

Commemorative Nike Shirt

Well, well, well… Arsene is going to sign. This wasn’t news to me, or to you. What was new was the length. 3 years. 3 bloody years he’s been given (article).

Now, I know we won the Cup Final. It was great. I went. I felt the immense relief. I loved every damn second. But three years? How did that happen? I could take two. But three? Based on the season we’ve just had? Well, it’s an odd one for me.

On the face of it, if you look at the season as a result with no context, it wasn’t so bad. We won the FA Cup, which is always great. We also secured the top four trophy. How can I complain when we’ve just wont the double?

Well, scratch beneath the surface and actually, this season was  a huge missed opportunity.

Stability:

Pretty much all the teams around us had replaced a manager. United were clearly weakened with their dreadful appointment, Chelsea were in transition, City were trying a more daring brand of football and Liverpool had just had a summer of discontent and Spurs are just Spurs. The door was open for us to do some damage. We did for a bit, then it bombed.

Players:

Arsene spunked out a huge amount for a superstar, which was fantastic, it’s just a shame that superstar wasn’t particularly well thought out and that he was brought in as a  panic signing. You can’t have an Ozil if you don’t have a pace monster to aim at. Ozil needs to play balls into space, he’s having to play into feet at Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s recruitment policy last summer was a joke and it was even more shambolic this January. When you need a striker and you end up with a Swedish journeyman with a broken back, you really have to be asking some questions. For me, it was an unforgivable way to blow a Premier League we could have won.

Striker wise, sure we were disappointed not to land Lewandowski, Rooney, Higuain or Suarez… that doesn’t mean you give up. Swansea signed the powerful beast that is Bony for £12m and Newcastle picked up Remy. Two players that, although not world class, certainly would have been better than nothing. The planning showcased by the manager has been atrocious.

Fitness:

It’s pretty damn clear these days that the fitness issues we have stem from not having the right people in place at the club. I watched a warm up session a couple of weeks ago that looked less effective than a Sunday league warm up. If that’s the extent of what we do, no wonder we pick up so many issues. We’ve suffered with fitness on many levels this season. We don’t keep our key players fit, which is the obvious starting point. Arsene doesn’t rotate his squad effectively because he doesn’t trust the depth.

We’re also doing something wrong when it comes to recovery. We’ve set up plenty of times this season with no energy, which is partly down to having players that don’t have the right attributes physically, but also down to the fact that they just don’t have any energy because they’re being drained somewhere in the set up. What are we doing with players in training? How can Atletico have such a small squad and still operate at such a high level in every game? Something is up and it’s probably to do with the fact our fitness guy is not a world class expert in his field, he’s not a performance expert trained to maximise players. I doubt he’s ever questioned. I doubt he has any answers to our car crash injury pile up. How do I know? Because we consistently bomb with the same problems every year.

Tactical Set Up

Again, I don’t want to weigh into this too hard, because it’s so damn obvious, but the way we set up and prepare for games is a joke. Dropboxing players video analysis is embarrassing, setting up the same damn way in every game makes us predictable and easy to pick apart… and at the highest level, we’re totally flawed and we are constantly exposed. Losing on aggregate to the top team away from home by 20+ goals is not progress. It’s pathetic. We need more focus on the element of surprise. Do something different. Do something clever. Unpredictability is such a dangerous tool if you know what you’re doing.

… I know what you’re thinking. What about the weekend? Sure, I’m with you. We switched up to a 4-4-2 on 60minutes. Which was a great to see. If we had better players to bring into that, we’d have killed that game in 90minutes. Arsene needs to build on that.

Moving forward

So I’ve heard on the grapevine that Arsene has taken control to the next level, and the staff are going to all have to get Arsene haircuts, even the bald ones. He thinks it’s a bonding tool. Improve the solidarity. Everyone is getting an ‘Arsene’. So no changes there. What I want to know, which I know I’ll never find out, is what control has Ivan taken back here? Has this new deal just been given to him? The never ending contract. You go when you want to go style? Or has Ivan made some demands. Because for me, giving three year deals to people like Colbert and Peyton seems outrageous? What changes are they enacting? Where is the new expertise coming in, because what we have right now is clearly broken.

On the players front, what are we doing? I’ve heard that things are going to be big and we’re going to go big before the World Cup. Now, we heard this last year and it all went tits up, that’s not to say they didn’t try. So that’s good news from the start. If Wenger brings in bundles of pace, a top striker an amazing DM and a brilliant right back, I’ll start to get excited. He needs more than that though. The squad needs building out. We need a great bench. A starting 11 isn’t the issue, it’s the squad. Let’s get a proper back up keeper. Let’s get some real experience that have the attributes we’re looking for.

For me, to compete at the highest level, we need to have a big squad loaded with ‘now’ experience. 3 players isn’t enough regardless of who we buy… because we’re losing at least 6 names. We need to make a big splash. Go BIG, like you did in 97. Like you did in 2001. Like you did when you won things. This myth of ‘more than three names upsets the apple cart’ is a total bollocks. It lifts the club, the fans and the players. We need buzz in that dressing room. We need to challenge… because mark my words, if we don’t, we could find ourselves out of contention next year very early. We had the bulk of our team fit and fresh against Hull and we couldn’t kill them in 90minutes. That says a lot about how good we are.

Liverpool might not make the top 4 next year, but Manchester United almost definitely will. Louis Van G will spend £150m on top talent this summer. He’ll make them tick. He’ll get them back competing. Chelsea will bolster and spend money, they’ve already made a very smart addition in Diego Costa, they have their striker. Manchester City will go big, like they always do. Everton will get better, Spurs will get better… everyone will improve. This is our chance to outpace the rest. Get ahead.

If Wenger wants to take on all the above points. If he is serious about being the main man again, then I’m game for this deal. I just hope Ivan has voiced this and told Wenger how it’s going to be. Shame of it is that for me, I doubt he has. I doubt it’s his decision. I just fear more of the same. Wenger is the main man at Arsenal and he will be until he tells the club he’s leaving. He’s the most powerful club manager in world football. He calls the shots, we’ve just got to hope he’s a little more humble about the next three years. Listen to the experts, bring in better backroom talent and look to make the marginal improvement around our approach that’ll kick us on.

Is change coming? Watch this space and pray… three years is a very long time.

P.S. I’ve switched off the mentions part of my Twitter account (to people I don’t follow). Every summer, the melt brigade come out with the abuse, which as entertaining as it is, does get a touch boring. It’s just an opinion from an amateur writer who loves the club, it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s not even extreme opinion, it’s all pretty logical. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. If you think abusing me is going to stop me writing, you’ll be very disappointed. I just can’t get my head around people who think abusive behaviour online is acceptable. Grown men, with families and responsibilities cunting someone online. It’s pathetic. Still, it is what it is, a lot of irrelevant idiots online that make it an unsavoury place to be.

So if you want to get hold of me, drop me an e-mail.

BIG LOVE TO ALL OF YOU. x

 

 

735 Responses to “3 years for Arsene Wenger? Do what?”

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  1. TitsMcgee

    Loool, I love your twos discussions! the insults are so much more funny than most.”

    lol

    He makes nonsensical statements in desperate attempts to spin everything pro-Arsene.

    Pretty pointless debating him though. Most of the time I ignore but he’s the “guy in the room” that thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room.

  2. omar

    The direction of Arsenal football club should not be dictated by the views and principles of 1 employee. FFS we are the 5th richest club in the world and one of the biggest, 1 employee should not have the full unaccountable responsibility of the direction of the club. This is ludicrous. This just shows that the hierarchy is comfortable with things as they are, content with 4th, content with 2nd round UCL exits, content with transfer lunacy, content with annual injury crisis, as long as the profits are coming in.

    Sitting at top the table, key players out injured, just announced 140 million sitting in the bank. Who do you recruit in the transfer window to help out with injuries? A hurt player who hasn’t played in months. Consequences for this folly? A raise and a new long term contract.

    Record against top 7 clubs, played 12, won 3, draw 4, lost 5. Lost 5 out of 6 away, 6-0, 6-3, 5-1, 3-0 and 1-0 to united (who we couldn’t even fashion a goal against). Concede 23 goals score 10 against top 7. 13 points out of 36 available versus top 7 clubs. Consequences for this folly? A raise and a new long term contract.

    Get knocked out of the Champions League at the 2nd round phase for the 4th year running, won only 8 knockout ties in 16 seasons of UCL football, 5 coming in 2 seasons (05/06 and 07/08), 3 ties won in the other 14 seasons combined. Consequences for this folly? A raise and a new long term contract.

    Only at Arsenal.

  3. Max85

    Oh, and I definitely would not want to see Vela back – would once again be taking the paupers route when we have no need to. He is not an improvement on Podolski, put Poldi in that Sociedad side with the minutes Vela has had and he would have got an equally good if not better goal/assist return.

    Vela is also even lazier than Poldi in terms of tracking back. Waste of a squad place for me, regardless of price.

  4. gambon

    We have been pathetic in big games for years

    As if Ramsey and Walcott would’ve helped in any way.

  5. MidwestGun

    N5 –
    Hmmm you could be right. Keyser/Paulinho has an old school vibe to it tho. More like Ali/ Foreman than a new school cutting edge fight like say Tyson/ Holyfield where someone loses an ear. Lol.
    I wonder if we could ever get Le Grove tv funded? Surely there must be a billionaire out there with some money to waste. Hours of circular debates and insults followed by commercials. Sounds like a great investment to me. 😀

  6. TitsMcgee

    Compare and contrast Arsenal’s backroom setup with Bayern Munich’s. It’s not just on the pitch where the game is lost…”

    It’s okay. They spend more on their technical staff than we do so we do better than them in terms of value for money.

  7. Zoran

    “Would love pep at Arsenal. And arsenal could use a little bit of accountability with wenger. ”

    Joe, we have to understand that Pep, as well as Maureen, are the kind of managers that before they sign any contract with a interesting club, first ask how much money will you put me on my disposal.

    That is not the case with Wenger. That’s why we are stuck with him.

    And, btw, Zlatan has right saying: Pep, I don’t like he has no balls.

  8. N5

    Midwest, Stan could invest couldn’t he, he’s not spending any of his cash elsewhere!!

    *yes I went there! come get me Stan!!

  9. salparadisenyc

    Vela Vela vela ?

    We need to aim higher., no point in bringing him back to the club. Stepping backwards is no way forward.

    3 more years of Wenger makes me wanna shut shop and take a very long nap. More control? Is that possible?

  10. master pires

    I must be the only one not completely sold by Vela.
    He failed at Arsenal once.
    He is not particularly adapted to the English physical game.
    He is a goal scorer but doesn’t do much else, so if he’s not scoring then…
    He has the same attributes as Soldado and look how that panned out.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t sign him, but he shouldn’t be first choice. 3m could possibly be worth the gamble if that is his buy out clause.

  11. Joe

    We haven’t beaten a top 4 team when it mattered in so long.

    We couldn’t even score a goal v the worst Man U team in years.

    Walcott and Ramsey were injured late dec and early Jan. Wenger had the resources to replace them and didn’t.

    So whether or not those players would of made up 8 points is irrelevant as they were injured.

    Wenger had the chance to find the players to possibly get us those 8 points. He didn’t even try.

    So you can’t blame the injuries

  12. Keyser

    TeeeTeeee – It doesn’t matter if it’s a statement, you’ve still entered into a conversation trying to defend it.

    Lol Are we Bayern ? No, Do we play in the Bundesliga ? No, are these two pretty fucking massive differences ? Yes, why are you ignoring them now ? Because you don’t want to lose face now you’ve resorted to petty insults.

    That’s cool I understand, just next time, think twice before you talk about ‘objectivity’, Lol was that a part of the ‘statement’, because you have none.

  13. The Poldi Prince

    Vela should only be in addition to poldi. He should be our third choice striker and third choice winger. He is certainly better than sanogo. Obviously I’d prefer better but I’d tolerate him. He would have decent resale value if mildly successful.

    as a few people have said, we should limit the loss of first 11 players and add better quality making guys like arteta squad players. Should try to keep tv as well. Could he be a cdm? Fast, big, powerful, has a cannon. Id consider it and try get him to stick around another year or two. We are one injury to bfg or kos from seeing him play 40 games.

    Get him playing cdm in the off season and see if it’s a possibility.

  14. Keyser

    The best Le Grove tv would be MidwestGun/N5 versus Dial, it’d be like those Mexican fighting midgets, everyone loves them.

  15. bergkamplegend

    “Pep, I don’t like he has no balls.”

    == >> get Pep in, with wenger as his assistant lol

  16. WengerEagle

    If you are going by that Ramsey/Theo logic as well it would only be fair to mention that Aguero missed 15 BPL matches for City through injury. He was averaging a goal every 75 minutes up to April so it’s only fair to assume City would have won more points with him fit and in the side.

    David Silva also missed 14 BPL matches through injury.

  17. N5

    “MidwestGun/N5 versus Dial”

    Loool, I gave up on the arguments after you made me take a big hard look at myself with the *who’s trolling who! comment.

    I will gear up the midget costume for one last PPV, but I’m not covering myself in babyoil!

  18. The Poldi Prince

    Its hard to say seriously that missing our clear best player in those big games wouldn’t make a difference.

    I do agree there is a massive cultural issue at the club that stems from wenger and his inferiority complex which is clearly transferred to the players. Big game after big game we get pantsed.

  19. TitsMcgee

    3 more years of Wenger makes me wanna shut shop and take a very long nap. More control? Is that possible?”

    Clearly. Only if the more control comes with more accountability but that seems to not be the case.

  20. The Poldi Prince

    City may have had more points, however their replacements are still generally world class players ir at least very good players.

    ours were sanogo or play til you die from exhaustion/tear a quad.

  21. MidwestGun

    Keyser –
    Lol come on I barely speak English, you want me to speak Mexican/Spanish now.

    But what the hell if its good tv I’ll give it a go. 😀

  22. Revving Kevin

    Midwest yes they are two very key players. I have said that many times and whenever I say they ‘may’ have helped us win the title, Ihowever unlikely, I get slaughtered on here. Then when I miss them off a list of key players by games played I get slaughtered, as they are our two ‘best’ players. See the problem? The hypocrisy? It is impossible to say if they would have made a difference, of course. I have no idea if there is a fitness issue or not, they seem as fit as fiddles to me, especially late in games. However, as I pointed out, yes we can keep key players fit, as proved by the number of games played. With all due respects, I don’t care what Pedro thinks he has an opinion the same as anyone else, we are just armchair fans. And I defend my right to criticise any comments he makes which are factually incorrect and misleading. As that was. I make no apologies for that, it’s called being able to think on your own.

  23. Keyser

    Yeah but we already know Citeh/Chelsea have bigger or better squads than us, it was how we were going to get around that.

    Also Aguero re-injured his hamstring in a game where Citeh were already up 6-0 from the first leg and Pellegrini started him anyway.

  24. Keyser

    N5 – No-one mentioned babyoil, or whipped cream before you start.

    MidwestGun – You don’t really have know much Spanish, just go ‘Aieeee’ everytime N5 or Dial does an elbow drop from bottom turnbuckle.

  25. N5

    “You versus Dial was the best. Tits and Keyser are the foreplay to your full on sex.”

    Lol, I do feel buggered after our late night “discussions”.

  26. Joe

    We have the funds to have a better squad. Wenger chooses not to spend.

    What manager with any ambition goes into a season with 1 first team striker?!?!?!

  27. MidwestGun

    Kev-
    Trust me, I wasn’t trying to change your opinion, just pointing out the innaccuracy of your initial statistic. It was too selective to make a point and was misleading. Look we both want the same thing. To have a Title winning side.
    . Hopefully, AW at least gives some additional thought into the injury situation and is willing to make corrections this summer. Because another injury season like this one would be devastating.

  28. Revving Kevin

    Wenger eagle

    Spot on!!

    Totally agree and that is why I mentioned Aguerro and his repeat hamstring injuries. That was my point, did City cause aguerros repeat injuries? Did City cause Silvas injuries? Or is it only arsenal that injure players?

  29. N5

    Joe, I think the problem wasn’t so much the lack of wanting to spend but the bad planning of no plan b or c and incorrect valuations.

    He will spend, just not over the odds (his opinion of their value).

  30. bergkamplegend

    “£25.8 M bid for Beniata by citeh set to start a 3 way tug of war between barca, citeh and manu.”

    Good luck to them lol

  31. bergkamplegend

    “He will spend”

    == >> please show some respect for the financial balance of the club, thanks.

  32. TitsMcgee

    We have the funds to have a better squad. Wenger chooses not to spend. What manager with any ambition goes into a season with 1 first team striker?!?!?!”

    One that overacheives at 4th apparently.

  33. andy1886

    Keyser “andy1886 – You’ve just done what you accused him of, you can only argue your opinion it’s not fact.”

    Lol Keyser, you are a pedant. Even Kevin agreed with me on that one. Of course if you truly believe that having £140m in the bank is more likely to win you the league than having better players on the pitch then yes it is just an opinion. Chances are more would agree with me on that one and even some of the looneys on Untold would baulk at that suggestion.

  34. MidwestGun

    Roaaaary-
    Yep, makes you wonder why he doesn’t take more, and why Theo ever takes them. Lol
    No offense Theo, I love you man,…….. but seriously, why?

  35. N5

    “== >> please show some respect for the financial balance of the club, thanks.”

    Lol, OK. Who can leave on a free this season and will accept food instead of wages.

  36. andy1886

    “Joe, I think the problem wasn’t so much the lack of wanting to spend but the bad planning of no plan b or c and incorrect valuations. ”

    Ah, so it’s incompetance rather than insanity. I feel better now 😉

  37. Revving Kevin

    Midwest
    I will try to trust you but you were trying to ignore my point. I was merely proving that Pedro’s ACTUAL comment was incorrect. I listed 8 players that had played the most games this season for us and compared them with City and Chelsea, to highlight the fact that we did indeed have key players that we had kept fit. These 8 key players had played 38 to 50 games each. So if that’s not being able to keep key players fit, I give up.

  38. Thank you and goodnight

    Arsene’s going to buy him, Arsene’s going to buy that…..who actually cares.
    Beautiful day outside, women in short skirts and skimpy tops and I have a huge hard on ( ok not huge, but it’s hardish), god I love summer.

  39. Keyser

    andy1886 – Or maybe I just pay more attention to all the countless posts of ‘Arsenal wasting money’ than you do.

  40. Emiratesstroller

    FORWARDS

    Arsenal are likely to be in market for a striker. However, I don’t believe for a
    minute that we will be spending more than £20-30 million on such a player.

    For a start I do not see any premium strikers who scored this season 30+ goals
    being available apart from Costa and he appears to have gone to Chelsea.

    I am sure that Real Madrid would like to bring in Aguero or Suarez, but again
    it is unlikely that they will be successful.

    Therefore when you discuss strikers likely to be available we are discussing the next level which is Benzema and Mandzukic. It is debatable that Real Madrid will sell Benzema unless they can buy one of the two above. There will
    be a queue for Mandzukic.

    My personal preference therefore would be to target Bony a player who scored this season 24 goals including 16 in league. That is a ratio of one goal
    in every two games in his first season in EPL. That follows two previous seasons on Continent albeit in lower leagues where he was prolific.

    That is not significantly different from Suarez during his career. Swansea will
    want a decent fee, but I think that he would be a better gamble than Remy who
    has never been a prolific goalscorer.

    Vela is a different discussion, because he is not a conventional striker. If Arsenal are interested I think that it would be because of uncertainty over Walcott. Will he be fit at the start of next season? Can he play in more than half the games in a demanding season? Spending £3.4 million if that is the correct
    figure would be a no brainer and would not impact on buying a striker.

    Personally I do not see Arsenal buying a left winger as well as a striker. Leaving aside Podolski we have still got options in Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gnabry who can all play on left side.

  41. Bamford13

    Incredible to me that some are still making the we-could’ve-finished-higher-but-for-injuries argument/excuse. These types are the absolute worst — worse even than those who think Giroud is a top-tierl striker or that Wenger is a top-tier manager.

    1. Every team, including those who finished above us, deals with/dealt with key injuries. This is simply a part of the game, which you plan for by signing quality squad players. If we didn’t have quality squad players to cover for injuries, there is only one person to blame and that’s Arsene Wenger, who left more than £100m in the bank this season and signed the likes of Kim Kallstrom as cover.

    2. Our cover for Walcott and Ramsey was Ox and Wilshere, respectively. In all truth, those are not bad players, and that’s not bad cover. While Walcott and Ramsey were better performers this year than Ox and Jack, the latter are not a massive fall-off from the former.

    3. Both Walcott and Ramsey played in certain key games, like the 6-3 drubbing from City, and it made little difference. Ramsey played in the 0-0 draw with United away, and frankly found it difficult to pass to anyone wearing an Arsenal jersey. As good as these two are, they are no cure-all to this team’s limitations. Those who suggest otherwise are deluded and are very much part of the problem.

    Without adding a quality DM, striker and RB, Arsenal haven’t the slightest chance of winning the PL or CL. Not the slightest.

  42. Revving Kevin

    Soccernomics. Simon Kuper. Those of you who hang on Pedro’s every word should ask him. If he says it you’ll believe him. Here it is:

    “Spend correlates to success.”

    In other words, he who spends most wins.

    So we have over achieved.

    However, we should be spending more money if you want the big prizes. And we now have the money. But it’s no guarantee, you need good management too of course.

  43. N5

    “Ah, so it’s incompetance rather than insanity. I feel better now ;-)”

    In a sense I think it is yes. It’s standing still whilst everyone else moves forward. Maybe we didn’t have money maybe we did, that discussion has been done to death, but going into a season with one proper striker and 3 pretty bad ones just isn’t good enough and needed a Plan B.

    We saw a last day attempt at Ba, but what was the target before then? Suarez? was we so certain of obtaining him we didn’t give any other targets?

    Time will tell if that has now been addressed, but I can’t help but feel we’ve been here before, again and again and again.

  44. MidwestGun

    I get your point. But the disagreement comes with what you consider key players. I consider key players the ones that can change games or be a difference maker with their attacking ability. Not defenders or keepers. So in that aspect we didn’t keep them fit. Virtually all our attacking players/ goal scorers were injured at one point or another and often at the same time. And our 3 main game changers, 4 if you count Ozil were out for significantly long times.

  45. N5

    “Beautiful day outside, women in short skirts and skimpy tops and I have a huge hard on ( ok not huge, but it’s hardish)”

    Loool, priceless.

  46. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 13

    Ramsey and Wilshire are central midfielders and not suited to wing as became
    obvious when they played there.

    Both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gnabry are more suited to playing on wing if Walcott is unavailable and Vela also plays right wing. The problem this season has been that Messrs Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain have been injured and that has impacted on our width and pace.

  47. MidwestGun

    Kev-
    But we overachieved only if you believe we couldnt spend. And the 170 million in the bank says otherwise. You can’t set low goals and then when you accomplish them call it overachieving.

  48. Bamford13

    Bony is not skillful or technical enough for Arsenal. He scores goals, but he isn’t good enough to play in combination with our midfielders and help with build-up.

    He would be as isolated as Giroud, his only advantage being pace. While we would gain his pace in behind defenses, we would lose technical feet to play into.

    We can do better than Bony.

  49. Nads

    Ahmed

    ‘I don’t care how many goals Tevez and Lloriente scored. We need a striker that costs 50m at least or I’m gonna be furious. This new RB we are supposed to be getting only costs 7m, what a joke! We should be paying twice or three times that for a good one!’

    You really are a shining example of what a dickhead supporter is

  50. Bamford13

    Emirates

    You missed my point. Ox was cover for Theo and played in games where Theo did not. Jack is cover for Ramsey and played in games where Ramsey did not.

    I’m well aware that Jack and Aaron aren’t wide players — even if Wenger himself isn’t!

  51. grooveydaddy

    Rev Kev –

    “Spend correlates to success.”

    Atletico defeats that premise.

    Also, I believe the correlation was wage spend to league placing. Which means we should finish 4th by default.

    It is no great achievement considering our wage bill.

  52. TitsMcgee

    That is not significantly different from Suarez during his career. Swansea will
    want a decent fee, but I think that he would be a better gamble than Remy who
    has never been a prolific goalscorer”

    While I don’t think Remy is the second coming of Henry by any stretch he has scored 20 goals in 40 games for two terrible clubs his first two season in the EPL.

    To be honest while of course we should hope for a Benzema etc I’d take a Remy and Morata/Bony and have Giroud as 2nd-3rd choice with Sanogo 4th/out on loan.

    Obviously we’d like a Cavani/Benzema type but I simply don’t trust Wenger to reel in the big fish(Benzema is really the only “big” striker we have a remote shot at)so I’d take any combo of two of Remy/Bony/Morata/Vela.

  53. Bamford13

    Kevin

    We have had the money for several years now. Look at our financial statements. Look at Gazidis’s statements.

    Wenger simply has not spent because he’s bent on trying to win on the cheap as a kind of anti-Chelsea. You should appreciate this, as you often say things that reflect this very way of thinking.

    We have had the money for some time now; Wenger simply refuses to spend because of his inane quixotic quest to prove to the world he can win on the cheap.

    We may have “overachieved” relative to our spend, but we’ve badly underachieved relative to the resources of the club.

    We should be doing much, much better.

  54. andy1886

    Keyser: andy1886 – Or maybe I just pay more attention to all the countless posts of ‘Arsenal wasting money’ than you do.”

    Ah well, if it’s competency to spend the money in the bank that’s a different argument, if you believe that then perhaps we need to get someone in who you would actually trust with the funds. “Yeah we did our best taking into account the fact that our manager is a bit of a tit in the transfer market” isn’t much of a mitigating statement.

  55. N5

    “Benzema is really the only “big” striker we have a remote shot at”

    I’m not convinced we do to be honest. He seems happy at Real, he’s playing the best football of his life and unless Real go for Suarez I just don’t see it.

  56. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 13

    Okay I misread what you wrote. Oxlade-Chamberlain looked terrific preseason and also against AV until he got injured. He can play on left wing as well as right as is the case with Gnabry as well.

    My main point about Vela is that he can play in right wing position and does score goals which we missed when Walcott was absent.

    Bony may not be the most skilful striker on earth, but he scores goals and offers pace which we lacked for a large slice of this season.

    Despite what has been written I do not believe that the plan is to replace Giroud, but to bring in a new striker who can either complement or be an option for him when required.

    A lot of posters don’t rate him, but Wenger and several well known pundits do.
    I don’t believe that Wenger plans to offload him.

  57. Roaaary

    @midwest santi usually balloons them over the bar that’s why. Theo isn’t that bad but surely ozil is the man with his technique.

    I actually said to my mate as santi lined it up – straight over the bar. Waste of fucking time.

    Next moment it’s top corner

  58. S Asoa

    Pedro has written out of pure live for the club. It was not tempered by 150 k per week like the Parasite in question has been receiving for 8 years of failure and last 3years with blatant disregard of the obvious failure to address issues staring in his face.
    2 years of Wenger= shit shit
    3 years of Wenger = bloody diarrhea

    Fuck off Kroenker Creep

  59. london gunner

    SO hang on a darn minute…

    ONE of the best players In La Liga which is one of the best leagues in the world is not good enough for Arsenal.

    Lol some right clueless melts on here. HIS SCORED 17 GOALS AND 12 ASSISTS!

    In a league with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Sevila (just won europa) Valencia Atletico Bilboa, Celta vigo(they are very good these days).. all easily
    better than most teams in premier

    Can we stop this shithouse dumb as fuck ignorant statements, like throw Podolski in the la liga and his scoring tons of goals.

    Its not that I don’t think Podolski is good.

    Its just this xenopobic bullshit where we act little Englanders where over leagues and the teams within them are inferior.

    How many times has spurs or everton won europa in recent years… last I checked it was a spanish team.

    Vela cost 3.3 million for a player whose valued at 25 million.. its a simple no brainer either way we end up with a great squad addition and if it doesn’t work sell him for a huge profit… which will help towards future purchases.

    FFS on ability alone Vela is at least equal to walcott.

    Oh and those saying his lazy do some research you brainless apes watch a game or two. Vela has covered more miles per game than most of his team mates or are we going to get even more racist and accuse Spaniards of being lazy

  60. Roaaary

    Everyone knows we will be signing a striker. It’s a case of who rather than if.

    My question is DM. We have arteta (a wenger favourite) and flamini (old skool). Will wenger really sign a third player there when both flamini and arteta clearly have 2-3 years left in them?

    I know they are slow but I can see wenger leaving them two rather than bombing one out

  61. MidwestGun

    Kev-
    Also, I wish you would stop with this holier than tho, we won with clean money thing too.
    Maybe you should look into the practices of how Stan and Walmart got their money, by price gouging all the mom and pop stores in the US until they went out if business then raised their prices back up. They also saturated under performing markets knowing they would eventually be the only game in town. And Stan was part of this because he sold Walmart the real estate for their strip malls. And then he married a Walmart.
    So our money is no cleaner then anyone else’s.

  62. Thank you and goodnight

    Fact even before the FA Cup win they were offering wenger a 2 year contract proves to me that the board are genuinely not interested in competing for titles. The odd cup run here or their is good enough for them, anything else is a bonus.
    That is why my attitude now is fuck it, 2 more years, 10 more years…..why give a fuck as it’s not going to change anything.
    If we win a game…..great, if we lose…..oh well. But stop beating yourselves up about who we are going to sign, how long wenger’s new contract extension is etc etc. Not worth it. The club don’t give a fuck so why should you?

    All I’m trying to say is the board are more to blame than wenger. Only they have the power to put pressure on Wenger and the fact they haven’t says all we need to know about our owner. No point killing each other as nothing will ever change until kroenke sells…….and we all know that’s not happening for a long time.

  63. london gunner

    max 85

    The difference is Vela has scored 17 goals and 12 assists in a league with Barca, RM, AM Seville, Athletico Bilboa, Valencia and Celta Vigo.

    If you do any research or actually watch the La Liga you will see the top 3 of EPL and La Liga are roughly equal, are 4th position is better and the rest of the top half of the table in La Liga is better, lower half of the table is pretty equal.

    Just look at europa y Everton and Spurs and the like get owned against the spanish and porugese sides.

    I suggest you do some more research and put more thought into your comments

  64. andy1886

    London, I don’t know if Vela would be better second time around, but I do know that he has an attitude problem (which is why he’s not going to the WC). Has he grown up? No idea. I do agree that he’s worth a punt though because we’re sure to make a profit (Arsene’s eyes light up on that point) if it doesn’t work out.

  65. Bamford13

    As much as I’d like us to sign a top-tier central striker, like Benzema, odds of this seem slim. Wenger will likely try to improve on the cheap. This could work, though, if we added two versatile, mobile strikers and played three across the front like Liverpool do.

    Imagine if we signed Vela and Remy, for example, and played Ox out wide left. That would a decent attacking three, given that all three can play anywhere along the front line, can dribble and can score from twenty yards out. All of that movement and skill might be difficult to defend.

    Would only cost £15-20m or so, and we’d then only need a RB and DM. See below:

    ________________Shez
    RB________Mer_______Kos______Gibbs
    ________________DM
    _________Ramsey_____Ozil
    Vela___________Remy_____________Ox

  66. TitsMcgee

    He seems happy at Real, he’s playing the best football of his life and unless Real go for Suarez I just don’t see it.”

    Yea me either which is why i used the word “remote”.

    Also if Benzema is going to be pried away it will almost certainly be on the last day of the TW and we simply cannot afford to wait that long, pass on everyone else and then strike out on Benzema.

    Lock up Remy/Bony/Morata(at least two) and then go after Benzema so that if we come up short for the big splash at least we have some decent backup options.

    Vela as 3rd choice I like. Not as our main guy. Way too risky.

  67. andy1886

    Midwest – you can add the poverty wages that Wallmart pays to your list of Stans’s ethical issues.

  68. Bamford13

    London

    I’m with you. Vela — if he’s genuinely interested in a return to London — is a no-brainer.

  69. london gunner

    N5

    Lol I just don’t understand Arsenal Fans. I give up.

    You offer them a a young 25 year old winger come striker who scores 17 goals and provides 12 assists, whose got pace, dribbling skill and finishing who makes a great cover while walcott is recovering and offers further competition and Rotation possibilities.

    You offer that for 3.3 million, with the fact if it doesn’t work out you can sell said player for a massive profit and then you get Arsenal fans going (in caveman voice) err be he lazzzyayyy (covered more miles than most of his team mates) he nooo gooodddd spain league weak(spain do better in all the European competitions) like twig.

    You can’t win with our fans sometimes. If they spent 2 minutes doing research and actually looking at the data they would see quite clearly its a no brainer.

    If you look up the phrase no brainer in the dictionary you will a pic of Carlos Vela

    You then offer that for a

  70. andy1886

    “andy1886 – Either way you end up hanging yourself.”

    Nah, I’m sticking around until AW get’s his just desserts. Le boot!

  71. gambon

    Bamford

    The team just isnt good enough from an attacking point of view.

    Remy & Vela are both sub 1 in 2 strikers. Ox doesnt score at all.

    We’d basically have to hope Ramsey keeps on scoring too often.

    Remy & Vela wouldnt get in Citys, UTDs or Chelsea team next season, so they shouldnt get in ours.

    Obviously it doesnt help that Ozil isnt scoring as well.

    We need 2 players in our team that are real top class attackers.

  72. MidwestGun

    Andy –
    Haha ya, we know Stan is cheap. But I was talking about how Stan specifically got his money. Is it worse to close down hard working mom and pops stores and virtually close down small towns by unethical practices or get it by stealing land from people to get oil underneath it? Both unethical, and one is not better than another. Don’t know too many “clean” billionaires.

  73. Cesc Appeal

    Are one of City’s strikers gettable? Thinking specifically Negredo or Jovetic? I’m not sure on the FFP stuff but aren’t they now capped at a net spend on £49 Million?

    So having Dzeko, Aguero, Jovetic and Negredo is a bit of a waste in terms of numbers and resources?

  74. andy1886

    “We need 2 players in our team that are real top class attackers.”

    We’re screwed then…..

  75. Roaaary

    @londongunner I think the issue isn’t about velas stats in Spain it’s the fact we have seen him in the prem and he wasn’t up to it.

    I’d be excited about a player with velas stats but some players can’t hack the prem a la forlan.

  76. gambon

    “So having Dzeko, Aguero, Jovetic and Negredo is a bit of a waste in terms of numbers and resources?”

    They play 2 upfront

    I think the only area of their squad that will be untouched will be the strikers

    If it aint broke…..

  77. salparadisenyc

    The point with Vela is the wages.

    Wenger is only bringing one wide man in and for me Vela is not a forward thinking move considering our bank balance and the options available. Barca is selling either Pedro or Sanchez, lets say we push the boat out for Sanchez where’s Vela fit in? Ether Ox or Gnabry get sold for both to happen.. otherwise its only Vela and nothing of higher quality.

    Not a hard decision for me.

  78. london gunner

    andy

    Vela has been played in every game this season and he covers more miles per game than most of his team mates. It looks like his very reliable

    “Most obviously, the Mexican would offer the Gunners a significant increase in goals. Vela is about to complete his most prolific season ever as a professional, scoring 20 goals in all competitions so far, with the final game of the La Liga season left to play. That’s only two goals shy of Arsenal’s top scorer, Olivier Giroud, and significantly better than their next highest scorer, Aaron Ramsey, who has put away 15 strikes. It’s worth keeping in mind that Vela generally doesn’t play in the centre
    forward’s position – more often than not appearing out wide or occasionally as a supporting striker – so to break the 20 goal mark from that area of the field with a team that performed poorly in the first half of the season is no small feat”

    “The Mexican has no problem with the less glamorous side of football these days, putting in significant miles off the ball despite playing more games than any other Real Sociedad player this season, and is often the key player in a successful counter attack having just covered the full length of the pitch.”

  79. Keyser

    Vela’s being considered because of his buy back clause, Celta Vigo ? Lol, it’s a bit like United buying back Forlan because he started scoring in La Liga, obviously not quite as good either.

  80. Bacaryisgod

    Fantastic points on Vela, London Gunner. One of the few no-brainers decisions out there in the off-season. Hard to imagine us bungling it unless there’s something we don’t know. The main issue will be around playing time as Vela won’t want to be too far down on the depth chart after the last two seasons he’s had. Joel Campbell’s progress, particularly if he shines in the WC may also impact what we do with Vela. Assuming there’s no cutoff point this summer on the buyback option, this decision could drag on.

    Centre Back

    Along with many others, I think Vermaelen will stay. I personally don’t think he should remain club captain but if he’s well-liked and respected by his teammates then there’s no harm keeping him in place either. An early injury to Mert (which unfortunately is almost nailed on) or Koscielny will see him start anyway. The issue then becomes getting either a 4th CB or a RB/CB combo player. Hard to get and keep happy an experienced 4th CB so more likely is that we’ll try to find another John Stones from the lower divisions to grow into that position. If so, having a right-back who can be our emergency CB will be crucial.

  81. london gunner

    Sal

    Mate you have forgotten about Ryo for one whose on far to high wages.

    Also Joel Cambbell…

    Also increased revenue and commercial deals easily account for wage bill we wouldn’t need to sell ox or gnarby not at all.

    In fact Gnarby would get a goo d loan out which he really needs.

    Also it depends where you stand on OX if you want Sanchez.

    Thing is we can bring Vela in and he can be 2nd/ third option and you can get away with that. You bring in Sanchez his quite rightly going to want to be first team now his 25 year old, if we bring Sanchez in that spells the end of Ox’s career at Arsenal for at least a half a decade.

    Vela equals competition

    Sanchez equals the end of ox

  82. Revving Kevin

    Dearest Midwest
    What you starting a row again???when have I mentioned ‘clean’ money today? Please stop goading mate, you have your view I have mine. We won’t agree end of.

    Chaps and ladies,
    Yes I agree we should have spent more money. We didn’t. But unlike you lot ITK’s 😉 who hate Wenger with a passion, I have no idea what the truth is. Whether we had the money, whether he was allowed to spend no idea. All I know is that I walk into a fucking huge stadium and every times that I do, I get an amazing feeling of pride.

    All I know is that we are now in a very strong financial position, not just now but for the future. I expect the money will be spent. The taste for success has been rekindled within the club and amongst the players. This is the start for me, I am certain we will use this muscle. We now have a level playing field and there are no excuses. That’s my position. 100% behind the club, the manager, the staff and all the players. I won’t slag them off.

    I fucking love it that we are the 2014 FA CUP WINNERS. I am so happy I could have sex with a spud, female of course. Ordered my t-shirt and will be out in it Saturday night with all my mates watching the CL Final and getting very pissed .

    Did I say it 2014 FA CUP WINNERS. Get innnnnn!!

  83. Bamford13

    gambon

    Agree that it wouldn’t be ideal, but I’m just trying to be optimistic about likely scenarios.

    Short of a Benzema, I like Mandzukic, but many seem to think he’s little better than Giroud. I disagree.

    Otherwise I like Vela as a cheap option and I think Ox can be nearly as good as Sterling if given proper role and instruction.

  84. Mayank

    “Negredo would be a good improvement on Giroud”

    Yeah but the improvement would be so slight we wouldn’t even notice. I’m still not convinced that Higuain would’ve converted us to winners either. He’d have us scoring more for sure but would make the difference in the big games we lost? I don’t think so.

    A top CM to partner Ramsey is just as important as adding an attacker. Ramsey is a world class player when on form but he’s not able to demotivate the opposition like a Busquets(used to?) or Martinez would. I had hopes that Pogba could be the solution but he’s too similar to Ramsey.

    Actually if Jack was a bit bigger he’d be perfect. He has the ingredients for being a world class ball retainer but his ambition gets the best of him.

  85. london gunner

    roaary

    Vela was poor for us at Arsenal but showed flashes of brilliance but you have to remember he was only 22

    Ramsey was shite for us at 22 should we of not given another chance?

    Fact is Vela was a young dumb kid in a foreign country he was battered the shit out of and Wenger mismanaged him he gave Bendtner more chances on the wing than Vela for christs sakes. Vela fucked of to Spain grew up and now his posting some of the best figures in Europa.

    Can he deffo do this in the PL? Maybe yes maybe no either way we can sell him for a massive profit and if it does go well we have another 15=20 goals a season as well as assists.

  86. MidwestGun

    Giroud can not be our number one starting Cf option next year if we want to compete for a Title and win in the big games. So his replacement is my number one concern. Or at least someone to move him down the depth chart. Not sure Remy, Vela, or Sanchez would accomplish that.

  87. Emiratesstroller

    We keep on rabbiting about spending large sums of money on a striker. As I
    pointed out there are only two players who might be available that are significantly better than Giroud and justify a £30 million+ transfer fee.

    Benzema will only leave Real Madrid if they can buy Aguero or Suarez. That seems unlikely at moment.

    My main priority for this season is to buy the best holding midfielder that money can buy. A fee of £25-30 million should unlock such a player. We do
    need to score more goals, but we need also to address the inherent weakness in midfield which is the lack of a physically strong and quick player. Arteta
    and Flamini are not good enough at top level and Diaby as a box to box player far too high risk because of his injury record.

  88. london gunner

    Negredo is allot better than Giroud.

    His far stronger and can score from distance.
    Better finisher to. Has more pace but his certainty not a pacey player.

    His not the best dribbler but his got a kind of better turn and shoot movement with the ball than Giroud.

    His also been consistently good for years but I wouldn’t pay what Man City would be asking, would be to inflated for a stop gap striker

  89. Radio Raheem

    London

    I think folks on here are less convinced about Vela, despite the stats and rave review, because it is Vela. He has been here and not done much. He’ll need to vercome negative opinions from the start. That brings its own kind of pressure and I am not sure Vela can handle that.

    Based on his stats and price I agree he is worth looking at. But this isn’t that straightforward.

  90. MidwestGun

    Kev-
    Again, not starting a row, but you asked what my problem was with your comments this morning and asked me to read them. I did. Now you know whatnmy problems with them are. Called clearing the air. I feel better, don’t you? Lol.

  91. Revving Kevin

    That goal Alexis scored for Barca was unreal.

    A top quality striker is a must have and that’s where we have to really push the boat out. I still think Benzema is possible. But look we need a finisher, creating chances is not our weakness. We don’t necessarily need someone to run 50 yards and score. We want somebody on the end of our play that can actually finish. A clever player with good movement that can make those runs. Dont worry we have the players to find them.

    Velas a fair shout, the boy hits the target and makes good runs. Benzema is my first choice, I think he could be insane for us.

  92. WengerEagle

    If Alexis Sanchez is on the market this summer we had better be interested at the very least.

    Fast, powerful, skilful and scores and creates shit tonnes of goals from the wing.

    His goals against Atletico Madrid at the weekend and against Real Madrid earlier in the season show just what an amazing player this guy is.

  93. andy1886

    Two words, Pace and Power. Unless we add both of these we may as well forget it. Without Theo we are as dynamic as an arthritic turtle. Add our midget midfielders to the mix and it’s not difficult to see why we get turned over by better sides.

  94. Jeff

    Though the FA cup was a glorious moment, it does rather paper over the cracks. If those cracks aren’t properly repaired in the summer, even fourth may seem a distant dream come next season. Contrary to popular opinion at the moment for obvious reasons, Arsene is not the man who’s going to take Arsenal forward. We haven’t moved very much in the last decade and I fear we won’t be moving this summer either. Wenger will commit us to another year of substandard play with a bunch of substandard players.

  95. brad

    Does anyone know a website or stats for how many free kicks and corners we scored from compared to other teams?

  96. Bamford13

    Emirates

    Agree that more than anything else we need to add a class holding midfielder.

    While we also need a central striker and RB, a really good holding mid would transform the side more than any other addition.

    Imagine if we had a Luis Gustavo instead of Arteta. We would be twice the side.

  97. Revving Kevin

    WengerEagle
    When I saw that Alexis goal, I had to rewind it several times. That was like landing a space shuttle on a postage stamp, an unbelievable strike. Top, top class. As you say, he has great movement too. That goal probably added £15m to his price!

  98. Radio Raheem

    After Ramsey Arteta was the next best player against Hull. Irrespective of who we sign this summer I’d keep him in the squad, even above Flamini.

  99. london gunner

    MIDWEST

    I really don’t like Giroud but can someone name me a striker who is available this summer.

    Mandu for me is.no

    Ballotelli is a yes

    Reus would be my first choice… Why can we not buy him again?

    If i waa Reus I would be looking at Bayern and how they are utterly dominating the league how they are snapping up BVB’s best players aka Lewand and Goetze

    I would also look at the fact that Kagawa was sold to Man United.

    BVB I love and I love Klopp but they really are where we were as in a selling club. We aren’t any more we can offer REus massive wages playing attacking football in one of the greatest cities in the world

  100. Bacaryisgod

    Is there anyone who would argue that Arsenal haven’t improved from last season. Seems to me that the only debate is about the pace of the improvement.

    Based on last summer’s net spend, the overall impressive renewal of contracts for key players and Ivan’s recent comments on our need to further strengthen the squad, it’s probably fair to give the club a chance to demonstrate all of this over the summer before assuming the worst. Arsene did screw up with strikers this summer but at least he gambled on Suarez which would have been a spectacular coup if he had pulled it off. This summer I have a feeling he’ll play it safe and just add Remy. For most Premier League opponents, Giroud can be the battering ram and Remy can be the player to exploit stretched defences as the game wears on. Against top level opponents, I can see a front five of Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Walcott and Remy causing a lot of problems with their pace, movement and finishing. Would I prefer Falcao, Cavani, Suarez etc? Sure, but Remy might work out very well too.

  101. london gunner

    RR

    I don’t really get it he was only 22.

    Jacks been pretty awful and in terms of assists and actual gameplay contribution his been poor for awhile now.. no one is saying he wont make it

    Ramsey at 22 was pretty awful at times and consistently poor… his now one of the bes tmids in the league.

    A few years of growing up changes things dramatically

  102. WengerEagle

    Revving Kevin

    Agree on Benzema, he’d be my first choice too if he’s made available this summer. Always pictured him ending up here tbh as he’s an excellent French player who’d seamlessly fit in. He actually reminded me of the great TH14 in his Lyon days in his style of play.

    Yeah that Alexis goal was ridiculous, takes something special to beat a GK of Courtois’ ability from that angle.

  103. MidwestGun

    Interestingly Pool had 10 penalty goals also. Twice as many as closest other teams Spuds and City with 5 and 6.
    Diving paying off?
    or Ref favoritism?

  104. gambon

    “creating chances is not our weakness. We don’t necessarily need ”

    It has definitely been a weakness this season

  105. london gunner

    WE

    I prefer Sanchez chip against Real Madrid because there is no way it was luck or lucky clean striker. He thought about what he was going to do and pulled it off.

  106. Spencer Davies

    Someone woke up the wrong side of bed. We’ve won a trophy, the suns out, enjoy it. If you can’t enjoy it now when will you. Time to dissect the season can come later.

  107. gambon

    Reus isn’t a cf so would need to play in a front 2.

    Not sure we have anyone ideal to partner him.

  108. SpanishDave

    We were 20 goals shy this year.Our postman and male model are way off whats required. We need at least two more goal scorers to improve. Also against the top teams we leaked goals so defence needs more quality and our backs are not solid enough.
    Wenger will never do enough to plug the gaps, he is not a big manager any more.

  109. london gunner

    WE

    Surprised at that tbh. BVB IMO is a sinking ship I am no Pep fan but I expect him to dominate the leagues for the next 3 years.

    Reus needs a move to bring him up to Ballon d’or contention

  110. london gunner

    gambon

    Thierry Henry wasn’t a cf. So we play a 442

    We could easily play Giroud and Reus up front.

    Or a 4 4 1 1 with Ozil playing the Dennis Bergkamp role and Reus doing the Henry

  111. WengerEagle

    london gunner

    Yeah hard to disagree, Bayern will become much stronger with Lewandowski up front and I fully expect them to be in for a World class CB as Boateng and Dante are dodgy to say the least.

    Reus would be perfect for us but as a LF not a ST imo.

  112. Hitman

    Wenger is too long in the tooth, he wont change his ways. No point holding out for the necessary signings.
    He has no interest in winning EPL or UCL.

    3 more years of failure coming up.

  113. london gunner

    I would put in a massive bid for Reus with big wages.

    Guys scored 30 goals and 25 assists in 62 matches… and he says his not ready if his not ready now he never will be.

  114. Radio Raheem

    Were the 100+ goals scored by the top two sides exceptional in the history of the
    PL? If so then we don’t necessarily have to qualify our chances next season based on making up that shortfall on goals.

    You’ll be better taking the average number of goals scored by past winners of the PL and comparing it to ours.

  115. Revving Kevin

    Groovy daddy
    Atletico defies that premise”

    Actually they don’t mate. Someone has done a great job but the club is a financial shit fest:

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2914/champions-league/2014/04/30/4785365/why-debt-ridden-atletico-madrid-should-not-be-considered-a

    “Atletico Madrid’s evolution from Europa League winner to UEFA Champions League contenders under their Argentine coach Diego Simeone has earned them a valuable amount of respect.

    This, however, can’t be seen as a defiant victory for the little man in the face of the immense strength of Classico duo. Atletico do not deserve their billing as the people’s Champions, no matter how Simeone’s on-field turnaround merits credit. The Spanish capital club have come to represent, in recent years, something that is hampering the modern game of soccer: spiraling debts, third party ownerships and an abdication of responsibility.

    In terms of revenue and support, Atletico remain the third biggest team in Spain, but have struggled to keep their own house in order since converting to a PLC in 1992. Atleti’s financial management has come under scrutiny ever since Jesus Gil became the chief shareholder.

    This remains the club that has disregarded regulations and fiscal prudence throughout its modern history. They suffered relegation in 2000 not long after their offices were raided in the infamous Caso Atletico, which eventually led Gil to be sent behind bars for three and a half years as well as punishments for Enrique Cerezo and Miguel Angel Gil Marin – who remained at the club. The club stopped paying taxes for two years following relegation. In this way, they avoided around €46 million as they expedited their escape from the Segunda Division.

    Atletico Madrid, by 2011, owed a scarcely conceivable €517 million to creditors – including almost €171 million to the tax authorities. The Spanish government could have threatened to call in the debt instead of offering them a 4.5% interest per annum while making Atletico pay €15 million of their tax bill every year.

    The unfortunate economic meltdown in Spain, which has driven the unemployment rate to around 26 percent, provided Atletico the opportunity to alleviate their own predicament. Economics and finance professor Jose Maria Gay told Die Welt in 2012,

    “The government cannot demand payment without crippling clubs and leaving supporters very upset.

    “Considering the situation of our country is facing, it is unreasonable to start introducing dysfunctional steps into the championship that could affect its image, which has a commercial value.”

    That rationale meant that laxity prevailed. The ex-president of Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, showed his frustration while referring to the EU bailout of Spain in 2012. He said, “This is unthinkable. We pay hundreds of millions to get them out of the sh*t, and then the clubs don’t pay their debts.”

    Under Gil, not paying up their taxes was Atletico’s modus operandi. Although they have started paying out their debt now, in theory, they will have not paid what they owe until sometime early in the next decade. Instead of taking things seriously and living within their means, Atletico simply go on spending. UEFA temporarily withheld their prize money after winning the Europa League for breaching the Financial Fair Play regulations in 2012. Atletico were among the first teams to be hit by the Financial Fair Play although their punishment was eventually nullified. Hence, it is no surprise to see why they came under the radar.

    Not long after selling Sergio Kun Aguero to Manchester City to stave off the tax man, a deal to sign Radamel Falcao was agreed with Porto, which was worth €40 million. It was simple that Atletico were unable to fund the deal themselves and so the Doyen Sports Group – a hedge fund – reportedly chipped in around 50% of the fees.

    Falcao may have enjoyed a great time at Atletico but they never deserved to have him in the first place. They remained unable to afford him from within their means. But that did not stop them as Falcao was not the only one. According to one investigation in 2013, it was revealed that only six players from their first team were owned outright by the club. Despite the circumstances in which they remained, Atletico continued spending over €160 million net on transfer fees from 2002 to 2009. To get deals done for the top players in the world while holding so much in back payments smacks of astonishing hubris.

    Even being assisted by Doyen in paying for Falcao, Atletico still failed to maintain their obligations to Porto. According to some reports, the Portuguese Club were on the verge of asking FIFA for a resolution when the Rojiblancos failed on their installments. Shortly after this complaint, Doyen’s name started appearing on the Atleti kit.

    Furthermore, it was also reported in 2011 that €52 million was owed by Atletico in wages to their own club staff. This comprised around 81% of their total pending wage bill. Playmaker Diego, during his last spell at the club, filed an unpaid wages complaint for around €59,000.

  116. MidwestGun

    gambon –
    Could be, just most teams had like 3. I would like to think it wasnt because Suarez looks like he went down with sniper fire every time he sniffs the box. Lol

  117. london gunner

    WE

    I could easily be wrong but I would not be surprised if Wenger plays a 4 4 2 next year.

    His got a fetish for Giroud and Sanago…

    I think you can get way with a 4 4 2 if you do it right. Ask Man City and AM they both win their respective leagues.

    I have felt with 1 up front we have become less of a potent attacking force but then again we had a disgusting amount of quality in those days