Arsenal: What’s going on with Arsene?

by .


First comes the denial, then comes the anger, then comes the ‘what the f*ck?’

Another disappointing summer. One of the worst. Mostly because all the ducks were lined up.

Great run in 2015

Tactics became a thing

Preparation clearly happening to a high level

New Fitness coach weaving his magic

Team working on in-game scenario planning

Players coming into their own

Settled squad with no one leaving

Chelsea in disarray

£200m in the bank

3 players is all we needed to make the league ours. 3 players. We landed the world class keeper. What a move. Nicked from one of our rivals. Perfect.

All we needed to ensure a great season was a striker, which had been on the cards for 3 years and a defensive midfielder to cover the ageing Flamini and Arteta.

What did we get?


Now, this is the point where the anger has dissipated. I’m now reflecting on it rationally. However, I still can’t fathom what went on there. It doesn’t make sense.

So there are a few things going on here that confuse me. We touched on some of them yesterday.

Wenger is a football addict. He’s so addicted, he can’t quit the game because he doesn’t have any hobbies outside the sport.

Part of his addiction sees him watch more games than anyone who ever walked the planet. He loves it. He has Sky Sports, BT, Canal+ and ESPN… all in sweet sweet HD. Costs him a fortune per month. But he watches a lot of football.

He trains and works with his team every day. He’ll watch the games back. He’ll know the frailties. He’ll know the problems.

He has a monster scouting network he upgraded last year.

He has a very good deal fixer in Dick Law.

He had £200m and 3 years to think about the issue of the holding midfielder and the striker.

Yet we end up with nothing?

I need someone to explain this.

The club don’t need to hoard cash. It’s absolutely pointless. £200m in the bank doesn’t bring in interest worth bragging about. It’s a waste of time having it there.

Surfer X put this on the site last year:

In 2008, we had £93m of cash and short-term deposits. Allowing for the £24m and a prudent £20m for operating cashflow we need to hold back, that was a potential ‘warchest’ of £50m give or take. In 2008, the average spend per player (after removing loans and frees) £6.0m. Fast forward to the end of 2013 £154m- a warchest of £110m. What does that buy us now? The average spend per player has risen to £7.9m. So we are looking at an inflation rate in transfers of 30% across those 5 years.

What does this mean? That £50m we had 5 years ago is, is- in terms of a players worth- has devalued to £35m. Or, put another way- the £50m that is still would of bought us a couple of players in the world-class bracket at £25m. Today? Those players combined would be going for something closer to £66m.

So what we’re saying here is actually, cash in the bank loses it’s value year after year. You’re better off investing in players. Arsene Wenger wouldn’t pay £50m for Suarez, a season later, he went to Barca for £70m. The value that we’re moaning about this year isn’t going to shrink next year. Players will get more expensive.

Here’s the other thing. People trying to defend the folly of Wenger are saying that players are too expensive.

Here is my retort.

In the whole of European football, Arsenal were the only club not to sign an outfield player. Even Barca did and they had a transfer ban. If, in the world of football, there is no value to be had when you have £200m in cash, perhaps the way you’re valuing players needs to be reassessed?

Also, taking a gamble can be expensive. But what’s more expensive to a club trying to build a global brand is doing nothing. Because nothing ensures you won’t progress. If the aim of this summer wasn’t to compete for the league and the Champions League. What was it?

So anyway, the conclusion I’m drawing from above is that there’s something going on here. Three scenarios.

1. Arsene is right. His squad can win the league. He goes against the grain. He becomes the first manager to win the major trophies without proper investment. We all look stupid.

1. Arsene Wenger has lost the plot. I know people won’t like me saying this, but this has to be an option. He loves football. He finished third last season. He knows what a winning team looked like 15 years ago. Now he apparently doesn’t. Some times you lose it. It happens. Being great doesn’t last forever. Maybe time is drawing on his career. But when you think the way to make up a massive points gap in the league is to do nothing, you have to ask this question. You also have wonder what sort of economics degree Wenger took. If he’s struggling with the basic concept of inflation and he hasn’t seen the pattern of the last ten years, you kind of wonder what’s going on.

2. There’s a deeper reason for the money not being spent. The cash doesn’t benefit Arsenal sitting in the bank. It doesn’t benefit the team sitting in the bank. But does it benefit Stan Kroenke? Does having cash allow him to borrow more money to fuel his empire? It does. I don’t like pointing that out. But having a club chugging away with £200m in the bank benefits Stan big time.

So that kind of makes you think doesn’t it. I mean, that would go some way to explaining the unfathomable. But what’s in it for the manager? He doesn’t ever win the league. He never brings home a Champions League trophy. He doesn’t reassert himself as the greatest. The man who made Arsenal European Champions.

Feels strange.

But something is going on. Because I just don’t believe a man who is that smart, with that much resource and that much passion for the game wouldn’t do all he could to make his team the greatest in the world.

There you go. Disappointed. Sad. Fully accepting of what’s likely to happen this season bar a miracle.


478 Responses to “Arsenal: What’s going on with Arsene?”

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  1. Drey

    Cesc Appeal

    Stannis Baratheon going up against Ramsay with a demolarized army the size of a football team vs Millions of highly-trained and better-equipped soldiers..
    which invariably ended in defeat.
    At least Stannis tried to win (burning his daughter was the ultimate) and recruiting more soldiers for his army to get a fighting before he was deserted..

    Stanis > Wenger

  2. Joe

    Wonder if stoke can do to us what they did to Liverpool at end of last season. The hatred towards Wenger would hit an all time high.

    With a pasting from Chelsea the week after.
    It could get very ugly for Wenger very quickly after the break

  3. Joe

    Not that I ever want arsenal to lose. But this is a means to an end. 1 step back. 100 forward with a new manager.

    The title is lost already. This season has to be about getting rid of wenger

  4. Cesc Appeal



    Also I think an Ancelotti, Klopp or Guardiola type would think ‘I could piss 4th with this team, so I have a chance to make myself a hero to these fans literally by having better showings against the big sides and in the UCL, making signings and doing tactics.’


    Stannis for Arsenal manager? Ramsey as discipline coach…Tyrion to handle the press, Jon to be a wet blanket in case of fires…as if you wouldn’t have smashed in Melisandre!

  5. Drey


    the Red woman as Arsene’s number 2

    Red woman: Mr Wenger,let’s make a sub

    Wenger: why? its only the 69th minute?

    RW: its d will of the Lord of the light, and….

    Wenger: just shut up already! and don’t go hounding me tonight for ritualistic sex,I’m 70 for Pete’s sake!

  6. Relieable Sauce

    The Indepedant is taking the piss out of us now. We deserve it to be fair, but still, a bit disheartening to see.

  7. Adam A. Carbarundum

    Comical post to say the least. Why all the anger? The answer to why is obvious….because Wenger can! He does whatever he wants…because he can!

    In the end Wenger controls it all, every aspect…because he can…and because every single one of you stupid idiots let him get away with it when you should have put the screws to the Demi-God years ago.

    Want the answer Pedro, look in the mirror – all of you look in the mirror – looks brilliant on all of you! You made the monster now live with it. Flipping idiots we all are!

  8. Bamford10

    I think we need to change the subject so as to preserve our sanity. So I’m just going to begin trying to think of other things. Please others chime in to help us find a topic that will distract us from the disaster that is Arsenal football club.

    1. Will City play the prettiest football in Europe this season?
    (I think they will.)

    2. Will De Bruyne fit into the XI well?
    (I think he’ll be brilliant wide right there, actually.)

    3. Will they perform better in Europe?
    (Yes. Dropping the 4-4-2 will help, as will a re-focused Yaya, Kompany, Silva and Aguero, as will De Bruyne.)

    4. How will Martial fare at United? How much will he even play?
    (I’m pulling for this kid, but it’s hard to say. I think he’ll manage to score 8-9 goals and sort of hope he scores one against us, actually.)

    5. Will the EPL fare better in Europe this season?
    (Hard to do worse, but I think only City will impress in Europe. Chelsea and Arsenal will both struggle, with Arsenal possibly not even advancing out of a relatively weak group. Could see United doing better than people imagine, especially if Martial hits the ground running.)

    6. Will Barcelona repeat?
    (Hard to say at this point, but I think the competition will be stiffer this year both in La Liga and in the CL. Madrid are better, as are Bayern, I think. Outside chance of City beating Barca at some point. Yes, I know, Barca always give City a lesson in football, but I feel there is something about City this season.)

    7. Can Dortmund win the Bundesliga again?
    (I think they’ll compete for it. Will depend a little on Bayern. If Bayern go through a serious lull where they’re drawing a lot of games, I could see this new Dortmund pulling something great off. I’ll certainly be rooting for it.)

    Will appreciate any responses and any new topics others suggest so that we can move our minds on to happier things.

    Cheers, all.

  9. bennydevito

    Late night, early morning Grovers,

    Has anybody seen the recent article on Untold where they’ve actually applied for an Untold banner to go up in the stadium? Apparently it’s been agreed and will be going up soon!

    I kid you not.

    They even had this as their 2nd & earliest choice:

    ” …… In fact we knew that one of the slogans >(Welcome to Stadium Wenger)<…….. "

    Wow. Just wow.

    Talk about line yourself up with, pucker up and kiss that Wenger Ass! Jee wizz!

    It's clear to me now what their agenda is. They've been sucking up to Wenger and the club to try and get an "In" and get linked up associated publicity.

    Clever, but awfully, awfully shamelessly shameful. Talk about putting their selves first by refusing to acknowledge the damaging failings of Wenger which is damaging the club that they claim to support, and holding us back from properly challenging for the title just to get a banner up in the stadium!


  10. Bamford10


    “I want a clock titled: Wenger Days Remaining and a countdown in minutes and seconds.”

    If you build it, they will come. There’s actually an account on Twitter called Wenger’s Clock, but he hasn’t posted in a while. As of Jan. 1. he said W had 873 more days, which off the top of my head means he has something like 627 days remaining now.

    Arsenal supporters MUST speed that clock up, though. Whatever can be done to make Wenger feel miserable, to feel pressure, to make him feel unloved, hated, despised, disrespected — it should be done. The man must be driven out by the fans, because it appears the owner and board will not touch him.

  11. Emiratesstroller

    Moving on from the debate about the club’s failings in this transfer window theclub have now published their list of registrations for the Champions League.

    The main list includes interestingly Macey as third string goalkeeper and the
    17 year old Adelaide. Surprisingly Bellerin has according to Skye been included in B list of U21 players alongside Iwobi. Yet Chambers who is also U21 is in main list.

    I have to say that I was impressed with Iwobi when he played pre season and it
    would not surprise me that this boy will make a breakthrough into first team
    particularly since we made no forward acquisitions.

    Wenger has made as usual the case for not buying new outfield players on basis that there is no point doing so unless they are going to improve your squad.

    Making change for change sake is not clever if you have a title winning squad
    which does not need upgrade, but I am afraid that is simply not the case when
    you look at Arsenal.

    The messages sent out this summer as far as I am concerned are:

    1. Wenger did not complete the job of replacing Rosicky,Arteta and Flamini
    all of whom are now in 30s and not remotely good enough to play in starting line up particularly against top opposition and playing in two games per week which we will be required to do from September.

    2. The idea that you cannot upgrade your squad is ridiculous. There are plenty
    of talented young players around Europe that we could have looked at. What
    concerns me is that our scouting team’s brief seem to be only looking at players aged 15-17 rather than those aged 18-25.

    3. However, the real message sent out this summer is that Wenger or those running club acknowledge that they cannot or will not compete with the big
    spenders in European Football now that UEFA have effectively abolished the
    Fair Play Rules. That is for me a shocking message about the club’s ambition
    and future prospects.

  12. Jeff


    I think most of us on here predicted that FFP would not last or would not have any effect on free-spending by the big clubs. The demise of FFP simply gives Wenger another excuse to say we cannot compete with Chelsea, City and Man U and so he will herald himself to be a great manager simply by finishing just behind them and his faithful followers will claim the same.

  13. Dark Hei

    It’s been a quite a while (by my standards), but I am back!

    I can understand Pedro’s disappointment as the season has shown so much promise. But I find myself lacking that sense of despair that came from LAST season’s transfer window.

    We now lack a certain level of quality, not numbers. And while the media can talk about adding outfield players, unlike others, we have plenty of squad players. What we need is perhaps that additional starter or a different balance.

    I think we will come in comfortably in the top 3, but the first spot is for City to lose. Unless Welbeck or Walcott transforms into superb goal scorers.

  14. N5

    That wengerout twitter belongs to Holmes who doesn’t post anymore and the clock he used I made. It’s not really accurate, I just did it to the last day of that years season, god knows if that’s the exact date of his contracts end.

  15. Dark Hei


    1. I have always been a fan of City’s football. And Pellegrini. Never thought he was too old or lacking unlike some folks here. Not even being a revisionist. I think Pellegrini has always been quietly classy unlike that prick Jose.

    2. Will De Bryune fit into City? I am not sure. They might be better off with an orthodox wide player if Sterling and Silva starts. Here is another interesting caveat. Last season nobody on Le Grove, would have swapped Walcott for Sterling. Anyone changed their minds yet?

    3. Yup. I don’t think the 4-4-2 they previously used was bad at all. They just had so many strikers it became their default formation. The 4-2-3-1 perhaps gives more protection to Toure and also perhaps allows him to play to his strengths.

  16. Wallace

    Juve boss admitted they had a few offers for Pogba, with reports suggesting it was Chelsea chasing him at the death. big season for him without Vidal & Pirlo in the midfield, but if he does rise to the challenge you’d think he’s going to be fetching closer to 100m, especially after Utds Martial deal.

    also interesting to hear Draxler just wasn’t that into joining Juve. sign of the times when a young German player would rather stay in Germany than join Italy’s biggest club.

  17. peanuts&monkeys

    There is a strong undertone of support to Wenger in Pedro’s post. Hope none of the true Arsenal fans get swayed by the cryptic logic of moral support extended to the muckmaggot Wenger.

    Pedro and Geoff have been lifelong members of AST and its these guys who (i) do not question the Arsenal club at the AST, (ii) who scuttles ideas of protests.

    Shame on you truse Arsenal fans that you still come over here and read this AKB blog.

  18. bennydevito

    This is no AKB blog.


    Bamford, I think I’ve followed the wrong Bamford and I don’t see you in my followers. I’ll paste it in from above and look you up.

  19. alexanderhenry

    Pedro, yes there is ‘a deeper reason’ and thank you for pointing it out. That reason of course is stanley kroenke. He is the worst thing that could have happened to arsenal football club. That’s because to him, it’s nothing more than an investment opportunity . He is a business man first and foremost, not a sports fan. As the latest member of ‘Kroenke sports enterprises’, arsenal will be run as cheaply as possible and will remain as unsuccessful as all his other clubs ( check their records). Remember he bought the club – a controlling stake anyway- in 2011, but he’s been on the board since 2007, effectively the beginning of arsenal’s decline. You can detect the infuence of Kroenke’s ‘dead hand’ on everything from the lack of investment on players to the spiralling ticket prices and arsenal’s refusal to pay employees the minimum wage. The big advantage he’s had is wenger himself, a coach who has managed to keep us top four despite an apalling lack of resources, and a man who seems to be willing to take all manner of flak for things that have nothing to do with him. If we fail this season, fans and bloggers like yourself pedro, need to redirect criticism on to Kroenke. Wenger will be gone in two years anyway, and anyone who thinks he’ll be replaced with guardiola and £200 million to spend are going to be very disappointed. Kroenke out.