Arsene Wenger has come unstuck in time.
He has gone to sleep manager of a team that has averaged 4th place in the league over the last decade and awoken holding aloft the Premier League trophy in 2004.
He walks through a door in 2004 and comes out of another one in 2011. He’s sitting in his office waiting for a call from Dick Law.
Finally the phone rings, “Valencia want £8m more for Mata than we think he’s worth.”
There’s a pause. “Pull the deal.”
“But Arsene, we’ve just lost Fabregas and Nasri, we’re short in midfield and…”
“Pull the deal.” The phone goes dead. So it goes.
He wakes up in 2013 having just told Yaya Sanogo he is starting up front against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. So it goes.
Now he’s in 2008 explaining to a room full of journalists that Amaury Bishcoff is a “gamble on talent”. He wakes up three months earlier having let Flamini, Gilberto and Lassana Diarra leave the club. So it goes.
It’s the Summer of 2014. Arsene is on a high having won his first trophy in nine years. The team is full of confidence going into the new season, but there’s a problem. Arsene only has two senior centre backs for a 60 game season. The window shuts and Arsene doesn’t blink an eye. So. It. Goes.
I don’t know whether Arsene Wenger exists in all time simultaneously and so can thus predict future events, or its just that Arsenal fans are trapped in a nightmarish Groundhog Day; but clearly something cosmic is going on here.
Arsene has obviously seen into the future and it’s so unbelievably successful that all this baffling decision making and under performance will finally be justified with decades and decades of trophies and he will be exonerated, knighted and beatified. There’s no other way to explain it.
I’m not going to rehearse the arguments as Pedro did that well enough yesterday. Arsenal needed a world class keeper, a world class forward and cover at DM. We got the first one, and did fantastically well to get him early.
But then nothing.
The true believers bemoan the difficulty of signing world class players. Well yes it is hard; when was the last time a world class player moved on a free transfer? That’s why you have a plan, you have ambition, you start early, and crucially, you have a scouting network that provides you with alternatives in case your first choice falls through. Asking PSG, a club with absolutely no need to sell, about the availability of three of their top players the day before the window shuts is not a plan, it’s banter so concentrated that it burns the roof of your mouth.
I was so confident at the start of this season. I thought if we could continue the great run of form we showed last year and make those last two signings we’d be formidable. Instead we’ve started this season like we did the last: overly confident with no regard for tactics or how our opponents set up, ridiculous substitutions and an under-resourced squad. So it goes.
Above I mentioned the “true believers”. I think we are now at a stage where WOB and AKB are redundant terms. There are only “true believers”, those who will steadfastly stick to their view no matter what the evidence shows, while maintaining an Oedipal/Kim Jong Il-esque obsession with Arsene Wenger; and everyone else. If you are reading this post you are almost certainly the latter. My advice to you when you meet the former is just smile and nod politely when they start screaming at you about “perspective”, “FFP” and “support the team” (as if you haven’t been doing that the whole bloody time).
Despite my gloom, we have a game against Stoke coming up which I am very much looking forward to. That’s the beauty of football I guess. The other paradox is that despite my desperately wishing we sign Carlo Ancelotti as our manager next Summer, I’d much prefer Arsene to win the league and for all my ranting and raving to have been in vain.
Unfortunately neither of those two eventualities seem likely at the moment. So it goes.
You can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel have a lovely day x