Well, didn’t the strangeness of Arsene Wenger explode into relevance yesterday?
Danny WELBZ, who last Thursday was going to be back after the international break went in for an operation yesterday on his knee that could see him out for up to four months.
The story dropped yesterday. After the window closed. Joke of it is, many were making quips that he’d be long term, so it wasn’t a show. However, it would appear, at best, Arsene forgot to mention to the fans that there was an issue, at worst, he out right lied to avoid the pressure that’d be placed on him to find a replacement.
The True Believers™ are out in force trying to make sense of this.
‘It only takes a second to realise you need knee surgery’
‘Joel Campbell, a player we all said wasn’t good enough last year, could fill his boots!’
‘THEO IS READY’
‘Shut up and just support the team’
I mean, it’s incredible that there are still sections of the fan base that can tolerate this.
However, from a realistic perspective, you have to say, this is completely farcical. Most managers don’t need an excuse to splash the cash. Arsene needs an outbreak of ebola in his dressing room to even consider such measures.
If Chelsea hadn’t signed an outfield player this summer, you could understand it, but for Arsenal to have not made a single move with the clear issues we’ve had and the now clear injury issues we’ve had brewing… well, it’s a farce.
‘But who was available?’
Look, not my job. However, I know that in any other role on the planet, you’d be getting a pasting by your board if you just came back to your boss and said…
‘I couldn’t find anyone’
We shouldn’t hold up the failings of others to cover our own ineptitude either. So what if only one striker moved amongst the top clubs.
When you have £200m in the bank, you have the ability to force hands. For me, if we couldn’t make a striker work, we should have looked at adapting a wide player into that role. Reus is playing for a Champions Leagueless Dortmund. Draxler, a player who boasts decent frame, pace and bags of potential moved to Wolfsburg. We could have made a good go of Dybala.
I AM NOT A SCOUT. But if I was, I’d have had options. To just not sign anyone smacks of arrogance. It reeks of complacency.
There’s no such thing as ‘no one available’… Pep Guardiola would have found a way around the problem. Jose Mourinho would have. Can anyone name me a top flight manager that would have just cracked on and done nothing?
And again, I will keep going back to this… Wenger has everything there to make sure he has a squad capable of winning things.
So what’s going on?
The man is in his late sixties. He’s gone through the hardships. He’s gone through the pain of having nothing. He’s out the other side. With all the cash and resource in the world. With 2 years left on his deal. The cake is there, ready to go into the oven.
Yet he’s not shooting for broke?
He doesn’t want to be the first manager for Arsenal to win the Champions League. He doesn’t want to make sure he has a squad capable of going toe-to-toe with Chelsea and City. He doesn’t care for a legacy that’s already cast in a bronze bust at the stadium.
What’s going on with that?
Has Wenger lost his competitive streak?
I just don’t understand. I’m at a loss. Why, when you have the chance to be the greatest, would you risk it? What’s the pay off for Wenger?
If you can understand it, let me know. I sure as hell bet Ivan and the board don’t get it. I bet you all the last minute transfer deals of the last ten years that the backroom team and the players don’t get it.
But don’t hit me with the… ‘name me the players that moved’… when have transfers by big clubs ever been about other big clubs wanting their big names to move?
The point if money is you can bully. The point of having ambition is you try. The issue I have with Wenger is it appears we didn’t neither of those things.
One of my Arsenal Whatsapp pals said that we don’t have the god given right to win. I agree, we don’t. We do have the god given right to expect one of the most well compensated managers of the last decade to look at his squad, realise the weaknesses and make bold moves to make sure they’re rectified.
All I want is to see the best possible Arsenal. I don’t think we have that right now. That’s not acceptable.
Mostly because there will be no accountability at the end of it… and again, you have to ask the question. Why is will there be no accountability at the end of it?
Before I go, this little snippet from the brilliant Matt Scott over at Inside Football.
‘The takeover added Arsenal to the other assets in the American’s Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) holding company. This comprises a range of US sports teams: Colorado Rapids (soccer), Mammoth (Lacrosse), Avalanche (ice hockey) and Crush (indoor American football), the Denver Nuggets (basketball) and the St Louis Rams (American football). This multi-billion dollar portfolio of assets has not been built without recourse to debt. How much debt, it is impossible to see. Kroenke Sports Enterprises is located in Delaware, a secrecy jurisdiction that places no obligation on corporate entities to make their accounts public.
What is known is that at the time when Kroenke was fast growing his portfolio of sports assets (he completed his Rams takeover with an acquisition of 60% of its share capital in August 2010, less than eight months before paying £250 million to take his shareholding in Arsenal beyond 60%) the global financial system was in the depths of a crisis.
It is routine for lenders to impose covenants on borrowers that dictate the maximum permitted gearing in a business. Gearing is the ratio between a business’s net debt and its assets. This gives rise to the intriguing possibility that, by quickly reducing the overall indebtedness of Arsenal and keeping cash in the bank unspent, KSE was able to offset debts in other group companies. This would mean Arsenal’s tremendous capacity for cash generation was being used to satisfy lenders to the US sports conglomerate.
There is no way of knowing for sure that this is the case, because Delaware accounting is not transparent and a man known to US media as ‘Silent Stan’ is unlikely ever to make public sensitive details on his financing arrangements. But I once asked Gazidis about this theory and he said he “did not know”, adding he “would be surprised” if it were the case.
One thing is for sure though: Kroenke, who seldom attends matches, is not in Arsenal for the fun of it. It seems instead that making money is the motivation. For instance, although the club has never once paid a dividend since becoming a plc, there is nothing in the 2011 takeover document to restrict Kroenke from drawing cash dividends from the club in future. A close associate of his once asked me: “What is wrong with a sports owner wanting to take dividends?”
The answer, of course, is nothing – provided performances on the pitch are satisfactory. It is clear what the fans think about those, and even Gazidis admits seasons past have represented failure. “We were disappointed that we weren’t competing for trophies,” he said in the summer.
For now Kroenke is not overtly drawing dividends, unlike the Glazer family whose 2005 leveraged buyout of Manchester United has openly used the club’s own cash to pay takeover loans. But if on 3 September Arsenal’s cash sits unspent in the bank, the suspicion will grow that he is servicing a similarly debilitating LBO in another, almost-invisible way.’
Makes you think, right? Have a great day.
P.S. On a more serious note. If you are in the UK and you have a heart. Please sign this petition and help force our Government into taking more if it’s share of the refugee crisis. These are people taking incredible risks to protect their families under circumstances not of their own. Do the right thing (especially if you were one of those people who took time out to sign the Jeremy Clarkson one).