The PR cycle continues to plough on like it does every summer.
Ivan Gazidis earning his coin in the media repeating a mantra we know he absolutely doesn’t believe in. Arsene Wenger parading a £2.5m signing to the media like we just won the summer. The club still sorely lacking in important areas.
What a shambles.
I think what makes it worse is that I don’t think there’s a plan and I don’t think it’s that likely we’re going to do an awful lot more business this summer. We are where we are… and the CEO thinks we can challenge for the Premier League.
“We’ve got a squad now that we believe is capable of competing to win the Premier League. We came in second last year, which was disappointing. But we’re on the right track.”
This sort of comment comes completely without the context of the shit-show that was last season. We finished second in a year City, United, Liverpool and Chelsea went through managerial turmoil. We lost out to Leicester City with 71 points… the points total that usually lands you 4th place. We’re about bang on par for where we always are.
“This approach, for us, gives us a very, very powerful balance because it’s not just about spending money but about how you spend your money and doing it wisely,”
Spending money wisely. Jeez, how often have we heard that line before? Wisely, for me, is going out and buying the best possible players you can afford with the money you have. Wisely, is what United have done this summer. They’ve signed the best midfielder in Serie A, they’ve signed an experienced winner of a striker to lift the mood of the club (lot of PR there), they’ve signed a very good defender and they’ve signed the most productive player in the Bundesliga.
That’s spending your money wisely. You make £150m extra, you spend it on your squad. Arsenal make £150m extra, we spend £30m and talk about how great it is to have a nice philosophy that hasn’t won anything major in over a decade. It’s embarrassing carry on from Ivan. He shouldn’t say anything rather than back a horse good for glue.
What makes Ivan’s rhetoric even more farcical is that he thinks the fans don’t read The Swiss Ramble. He thinks we don’t pick through the financials. He thinks we don’t see what smaller clubs are doing on way tighter budgets.
“We’re making progress in what is a fiercely competitive world, against competitors that have the capability to spend far more money than we do,”
“We’re doing it by being very, very disciplined; spending money where we believe it makes a difference, but also giving young players a chance and believing in ourselves and our values.”
How many clubs can spend more money than us? Champions League for 20 years straight. Huge, huge, huge kit deal. £92m matchday revenue. Premier League rights at staggering rates. How can he be complaining that other clubs can spend more than us? Our wage bill is £3m short of City. It’s £10m short of United. Our cash reserves were 75% of the whole league at one point last season.
We couldn’t be in a better position to go out and get what we want.
We act the pauper, when the truth is we’re one of the most powerful clubs on the planet. We just don’t use that power. Well, Wenger doesn’t. Sitting on his hands, thinking he can defy the realities of football.
“I don’t have a nostalgia for [Wenger], and the board doesn’t have a nostalgia for Arsene,” said Gazidis in a wide-ranging interview. “That’s not why we believe in him. This isn’t a football club that looks backwards. This is a club that looks forwards and is always, always pushing the boundaries of how we can progress.
This statement, again, is just a lie. The club are indebted to Wenger. Well, Stan is, so they let him play with his toy until he decides to pack things in. Arsenal are not progressing under Arsene Wenger. Look at how far we’ve fallen away in Europe. Look at how advanced the coaches are that have arrived in the league. We’re regressing. The club might be putting in better infrastructure behind the scenes, but we’re catching up, not surpassing. In a game of marginal gains, catching up just won’t do…
“Our fan base is frustrated that we didn’t win last season. We’re frustrated that we didn’t win last season,”
“I am. Stan Kroenke as our owner is. Arsene is. Nobody is more frustrated than he is; disappointed that we didn’t finish on top because that’s our goal.
“What I see is a manager who is deeply committed to this football club, devoted to it, continues to think about the long term.”
NO NO NO NO cx.clxz,cdd, < That is me banging my head on my desk.
Thinking about the long-term is this.
Bayern Munich win the treble under Heycknes. They move him on for Guardiola. Here’s what Marcotti said about his tenure there.
‘As far as I’m concerned — and, more importantly, as far as many in the Bayern hierarchy have told me — Guardiola has already succeeded. He introduced concepts and an evolution that has simply made his players and the club better. And that’s a manager’s first job.’
That is good stewardship of the club. Arsene Wenger is not making the club better. He’s not introducing new thinking. He’s not evolving how we play. He’s not pushing us forward. Anyone with half a brain for football can see that we’re stagnating. To position Wenger as a forward thinker is patronising. To come out with this interview right now, tells you that the club are trying to shape our minds before the disappointment drops that our summer is going to be a farce.
“I think one of the challenges we have as a club, is that because we have constant [presence] and have somebody who is resilient, consistent, disciplined, and clear in his thinking, perhaps sometimes people outside can get the impression that there is nothing changing.
“And nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve made dramatic changes in how we operate as a football club, in all of the areas I mentioned.
“We have to be world-leading in those areas, and Arsene has been not just deeply engaged in those areas, but driving many of those areas forward.”
Honestly, it’s just such a nonsense. How is this playing out on the pitch? Fitness, granted. But tell me how the world leading capabilities are advancing us on the pitch? How are they advancing us in the transfer market? How are they impacting the systems we play? How is anything we do giving us a competitive advantage? How are we comparing to clubs like Bayern who have similar financial power to us?
It’s just rhetoric… we’re a Tesla chassis with two Flintstones holes punched in the bottom of the car. The worst thing about all the above comments is that Ivan knows. His team know. The whole club knows Wenger is finished. I even suspect Stan K knows and might be letting him have his time in the sun before the dark clouds of this season set in…
… but there’s the thing. Wenger is a survivor. He always just gets away with it. This season though… this season feels a step too far. The planets have aligned and I think it could be horrible. Too much competition, not enough action our side to combat it.
We have a good squad of players, an average captain running the ship. Only so long you can survive that. But the bigger question here is why would anyone just want to survive, when you have all the tools to succeed, win and make history?
The madness of Arsenal…