There’s more than just proclaiming “we’re still a big club” when Arsenal officials announce that they can spend like the best of ’em this summer. This means Arsene Wenger has no more excuses, and that just finishing fourth and making the Champions League won’t be enough next season.
The angry shareholders meeting last season in which Wenger admitted that making the Champions League is the goal now for the club that not too long ago ran neck and neck with Manchester United for titles and Premier League supremacy probably had something to do with Ivan Gazidis saying that Wenger will have £70 million at his disposal thanks to a very strong financial situation the club was in.
No more talk of developing young players, or wanting to hear about the team’s best going away. Not that there is anyone of that caliber left. Arsenal barely made it into the top 4 for a second straight season, and for the fans who have gotten the impression that they’re part of something bigger, and for the ownership and board that are tired of hearing that Wenger can only work with what’s given to him, it’s now or never.
Because it seems that this will be the season when it’s make or break for the club, as it struggles to hold on to its ‘big boy’ status, which some think has been gone for quite some time. A make or break season for Arsene Wenger, not just in what he accomplishes in about 10-11 months, but also if he can still bring in big names to upgrade the club, or will he prefer sticking to “his way”, which he keeps telling will secure Arsenal’s future while the rest whither away financially, but shows no titles, trophies or anything resembling any of that for his patience.
Big clubs take risks, and are willing to spend more than they can once in a while. And it’s not like Wenger hasn’t spend over the last few seasons. He just did it badly, on mediocre players that have kept the stagnation going, instead of moving Arsenal forward, while his most talented players: Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, couldn’t wait to leave because of money and low expectations.
It’ll be less about the final position in the table, and much more about the road Arsenal take to get there. Being out of the title race before we reached the halfway line of the season will mean another failure for Wenger, and unless something special happens in the Champions League, which means at least a semifinal, it’s hard to see what more can he ask for to keep a job he hasn’t been doing well for a very long time.