It doesn’t really matter if certain Arsenal football directors declare there’s plenty of money to be spent. Arsene Wenger is the same stubborn, arrogant and slightly disconnected manager, who takes too long to make the moves that need to be done.
Arsenal are beginning their Asian tour facing the Indonesia national football team, but the only player they’ve signed this summer, Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre (a free transfer) still won’t be there to begin his career with a new club after playing for France in the U-20 World Cup Final, bringing home the trophy. The 20-year old had a fantastic tournament, scoring 4 goals, but he is not the answer Arsenal fans have been waiting for.
What is the answer? No one knows. It’s not quite clear what Arsenal are going to be. A team that once again plays to settle for fourth place in the Premier League, barely making it? A team that finds it satisfactory to make it into the Champions League and qualify from the group stage, while being the most expensive product in the Premier League?
If those are the goals, Arsene Wenger has no business being in charge. Not for the money he’s making from the team, and for the mixed messages he’s been sending out. Once it’s about wanting to make Arsenal a big, great club, or keeping it that way. But Arsenal haven’t won a league title in nine years, and haven’t actually finished above third place in eight years. Big clubs, ambitious clubs, don’t settle for simply money and profits.
So after fiery meetings with shareholders over the last two seasons, the club declared Wenger will have £70 million at his disposal to spend and bring Arsenal back to where most think they belong – closer to first and second place than to fourth and fifth. It’s clear that Wenger’s youth movement isn’t good enough to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe or the Premier League, and outside help has to be brought in.
But Wenger is always slow to react. Mid-July, and no substantial signing has been made. Arsenal have talent on their squad, but not enough to compete for a league title. Not with Olivier Giroud as his best striker, and not with the erratic goalkeepers he has, or the lack of a real defensive midfielder.
What is Wenger’s goal? He keeps saying that the club is in his heart. What does that mean, when he seems to be doing things, or simply doing nothing at all, to upgrade a team that’s declining, slightly, from season to season, basing itself on philosophies that have been proven to be adequate a decade ago, but no more.
Arsenal should be a team taken into account when a season begins, but they’re not. Maybe something will happen in the 35 days left till the season begins. There’s even time to make changes until September. But as usual, Arsene Wenger is proving that when it comes to budging from his own beliefs that are part of the reason Arsenal have been struggling for the last few years, he prefers shrugging off the blame and making up excuses.