Arsène Wenger seems a ruthless man, these days: he quickly sanctioned the move for Granit Xhaka, splashing between £ 30m and £ 40m to secure the signature of the Swiss midfielder, then activated Jamie Vardy’s release clause and tabled a 4-years contract worth £ 120,000-a week for the England striker – leaving many pondering what is going on with the old man.
More, the Arsenal is heavily linked with ever reducing Online Sportsbook odds, with Swiss left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, France enforcer N’Golo Kanté and Armenia star-man Henrik Mhkitaryan – none of them coming cheaply and/or representing a name for the future.
Among suggestions that he’s going full Sir Alex Ferguson in his final year at Old Trafford and signing ready-made players for a final push for a major title or rumors that he’s totally desperate and lost the plot, the truth might be that he’s simply following the project as it was designed when the building of the Emirates Stadium was decided.
When very little funds were available, we had to settle for promising youngsters and cheap players from around the world, gambling on them to perform and develop quickly to help the Club to maintain its status at the top of the Premier League; some worked out very well – Cesc Fàbregas, Robin van Persie or Bacary Sagna – and others were horrible flops, like Denilson, perhaps Andrey Arshavin or Manuel Almunia.
Nevertheless, we somehow avoided staying out of Champions League football – unlike Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea – and could slowly enter the phase two of the big project.
Arsène Wenger didn’t transform into a ruthless or desperate man, he simply investing money he finally has.
I still cannot explain why he stuck to Manuel Almunia for so long or why the likes of Denilson, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos and Johan Djourou were given so many chances, but I can see the bigger picture and I appreciate the long-term vision our manager showed.
I recall reading a tweet a few years back, saying “if Arsène Wenger has been so good in the £10-20m market, imagine what he can do in the £40-60m one” and anyone who wrote it was spot-on; let’s not forget that players like Santi Cazorla, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta, and Per Mertesacker were all signed for a relatively fair amount of money, compared to the insane cash that Manchester City and Chelsea paid for Mangala, Fernandinho, Bony, Matic or Otamendi.
Of course we had some glorious misses like Marouane Chamakh, Yaya Sanogo, Park Chu-Young and André Santos but – overall – Arsène Wenger signings were rather good.
Once more money was made available, our targets changed and Arsène Wenger brought Mesut Özil, Alexis Sanchez, Petr Čech and broke the infamously untouchable wage-scheme at the Club, signing £ 100k+ weekly bills with panache.
Should we be surprised or worried because Arsène Wenger is chasing a 23-years old left-back, whose transfer would cost the Club £ 25m? Should we be outraged because he’s ready to bring in the second-best goal scorer in the league on a 4-years deal, despite him being 29-year old already?
Arsène Wenger often said that transfers are not about spending a lot of money but finding the right player for the team, regardless of its price on the market and now that he’s finally doing it, many of us are moaning because he’s spending too much money.
When we go big and splash the cash, we’re wasting money.
When we go for a bargain, we’re no longer interested in competing for honours and settle for the 4th place.
Make up your minds, Gooners.
Get your replica wall clock here