Sunday, August 18, 2013

A great result for Arsenal

And no, we are not being sarcastic. Arsenal have had yet another unsatisfactory and downright inept Summer in the transfer market. Hopefully for disillusioned or even angry Gunners fans, this might force the arrival of much needed reinforcements. Somehow we doubt it however.

This was meant to be the Summer that Arsenal finally came to the top transfer table again, it has proven yet another false dawn. After several seasons of frugality coupled with huge income from the Emirates and upheaval at all of the three clubs that finished above them, this was meant to be their time to step up and challenge at the top again.

Arsene Wenger wields huge unchecked power at Arsenal and for that reason he must bear the brunt of the blame for their utter ineptitude in the transfer market. It is however notable that Arsenal have failed to make any impact in the market since David Dein left. The transfer market is a vipers' nest and Arsenal simply do not seem to know any longer how it works, they no longer have the street smarts.

Wenger continually cries foul of the market, of 'financial doping', of huge inflated fees but the reality is that everyone else is getting on with it and Arsenal are holding on to their Champions League status by the skin of their teeth. They are a million miles from challenging for the important silverware.

It is interesting that the returning Jose Mourinho is insistent that trophies are the only thing that matters. Arsene Wenger has lost all sight of this and his personal crusade against the greater direction that football is taking is at the expense of the wishes of the fans. There could be no doubt that the Emirates faithful would far rather have had the decade that Chelsea have just had rather than theirs.

The 'non' transfer of Gonzalo Higuain was case in point. Arsenal postured and quibbled over the transfer of a proven goalscorer and were simply blown out of the water by Napoli. Granted they are armed with loot bagged from the Edinson Cavani transfer but they should not be able to compete with a team from the top end of the Premiership with crowds of over 60,000 every week and over ten years of CL income.

The simple fact is that Arsene Wenger (not Arsenal it should be said) has a valuation of a player and the rest of the world has another. Napoli understood the necessity to buy the player and simply got on with it.

Wenger's valuation of players is baffling. Higuain is a proven La Liga and International goalscorer, holding his own for Argentina against competition from Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. He is 25 years old. Arsenal it was reported were prepared to pay 22M.

Roberto Soldado is a proven La Liga goalscorer with only a handful of caps for Spain. He is 28 years old - 3 years older than Higuain. Spurs get a little more than half Arsenal's crowds and a fraction of the corporate income and have no CL income. Spurs paid 26M for him.

AVB said that Soldado was relatively expensive but explained that you get what you pay for and he is top quality. That is hard to argue with.

The Luis Suarez soap opera is another non event. Liverpool are aiming to replace Arsenal, they are not going to sell to them. If Arsenal were a true big gun they would up the bid significantly and attempt to try and force it through.

Luis Gustavo was heralded as another top transfer target - and what a minder he could have proven for Jack Wilshire - but again it appears he has been lured (not 100% confirmed yet) instead to Wolfsburg, again a club that could hardly claim to possess anything close to the stature that Arsenal enjoys. None of the Premiership top three would be beaten to a player by Wolfsburg or Napoli.

Paulinho is a player of probably similiar compare to Luis Gustavo. He has more Brazilian caps but has no experience of playing in Europe, but again Spurs stepped up to the plate, bought the player and moved on.

Arsenal have been crying out for a top class keeper and yet the excellent Brazilian Julio Cesar has been available all Summer at a knockdown price.

Wenger is again blaming the referee for the Aston Villa result but it is his lack of transfer activity that is to blame. Buying players effectively is a huge part of football at the top table and Arsenal are simply not up to it anymore.

Much relief was felt when Arsenal beat Spurs to 4th place last season but given their inability to leverage on it, possibly it would have been better to have lost out and really force through some change at the Emirates. Everyone else covets the CL not just because of the revenue but because of the power it allows you to wield in attracting players. Possibly Arsenal just want the revenue it seems.

Arsenal have less than two weeks now to buy new players and this year they cannot blame a Fabregas, Nasri or Van Persie saga for things this time around. More Gervinhos and Mertasackers are simply not the answer.

Whilst others do, Wenger continues to whinge and complain, you can almost imagine him closing the door when he gets home in the evening and stamping his feet shouting 'it's not fair', but then life rarely is - No Nonsense.