So the end of another week of pre-season in which Arsenal are apparently no closer to any major signings. The first team squad has departed for Asia without a new star to excite the Gunner collective. Arsenal social media seems fit to burst with pent up frustration and this is worse than normal for 2 main reasons. Firstly thanks to Ivan the fans are aware that Wenger has the cash to spend and that the board are keen for him to empty the whole war chest. Secondly we are being linked with serious big name players and reportedly making sizeable bids but still not seemingly closing deals.
I am not going to claim I am not frustrated as well. I too am keen for us to move on and build on what is currently a winning team. The key however is just that, it is a winning team. By luck or good judgment Wenger found a blend of players and a balance of defence and attack from March to May that saw us go the last 10 games undefeated. Now some will argue we did not beat the big boys, we disastrously crashed out of both domestic cups and we did not do it over 38 matches. All of this is true but we did beat Bayern away in that period and Wenger did only get the blend correct in March. It is however all semantics and irrelevant to the subject in hand today.
We were a winning collective in the spring and unlike in previous seasons all those individuals key to that performance level and consistency will still be in Arsenal shirts come August. This being the case is not reasonable to bide our time and secure the right players to blend into this winning collective? What I do know is that we are in serious talks with serious clubs about serious players. I also believe that we are in for players that have not even made it into the paper and we are not in for players who the papers would have you believe we are in for. (For the latest transfer betting go to http://freebets.org/ )
Add to this the fact the negative impact of Ivan’s speech, made I am sure for the right reasons, is that every other club knows Wenger has cash and knows he is under pressure to spend it. The obvious consequence is that the seller may inflate the price thinking we might just pay the extra, above fair value. I think we all know that is not the Wenger way. The additional knock on consequence is that if we have secured an agreement with a top player we may choose to keep this fact under wraps so as to not impact negotiations elsewhere. This is best practice and good business acumen but does little to appease the angry frustrated fan. What I am really saying is that I believe we will strengthen between now and August 31st but for various reasons the big exciting announcement we crave may not be forthcoming, even if the deals are actually done.
Going back to the fact that we have a relatively strong squad anyway those comparing our inactivity to 2011 are way of the mark. In 2011 we have allowed 2 of our best players, including our skipper, to leave late in the summer and struggled to replace them. The difference as I have said is that we are not replacing in 2013 we are improving and strengthening. There is no comparison, although I see fans making it, between 2011 and 2013. In 2011 we were bringing players in late to a team that was weak and not a cohesive unit at all . Understandably new additions would in those circumstances find it hard to find their feet swiftly. Wenger was criticized that summer and rightly so to a degree in my view. However in 2013 we have a strong side, with huge togetherness and a winning formula. So players arriving in August will not be called upon to save a sinking ship, more to add wind to already billowing sails.
I do not want our new signings to arrive in August any more than the next fan. I would however prefer the right buys at the right price in the right positions in August than a hasty poorly negotiated signings in July. I also feel that top quality players coming into this current squad will not find it difficult to adjust and fit in if Wenger has time to ensure he gets the right additions. I am not saying cheap and cheerful. I am saying quality and expensive, but if we are going to spend heavily let’s ensure we get it right.
Many will not agree and would love to have seen Higuain, Rooney, Jovetic or Cesc boarding that plane last night. Hell we all would but there is plenty of evidence that top players joining a strong team in August can make it work trust me. Here are a few examples you may recall……
Thierry Henry – Signed 3rd August 1999 – Came in late and only managed 17 goal and 12 assists in 31 games. What a loser, no idea what became of him?
Sylvain Wiltord – This chap had the nerve to come after the season began at the very end of August having scored the winning goal in Euro 2000. He managed 8 goals and 10 assists in 27 league games which was pretty good to. We know what he did the following year at old Trafford
Gilberto Silva – Signed 7th August 2002 – Fresh from winning the World Cup and with no pre-season at all Gilberto arrived only 17 days before the season opener and only missed 3 league games.
Three of our greats and all three success stories in their first season having arrived missing pre-season with their team mates
Let’s roll the clock forward to the disastrous deadline day of 2011. Yes there were mistakes made but 2 of the players Wenger had been linked with for some time and had fully done his homework.
Both Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker arrived at the end of August when the side was at its lowest ebb following the humiliation at old Trafford and made instant impacts. The Spaniard particularly was an ever present when fit starting 29 of the 35 remaining games and only missing through injury.
Just s few fairly significant examples of August business that was great business for Arsenal FC and brought success and stability in the case of the 2011 examples to the team. There is no disruption in adding quality players to an already successful group of players. As Liverpool did in the 1970s and 80s and Man United have done in recent times the great sides add a small number of better players to winning group. Arsenal did this in the summers before Wenger’s title winning seasons as the excellent Michael Jeffares observed on Gunners Town a while back. So yes now is the time to add top quality to a group of existing players who are together and have a winning mentality carried over from May. If however we add the sprinkling of star quality in July of August, whilst frustrating for us now will not matter over the season, as long as the additions are better than we have.
The club are working hard and trust me I don’t think we will be disappointed come August – GOOD THINGS REALLY DO COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT!
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