After a 9-year period of trophy drought in between, he had built a team that had delivered back to back FA Cup and Community Shield titles, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez brought in for huge fees that now bring us to why what happened this summer should certainly spell the end of Wenger’s time at Arsenal.
Since 2013 when Arsenal paid off stadium debts, Wenger had been making buys but leaving gaps in his team, with the striking position the most obvious, he bought Ozil in 2013 when the obvious need was a striker to replace Robin van Persie, Ozil’s class and reputation pacified the fans, and an FA Cup –the first trophy in 9 years- wasn’t a bad result to show for his acquisition.
Then came the summer of 2014, the obvious gaps were still the same old ones, a defensive midfielder, a striker and a backup defender.
Wenger did well to bring in Sanchez, Ospina and Chambers then after much delays and reluctance, he brought in Danny Welbeck on deadline day (still leaving the defensive midfield gap).
But he could be excused with the fact that he had spent close to 60 million pounds by then. A 3rd place finish, another FA cup and a community shield showed that the team was a bit stronger, but Danny Welbeck’s poor goal return showed he wasn’t the striker Arsenal needed, with even the much criticised Olivier Giroud scoring much more than him.
Finally this summer; it was obvious that Arsenal just need a few signings to become the team to beat in the league and challenge seriously for the title.
Wenger started brightly by getting Cech early on, a Community shield and a first win over Mourinho proved Cech was a good buy, but the match and many other matches since then proved we needed a top striker, with Theo Walcott and Giroud failing to deliver, also Coquelin needed a backup, since his resurgence covered the defensive midfield position for us.
Elsewhere the league leaders for last season had added Asmir Begovic, Radamel Falcao, Pedro Rodriguez and Baba Rahmann to cover the positions they needed to fill, Manchester United had spent over a 100 million on more Acquisitions and Manchester City had spent around 150 million to strengthen their squad.
But Wenger had only added Cech to his team. He had made the same mistake of tracking the same player all summer even when a deal wasn’t looking likely as Henry rightly said – you don’t expect Benzema playing for one of the best teams in the world week in week out to leave, neither do you expect Cavani who scored over the weekend to leave PSG when his chances of playing through the middle is finally at his feet.
The transfer window ended with no single outfield player brought in, Arsenal being the only team in the whole top 5 European leagues to do so.
Now instead of having the complete team, we let all the possible strikers we could have gotten complete transfers to various clubs, Christian Benteke, Mario Mandzukic, Jackson Martinez, Carlos Bacca, Lucas Vietto among a long list of others who moved this season; and we still have only a wasteful Giroud and an absent Walcott as options upfront, and every Arsenal fan has to hold their mouths whenever Coquelin is tackled in a match because we know we are as good as finished if he gets injured.
Yes we got a great keeper, but on that night in Munich when chances will be at its premium, if Cech and the team stops the opponents attack and create one of those very few chances, we don’t have a striker who we can trust to make no mistakes in burying the chances.
7 points in the first 4 games against teams we should have taken maximum points from, and a poor goal return that has seen the “own goals” become our top goal scorer is a telltale of what are season is set to look like.
Wenger has been one of the best managers ever with the way he uses funds available to him to bring success in the past, but the problem now is his refusal to leave the past and realize that the current World has lost value for money.
Sterling and De Bruyne both cost Manchester City a combined £100million, which is outrageous and like the professor himself said, represents a lack of quality in the market, but it’s the situation we are in, with £60million left in our account and a space to fill, he should have used a good part of it to tempt Lyon to part with Lacazette early in the transfer window, just as Liverpool paid Benteke’s release clause just because of the urgency.
Wenger has laid the foundations for a successful club and will forever be remembered in the history of the club, but its time he stepped aside and allow someone who has evolved with time to step in and spend what money we have.
He shouldn’t leave now, because it will unsettle the team, and possibly cost us the top 4 spot, but at the end of the season should be a good time for us to give Wenger the brilliant farewell he deserves, then a new manager can have time with the squad before the next season begins.