Football Myth # 1 — The Proven Player

I have been talking about our problems all season. There is a need for some additions to the squad, the need for better defensive coaching and focused training, and about the improvements to the medical, legal and other support staff.

In general my approach has been to identify a problem based on valid and tangible observations, followed by a search for possible options and finally choosing one which seems like the most balanced. This doesn’t mean that I’ve uncovered all our problems and have a perfect solution for each but only that the approach is honest and attempts to veer away from personal biases.

In contrast, I’ve seen a completely different approach in the media and on some other Arsenal blogs and comments. That approach is based on pinning the blame on certain individuals and the solutions are almost always down to buying new players and selling the ones the writer does not like.

Such a solution is based on a fundamental assumption – the proven players bought for big money will come in and deliver from day one. Another issue it does not consider is the fact that even these players can get injured. The smarter proponents of this theory mention that we must buy even more to have the necessary depth and cover all possibilities.

I don’t want to get into the complications based on finances, motivational issues for those on the bench and so on. Let’s keep this discussion limited to the most basic assumption that a player signed for big money WILL deliver.

We have enough examples in the likes of Shevchenko, Robinho, and Berbatov, among others who failed to live up to their price tag. With the benefit of hindsight some fans can pretend to have the insight that they always knew this would happen. Very few, if any, predicted this at the time of the signings.

A similar example can be seen from the relative failure of Man City this year. Adebayor, Lescott, Barry, Tevez and Given are all seasoned professionals. They pretty much cover the list of demands Arsenal fans are making – A top class keeper, CB, DM, and goal scorers. You can throw in the likes of Bellamy and Johnson as wingers and they also have extra steel in the form of De Jong and Vieira.

Just read some start of the season posts and see how many Arsenal fans thought City will do better than us this season. Certainly, very few in the media gave us a chance. Yet, their proven players just proved one thing – There is nothing like a proven player and there are no guarantees that signings can achieve success.

In order to justify the buying philosophy if you really want to tell me that the players City have are no good and that Hughes or Mancini are not top quality managers then it’s already a meaningless discussion. Saying that our players are rubbish and our manager is stubborn and City are no good either is just stupid. Anyone who is even remotely qualified to pass such judgments should really be making millions managing big football teams and not spending time commenting on blogs.

The tricky part is that once we put our blinkers on and go down the “buy or die” road, there is no end to it. Real Madrid are a perfect example of this. City might become another unless they get their balance right. Liverpool are in the same boat. Last year they were close to the top and this season many considered them among the favourites but now everyone at Merseyside is talking about 4-5 signings!

Villa, Spuds and Everton have spent quite a bit of money but is their success proportional to the money they’ve spent?

In contrast, United lost a proven player and that too one recognized as the best in the world, and didn’t replace him, yet they are still right there at the top!

In short, buying players is a good option but not the perfect fool-proof solution many would have us believe. At the end factors like injuries, balance, stability, co-ordination, tactics, motivation, experience and confidence make a big difference. Finding players who can make a positive impact on all these variables is not linearly linked with the amount of money that is spent.

Football management is an incredibly complex job and those of us who cannot see beyond some silly computer game will never truly appreciate the greatness of the top people in this business. I’m not trying to justify our weaknesses or saying that we don’t need improvements. Nor am I trying to defend Arsene, he doesn’t need defending as far as I’m concerned. My point is that our problems are not so simple that they can be solved by two sentence solutions that contain four or five names.

I have no expectation from the media or from some Arsenal writers. They are no hopers. But after our recent run of crazy losses even many rational and fair-minded fans seem to have lost the plot. I truly hope that these fans will see through the myth being propagated by the media and elements of the blogosphere. We need improvements but we also need a positive atmosphere, belief and genuine support.


30 Responses to Football Myth # 1 — The Proven Player

  1. Mr X says:

    Top Comment mate. 100% agree

  2. WC says:

    I’m going to disagree on your points to the extent that Man City shows that proven players can bring success. Their oil sheik targeted a top 5 finish and they look poised for that. However look at Man City’s league position in the last decade and look at this season gone when they spent on big players. City were at best middle table, never more, and then in one season they’re pushing the top four. At least for Spuds they’ve consistently been in UEFA Cup contention and almost even knocked us out of the top four one year if not for their cafeteria poisoning them.

    The gap City have made up by bringing in “proven players” shows that there’s something to be said about experienced quality players.

    United have proven players at their disposal already, even after selling CR7. They replaced him with Valencia who had a rough time of it at the start but he’s had a couple successful seasons at Wigan already so he could be considered experienced and now he’s running the right wing for Fergie. He kept Giggs, Scholes and Neville – they might be old as dust but they know how to rally the troops.

    There’s no guarantee that buying a proven player is going to get you what you want but at the very least it decreases the inconsistency which Arsenal are facing. If an experienced player is a flop, you know right away because they’ll consistently flop. Whereas a young player can look world class one week and then Division Two trash the next week and leaves you as a manager in a dilemma.

    • desigunner says:

      I guess you are assuming that the sheik targeted a top 5 finish but to me sacking Hughes doesn’t seem justified if that were the case. I know in public they talk of top 6 and all that but you really have to consider what’s going on.

      Spending 250 million pounds for a top 5 place is ridiculous. How much more do you think they will have to spend to win if that were par for the course? Even Mancini had to sign some free players like vieira and he himself said that maybe the board are testing him to see how he does, which just shows that it’s not as simple as buying big names. My assumption is that the sheik is really disappointed with his return on investment.

      Tottenham have been buying and selling but have been as close to 4th as we have been to 1st. Only this season they’ve finally achieved a very elementary level of success.

      There is no doubt that buying players helps if you get it right but the argument “there’s something to be said about experienced quality players” is too vague. No one ever denied the fact that if you get a good player in it will improve the squad. Knowing which player will be good is the problem. This brings us to the point where you have to decide whether you can gamble on 10 signings and hope 4 work out or you have to be astute and get 2 guys you are sure will do well.

      United have spent plenty on Anderson, Hargreaves and even Nani. Their contribution is peanuts but with a big stadium and finances United could afford the bloopers, even Berbatov.

      The problem some Arsenal fans don’t understand is that in our present financial position we cannot afford a couple of experienced signings who flop. Once you’ve paid big money what good is it that you know right away that he’s a flop!? You just have to buy again and even then there is no guarantee. The examples of Madrid and to some extent City and Liverpool are clear cases in point.

      Consequently, the buy five players and all will be well theory becomes extremely weak and dangerous for the club.

      Bottom line is – buying players can certainly help but it cannot be seen as the one and only solution.

      • Phil23 says:

        ~~~~~~Van Persie~~Bendtner~~~~~~
        ~~~~~~~~~~~Arshavin~~~~~~~~~~~
        ~~~~~~~~~~~Fabregas~~~~~~~~~~~
        ~~~~~Vermaelen~~~~Song~~~~~~~~
        Clichy~~~Chiellini~~~Naldo~~~Maicon
        ~~~~~~~~~~Szczesny~~~~~~~~~~~

  3. Gunner says:

    Call it arsenal tunnel vision but are arsenal fans (next to or after liverpool fans) the most divided over their club?
    I blame the media more than the club.

    My biggest fear is, if we win the league , there would be a lot of fans wouldn’t recognize the achievement. Because to win the league you pretty much got to have the best squad and quite frankly we don’t. Call for Wenger’s head there if you want but you knew what price the emirates came with. I know he’s made errors along the way that lets say cost a league for example but he’s good enough to take this squad that far which gets lost.

    But until our squad is better than man U’s or Chelsea’s we will never deserve to win the league so if we had won it this season it would of been because of over-achievement and chelsea and man u would deserve the level of criticism we get for achieving what we deserve or above.

    Real perspective is lost here I feel.

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t know why so many people are having a go at our squad. I’ve not seen United or Chelsea squads achieve anything with 7-8 first team players missing. Have you forgotten how United were humiliated at Fulham when they had a number of injuries?

      We cannot look at the results of a depleted team and start commenting on the strength of the squad. No squad in the premier league is capable of losing 8 first choice players and still continue winning.

      • Gunner says:

        100% agree if we had less injuries we would be in a glory glory arsenal era but what its not just skill that determ which is where Chelsea are better.
        Though you’re right about clubs not being able to cope with 8-9 first team players out, united can afford not to put out their 1st team most matches hence why they rotate a lot more (willingly) than arsenal which leads to their players getting less fatigued.

        Our squad does not falter in the skill department , if anything it is the best and if we have a injury light season we would be running away with the league but unfortunatly
        that isn’t the case and unless we rotate more while being confident of getting a result (since we can’t compete with chelsea players durability (partly due to being older)) we will struggle again with injuries.

        But by no means do i underestimate the squads abilities and we cope with injuries better than other teams i believe (arsenal bias maybe but w/o a striker we were still in the title race)

      • Phil23 says:

        Chelsea would.

      • desigunner says:

        Chelsea lost at Tottenham and Wigan with a near full strength starting line up. So why do you assume they would? Just because the names in their squad a more recognized?

  4. Clockers89 says:

    Your thesis on the “myth” of the proven player is not so clear-cut. A look at our rivals for the league, who have battered us this season, and in the case of Chelsea (since Mourinho’s arrival) bettered us for years, demonstrates the opposite.

    While a “proven” player is no guarantee of success, on the whole, it’s clear that adding talented internationals, who have “proven” themselves valuable in competitions such as the Champions League, is the clearest path to winning in football.

    It is not the Arsenal way. And, it may not be viable in economic terms, but a look at Chelsea shows that – taken as a whole – players such as: Carvalho, Cech, Drogba, Robben, Essien, Ballack and A. Cole have been the difference between them winning or being also-rans.

    Likewise, United’s strategy to buy young (often english) players who have established, or if you like “proven” themselves in the domestic game has also brought the club success. While you mention Berbatov here, you fail to address the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick or Antonio Valencia – all of whom have made enormous contributions to their recent – and let’s face it, historic achievements.

    High profile flops are indeed all too common, but that has more to do with the ability of managers and scouts to evaluate talent and make shrewd decisions – and favoring players in their mid twenties who retain more residual value if they need to be sold on.

    You do make good points on needing better defensive coaching and focused training, and about the improvements to the medical staff. Those things I think all Arsenal supporters can agree on. However, it seems that Wenger would be more likely to actually buy some proven players than to change fundamental elements of his regime – like training, diet, and tactics.

    By the way, Mark Hughes may be a “top quality” manager who over-performed at Blackburn with a team that a very small bit of quality in with hard, often violent kickball, but he surely shouldn’t be classed with Mancini. The latter has demonstrated his ability a the top of the game, while Hughes when only given a brief chance did not apparently inspire confidence in his employers as his side could not win away or keep clean sheets even against the lowliest of opponents.

    Finally, in terms of the most problematic position this season, goalkeepers, it’s widely accepted that they peak after making many more appearances than outfield players as they gain maturity and improve their match-intelligence and focus.

    Looking forward to your response.

    Cheers.

    • desigunner says:

      Chelsea have assembled a squad by spending in excess of 300 million pounds. Arsenal cannot do it and we should not be comparing buying strategies with them. Although it’s interesting to note that even Chelsea aren’t spending crazy sums any more.

      United have some good buys in Rooney, Ferdinand and Co but they also have an equal number of flops in Anderson, Hargreaves (not a flop but no return on investment), Nani (only now beginning to perform but a liability for last 3 years) amongst others.

      The point is that if you have enormous amounts of money then you can keep on buying. A few will eventually turn out to be very good. In the case of Chelsea or City they could buy guys like Torres and Gerrard who are genuinely proven in the league over a period of time.

      Simple fact is Arsenal cannot compete with these people. So when fans assume that we can just buy 4-5 players and they will all be a success you have to wonder what’s going on. Suppose we buy 5 – 2 really good players gets injured, 1 doesn’t adapt to the league and 2 turn out to be good. What do we do next year? And the year after that?

      We can use the example of a keeper itself. What if we buy big and he gets an injury like Cech did? Does it mean our season is over then and there? Do we buy 2 keepers or 3?

      At no point am I denying that there are many good players out there who can improve the squad. Judging who will and will not fit into the club tactics, culture and the League is a tough ask. My point is that fans needs to respect this complication and should not assume that because a player is hyped up in the media and has a big price tag that he can come and solve all our problems.

  5. Clockers89 says:

    I don’t think that most sensible supporters are saying that the club needs to go on a Chelsea-like buying binge. However, in your article you use the examples of Sheva, Robinho and Berbatov to make your point. That is not a fair reflection of “proven” players, instead it’s selective bias.

    You mention the expensive additions City made and their collective failure to attain the 4th place spot and point to the constant player trading of Real Madrid, but simply ignored the overall success of Chelsea and United in the transfer market.

    As for the City players you mentioned, does anyone doubt that at least the likes of Tevez, de Jong and Given would have greatly improved our squad and chances to win a trophy? Even the likes of Bellamy (gasp) and Barry may have also been significant improvements over the likes of Rosicky and Denilson.

    Also, I do not understand your sympathy for Mark Hughes. He could not get City to defend or win away. Also, from an Arsenal perspective he is a real enemy in both his playing and managerial career. His Blackburn teams repeatedly displayed as Wenger called it a “desire for violence” against us. So I couldn’t be happier that he got the sack.

    • desigunner says:

      The examples of players who have been considered proven but flopped show that every time a team buys big players it must be prepared for that player can flop. So if Arsenal supporters want 4 signings we must be prepared that we could need 8.

      That’s the whole point. Once we go down the buying road there is no end to it. Spuds have been buying and selling for a while now. City have done the same when Sinawatra took over and subsequently with the sheik. Even now both aren’t in a position where they can say this is our squad and we are ready to compete with the best.

      The overall success of Chelsea and United is down to spending power way beyond our present financial status. Chelsea have a rich daddy and United have had big income for a long time now. I’ve not ignored their success I’m trying to put it into perspective. If you want to go further we can say for all the hundreds of millions that Chelsea have spent they have failed to win the Champions League. So even their insane buying binge is only partially successful.

      United have dominated for the last three seasons on the back of some big spending which covered some of their flops. They also had to rely on one man to develop into a phenomenal talent that no one really would have expected. Without Ronaldo they are now a good team but just short of Champion material. So even their binge is partially successful and requires a booster dose of spending every year or two.

      In contrast, Arsene has kept Arsenal competitive while actually generating cash!! Should we trust the judgment of such a man or should we go by our own judgment that Barry would have been better than Denilson! City came to the Emirates and couldn’t create a single chance of note. They couldn’t keep a clean sheet at home against the Spuds. So how do I believe Barry is any better than Denilson in defence or in attack?

      If you read around the comments of the fans, too many of our players are not good enough while those at spuds, citeh or villa are much better. You’ve mentioned 5 City players yourself. Yet, those teams barely come close to us and only the recent reserve team fiasco has brought us close to 4th.

      To put it very simply, I have a problem when people say that 2 signing or 4 signings will make us champions. It’s dumb to simplify something to that extent precisely because of the issues I’ve highlighted in this article. I also have a problem with such assumptions that imply fans can see it but the manager can’t.

      I was not defending Hughes just respecting the fact that he certainly knows a lot more about football than I do. And that’s the respect that some fans don’t have. Personally, Hughes is no 2 on my list of managers I hate, right after Fat Sam. But that has to do with his tactics and is not based on the thought that I understand football better than him.

  6. canadiangooner says:

    Interesting take on buying players dude. I have been reading your responses to the comments and to quote
    “Without Ronaldo they are now a good team but just short of Champion material. ”
    I think this is the worst united side in ages, but yet again they might win the championship for the 4th time, i know rooney is in the form of his life, but fergie’s super flop berbatov has hardly contributed, so on paper our side matches this united side or i would say is even better, yet they are in the race we are not?
    I wonder why, are the carricks,fletchers better than what we have? i think not, united do have rio and vidic who coupled with van der saar make a good defensive unit, but rio has be out for long periods this season.I think verms and gallas were as good as rio and vidic, i am not going to bother comparing van der saar to almunia or fabianski.I think it all comes down to the will to win and we simply don’t have a strong enough desire and the moment that changes, everything will change.

    • desigunner says:

      Well firstly Rooney has played all season and Van Persie and Cesc have not. Secondly United are better organized defensively and we are not. Also the full backs in our team have not completely adapted to the new system and hence we got caught out on the flanks quite often.

      I think there are subtle issues and they are solvable except perhaps the injury concern. That’s the reason I don’t like the sell 4-5 and buy 4-5 approach.

  7. Phil23 says:

    Desi, I have few faults with our squad. The players that are there are fine. The problem is there aren’t enough of them. Another thing that people don’t understand is that Wenger doesn’t just get raw talent that he knows will be good one day, he MAKES them play well. Thats the real reason players suck once they leave Arsenal, they were never that great but under Wenger almost every player over performs. Now take that logic and add a couple of talented experienced leaders and what do you get? The best team in the world. Or we could carry on like we are going to and fight like hell to maybe, just maybe pip the title. The question I want to ask is WHY!? Why should we do that when we have the money sitting there? Wenger is frustrating me soooo much. look at this team:
    ~~~~~~Van Persie~~Bendtner~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~Arshavin~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~Fabregas~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~Vermaelen~~~~Song~~~~~~~
    Clichy~~~Chiellini~~~Naldo~~~Maicon
    ~~~~~~~~~~Szczesny~~~~~~~~~~

    That would cost us around 50m plus Sagna (Sagna plus cash to Inter, who want Sagna by the way). Thats what we got just for qualifying for the CL. And according to Gazidas we don’t actually need qualification to break even. So rather then give the money to the board how about we turn ourselves into the team we deserve to be? Theres no team with a better line up then that in the world full stop. Not even international. And the best part is that it would get better each year for the next 3 years before even needing to be touched so it would equal out to less then 20m a year. So what would you honestly want? If your honest with yourself its simple. We should be signing a few world class players so that we become the team we always said we were. P.s to an earlier argument, if that team had as many injuries as we had this season I believe we would still have won the title this year by some margin.

    • desigunner says:

      Wenger wants to bring in a couple of players but it’s not that simple. For instance I don’t think Mourinho will sell Maicon unless the price is crazy. Second issue is that the likes of Cannavaro and Walter Samuel flopped at Madrid. So you can never be sure someone like Chiellini will come to England and perform.

      This is exactly the point I’m trying to make. It’s easy to think these guys will make the team very strong but what happens if they don’t adapt, don’t like the climate or can’t adjust to the speed of the league? In such a case we would have to go out and spend big again the next year and the market value of this player would be gone. Plus we would be out of the running in the season when we’re trying to see if these guys adapt or not and the fans will again go ballistic.

      With the team you’ve mentioned you’ve not given the bench. Think of the bench and then tell me if all those players would be comfortable to be on the bench? If not then we have another problem of balance.

  8. Phil23 says:

    Following on from my earlier comment, the reason its 4-3-1-2 is that 3 forwards doesn’t work well for us. We have no true wingers and they get in the way of the fullbacks. Also it results in the ball going from one corner back to the defense and over to the other corner with no penetration. Watch the last 10 frustrating minutes of the Blackburn game and you’ll know what I mean. Not only this, but dropping Arshavin into ‘the hole’ has huge benefits to each and every player behind him. Fabregas get to drop back a bit and is no longer forced to be play maker and the passing engine. Instead he gets to be a deep play maker and put in those long passes he loves. This means he is put under much less pressure. Because Fabregas is playing deeper he no longer needs to have someone such as Denilson helping him spread the ball around. This means we can play with two defensive midfielders which relieves Fabregas of yet another responsibility. Vermaelen and Song would both benefit as the left footed Vermaelen only has to cover the left side while Song covers the right side. If either of them ever go forward they don’t need to worry as the other will just stay behind. Obviously this helps the defense as they are more than adequately covered. The full backs will feel safer when they make a forward run because Song can cover for Maicon while Vermaelen can cover for Clichy. The keeper has a much easier job. 90% of the goals we concede are through stupidity, terrible defense, counter attacks when we are over committed and mistakes from unconfident keepers. These problems should be significantly reduced. When it comes to corners we will go from being very weak at both ends to extremely strong at both ends. Bendtner Naldo Vermaelen and Chiellini are great headers of the ball. Van Persie Song and Maicon are not terrible headers either, especially in defence. Lastly, in defensive corners the 6 ft 5 Szczney is great at claiming corners, is commanding and most importantly confident. So by adding 3 players and tweaking the formation we would be getting the best team in the world with huge depth and only getting better each year. If you want this then maybe you should make your voice heard. (Not in a ‘We need to replace the whole team and Wenger is shit’ way either!)

    • desigunner says:

      The formation you’ve mentioned is defensively very weak and would lack width. This is just my opinion but if you watch carefully we need wingers who drop back to support the full backs and the central players defend narrow. In your formation the strikers and Arshavin would be out of defensive duties and that will put a lot of pressure on the others. I don’t think Arshavin has the awareness or engine to drop deep and defend centrally. Stikers will be left on top or the half way line.

  9. Maanav says:

    Now I can say that DesiGunner is the most composed Arsenalist in blogosphere. A jewel in the crown of Arsenalism.
    🙂

    • desigunner says:

      Thanks Maanav but I still consider myself a novice and there are some who have been brilliant for years.

  10. Sam. says:

    I am confused. So if we don’t buy the proven players, then what do we do. Do we stand still or even go backwards. Do we keep on waiting forever. Our stadium is generating same amount of match day revenue as old trafford, and our debt is much much smaller then Man U. Why can’t we spend some money to improve the players. I would like to know that is happening with this money. No, manager have to buy some experienced players. You can not worry about them being getting injured during the season. That is part of life. Otherwise you will never get on the motor way. However, Ido believe that Wenger is the right manager for us and he will finally sort this team out. He is intelligent and is aware of this situation. No doubt he wants to win trophies as much as us and must be as frustrated as us.

    • desigunner says:

      Sam it’s not black and white i.e. either we buy players or we don’t buy players. Arsene has been buying every year. The point here is that we cannot assume that just by going out and buying 4 big names everything will be fine. We will buy but we also need to look at other solutions.

      I think sometimes we don’t understand the complexities involved because we get stuck in the black and white thought process.

  11. george says:

    great blog Desi .But i fear that you are “pissing in the wind” as they say.

  12. boozy says:

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,rvp ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…………..
    ribery……………………………….arshavin…..
    ………………………………………………..
    ……………….fabregas………………………………..song…………………diaby……………..
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………clichy…….vermy…….naldo………..reo coker
    ………………hart…………………………

  13. Clockers89 says:

    I’m not personally advocating that the Club go out and spend big money on 4-5 experienced internationals at the top of the transfer market as we all know that this probably isn’t feasible or in the long-term best interest.

    As a side note, it should be mentioned that while running the club as a sustainable business which does not rely on a benefactor or accumulating debt is laudable, it is also encourages a leveraged buyout. When the club has little in the way of debt it becomes a much more attractive target for a leveraged buyout. Manchester United’s total lack of debt and outstanding revenues are what made it so attractive to the Glazers and allowed them to borrow against the assets to buy the club.

    And while it seems that Fiszman would not intend to sell to a buyer who would mortgage the club’s assets to gain ownership, we cannot be entirely certain. Afterall, Mr. Arsenal David Dein sold his shares to Usmanov!

    As for Lady Bracewell-Smith, Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov, well, we can assume that they would each be willing to sell to an investor looking to employ the methods that the Glazers and Hicks/Gillette used – if the price were high enough. So reducing the debt when the long-term ownership issue remains unresolved could potentially be akin to inviting the wolves to supper and result in a damaging leveraged buy-out. Unfortunately Arsenal is not owned by its members so carrying a significant, yet manageable amount of debt offers some protection.

    However, I really do think that your general thesis on the myth of the proven player is largely erroneous as you specifically did not mention any signings that had already made big names for themselves in european or english football and stepped into the likes of United and Chelsea and performed well. Also, not sure that you’re 50% failure rate is correct. Let’s take Chelsea’s big transfers since Mourinho. Kezman, Sheva, SWP and Deco were all flops, but Cech, Robben, Carvalho, Ferreira, Drogba, Essien, Alex, Kalou, A. Cole, Ballack, Malouda, Ivanovic and Anelka demonstrate something approaching a 1:4 ratio of flops to successes. Not a 50/50 split.

    Moreover, while we all know that 4-5 players are unlikely to arrive, does anyone really think that we don’t need:

    1. First Choice Goalkeeper
    2. Central Defender to replace Gallas
    3. Midfield Terrier / Backup DM
    4. Forward to replace Eduardo/Vela

    That seems the very minimum, but we could also use a replacement for the departing Silvestre as Djourou has been hampered by smaller, yet significant injuries for a number of seasons. Perhaps between the likes of Djourou, Bartley and Nordveit one can establish themselves as left-side CB cover for Vermaelen.

    Many (including myself) think that ideally we could use a natural wide player to replace Rosicky – someone who has a desire and ability to beat his man on the dribble and can offer better final product.

    As for how much money we spend on these players and who they should be, that is certainly a job for the manager and thankfully he has an outstanding track record. And if the money still isn’t there or there are values to be found in the transfer market, we could potentially bring in an older, experienced keeper from the premier league with the lure of Champions League football without paying a big fee.

    As for a midfield terrier, I think we really are lacking something in this department as having a player who can win the ball back and play a pressing game would give a real energy and tempo which we often lack.

    Again, I think Wenger could address this area without necessarily spending big.

    Thank you for your replies. You’re stills and comments from the Blackburn match were very helpful.

    Cheers.

    • desigunner says:

      The directors are not selling their shares right now there must be some reason behind it. It could be that Kroenke doesn’t have enough cash to make the bid. Even if a leveraged buy out were feasible then Usmanov could have tried it. Since he hasn’t you have to wonder whats going on. Of course they might all be waiting for the debt to be manageable before they buy. I think as long as the sellers are careful and keep track of the source of funds they can prevent the club from getting into trouble. Even in that case who can guarantee that the new owner wont take out loans after taking full control. Financial world is a mess and I prefer not thinking too far ahead as the possibilities are endless and most of them are not good.

      If you want to justify buying then you can’t keep on pointing the finger at Chelsea. Look around the league and tell me if more than 50% signings are successful?! If they had been then we would not see the likes of Man City and Spuds spending so much year after year. Chelsea haven’t spent much in the last couple of years have they?

      The reason we cannot count Chelsea is because they paid over the odds. Once you do that it’s easy to get the absolute cream and chances of success within those signings could be closer to 70-80% We cannot pay over the odds so we cannot expect those kinds of success rates.

      Even after paying over the odds they can afford to send put someone like Ivanovic on the sidelines. He was signed for close to 10 million but he didn’t play for 8 months. Do you think Arsenal can afford anything like that? That’s the reason I keep saying Chelsea are not the right example for anything except the obscenity of money.

      We already have a new striker. Now lets assume we get a CB, DM and GK. Can that be done in less than 30 million unless we get another freebie like Chamakh? What if the CB flops like Walter Samuel at Madrid (just one example of a good player not adapting to a team/league)? What if we realize that the keeper is just as bad and the real problems are in front of him? (which I’m anyway convinced they are!) What is Song and the back up DM both get injured? Given our luck (RvP and Bendtner out, then Gallas and Vermaelen out, Cesc and Ramsey out and so on) its quite possible.

      Do we again buy in Jan? How much do we spend then? We will have to rely on the squad anyway. The point is buying doesn’t give any guarantees. But if we take the present squad and work on actual weaknesses there is a good chance of improvement. And I’m convinced there has been improvement over the last 2 seasons.

      We’ll definitely need a CB if Gallas goes and I’m sure Wenger will get one.

      After that it’s a matter of a gamble. We could take one on a new keeper or a new DM and I think Wenger will buy if he’s convinced. For instance, I don’t think De Jong is any better than Denilson. He might be stronger and a better defender but his passing is quite poor. How do we balance the negatives with the positives while making the buying decision? I trust Wenger on such decisions whereas some fans just see one guy who tackles better or is more physical and think he is better than what we have. It doesn’t work that way.

      Similarly, I don’t think Given is any better than Almunia. I know it will shock many people but I’ve seen Given make far too many mistakes and even wrote an article on how woeful he was in 3 games against Stoke. Lloris was quite poor in the Champions League games that I saw and he will be a laughing stock if he comes to Arsenal. Some fans just go on the image in the media and the blogs. I don’t buy that, I just go with the details I’ve observed. And I’m convinced Arsene looks at a lot more details than I can imagine.

      The obvious argument is that it hasn’t worked but that’s only in terms of silverware. I still see the last few years as largely good with some major disappointments. After that if you buy generalizations like we don’t have enough steel or we don’t have the spine or whatever then I can’t really say anything.

    • desigunner says:

      And I must thank you for your patient and well structured arguments even though I disagree with them partially.

      I put across my opinion with what I consider to be valid facts or pieces of evidence but I never claim I am right or that I know everything. A counter view always adds something to my own thinking even if it’s a matter of making a thought clearer or better structured. As long as it’s not abusive or personal it’s highly appreciated.

    • desigunner says:

      I also have to agree that just like there is a possibility of failure there is a possibility of big success. So getting someone like David James, who is error prone and inconsistent, might actually turn out to be brilliant for a year. The issue here is that the manager has to be trusted on such calls because he analyzes the potential signings on far more data points and on many relevant parameters than we can possibly imagine.

  14. Sonu says:

    Hey that is one of the best articles.It is high time that someone analysed our so-called crisis with a level head and provide a good write up…
    Great Job!.

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