Of all the clubs in the Premier League, Arsenal are without doubt the most infuriating to watch and support. One week they are showing Bayern Munich up at home and untouchable, the next they throw away a four nil lead against whichever team has done it to them this time.
Unfortunately the frustration does not only stay between the white lines and at the end of this article I have a startling admission that might shed some light on why I feel all Arsenal fans are deluded.
In this blog I want to make three key points about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger that for me as a football fan would not be acceptable at any other club, both by the fans and the board, with ambitions of being title-challengers.
Arsenal fans are deluded – Point # 1
The first point is probably the biggest frustration of all and that is the delusions of grandeur in the transfer market.
Arsenal are a big club, there is no doubting that, but the recent transfer news coming out of the club is only proving laughable. Wayne Rooney? £200,000+ a week? Yeah right.
Arsenal won’t even pay the best young English footballer that this country has seen in a generation the going rate, how long will Jack Wilshere stick around? A discussion for another day.
This summer has been a monumental disaster for Arsenal, currently linked with a whole host of top players and with no real sign that any of them want to come to the club, let alone the board giving them the sort of package that they are looking for.
Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain, Marouane Fellaini, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, the list goes on but none of whom are going to see the light of day at the Emirates in an Arsenal kit.
Arsenal are not Manchester City.
Yes, they do have some money to spend, a reported £70 million, but that will not buy you a top bunch of players, they have to build from the bottom and start replacing one man at a time, not pretending to be bigger, better and more financially ‘loose’ than they really are, it only serves to get up the noses of die-hard fans who get deluded by all the nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong though, fans will be happy to see this speculation and hear the news that the club has made financial strides forward but the board are treading a fine line, giving off this impression is great, not backing it up will push away a lot of fans.
The only deal that has been done so far this summer is a young French striker going by the name of Yaya Sanogo, a good prospect but by no means a fan-pleaser. Touted as a potential ‘new Thierry Henry’, Yaya is a ‘typical’ Arsene Wenger signing and a drop in the ocean compared to what they really need.
Arsenal have to be more realistic, they need a lot of players to put themselves amongst the top 2-3 in the country, for £70 million they could do just that.
They could and should sign a center back, central midfielder and a striker as a minimum and have needed all three positions filled for the last 2-3 seasons.
In my book it could have been easy, Ashley Williams, Vincent Wanyama and David Villa should have all been signed and sealed and already on the payroll at Arsenal with £50 million still in the bank account.
Arsenal fans are deluded – Point # 2
Now, my second point is the boss himself, a legend in the game, a self-starter with an eye for real gems but does his ignorance and ego get in the way of success.
Arsenal fans owe Wenger a lot, the invincibles, the heights of Premier League stardom and the glory years he created over a decade ago will never be forgotten but he has had his chance to do it again and is failing.
In my opinion Arsene Wenger’s ego is getting in the way, it almost seems that he sees himself as the ‘guru’ at bringing in hidden gems and won’t make a signing unless he is the guy to expose that player to the limelight.
Yes this has kind of changed in the last couple of seasons, but has it really?
Was Santi Cazorla or Lukas Podolski linked with any other club? Nope. Despite their obvious class and prowess they were not household names. The same can be said for Olivier Giroud and Nacho Monreal.
They are all in Arsene Wenger’s mould, someone who isn’t a household name, someone who has class but not enough to be wanted by Europe’s elite.
If they have aspirations of winning the Premier League in the next ten years, this has to change.
They could have signed the likes David Silva, Eden Hazard, Edin Dzeko and many more but as soon as another club comes sniffing, Wenger gives up, frightened off by the inflated price tags and wages.
Why? If the player was good enough before but now wants an extra £20,000 a week to stop him joining a rival, pay the man.
Arsene’s ego is getting in the way of big signings.
Arsenal fans are deluded – Point # 3
My last point is the squad themselves, they are simply not good enough to be classed as an ‘elite’ club in Europe.
Dare I say it, I think Tottenham have a better squad, though the first team isn’t as good, the squad is definitely better.
That is not good enough, Arsenal had their toughest season this year and their squad looked very thin at times, it was only through Spurs’ lack of belief and the help from this little always-happy Spanish fella that saw them scrape fourth spot.
There is no steel in the side and little ‘fight’ when Jack Wilshere isn’t on the pitch, that’s a massive change to the Wenger teams of old. Strong, powerful and aggressive players with a touch of flare up the field was the winning make-up of old, why the shift Arsene?
Arsenal have to get that ‘steel’ back in the team, its the reason why they have thrown away loads of leads in games and the real difference between them and the top two or three. Along with the need for a proven goal-scorer.
How many players in the Arsenal team would get in at Manchester United, City or Chelsea?
Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Cazorla would probably get into all the teams – Sagna though, only because the right-back position at all three clubs is weak, in my opinion.
Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be bench players for all, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Laurent Koscielny might make the fringes of the squads, might.
Thomas Vermaelen of two seasons ago would certainly be around all three squads, but the captain fans saw last year wouldn’t make the West Ham squad.
Flip it round and see how many of those clubs’ players would get in the Arsenal team. Probably eight or nine from each club would slide straight into the starting line-up.
That’s the real benchmark of how good the team is. Take out Jack and Santi and you would struggle to see any decent players and most of the Spurs’ line up would make the first eleven.
That is not good enough for a team with such acclaim as Arsenal.
Now, I do feel that Arsenal are on the verge of something, they could be title winners this year if they make a transfer-policy-change quickly, but the signs are ominous, no signings of note yet and all the signals are that the big name players that the fans crave will not come.
I fully expect a transfer deadline day farce just like last year.
Its not healthy to do your business so late, get it done now if you want to hit the ground running, anyone who plays Football Manager will tell you that.
The problem is deep rooted, though it does seem there is changes afoot, the fans can not deal with another year of delusion.
Earlier in this article I promised you an admission, something that might shock you after reading my opinions above, that admission is:
“I, Danny Chapman, am deluded as an Arsenal fan.”
Thanks for reading, would love to hear your views.
Danny Chapman is an Arsenal fan, season ticket holder and runs a football manager blog.