Much to the relief of so many fans at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger’s stubborn streak in the transfer window has finally been broken.
Despite the fact the Frenchman is yet to bring in any of his top targets this summer, the club’s intentions to smash through their current transfer record is certainly there.
They have been linked with Gonzalo Higuain – who joined Rafael Benitez’s Napoli instead – as well as the unsettled Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez, reportedly offering forty million pounds and a penny for the Uruguayan, in order to activate his release clause.
Most football fans have ridiculed Arsenal’s weakness in holding on to their quality players. Since the days of the Invincibles, the Emirates has seen the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, and Robin van Persie force their way out the exit door in their ambition for trophies.
The Gooners who remember those magical days at Highbury when silverware was expected year-in year-out have been pining for this time to come; the club’s actions show intention to reignite a challenge for the Premier League crown.
This is understandable. It has been a tough few years on the terraces at the Emirates. I myself have been a part of the sniggering crowd that has lacked understanding in why Wenger has refused to spend big. But now, at the time when the 63-year-old finally plans to open his wallet, I feel disappointment.
Should Arsenal have finished behind Tottenham in the 2012/13 season, in fifth place, the need to open the cheque book and offer the pen to Europe’s finest clubs would have been understandable. Only once has Wenger panic-bought before and that was when he lost Fabregas and Nasri, the creative centre of his team. They were replaced by Mikel Arteta and Lukas Podolski for £20 million.
There is no panic this time. If anything, Wenger should be beating the drum of the regime that he has been preaching for the last eight years. Granted, it has been a trophy-less eight years but despite the club losing every member of the Invincibles, their deterioration has been stagnant for a number of years, so why now?
Robin van Persie was the last big name to flee North-London in the desire to lift trophies. The Dutchman cost Manchester United £24 million, a fee ironically close to what Arsenal would have lost should they have missed out on Champions League qualification this year. But they didn’t.
The season in which Wenger let his beloved hitman head north to Old Trafford, Van Persie scored a staggering 37 goals of the 94 that Arsenal scored that season.
Arsenal had to find 37 goals the next season in order to remain in the UEFA Champions League and justify the sale of their top goalscorer. They did that.
Another trophy-less season maybe, but the club found those 37 goals, and more, as their tally came to 105 goals, with help from the impressive Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and new additions, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla. Financially, the club took £24 million from the Van Persie deal and £29.8 million from their involvement in the Champions League.
In this sense, Arsenal as a club achieved more without Van Persie than they did with him. The club in essence progressed from the 2011/12 season to 2012/13 and with the squads’ talented youth beginning to come of age, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal were looking at a brighter future and pushing on for that long-awaited trophy.
‘In Arsene We Trust‘ has been the cry of the believers for so many years, could Wenger not have believed for a little longer?