Hello Lads & Ladies!!
I have few words to say, so pour a glass of your smoothest stuff and cock your ears for some profound wisdom (Come back! I jest, I jest).
With the transfer gently sliding shut, gooners world over were waiting with bated breath for the hint of a player, even if Monsieur Wenger has presented an anonymous wunderkind from the heart of the Amazon complete with traditional war-paint and nose rings along with a promise that he would light up the pitch, it would have sufficed. Anyone would do, or so most gooners opined. Goonerdom reeked of desperation, there was much wringing of hands and despondent moans filled the atmosphere that is social media today. “Arsenal don’t want someone, nay, they NEED someone” preached the erudite pundits and columnists of the myriad rags. Still others continued to herald the doom and desolation unless rescued by the Amazonian Pele.
The theatrics aside, I must admit I did not buy into any of those views. I was merely a little disappointed, but it did not stem from the lack of inward transfers. I was dejected that the gaffer was reduced to go scavenging for scraps. I’m talking about the potential loan moves, Arsenal were rumoured to be interested in both Nuri Sahin (Real Madrid) and a more shockingly, Micheal Essien (ugh, Checlsea). With the departure of Alex Song under mysterious circumstances, it’s rather evident that Wenger was looking for a player to fit in at the base of the midfield. But what I found most puzzling was the fact that the players mentioned are a world apart in their styles of operating; one is a deep lying play maker who likes to move forward but is comfortable creating plays from the base of the midfield and has as much to do with defence as a fish has to do with KY jelly. The other is a defensive minded midfielder with boundless energy which makes him comfortable with both attacking and defensive plays. The randomness makes the mind boggle. What is Wenger planning? And why the hell should a club like Arsenal run around begging for players who aren’t good enough to make the starting XI at their clubs?
I was rather miffed when Benayoun plied his trade in Arsenal colours last season, and it wasn’t for any tribal instinct that convicted me that he was worthy of my ire solely because he was contracted to Chelsea. I was able to overlook that easily enough, what irked me was the fact that we had to rely on a rival’s cast-off’s to make up for a deficient squad. Is that a viable option for the fifth most valuable club in the world? I think not. Some might take my views as elitist or vain, so be it. I maintain that a club of Arsenal’s size and status should NEVER resort to loans from other clubs.
Why? The same reason why you don’t pull on slacks and a t-shirt to attend a black-tie event.
Depending on loaned players is the quintessential “small-club’s short-sighted” mentality. It screams: “We lack resources/talent to procure a player we desperately need so we are going to resort to outsourcing talent from a bigger club to ensure survival until next season.”
Have we been reduced to this?
While I understand the need for any squad to have a utility player or two, a person talented and mature enough to come out and do whatever job the manager puts before him, I find it unreasonable that we aren’t able to find a permanent solution. Either we buy a player and augment the squad or we rely on the youngsters. Looking for loans is not a viable option for obvious reasons, the instability created when said player leaves is foremost. It makes no sense while looking at the entire scenario from a long term perspective.
Let me illustrate with a hypothetical example; Let’s assume we landed Nuri Sahin on a season long loan, he fits in and plays his heart out all season, developing himself and also helping us pick up some silver-ware, in other words he becomes an important part of the squad. Come the season end, he flips us the bird and jets off to Madrid into the waiting arms of Jose. What are we left with? Yes, we have a shiny trophy but the midfield machine has once again lost an important cog and will start to choke and falter. Yet again we will be left plugging holes and rebuilding the midfield rather than building on the success of the squad.
I’d rather see Wenger deploy some of the young talent we have seen glimpses of, in particular Francis Coquelin. The youngster featured briefly last season at right back and also had a short stint in the midfield. I doubt that the lad has the enforcer mentality that Song displayed at times and close down play so effectively but the young Frenchman is capable of some dexterous passing and also has the vision that Wenger considers a prerequisite to fit into an Arsenal midfield. Did Arsene Wenger think that a broken and barely fit Essien could offer more than either Nico Yennaris or Francis Coquelin?
While I freely admit that I am nowhere good enough to match wits or question the decisions of a man whose legacy borders on legendary, I do feel a twinge of doubt now and again.
A few words on tomorrow’s “big” (sarcasm indeed) game against Liverpool, It’s not going to be a walk in the park and the reds will be looking for payback after their last humiliation, sadly the most pivotal players of the same fixture last season are all missing for a variety of reasons. Let’s hope that the new boys open their accounts with a few goals and the (Bould-powered) backline keeps out those pesky reds.
Although I have very little to complain about regarding the name under the “in” list of transfers, I have one wish and one piece of advise. The former is that the manager puts faith in the Coquelin and plays the youngster in his favoured position as I have a feeling that he could really be pivotal to our success and the later is the ardent hope that every gooner should stop their incessant whining and start backing the team that they claim to adore. Get off your arses and cheer the gunners on!