‘What if’ is a commonly used term in the world of football and we can all dream of players joining our clubs but in Arsenal’s case, the players who would’ve made a difference to us have been in the grasp of our hands but inexplicably let go.
Transfer gossip has never been more prevalent in our society. With twitter booming, so many users of the network claim to have valid information about player’s comings and goings from every club. The majority is trash but some is very much true and more often than not Arsenal have been close to signing someone, only for that player to join a rival. This scenario has been very common in recent times with the likes of Juan Mata just moments from joining Arsenal but then Arsenal pulling the plug because of cost. This, in my opinion was a big error. Mata was an imperative part of Chelsea’s FA Cup and European triumph whilst we ended up with another year of toil. This was a terrible decision from the manager who also failed to replace Fabregas that same summer.
Even this season, Jan Vertonghan seemed close to joining Arsenal only for Spurs to snatch him by paying a little bit extra. The failure to sign such players can be labeled as being too frugal in the market. However, saying that, it is not as if Wenger hasn’t ever spent a sizable amount in the market. In recent times, he splashed out a reported 10 million on Gervinho, 12 million on Giroud and wasted 6.5 million on Squillaci. This spending is compounded by the fact that spurs signed Clint Dempsey for half the amount as we purchased Giroud.
Looking back, Yaya Toure was on trial at Arsenal when Wenger claimed he was ‘missing something’ further adding to my frustration at our transfer policy, which has left us in a mess. Other players have expressed an interest in joining Arsenal in the past but their interest was never fulfilled. Eden Hazard for instance and David Villa many years back. I know it would have cost a lot but Arsenal can boast profits in excess of 50 million so why not spend it? Furthermore the appalling wage structure at the club means we have fringe players picking up 50-60k a week for sitting on the bench. This leaves us unable to reward the better players for fine form and means we can’t shift the rubbish. A pay related to performance has worked not just in football but also for companies in all sectors.
The fact is that many players have been available at reasonable prices: Jelavic, Ba, Dempsey to name a few. This wouldn’t have broken the bank but would’ve given Arsenal so much more this year. Instead, after a few injuries our squad now looks very thin with little impact on the bench. Once more, a failure to sign a genuine defensive midfielder has left us with Arteta having to fill in. I understand he’s done well so far but we’ve lost his drive going forward and in the big games he will be overrun by talented midfielders (such as the Chelsea game). The flawed transfer policy will be Arsenal’s undoing.