Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger must now spend some money, or provide some answersBy Rob Kelly Last updated: July 29th, 2009http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/sport/robk ... e-answers/
Another week, another high-profile departure from Arsenal - at this rate the club will have sold off the tea lady and ball boys come August 15. The revolving door at the Emirates must be hanging off its hinges by now such is the alacrity of this summer’s departures, and with Emmanuel Eboue set to follow Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure out of north London next week, the Arsenal squad is suddenly looking weaker than at any other point in Arsene Wenger’s reign.
The Emirates bloodletting must stop. Enough is enough. Wenger must either spend some of the £50m that is coming Arsenal’s way or announce that the club’s well of money has run dry. No more talk about the potential of his young squad. Some have potential, while some - such as Abou Diaby - simply cannot cut it. The fans want signings and if they do not get them, they deserve answers.
As with the Adebayor transfer, I think Wenger has done good business by selling Toure. The Ivorian has been a magnificent servant to the club, and he will missed by many supporters, but in truth his best years are behind him. It will be a sad day for many Arsenal fans to see the last member of the Invincibles of 2003-04 leave, but with one year left on his contract, £14million represents a good price for a player that will miss around a month of the season when he departs for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
However, Wenger’s intimation that he has enough defenders to cushion the loss of Toure is farcical. He may have enough defenders, but certainly not top-quality defenders. Beyond William Gallas - who is unlikely to extend his deal when it expires next summer - who is there? Thomas Vermaelen is unproven in the Premier League, Wenger is open to offers for Phillipe Senderos, Johan Djourou has potential but needs more time, Alex Song is a defensive midfielder and Mikael Silvestre is just dreadful.
Wenger must know he has to invest in a commanding centre-half. The Arsenal manager has never fully replaced Sol Campbell and must now bring in an experienced, proven defender, one who can bring leadership to the backline. The Frenchman must also address the glaring lack of a world-class defensive midfielder in his squad, too.
Unless the club’s finances are much more parlous than previously thought, the money should be there to make the two additions that would significantly strengthen the team. They only need two, top-quality additions to become a real force again and Wenger will surely appreciate that.
Arsenal fans have been patient with the Frenchman in recent years, despite the conspicuous lack of success, aware that he is working within a tight budget with serious constraints. But if the money that he has banked this summer is not being made available to him, then he should admit it. There is no need to protect the board anymore, especially when it is Wenger who will bear the brunt of the fans’ ire if things go wrong.
I would hate to see Wenger made the fall guy by supporters if he does not sign anyone and Arsenal start the season poorly, all because he is too principled to reveal the full extent of the contraints placed upon him. He must come out all guns blazing, either in the transfer market or in explanation of the club’s fiscal position. After all he has done for the club, the Frenchman must not be allowed to fall on his sword just to protect those above him.Nice piece by Rob Kelly, fair and informed and he clearly recognises that Wenger may be in the position where he is carrying the can to protect the club some what and as Rob suggests that's not fair. I suspect Wenger does have the £40m to spend and maybe more considering that our budget could well have been more than £10m paid for Vermealen. The one point I didn't agree on was the strength of squad, he recognises we only need two players but suggests we are weaker than ever. We're certainly not weaker in defence than last season but are we sufficiently stronger?