By now we all know Wenger has signed a new contract, committing him to Arsenal until 2014, but, frankly, I am not surprised. In my mind it was a mere formality and never in doubt. Wenger was always going to sign. It’s the consequences of the deal that intrigue me.
Knowing Wenger will be here for four more seasons we know that he will continue his steady, snail paced, yet somewhat effective policy of developing young players and transforming some of them into first team stars. Whilst the stadium was in development it was understandable, to an extent, that Wenger declined the opportunity to spend big money in the transfer market. There were other priorities and Wenger valued the long term approach the club was adopting. Invest now and have plenty later. That time of plenty is, however, right now.
Indeed in the future there will be even more, especially if we spend less now. That is not economics, football-metrics or speculation. Merely something obvious. That’s not to say now is not the time of plenty. It is. Being the case, knowing the loan and liabilities the club have are secured for the long term and there is as good as guaranteed surplus cash generation, should we not be buying better players?
Wenger will retort, as we all know, that the market is narrow and there are not many better players than what he already has in his squad. Well, if Wenger is going to insist that there are not many better players than Bendtner, Song, Almunia and Eboue, to put it simply, he is either lying or just wrong. It’s not that Bendtner, Song, Almunia and Eboue are bad players, they are not, and they are not the only four I can think of either, but are we really going to believe that we can’t improve on them? Is Wenger really going to insist that there are not better alternatives? Without the money, I could understand. With it, and refusing to spend it, Wenger worries me.
I don’t support Arsenal to see Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith or Stan Kroenke make millions on top of those which they already have. If we have a cash surplus, improve the squad.
Now, the fans who disagree will riposte with familiar arguments, the most common of which will be that by Wenger keeping the same group of players together he will develop a team spirit that is unique, formidable and committed to the Arsenal ideal. Please, just think about that.
No? Ok, I will spell it out. Arsenal don’t have a particularly formidable team spirit. In fact that is one of our obvious weaknesses. Despite the fact the majority of these players have been at Arsenal for a number of seasons and developed in unison, some from their teenage years, an associated commendable team spirit, that of mental fortitude and resilience, has rarely been on display. As for a commendable commitment to the Arsenal cause, no. That isn’t really there either. Money meant more than commitment to Adebayor, home and culture means more than commitment to Fabregas.
All in all I am happy Wenger has decided to stay for four more seasons but there is much that can be improved. It would be folly to imagine otherwise. Four more years of the same from Wenger would be a disappointment. Four more years I can’t forgive.