Wenger is being reckless by NOT spending any money

It is usually the likes of Man City who are accused of being reckless as they wave their grotesque wad around, paying massive amounts to sign star players without a thought about balancing their books.

Wenger is often seen as the antithesis of this, preferring to buy cheaply and carefully as he nurtures his squad over time. He is championed as someone doing things ‘the right way’, standing by his principles as he does battle with rich oligarchs on an uneven battle field.

Indeed I admire him for this and appreciate the way he has seen us through the financially challenging post-Emirates era, keeping us in the Champions League while paying off the stadium debt. However, while I do not for one second wish us to spend obscene amounts of money like Man City, Wenger has been overdoing this for the past couple of years. At one end of the ‘Transfer Policy’ spectrum stands Man City and PSG throwing silly money about and right at the other end, stubbornly refusing to get involved in a market he views as over-inflated, stands Wenger.

The correct strategy for a club of Arsenal’s means and stature is somewhere between the two. By not strengthening a threadbare, mediocre squad this summer Wenger is actually being more reckless than Man City because he risks falling out of the top four which would be a disaster. Let’s face it, we only just qualified in the last couple of seasons and it is ridiculous to take that risk again when we have the financial power to ensure it is not such a close call next time.

Wenger’s job is to assemble the best possible squad with the resources at his disposal. Leaving a £70m transfer kitty untouched and sending us into the first game of the season with a thin squad vulnerable to injuries is at best foolhardy and at worst a plain dereliction of duty.

It would appear his target each season is Champions League qualification. That is not good enough in my opinion, but nevertheless we have had to squeak narrow victories on the final day for the last two seasons just to hold off Spurs and achieve that. This summer though, Spurs have strengthened considerably. Even if they lose Bale they have still made quality signings to compensate (something Wenger never did when he sold Nasri, Fabregas and RVP. He still hasn’t replaced Song for goodness sake!) While Wenger continues to have faith in the likes of Fabianski and Diaby, Spurs have added proven quality like Soldado and Paulinho to their ranks.

Arsene WengerIn fact Wenger has had a busy summer in the transfer market, but it has mostly been getting rid of the deadwood he has recklessly put on massive wages over the last few years. Santos and Gervinho have been sold for a combined loss of £8.7m on what he paid for them. He managed to presuade Denilson to have his contract cancelled (which probably meant paying up a big chunk of it) and was freed of massive drains on the wage bill as the contracts of Squillaci and Arshavin expired. Marouane Chamakh was also belatedly shifted off the payroll as he secured a free transfer to Crystal Palace and youngsters like Eastmond, Watt, Meade and Henderson were released.

So with all this money freed up from the wage bill and a £70m transfer fund, there were NO financial reasons why he couldn’t have strengthened. Gone are the excuses that Arsenal can’t compete in the transfer market because they are financially restricted. Gazidis confirmed that with his now infamous interview, proudly proclaiming an escalation in our financial firepower (a piece released on the eve of the deadline for season ticket membership renewals you may remember – read into that what you will).

So if lack of finances isn’t to blame, what is? Lack of quality players available? Wenger likes to use that excuse but it simply doesn’t wash. For example, Fellaini had a £23m release clause that has just expired and Cesar is available for free – two proven players in key areas that we desperately need to strengthen, yet for some reason Wenger neglected to even bid for. And there are plenty of other very good players who have found new clubs in this window.

No, the blame for our woeful summer lies squarely on the shoulders of Arsene Wenger.

The way he handled the pursuit of Higuain was painful and embarrassing. Wenger dallied so much, taking so long to agree a price with Real Madrid, that by the time a deal was near Napoli found themselves with bags of cash following the sale of Cavani and swiftly gazumped us. If he had any competence he’d have had that deal wrapped up weeks before, but he dithered and missed out on his main target.

Of course there is still time before the transfer window shuts and the tedious Suarez saga will rumble on. I’m not convinced Wenger really wants him (I’ve read rumours the board are trying to force that one through) and to be honest I hope we don’t get him anyway. He may be a brilliant player, but this odious, racist little thug will turn on us as soon as he sniffs a better contract elsewhere. Imagine we sign him and he bags 25 goals for us, shining in the Champions League. You know that the big boys will come in for him next summer and he will do to us what he has done to Groningen, Ajax and now Liverpool – turned nasty to get his move. He sued Groningen to secure his transfer to Ajax and has threatened legal action against Liverpool, a club who stood by him as he repeatedly disgraced himself on the pitch with his racism, biting and diving. I just don’t believe a prudent man like Wenger would treble his record transfer fee to take a chance on a maverick like Suarez.

Besides, the clues have been there all summer. Take this quote from the BBC’s reporting of Gazidis’ infamous proclomation back in June that Arsenal are ready to spend big on players:

Asked whether Arsenal could afford to spend a £20m transfer fee on a single player, and offer salaries of £200,000 per week, he said: “Of course we could do that. We could do more than that.”

‘Whoopee!’ thought thousands of Arsenal fans as they rushed to renew their season tickets. But on the very next paragraph was the reality:

But he warned that boss Arsene Wenger, who Gazidis says will stay “long term”, will not necessarily spend such money. “It is going to be the players that Arsene believes in,” Gazidis said. “He is pretty blind to price tags, he looks at what he sees with his eyes and makes judgements based on that, not on reputations and prices.”

Exactly. He believes in signing young potential like Sanogo instead of proven names for big fees and he will never change his mindset. That is how he has always done things. Apart from Arshavin (who he signed in desperation as we were languishing in 6th place at the time and Fabregas was injured for two months) can you name one star Wenger has bought? There aren’t any. His most successful signings were rejects at other clubs or promising youth players who he took under his wing and nurtured into superstars (Henry, Vieira, Anelka, Fabregas etc).

Recently I read another quote which revealed his true strategy:

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “Our base of young players can have a special bond and they are on the way upwards – they are not over the hill. They will be better this year and that is why I am confident we will be stronger this season.

The same old mantra is being repeated – selling us the future, urging fans to ‘believe’ in a young squad which doesn’t need new signings. Well we had a promising young squad a few years ago which contained players like Fabregas, van Persie, Clichy, Nasri and Song. I wonder what happened to them?

So here we are with the new season a matter of hours away and we have only added an injury-prone youngster from France who we picked up for free. You couldn’t make it up, talk about a typical Wenger signing! Meanwhile our small, shallow squad has been left exposed by a few injuries and our predicted line-up will be less than ideal for the Aston Villa game. The latest is that Arteta will be out for up to six weeks. Who will cover him now? Play Ramsey out of position? Or Frimpong, a guy who hardly shone on loan at Fulham last season? Wouldn’t it have been lovely to be able to select Fellaini there for tomorrow.

In summation, with Spurs getting closer every year and Liverpool improving under Rodgers, we needed to learn from the close calls of the last couple of seasons and Wenger had a duty to spend decent money in order to protect our minimum target of a place in the top four. The fact that hasn’t been done is nothing short of reckless as stubborn Wenger gambles yet again on a small, young squad — a gamble that, given our improved financial situation, really isn’t necessary.

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  1. Mark Newman

    In any other business, this would be regarded as mismanagement and worthy of dismissal.

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    • william89

      err… sorry in any other business making a loss every year is worthy of dismissal.

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      • Shanzuman

        err… sorry but not winning anything for the past 8 years is also a LOSS and worthy of dismissal. Hmm … are you a board member in disguise???!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  2. rellends

    Wenger out. Gazidis out. Get somebody in like Laudrup. It’s an utter shambles.

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  3. Kreggy

    A well written piece, you have summed up my frustrations of this summer perfectly

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  4. Graham Beech

    You’d be in a good position to know Man City don’t care about balancing their books? Seen any of their new revenue streams lately? Seen their annual revenue figures for the last few years on a steeply upwards trajectory? Heard about the “obscene” £150million they are spending on what will be one of the best academies in the world in one of the most run down parts of Manchester?
    Get real my friend. The owners of Man City are going nowhere and they have a business model and management team in place (Patrick Vieira anyone?)to succeed even after the curved ball of FFP has been lobbed in by Man Ure and Arsenal.
    Arsenal’s star by comparison is on the wane. Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy knew what they were doing and have a Premiership winning medal to show for it.

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    • Gooner Steve

      Man City have made a net transfer spend of £473m over the last 6 seasons. Their latest financial figures showed a loss of £97.9m and the year before it was a loss of £197.5m.

      No, of course that’s not reckless spending.

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    • ScotchEggsRule

      I love how City fans are now giving it “the big ‘un” because they won the charity lottery. Your club loses £10’s of millions every season and you reckon that’s not reckless? Engage your brain. Remind me again what those 3 stars are on your badge for? lol

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      • Vigo

        Sorry, can’t resist but highlight SCOTCHEGGSRULE comment on Gareth Bale dated 21/10/2009:

        “LOL They paid £10 million for that gimp! Only Sp*rs could waste that kind of money. Maybe they should take Wenger’s perspective on left backs and grow their own like Gibbs, Cole, Traore. Or purchase young bargains like Silvinho, Clichy for peanuts. But probably not, more money than sense that club.”

        Haha. pr**k.

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  5. Reg

    Total mismanagement of a football club. Arsenal are now the laughing stock of football.

    They are no longer a football club ,just a financial organisation interested in profit for the owners.

    When will they start thinking about supporters who continue to support them dispite
    Wengers reluctance to spend money. OH for DAVID DEAN

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  6. Graham Beech

    FAO Gooner Steve: I didn’t mention the phrase “reckless spending” nor did I try to defend the money Man City have spent over the last few years. I was trying to inject a bit of balance – there’s an idea for you. Before 2008, Man City were nowhere in the Premier League – a guaranteed 6 points for the likes of Arsenal and Man Ure. What the new owners did was to spend massively in order to catch up with where the so called big clubs already were. I think even you might agree we have now done that. Therefore going forward the business model is changing which was the point of my earlier note. Seems to me Arsenal’s business model has remained static if not gone backwards.
    Have a good season!

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    • ScotchEggsRule

      “So called”? We are big clubs, a few years of spunking someone else money doesn’t change the old world order.

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  7. nzelu

    if there was a transfer window for supporters then i would gladly volunteer to go and support another team for free. wenger has proved that he has no heart for the team and its supporters, as long as he makes the profits for the club he’s okay with it. i cry for my beloved Arsenal

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  8. Graham Beech

    Who’s money does he might Man Ure spend – it’s called leveraged debt but in your strange world that’s ok is it as they are a so called big club. The “old world order” has changed – deal with it.

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  9. william89

    What a load of rubbish. All Wenger care about it profits? No Wenger cares about running a club that balances it’s books after one of the biggest Stadium re-development costs in English football… oooh sorry forget I’m not allowed to mention the stadium and it’s cost and no going bankrupt while still playing champions league football season after season…

    However I will agree that he does need to buy a few players pretty sharpish but that’s what I thought we were trying to do… but not very well….

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  10. VegaMatiz

    Arsene knows best, he should be given a new long term contract as soon as possible.


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  11. elt

    If Wenger never intended spending any money what better way to cover your tracks than to chase players he knew he had no hope of signing. We should make Wenger
    chancellor, he’d soon cut the government deficit

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  12. Shanzuman

    As usual a great article. I read in the press today that Arsene has managed to rid of no fewer than 17 players from the club. For me this is great news because it saves at least £1M PER WEEK in wages and other costs in which case when added to the money available to spend on new players, Arsene can offer at least £200,000 per week wages to at least 5 players of world standing!! No excuses, no more sleaze, no more politics please Mr. Wenger just go out there and do the honourable as promised to all the supporters before they rushed to renew their season tickets. If not than just say you cannot do this job anymore and GO.

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    • william89

      What sleaze and politics are you talking about? Wenger has been open and upfront from the start of what he was ending to do? The fact that we’ve had a some failed bids of over 40,000,000 is clearly showing there is intent there.

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      • Jimboy

        From your comments william89 I’m wondering whether you have even read the article. Aren’t you fed up of being promised that money will be spent only for Wenger to sit on the cash and aim for 4th place every year?

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  13. Shanzuman

    What sleaze and politics???? Are you for real??? where have you been up Arsene’s arse? Come on William keep up!!!!

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  14. Vish

    It has been the same thing every year. We are rumored with every player available on the planet. Just to find out that Wenger to say all these people who are available are not the quality we want. What i don’t understand is Chamakh, Squillaci, Park, Bendtner were all quality if Wenger buys only quality. Why those quality players failed. And the players available now don’t want to join Arsenal knowing that they are team who are satisfied with being in top four and does not want to win the league. Making profit and being in CL is biggest thing for Wenger.

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  15. Nico

    It’s a disgrace and unacceptable that we have not brought in players before the opening game of the season in fact we should have brought them in before pre-season in fact if you were a competent management.
    Our board and manager are not competent and this is why we are we are with 2 defenders available going into a champions league qualifier the team worked so hard at the end of last year to get into 4th. This year with Spurs and Liverpool strengthened we won’t make it and even if they try and buy players now who have they to go for? At this late stage we will get fleeced paying over the top for players like those we just got rid of. It’s a shambles again! Tired of it – we need new blood both on and off the pitch. A board that clearly does not ca about winning on the pitch just winning in their pockets needs to be changed.

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    • Gooner Steve

      Yep, Wenger was taking a massive risk by getting rid of so many players and not replacing them. It’s unlucky to get so many injuries, but he knew it could happen and didn’t plan for it.

      Unfortunately my headline has proven to be 100% correct — he has been reckless.

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  16. Nico

    We have behaved disgracefully and I am embarrassed – it seems this club’s management live in a their self righteous bubble and not in the real world. Time for the lot of them to go really now – enough – bring in the Russian but still try and maintain that class, credibility and Arsenal culture and history. £10m for Cabaye – too little too late – we are a joke it’s taken them 2.5 months to come up with that bid ! I’m really fucking angry now and you know me I stand up for the club and manager in times of negativeness but enough now.

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  17. Oguntuase Amox

    It is a pity that insincerity is the order of the day. There is joy in winning trophies because it makes people become ecstasic. But who out of you lot would like to run your business at a loss every year until you go bankrupt? Hypocrites, indeed stolen apple is sweet just as stolen money is easy to squander. No wonder the world is in financial recession because of misplaced priority.

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  18. Oguntuase Amox

    A manager had the right to refused to pay excessively for a player. Flamini is much better than Cabaye because he is matured with experiences in every kind of competitions and leagues

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