Saturday, June 23, 2007
Arsenal need to act quickly to stop the rot
Well what everybody feared happened. But if the impact on Arsenal is only this then maybe we can live with it. But we are worried that unless remedial action is taken almost immediately then we are afraid to say that this may not be the only bad news we get to hear about Arsenal.
Why has Henry decided to leave? It looks that the main reason is that Wenger is refusing to commit his future to Arsenal beyond the end of this coming season. And since Henry is nearing the latter stages of his career he needed to find success at a club which in his opinion has more chances of winning silverware than “Wengerless” Arsenal.
In one of our recent postings “Will Henry succeed at Barcelona?” some readers did not like the idea of an Arsenal site talking about Henry’s departure and so prematurely. We nevertheless expressed the opinion that success for Henry at Barcelona will not be that easy. And we still hold that opinion. But this is now academic in a way.
Nevertheless the important aspect of Henry’s departure is that it is sending a message that Arsenal does not have a bright future. That it is always in transition and that silverware will be hard to come by. The impact of this message on morale within the playing staff at the club will be more devastating than when Vieira left.
But why is Wenger not committing himself beyond the end of this coming season? Because the Board ousted his closest ally David Dein from the Board, in effect deciding to reject Kroenke’s forthcoming bid. A bid which if successful would have probably meant more money for Wenger to sign those quality players he promised only very recently.
Well we ask you how will Wenger be able to attract those quality signings now if he does not have the “you will be playing next to the great Thierry Henry” marketing spin to throw at them?
More importantly how will he be able to convince the next quality player or even any other player to sign for Arsenal if he himself has not committed to Arsenal beyond this coming season? Especially since Henry has sited this as a major reason for leaving?
This indeed may be the real reason why there have been no signings by Wenger so far. Not the reasons sited (by us as well of course) such as waiting for La Liga or the Under 21 Championship finals to end!
An even more significant risk beyond being able to attract new quality players is stopping the existing stars from being unsettled and wanting to leave the club this season. And not wait to see how things would pan out next season as they have in a way been hinting.
Some people have suggested that the biggest danger of them all is for Wenger himself to get up and go. We do not subscribe to this view but not because there are not good enough football and Board room reasons for Wenger to indeed want out. Indeed from his point of view there probably are. It is just that we believe him when he says that he will honour his contract.
But of course this is THE problem that needs to be resolved and prompto. In one of our April postings “Wenger holds the keys to Arsenal’s doors” we made the point that Wenger being the key man at Arsenal should intervene to force the Board in resolving this dispute with Dein and Kroenke for the good of the football club.
How can the rot be stopped now? Well it needs radical and courageous measures by the Board otherwise after a mediocre season where Arsenal battle it out with Spurs and a few other clubs for fourth place and Champion’s League qualification Wenger may indeed up and go.
We know that what we will suggest will sound like a fantasy but it is indeed the only right way that we can see for resolving this mess that the Board got us into.
The rot can be stopped only if the Board come to an arrangement with Kroenke for increasing his participation in the club with a view to buying a majority share
If as a result some or almost all Board members resign then so be it.
Then get Dein reinstated at the club. Kroenke may make that a condition anyway.
Then get Wenger to sign a new long term contract now in pre season and not next year.
Then make funds available to get those quality players in that Wenger has been talking about.