By Kazeem Atanda
It has almost become a tradition for teams outside the top four to spend big in order to break the monopoly of the elite clubs. But anytime a club does, the pundits' verdict is that "Arsenal will drop out of the top zone" due to Arsene Wenger's stingy behaviour in the transfer market.
In 2005 when Everton broke into the top four, it was Liverpool and not Arsenal that eventually dropped out. And it is a fact that no team has broken the monopoly since then.
Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa all continue to spend big on new players than Arsenal every season but woefully end up finishing below the Gunners (and not even making the top four).
This summer, Manchester City's new owner has spent close to £100 m on new players that included Arsenal duo Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.
Many observers have questioned Arsene Wenger's decision in selling these players to the Citizens believing that the Arsenal gaffer has sold fourth position to premiership rival, Manchester City.
Theses pundits have forgotten that this is not the first time that Arsenal will be selling their top stars, yet managed to finish in the top four despite parading a young and inexperienced team.
In the 2004/2005 season, without Wiltord and Kanu, Arsenal won the FA cup and finished 3rd in the league.
Losing Vieira and Edu in 2005/2006 season was one player too many, yet Arsenal reached the final of the Champions League and finished 4th in the premiership.
Pires, Reyes, Bergkamp, Campbell and Ashley Cole, all left in 2006/2007 season but it didn't stop Arsene Wenger's young guns reaching the Carling Cup final and retaining 4th position in the league.
In 2007/2008 season, the news that every Arsenal fan had been dreading for a year, talismanic captain Thierry Henry left for Barcelona while Ljumberg also left for West Ham. Yet Arsenal lost the premiership title with only a few games to go and ended in 3rd position.
Without Hleb, Flamini and Gilberto last season Arsenal were semi finalists in both the FA cup and Champions League and finished 4th in the premiership.
This summer, with only one addition, two players already gone and probably more has brought out the Cassandra’s of this world.
The only person whose absence will mar the club is Arsene Wenger, himself. He knows the club inside out and being an economist, he is a man with the air of an accountant, the dress sense of a senior civil servant and a modern business man.
Wenger's technique, character, appetite and masterpiece of the round leather game is second to none. In almost 13 years at Arsenal, he has transformed the club, created a string of superlative teams, built a glittering stadium and helped to transform the stagnant conservatism of English football.
Though Arsene knows to his bones that the game is all about glory he will never spend big to achieve it.
There are two reasons why Wenger is building his team this way. One is that he loves developing youngsters. And the second is that he hates spending money. It is not in his nature.
For those that believe Arsene Wenger's young guns will not propel Arsenal to the top four this season should wait a little.
The Gunners will be challenging for titles on all four fronts.
"Arsene knows" is a phrase that will resurface with a vengeance once more.