Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why Wenger will buy no one else

By 1970’s Gooner

We hear the same thing every year. Arsene Wenger promises to buy two may be three players and he insists that the money is there for him if he wants it.

Then his attention is diverted in trying to keep the young stars he created from departing to what they think are pastures new.

After that he signs a couple of under 20s from either the reserves or from a second division team and finally he comes up with a big, for Arsene Wenger standards, signing in the region of about £10m.

That’s just about it and I would not expect anything different this year.

There is method in his madness of course and if you subscribe to the Wenger model of developing a football club, as I do, then you should not crumble or complain. For if the boss decides to keep to his existing squad then there is a valid reason for it.

And the reason is that he feels that there are enough good players around to fill in the areas that the team needs strengthening in.

You must realise that the Wenger model relies on sourcing highly skilled and technically enhanced talent from all over the world (inclusive of England).

The beauty of it is that due to its impressionable age it is then easily tutored, instructed and moulded to develop its latent talent into an exciting football player and star.

That is the reason of course, as the jigsaw puzzle that Wenger tries to construct takes time to fall in place, some of the more advanced stars in the conveyor belt begin to worry about their trophy less future (or so they think).

Examples are plenty full with Henry and Vieira a few years ago and Hleb, Flamini and Adebayor recently. In the same vein if Arsenal is trophy less this season you might get Van Persie, Fabregas and Clichy showing similar signs of discontent.

The fact is that because there are so many talented players in the squad Wenger has always the option of switching players in different positions until he finds their rightful place in the team.

He may for example convert a full back into a midfielder or vice versa, like he did with Lauren a few years ago.

A winger into an out and out central striker like he did with Henry and as he may eventually do with Walcott and Vela.

There is another reason why, in the Wenger model, when there is a vacancy in the team or when a weakness is highlighted, new buys are not the first option.

And that is the high speed at which the talented young players will be learning their trade. They nearly won the premier league title last season!

So Wenger will be loath to curtail their rate of growth by buying in a more mature replacement and will want to give them every chance to reach their potential.

This is sometimes done at the detriment of the rest of the team and inevitably in loosing points. As for example in the case of Senderos and Eboue with whom he is persisting again this year. Who knows he may be proved right again.

So that is why I don’t see Wenger spending significant cash in buying in mature expensive players that will walk into the first team right away.

Take every position on the field and you will see what I mean.


Do you really think that he will buy another more experienced goalie? If he wanted to Brad Friedle at £3m would have been ideal for Arsenal, but no, he wants to give Almunia, Fabiansky and Mannone every chance to show what they can do.

Central defenders

Wenger pointed out last season that we lack the ability to defend the direct high ball into the middle of the defence.

He won’t buy another central defender mark my words.

What he will do is put emphasis in training for Gallas and Toure to be able to cope with it and at the same time expect that Senderos, Djourou and Song will have improved even further in their education as central defenders.

Full backs

You don’t really expect Wenger to buy anybody to understudy Sagna and Clichy do you? He has Traore coming through on the left and for right back may persist with Hoyte or divert a central defender there, like Toure or Gallas or even bring Eboue back.

Central midfielders

This is where a vacancy is wide open with Flamini’s and Gilberto’s exit.

But if you follow the Wenger model then surely Diaby will be the obvious candidate to fill in.

He bought him for this purpose, it is the player’s position after all and the young man has had a lot of first team experience last season.

This was at a different position but that is Wenger’s way to get a player first team experience and at the same time give him a taste of other positions on the field.

Then there is Song who is more than ready to play first team football.

If Wenger trusted him to play in that very crucial position of central defence (at Old Trafford of all places) then surely he is good enough to be trusted in the centre of midfield.

I for one have been singing his praises for a long time now and I don’t believe Wenger when he says that Song, although admitting that he is a very good player, cannot play 60 games a season as a central midfielder!

I don’t think Gareth Barry can do that either!

If you are interested, have a look at a previous article of mine on this very subject “Song’s Olympics could prove Wenger wrong”

And then there is the ever improving Denilson and Eboue who I thought did quite well in that position against Stuttgart.

You would not expect Wenger to scupper all these players’ chances to make it at the top would you?

Forwards and wide midfielders

Again there are plenty of choices open for Wenger in these positions as he can switch wingers to central positions and vice versa. Such is the versatility of the players he tends to bring into the club.

Van Persie can play as a central striker, behind the forward (in the Bergkamp role where I think he will excel) or on the left wing.

Nasri can play on the wing or behind the forward.

So can Walcott, Eduardo, Rosicky etc etc

With Adebayor staying and with Eduardo and Rosicky due to make it back in action in October (they will start proper training in September) you would not expect Wenger to go into the transfer market would you?

And he won’t. Not for more forwards or midfielders or defenders! That’s your lot.

“Song’s Olympics could prove Wenger wrong”

Is it all Wenger’s fault this transfer activity?

Arsene’s revised transfer plans?

The woman behind Nasri!


Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope you are wrong, without additions to the squad we may not better last season's finish. For a relatively small outlay we could achieve so much.
IMO, the addition of an experienced DM and a top class goalkeeper and we should be able to compete on all fronts.

Anonymous said...

Yep, we nearly won the league, but didnt coz the squad wasnt strong enough and we had to endure the likes of Eboue on the right wing and Diaby played out of position. Sure Diaby MIGHT be able to play DM, then again he might not, oh and he is a bit injury prone too innit?

If we go into this season without strengthening the squad then we can kiss any hope of silver ware this time round and that will probably lead to more crap with regards to players being linked away and this time it will be really important players like Cesc, RvP, Clichy, etc.

I would have thought spending say £15m on top quality experience would be worth it if it prevents our best players going next summer.

Sometimes players do need to be bought. It would be just peachy if Wenger could actually strengthen the effin team for once, instead of simply replacing.

Anonymous said...

I see what you are saying but I hope you are wrong. Every squad needs a mixture of young keen players and older experienced ones to reach its full potential. We need at least one more player, definitely an established and experienced one, and imho one for the centre of midfield. This does describe Barry as well as a few other options.

As for stifling the development of Eboue, the guy is a waste of space in the midfield, he should either be sold or considered understudy to Sagna - and frankly Eboue has a lot of work to do as a right back too.

Unknown said...

I think this is a very interesting article and one that makes several good points. However, the problem with this style of management is that it is too rigid. You say that he will give players a chance to show what they can do in a first-team situation. I agree but he should know whether they are up to it without them having to prove it. Eboue and Senderos for instance are obviously not up to it. Ask any Arsenal fan and yet why does Arsene persevere with them. I am all for loyalty but Senderos has cost us games and Eboue in the starting eleven means that you are effectively playing with just over 10 men. In one sense I applaud what Arsene is trying to do but I think it has gone a stage too far and that the "experiment" is only a partial success. Arsenal FC must be about winning trophies and we are not doing that at the moment. I firmly believe we need more experience in the side and until we have it the "experiment" will never end. I also believe that tomorrow may never come unless the transfer strategy is tweaked. After all, if we had bought a couple of quality experienced players last Christmas, who knows what would have happened.

Anonymous said...

People should not read too much in last night result. The line up is telling us that AW was testing players he wants to use on bench.
From the two though games(Stuttgart & Juventus), the different positions could line up like this:

Keepers: Almunia & Fabianski.

RB: Sagna & Young Hoyte.

LB: Clichy & Gibbs.

CB: Gallas/Djourou, Kolo/Djourou or Kolo/Song/Gallas.

DM: Denilson/Eboue or Eboue/Diaby.
Denilson/Diaby won't work, both players are fast enough and can be easily out muscled.

RW: Walcott/Jack Wilshere.

LW: Nasri/Ramsey.

Striker: Ade/Rvp or Bentner/Vela.

Anonymous said...

I for one agree with the points made in the article. If it wasn't for the horrific injury to Eduardo and the absence of Rosicky we would have won the title. You morons must realise that bringing an established name in the squad unsettles the existing players and there is no guarantee that the new player will be able to play at the level required.

beter to give the exidting players who after all have proved that they have the ability to show it. Then we would all be feeling really proud that the title was won against the riches of Chelskey and Manure.

Anonymous said...

Many of us think Big Phil will become a dominant centre back. It would help if fans would get off his back and give him the support he deserves. Does anyone think slagging off one of your own players actually improves the team you "claim' to support?

Anonymous said...

You fail to realize that what cost us the title last year was the depth of the squad.
I have no doubts that the XI will be good enough, but what happens when we get injuries, suspensions, fatigue, and so on?
For all the talent we got in the squad, we can't rely on all the upcoming youngsters to replace someone who's been in the first team for a couple of years..
We lost Gilberto, Flamini and Hleb in the midfield. We CANNOT ignore this. Rosicky, Nasri, Vela and Walcott can not play in that holding defensive midfield position. We might have Song and Diaby (who's injury record is competing with Rosicky and RVP), but what if Toure, Gallas or Senderos/Djourou gets injured? We all saw what happened last year, esp. in the CL QF.

Wenger responds to this by buying Bischoff, someone who's a GAMBLE ON HIS TALENT - quote Wenger.

I really hope I'm wrong, but I can't see us challenging all the way unless we reinforces. Look at the depth Man Utd had last year, no wonder they eventually won the PL and CL.

Unknown said...

Well Mr Anonymous. Firstly, just because you have the opposite opinion to someone that doesn't give you the right to call them a moron. If there is a moron involved in this discussion it is most certainly your good self. As for the point that bringing in an experienced player unsettles the squad, I believe this is completely untrue. Professional footballers should be just that and Arsenal, as Arsene himself pointed out last season, is a football club and not a Kindergarten. I believe that Senderos will never be more than a decent centre-half and that doesn't mean that I disrespect him or dislike him. I also don't think that Eboue has ever had a single great game for the club where he has made the difference and neither does this make me a moron either. Football is a hard edged sport and bruised egos are all part of the game. I firmly believe that we need more experience in the squad and no amount of your silly insults will change my mind.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Song is the best and most apparent choice for the DM position.

Diaby has actually improved on the wing, the last game he played for us, Liverpool away in the CL, he was our best player and even got the important opening goal which should've helped see us through.

Diaby will probably get the role and I don't have a problem with that because I think he'll make it there but I also think that if necessary, Diaby can play on the wing (basically anything's fine as long as we don't see Eboue on the wing).

Anonymous said...

Emirates Cup****USA Only

Juventus v Hamburg 9am on
Arsenal v Real Madrid 11am on

Anonymous said...

Wenger will buy, probably Inler. Reason: only Song is capable of replacing Flamini; not Diaby; not Denilson.

Anonymous said...

Even in a new player like Inler joins the squad, Wenger will start Diaby next to Cesc. I am almost sure of it. I don't know if you all noticed, but our 'B Team' was every bit as good as the Juventus A team on Saturday. Every year our depth gets stronger and stronger.

leon said...

and i feel arsenal already have very strong squad and last season where short by 2-3 players but we were down 6-7 players, i hope wenger gives dijouro and song the nod over senderos, i dont think need that many players maybe just an experiened player in midfield 23-26, we have 5 strikers,5 centralmidfielers but a bit experiened,hoyte has no cahnce of picked ahead of sanger i would sell him

ZafarZZ said...

in my opinion, asnel have strong young team, bright future, but no back up in defence.. AW should my 2 CB player..

nway plz feel free to visit maa blog

we will dscuss avrything bout arsenal.. glad to see u

Anonymous said...

Contrary to your believe, Wenger seems to be in the market for a new midfielder. I hope this will be an experienced midfielder rather than some youth.

Anonymous said...

We should sell Eboue and Senderous. They aren't bad players but neither is top class. Maybe we need ya-ya, maybe not. we're nearly a great side. Be patient.