Let me preface the rest of this opinion-piece by saying: I am an Arsenal fan. Now let’s begin.
Throughout the noughties, Arsenal fans have been largely treated to the rhetoric that Arsenal don’t spend money on transfers, they make money on transfers. This has been evident from the dismantling of the Invincibles squad to pay for the Emirates stadium, or in the years that followed by high-profile moves of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie for one reason or another.
In more recent years though, Arsenal have had the money to spend, and I would argue around 50% of those have turned out to be shrewd or inspired signings. For every Ozil, there’s an Andre Santos – for every Cazorla, we’ve seen a Park Chu-Young join and then leave in quick succession.
I find it odd then, that now we have seen a couple of superstar signings in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, that a large portion of the Arsenal fan-base now expect these types of signings every year in order to replace the current first team squad. You see the following reasoning being used “Well, we’ve got the money now so why don’t we spend it?”
Let me tell you why. It’s because Arsenal are potentially not even a Top 10 side in Europe, and by extension, the world. PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund maybe even Chelsea and Manchester United in their sorry states are still considered bigger, more illustrious sides than Arsenal when it comes to current stature in the wider footballing world.
Here’s where the delusion really kicks into gear, it’s from the sides listed above that the Arsenal fanbase expect Arsenal to raid for their talent. The likes of Edison Cavani, currently on over £200k a week at Paris Saint Germain is a target often thrown about like he’s an attainable target. Let’s not forget he moved there for €64.5 million, so PSG would expect a hefty fee to accompany those rather large wages if he were to move to Arsenal.
I’ve spoken about this before, so let’s continue with the striker rhetoric for the moment to illustrate my point. At the moment I consider there to be three tiers of strikers worth talking about in Europe. You have the top tier, where the likes of Suarez, Aguero and Lewandowski reside. Arsenal can forget about signing any player of that current ability because more than likely they’re already at a better club.
So let’s look at the second tier of strikers, where you have the likes of Aubemeyang, Dybala, Benzema and Cavani. Would either of those four players I’ve mentioned want to leave their respective clubs at the moment to come and play for Arsenal? No, I don’t think so. Again, they’re all at top clubs, all performing well and so what reason would they have to leave their clubs who’re competing at the highest levels domestically and in Europe in most cases?
Here’s where the penny drops, if you look at the third tier – who I consider to be good young strikers who’re making a name for themselves like Lukaku, Lacazette, Morata and Berardi. These are all players that the Arsenal fanbase don’t have the patience anymore to allow to develop. They want someone who’ll outscore Giroud and Welbeck next season, not in a season or two’s time.
Since when did the Arsenal fanbase have the Manchester ethos of ‘buy success now’? Just because there’s money to spend, and I’ll admit that whilst the squad needs a damn good look at, does that mean we should follow that example and splurge £40-50million on a star name, just because they may be better than what we have now? I’ll forever point to the example of Angel di Maria, a fabulously talented player – completely mismanaged at United and who accrued total transfer fees of over £100million quid between August of 2014, and the following August of 2015?
It’s time to for a lot of the Arsenal fan-base to wake up, and get real. Arsenal, despite the new-found financial muscle, shouldn’t start splashing out on huge transfers ‘just because it’s how you improve a squad these days’. Proven by the purchases of players like Monreal, and more recently Elneny and the promotion of youngsters like Bellerin, Campbell and Iwobi – you don’t need to spend every penny you have. Stop talking like it’s the only way, or you’ll become like the very Chelsea, United and City fans we’ve been taking the piss out of for the last decade.
If I’ve incensed you enough to warrant a reply, please comment below or tweet at @SamJCrawley and I’ll happily debate.