Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby may well be looking to impress this season, having only appeared 5 times as a substitute throughout the 2011/12 campaign. The recent comments from the 26 year old are encouraging, as he looks determined to prove himself on what he deemed a make or break season for the Emirates outfit.
While seven years without a trophy may speak for itself, there have been things going on at Arsenal which have made the drought bearable at times. Gunners’ fans were all too aware of the sacrifice financially they would have to make when moving from Highbury six years and this had a knock on effect on performances on the pitch. The transition of putting faith into youthful players has been a gamble which, despite its spells of promise, never came to fruition for Arsene Wenger.
As much as the last few pre-seasons have been filled with the notion of the next one being the ‘make or break’ season for Arsene Wenger’s men, surely the upcoming one is just that more so than ever. Recent summers have seen talented and promising players leave due to a lack of success, underlined by the persistent short fallings in trying to win a trophy. The long term plan that their French manager had when the club were in transition between two stadiums came to a standstill when players were unwilling to commit and share in the same ambition as their boss.
With the early activity in the transfer market this year showing promising signs that maybe Wenger was going to change courses, to look to invest and compete with rivals in the transfer market as well as on the pitch, it has died down of late, leaving Arsenal fans unsure of what to expect from the upcoming season. Should the next month see the investment continue as Wenger has hinted it may, the rumoured signings of proven talents such as Santi Cazorla could well mean that Arsenal’s bid for a trophy has not carried this much momentum for many years.
Another issue which has reared its head is summer is that of the ownership of the club. With an open letter sent from one majority shareholder to another that may have highlighted the weaknesses in the current running of the club, the current strategy can prove itself and silence critics with a trophy at the end of the upcoming campaign. Failure to do so will result in more fans taking the side of Alisher Usmanov, suggesting an overhaul in the way club is run as well as pumping money in to compete with rivals. This is something that will serve as a harsh reality to Arsenal purists, who will have to admit that their faith in a differing model was never repaid.
As each season has gone by without a trophy, and every pre-season goes by with another big player wanting to leave the club, more and more people are turning against Arsene Wenger and his admirable philosophies. Patience has been invested from everyone at the club, but one more season without a trophy could truly ensure that he no longer has the backing of the vast majority of his supporters. This season could be his last chance, and as Diaby has suggested, the biggest make or break season Arsenal have experienced under Arsene Wenger.