In a recent interview on SkySports, former Arsenal defender Kenny Samson stated that if Arsenal don’t make drastic changes soon and fast, they could very well find themselves out of the Champions League qualification places for the first time in more than a decade; is this really how bad it has got for Wenger over at the Emirates?
You can’t ignore that Arsenal seem to be a team in reverse; as Ian Wright recently put it, “Arsenal have become Manchester City’s feeder club”. A slight over exaggeration, if ever there were one, however the reason Gael Clichy gave for moving to Eastlands is one that is beginning to gain momentum with the footballing neutrals: “Year after year I have seen this club getting stronger. They have new players in and the names in the team are amazing”. Man City are currently doing what every Arsenal fan has been crying out for Wenger to do for at least three years: spend, maybe not to Roberto Mancini’s extremes, but a signal of intent from Le Professeur wouldn’t go amiss.
Man City aren’t the only team who are very capable of overhauling Arsenal’s ‘top four status’. Liverpool are building a very exciting squad, even if it does mean paying over the odds for players; Tottenham Hotspur have a lot to do this summer but a few of the right transfers could see them back in and around the Champions League spots, and that’s before we even consider the signings Manchester United have made and that Chelsea no doubt will make.
In order to achieve things, you have to be open to a change in mentality. Spurs were when Redknapp took over, Chelsea were when Abramovich started bankrolling the London club and Liverpool are nearing the end of their mentality change under Fenway Sports Group; although Wenger has realised and stated he has to spend to appease fans, you can see the Frenchman’s awkwardness and unease in every press conference at doing this. Despite saying what all Gunners’ fans want to hear, it is clear deep down that Wenger’s philosophies remain intact and are controlling Arsenal’s transfer policy, a policy that could cost them Champions League football. Carl Jenkinson cost £1 million from Charlton Athletic, Gervinho isn’t proven and is hardly formidable and the constant rumours surrounding Southampton’s Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain, although a decent player, is not going to make a massive impact anytime soon. If Wenger were serious about making changes, he should be looking at experience and not another one for the future.
For a good five years or so, the media, pundits and even the Gunners’ own faithful have questioned whether Arsene Wenger’s red and white army will be in the top four come the final Premier League game of each season, yet every time so far Arsenal have proved their critics wrong, even if it has been very close on several occasions. The Gunners’ squad has proven time and time again they have the experience and skill to, at the very least, give Arsenal Champions League football; the problem is that that is a minimum requirement and not viewed as a success by the fans. With every season, that qualification for Europe’s greatest club tournament is becoming harder and harder for Arsenal, so this year, more than the previous, perhaps the critics will be right.
Arsenal: a team in decline, or just in need of some tweaks?
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