We all know that Arsene Wenger is proud of the way that he has rebranded Arsenal since his arrival in 1996 and gone on to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield with a side that he has built in his own unique way. But unfortunately for Wenger, football has moved on in the past few years and it is time for him to catch up.
The summer additions at the Emirates are beginning to settle in well and after a (club record) bad start to the season the Gunners have managed to push their way back up towards the European places where they surely belong.
However, it appears to me that Wenger’s selection and transfer priorities could well be holding Arsenal back and it is time for him to sacrifice his pride and get Arsenal back to where they were with the double winning side and unbeatable’s that are a distant memory now. Thierry Henry returned to the Emirates this month to give some much needed firepower up front after the team have spent too long relying on the goals of Robin van Persie. But Henry is simply not the answer to the obvious problem in North London that can only be solved in Wenger swallowing his pride and spending some serious cash.
Van Persie has been on stunning form this season for the Gunners and since the departure of Cesc Fabregas in the summer, the new Arsenal captain has been wrapped up in cotton wool to make sure he is fully fit for every league game. The Dutchmen was allowed to go on holiday to Dubai last week while his side were struggling to overcome Leeds United in the FA Cup third round. Henry spared Wenger’s blushes by coming on to grab a late winner that prevented Arsenal travelling to Elland Road tonight for a replay. Proof that van Persie makes the difference for Arsenal, Wenger fielded a strong side that should have had enough to comfortably overcome a mid-table Championship side.
The FA Cup is Arsenal’s best chance to win a trophy this season as the Gunners manager is looking to prevent going another 12 months since their last silverware in 2005. But by resting van Persie, Wenger clearly has different priorities and it seems that his side finishing in the top four is the be-all-and-end-all of the season. Deluded Gunners may feel they have a chance in the Champions League, but their team just isn’t good enough at the moment, but Wenger has the chance to do something about that.
With two weeks of the January transfer window remaining, Arsenal must buy a striker to take the pressure and work-load off of van Persie and that could be the difference between them finishing fifth or fourth. The red half of North London currently sit ten points behind arch rivals Tottenham, who coincidentally opened their eyes to what they needed to buy and done so. Wenger wants to bring through youngsters and is not a fan of spending big in the transfer windows but his transfer policy could hold Arsenal back in the race for trophies and Champions League football.
Why doesn’t Wenger just spend some of the Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy money on a world class striker that can improve the team and help drag Arsenal back towards Spurs. Another massive month is ahead for Arsenal who feature in three competitions and face the majority of their league challengers in the coming weeks. Spend some money and you can dramatically improve your team Arsene.
Is Wenger right to stick with what he has got or does he need some new players in January? Let me know on Twitter: @Brad_Pinard
FREE football app that pays you CASH