For someone who has, in the past, always been so careful with their money in terms of transfers, this season it seems that something has come over Arsene Wenger, and he is indulging in what the rest of us call panic buying.
Firstly there was the mass buying spree right at the death of the summer transfer window after high profile departures, and now comes the January transfer window, where Wenger says he will buy if ‘something comes up.’
For a man normally so careful and frugal with the money he has, just why has Wenger’s approach to spending changed so much?
The first explanation is clearly the fact he needed both cover for the players who had left in the summer and also to show fans that he was willing to buy and take Arsenal forward, and as the January window approaches, it seems that in order to convince their star man to sign a new contract, Arsenal need a big signing to show RVP that they really mean business and can fulfil his ambitions both in terms of taking the club forward and winning trophies.
It cannot be denied that the Londoner’s are in dire need of cover for RVP, if not only to lighten the burden on the player, also as a back-up should he succumb to injury problems yet again. The players they currently have, such as Chamakh are nowhere near the level they need, and Wenger is fully aware of this.
The drive and urgency to succeed may also be playing a hefty part in Wenger’s dip into the transfer market, with the gap between the top couple of teams and Arsenal only growing, and Wenger knows that should the club fail to convince Van Persie to sign a new contract, they will have virtually no hope of competing with the likes of City, and may struggle to fund a replacement in the same league as the Dutch man.
Arsenal and Wenger are in a difficult position, they clearly need a second striker who can actually score goals, and will lose players when the African Cup of nations starts, yet is panic buying the answer? Only Arteta of the summer signings has made any real impact, and the history of silly money flop transfers in January is one that grows every year.
Arsenal have never really been ones to enter into panic buying and waste money – yet the urgency to both succeed and keep hold of their main man may well see them major players this window. How far this will help them however is another matter entirely, and for a man who in seasons gone by would criticise other managers for doing exactly what he is now, how times have changed for Wenger.