Here is a guest post by @PositiveGunner who is a regular tweeter and great follow on Twitter. As @Poznaninmypants puts it, there are a number of people who have the 'I am upset with everything Arsenal' angle covered so if you fancy checking out the other end of the Spectrum then check out his blog over on http://www.positivelyArsenal.com. Please do check it out.
Take it away PG...
Arsene Wenger often gets accused of things like "dithering" and I often wonder if people misunderstand him and what he's trying to do. I'm by no means an expert (and I haven't played FM in a while despite buying the last 2 versions). But I do think to an extent, we can all understand what it entails if we thought about it.
From our POV, we have a team, we want players added, certain good players are out there, we should just identify them, get them for their asking price and be done with it. Simple, bring on the new season.
From Arsene's POV,
1. he has a team, a system, a set of players whom he trusts and knows inside out in terms of their pros and cons
2. he knows where he needs to (or wants to) strengthen and improve in terms of specific positions or in terms of depth
3. he knows what kind of budget he has and how it could possibly be divided among the different areas of need
4. he has 5-6 targets for each area of need
- each of these targets has their pros and cons
- each of these targets fits his system differently and affects existing players' selection and rotation differently
- each of these targets has a price that is their value and a selling club that is bound to try and get maximum money out of it
- each of these targets has his own wage demands and an agent who will undoubtedly try some funny business to maximize what they can get out of this
Arsene's job as a manager is to balance what he has, who he can get, what he can spend, the system he prefers and how he'll fit everyone in. In a sentence, that sounds fairly simple but in truth it is more complex and it gets even more complex when you're trying to get that perfect balance and trying to avoid a very expensive mistake.
There are literally dozens of permutations and combinations with regards to one signing for one position and how this affects those around and how the fit will happen into the system. Take DM and Fellaini for example, there are arguments about how slotting him next to Arteta will decrease midfield mobility while slotting him next to Jack will protect him. There are also arguments about how his occasional tendency to be irresponsible or do something rash can leave the defense exposed. But he is proven in the league and has the basic tools to be a beast in midfield. At the same time, you have Lars Bender, doesn't have the flaws that Fellaini has in terms of mentality but lacks experience in the PL and could prove just as expensive if not more to pry away from Germany. Then you have several more options like say Capoue or Matuidi or others.
These are simply arguments in terms of ability or fit and doesn't even include things that we can't control like club demands or club changing their mind on valuations or player wage demands or agent demands. These are HUGE factors that are totally beyond the control of Arsenal or Arsene or Ivan as well where the selling club can change its mind at the last minute and decide "Ok, we want more money" or the same can be done by a player or his agent and things can go back to negotiations. Sometimes clubs care about perception and PR so they can stall and sit on a move that is outgoing until they can secure someone or just appear like they've been strong enough to delay something inevitable. All of these factors add to the perception and this little video of Tim Payton (someone whom I don't normally agree with) is spot on about this -- http://youtu.be/aFxGF0SSQhY -- to quote him "I'd rather have the right players in August than the wrong ones in early July"
The point is, the players we're considering for each position are of roughly the same level of quality (I don't believe the stuff about Barry personally), and it is simply Arsene's job (or problem) to get that perfect balance of quality, fit, chemistry and performance. Something like this can't be decided overnight. This from one POV can be looked at as a desire to get the best possible option for the club to succeed without having to absorb an expensive mistake, from another can be seen as indecision and dithering. How it is perceived comes down to our preconceived notions about how we feel about the manager in the end. I see him as a fallible perfectionist and I don't blame him for being careful, others see him as simply and only fallible and want him to get things done instantly or get out.
For me the reality is, whether it is instant or not, if a signing doesn't click, it will be the manager who gets the brickbats every single time with the power of hindsight. We would even go as far as to bemoan the fact that another of the options considered at the time wasn't signed, even though at the time of signing, we all just want player X, Y, Z as soon as possible and none of us (manager included) can actually predict how good or how bad a signing is going to turn out. What we don't care to do, but Arsene does (and gets accused of dithering for) is try to balance the risks, the pros and go with the option that has the highest chance of success and I think given his transfer record with an overwhelming majority of quality signings, he's earned the right to take his time and decide. So is it "dithering" or just trying to do what's best for Arsenal Football Club?