PLEASE NOTE THAT YOUR VISION ARTICLES ARE SENT IN BY READERS AND ARE NOT WRITTEN BY ARSENAL VISION WRITERS.
By Gordon Breen
Ok lets get one thing clear and prob the only thing we'll ALL agree on...its been a horrific two weeks after Barca, Spurs & Wigan etc!
After reading a lot of other blogs around there are various opinions on what have went wrong in those 3 games and in our season on a whole. Wenger said that once the season comes to an end he will reflect and review the season as a whole (which he obviously does every season but this is one is getting into critical stage now!). He did say at the start of the season he may need to rethink the investment in youth policy if this season didnt work.
I think its fair to say Arsene has had no choice since the Highbury move to scale down on buyswages and invest in youth over the past few seasons. There was no way we could compete with United or Chelsea regards purchase of players. We obviously had a large wage bill near the end of the Highbury era and players nearing the end of the peak of their career in Arsenals financial view and Wengers football viewpoint needed to move on (Vieira, Pires, Gilberto, Ljunberg etc). These guys were on big big money, deserving of it too as they'd led us through a very successful period and one of the biggest in Arsenals history! Where Arsenal and Arsene failed here was the invincibles was dismantled to quickly, look at how important Giggs, Scholes & Neville are to United STILL! Look at how much of an influence Sol has made since his come back!! You cant replace that sort of thing, these guys know their club inside out and what it takes to win & young players respect, listen & look up to them! On another note this overall ploy to scale down on our expenditure of the club will benefit the club in years to come, I am certain of this. Just look at the debt United and Liverpool are in...what happens to "Chelski" or "Man City Project" if their owners say my "hobby" of running a club is over I want to do something else...! We're currently in a very good financial situation & potentially in 5-10 years time we may be one of the richest clubs in the world with no debts (Unlike United & Real Madrid!)
Another thing I need to talk about is our injury situation & the injury situation that has gone on for the last 4 seasons or so. We've had so many it isnt funny anymore, I read in another blog the actual "injury table" between United, Chelsea and us over last 3 seasons & we'd something like 25-30% more injuries than them each season!!! Colin Lewin had his article published recently and it outlined the level of detail they are drilling down to see if there is an underlying problem. Well to sum it up Colin its either....1# We injury prone players 2# Down right unlucky or finally 3# There is something wrong with our trainingfitnessrehabilitation schedule! This needs to be addressed simple as!
Final thing I come to is our players themselves. Which are good enough. I can fairly assume we're all in agreement that we need a top class experienced keeper. Say what you like about "mad Jens" but you dont walk into a club and not loose a prem game for 49 and not be a good keeper. He was no Dave Seaman but Jens was a winner, good communicator, HATED loosing, made big big saves at big big times & was consistent without being world class. In his last 1-2 seasons yes I do admit he did drop a level...but we replaced him with a keepr from the Spanish 2nd division!!! Cmon Arsene! We got Wright to replace Seaman, how many blinders did he have at Highbury...but when it came to playing for us he didnt have the mental strength and was too young to handle it (same applies for Ben Foster & Fabianksi). Big clubs need experienced keepers simple as. Look at what United did with Van Der Saar, his experience is so important & he has been integral to United winning 3 leagues in a row!
On the rest of the squad, I think its fair to see we'll see Chamakh play for us next season. Silvestre & Gallas will be gone on free's (Gallas would have signed by now if he was to stay). I think Sol will stay for another season, but that leaves us with Vermalen & Djouru....effectively we need another 1-2 center backs! Im not going to even go down the road of who we should sign but experience is key again.
Now onto midfield, Song and Cesc have been superb this season and more to come from both. Diaby as frustrating as he has been over his career with us so far should stay. Denilsion has his critics but at the end of the day he is a squad player effectively (maybe used more than he should cuz of our awful injury record!). But I reckon just one experienced midfielder in amongst these guys will help, Im sure of that.
So to sum it up im looking for an experienced keeper, center half, midfielder & Chamakh! I honestly do think we'll get that keeper and Chamakh but I wait to see what happens on the other areas! This isnt Football Manager 2010 afterall!
One thing I will not talk about is getting rid of the great man at the helm. It will be a long summer regardless and we'll have to read through so many bullsh1t stories on who we'll sign & the annual Cesc to Barca summer story. Lets just win our last 3..or at least get 3rd so we can all take a break and let Arsenal and Arsene do their stuff over the summer.
Mean Lean's Response
The last few weeks have indeed been very painful as a Gooner, we had done so well to get into a good position for the final push but it wasn't quite enough. Arsene will be thinking long and hard about why we crashed out of the Champions League and why our league fight trickled away with a whimper.
I don't think he will have to think too hard before the word injury flashes into his mind. Our spine and our record signing were just not available when we needed them at such a crucial stage. Wenger will have to sit down and work out why this appears to be happening. I am sure he already knows what the reason is but cannot or chooses not to disclose that information in public.
Whatever happens behind the scenes I am sure that Arsene will supplement his squad with a few additions. I am a little uneasy about the center of defence not only the fact that we strengthening but that we are likely to see a lot of changes in one go in one area. Silvestre will be off, it is fairly safe to suggest that. I hope that Gallas will stay but I don't believe that he will. If Sol wants to stay then he will stay, he has proved his worth so for me, that is a no brainier.
Many are suggesting that this is the end of Arsene's youth policy which is lunacy. The club will continue to bring in the best youngest talent around the world and pick the ones that are good enough to play in the first team, the rest will be allowed to leave with will generate profits. If that is not a good plan then I honestly do not know what is.
This approach does not mean that buying players will no longer exist. I am sure if Arshavin, Nasri, Eduardo, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen etc didn't come through our youth system then Wenger would probably have tried to buy them *yes, I did that deliberately*
I agree that a goalkeeper should be on Arsene's mind as well as a central defender to fill in for the likely departures of Senderos, Silvestre and perhaps Gallas. Chamakh appears to be the worlds worst kept secret with brings about more questions than answers in terms of his ranking in the squad, his position if he and Van Persie are on the pitch together etc.
I have a hunch that Arsene will be looking for one big signing, One super super player as he says. A game changer who can beat you with a dribble or a creative pass. Without wanting to sound like the Football Manager crew, the name Eden Hazard springs to mind. I haven't seen much of him but from what I hear he is a big talent who wants to come to Arsenal or Real Madrid so perhaps both clubs have already shown an interest? Pure speculation from myself and I am sure we will hear plenty more of that over the coming months.
Hold onto your hats. it's going to be a long summer.