Wenger built a reputation for signing relatively unknown players and turning them into stars in his early years, with the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Kolo Toure and Nicolas Anelka all picked up on the cheap and going on to become house-hold names.
However, the professor seems to have lost his touch a little in recent years with a number of signings failing to make the grade – Seabstien Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho and Andre Santos to name a few – and the boss claims the days of signing promising players are gone due to the expectations at the club. He told the clubs official website:
“It’s very difficult because the level of expectation is very high,” the manager said. “People want to see Lionel Messi. They don’t want to see a promising guy.
“First of all the name gives hope. When a guy has no name people are already sceptical. So it’s much more difficult for us.”
Many Arsenal fans have reacted badly to Arsene’s comments on Twitter and you can understand their issue. While some unrealistic fans may demand names such as Messi, Ronaldo or Falcao, the majority are more realistic and simply expect a club like Arsenal to be competitive in the transfer market without putting the clubs future in jeopardy.
I want us to spend the money we have in the bank on players who can improve the team and not just ‘make do’ – as we seem to be doing in recent years. I don’t expect Messi but I think a club like Arsenal should be going for the likes of Fernando Llorente or David Villa. Be a bit more adventurous in the market to bring in proven quality, not ‘make do’ by signing another Chamakh on a free.
However, I get the Arsene point is trying to make. Many fans are asking why we didn’t sign Michu in the summer after seeing him scoring goals for fun at Swansea. But think about it. Can you imagine the reaction had we actually signed Michu for £2m as a replacement for RVP?! The fans would have been in uproar claiming that stingy Arsenal had once again sold it’s best player and bought a cheap replacement to turn a quick profit.
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The fact is, and what Wenger is alluding to, is that teams like Swansea can afford to take risks on unknown players like Michu because the fans ‘allow’ it, whereas he is under pressure to bring in more established names. Which is true. But what the boss should perhaps have also mentioned is that’s because we’re a world class football club and the fans pay the highest ticket prices in the Premier League, and one of the highest in Europe, so Gooners are right to have expectations over the quality of players we sign!
What do Arsenal fans think of Wenger’s comments? Get involved in the comments section below.