ARSENAL FC: TRANSFER POLICY MAJOR UNDOING

   on July 28 2013 5:20 PM

“Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.”
― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

This quote from one of Shakespeare's greatest works is for the large part descriptive of Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger's transfer policy.

It is almost 9 years now since Arsenal won a trophy after a penalty by Patrick Vieira sunk bitter rivals Manchester United and guaranteed the Gunners the FA Cup in the 2004-2005 season.

That was the last time an Arsenal Captain was to lift a trophy of any kind.

Since then it has been near miss after near miss with Arsenal flattering to deceive.

So what has been Arsenal's Achilles heel?

One would need to dig deep to find out the reason behind Arsenal's trophy drought.

After all the back room staff and the manager have by and large remained the same.

Importantly, of all the managers in the EPL, (save of course for the departed Sir Alex of Manchester United) Wenger has had unwavering and solid support from the club's top brass.

Arsenal has also had competitive squads over the years. The team has comprised of intelligent, skilful players who together play an attractive brand of football.

With all this scintillating mix one would expect Arsenal to bag trophy after trophy. But this has not been the case. So what has been the problem?

Without doubt part of the decline has been brought about by the departure over the years of some of the club's stalwarts without finding adequate replacements:
Henry, Ljunberg, Bergkamp, Lauren, Ashley Cole, Fabregas, Sol Campbell, Nasri, Van Persie easily come to mind.

This top heavy departure strategy coupled with the penny pinching transfer policy of Wenger over the past 7 years or so has more than anything caused the dramatic decline in Arsenal's fortunes.

Wenger has persistently refused, without justifiable explanation one may add, to go out of pocket to get top rated players to replace equally talented players leaving the club. Marquee signings at the Emirates Stadium are as rare as a unicorn sighting.

Whereas clubs like Manchester United with Van Persie, Liverpool with Luis Suarez, Manchester City with Edin Dzeko, Chelsea with Juan Mata, Edin Hazard and the like have spent multi millions in purchasing top talent in the past two seasons Arsenal through Wenger has continued to wallow in the miasma of basement transfers.

This season as has been the norm Arsenal has been linked with big names.

The likes of Rooney, Suarez, Fellaini and Higuain have at one time or the other been linked with the club. However with the clock running down none of the anticipated signings have been completed.

Instead Arsenal have signed Yaya Sanogo from Auxerre for a princely sum of 880,000 pounds.

When one compares this singular signing with the following departures one can clearly see where the problem lies:

Senior player Sebastien Squillaci has moved to Ligue 1 side Bastia, Vito Mannone has moved across the country to play for Sunderland, Denilson will now ply his trade at Brazil's Sao Paolo whereas Andriy Arshavin will now feature for St. Petersburg. Finally Andres Santos has been sent to Flamengo.

Promising youngsters Sanchez Watt, Nigel Neita, Conor Henderson, Samir Bihmoutine, Elton Monteiro, James Shea, Josh Rees, Sead Hajrovic and Kyle Ebecilio have moved to various clubs mostly on free transfers.

The total money gained from these departures is a measly 2.1 million pounds.

With a kitty of 70million pounds in Arsenal's war chest and less than a million spent so far it would be disastrous if none of the big names that have been linked to Arsenal fail to be brought to the London club.

Arsenal is at the moment deep in discussions with Liverpool as they seek to secure the signature of Luis Suarez.

With a price tag of 50million pounds the capture of Suarez may just be the marquee signing Arsenal desperately need.

Granted one player (or even two) may not change a team's fortunes but one need only go as far as Manchester City to see how a shopping blitz may cause a dramatic upward incline.

Chelsea won their first premier League trophy in 50 years off the back of restructuring their team. And this season most clubs have already spent big in the transfer market and their players are blending in as the clubs go through their pre season motions.

The signing of Luis Suarez may however by itself not be enough as Arsenal need to consolidate on last season's signings of Santi Carzola, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski by bringing in quality. It will be however a serious statement of intent. There is still quite some time to go before the window closes.

In the end it is evident that Arsenal need to utilise their transfer kitty effectively not only to bolster their squad but also to give the club the much needed zest and belief that is the determinant factor if the long wait for a trophy is to come to an end.

Otherwise Arsenal seem headed down the slippery path of a trophyless abyss.