There’s a divide between fans that think either Wenger should be sacked due to his lack of success and his very stubborn ways or a change in board procedures who seem to be more concerned about finances than the happiness of fans. However, there almost seems to be an unbreakable bond between the board and Wenger because Wenger is the only manager that can carry out the board’s plans and the current board are the only group of people that would not have sacked Wenger by now for a lack of silverware.

Fans’ ‘success’ vs. Board ‘success’

Fans and pundits alike criticise Wenger because he doesn’t spend extravagant amounts of money but let’s not forget about inflation and the investments made in Man City and Chelsea. Comparisons are unrealistic. Wenger has brought in Arteta, Benayoun, Santos and Mertesacker which may have underwhelmed some people but it also means that out of the 60 mil we received from Cesc and Nasri we have spent around half of that, but only time will tell whether the additions bring what fans believe is success (the signings are already a financial success in the board room). Other managers would no doubt have over-spent on a replacement for Cesc from which the board would have made no profit. Wenger is smarter than that and knew that there is not a like-for-like replacement for Cesc and brought in Arteta who has plenty of Premier League experience at a reasonable price.

Wenger the coach vs Wenger the accountant

Wenger is a great manager on the pitch and training ground, but to the board he seems more like an accountant – a degree in economics no doubt got Hill-Wood excited. Fans gets a mixed view because we play great football but sometimes don’t buy the players that could take us to that next level and we’ll never know whether Wenger is putting on a brave face in press conferences saying that he has faith in the players he has or whether he’s sugar coating the fact that the board will not let him spend as much to bring in the ready-made world class stars, or whether it’s even a case that we cannot afford them.

Arsenal have arguably had the most scrutinised and criticised summers of recent times. The fall from challenging on all fronts to finish with nothing, plenty of outward transfer dealing but barely anything coming in, ticket price rises and a below-par pre-season. But who is there to blame? The players? The manager? The board? The PR?...Or even the fans?

Signings? Wenger or the board?

A couple of seasons ago 2 signings could have been our ticket to a solid league challenge and perhaps even European glory but somehow, years later, we were a few deadline day signings away from possibly not even making the top 4. The very top 4 which Wenger and the board claim to be ‘success’ in the midst of paying off the debt carried with building a new stadium. I strongly believe that if it weren’t for the humiliating drubbing at Old Trafford, the gaffer might not have even made those signings but unfortunately that can only be a mere assumption at best, which brings me to the next point: Stan, Gazidis and PR

The International Break, or as I like to call it “The Arsenal Injury Watch” has been in full swing for the last ten days.  The major news as always for the Gunners has been on the injury front.  Arsenal recently confirmed that midfielder Jack Wilshere will be out two to three months with his ongoing Achilles injury.  Wilshere himself confirmed as much through his Twitter account:

"@JackWilshere:  I can confirm I will be out for around 2-3 months!  I am working hard in the gym to stay fit and I am gutted but I will be back stronger!"


He thinks he’s gutted?  Try being the millions of Arsenal fans for whom this is all just a little too familiar.  Too add more salt to the wound, defender Thomas Vermaelen went under the knife in Sweden (again) to treat his Achilles injury, which cost him much of last season.  London Colney has become quite the M.A.S.H. unit in recent years.

A few days have passed, but I have yet to catch my breath after the final 48 hours of the transfer window that saw a flurry of no less than five players arrive at Arsenal.  Surely, the English FA needs to change the rules and allow a whole summer for conducting transfers—not just two days!  Alright, the “why didn’t Arsenal buy earlier” horse has been beaten and beaten.  But in all seriousness, a summer of the Arsenal board dragging their feet through every major transfer decision meant I saddled up for another transfer deadline day that was sure to fall short of expectations.

Yet, credit must be given where credit is due.  With a swift slap in the face to the critics who would happily book a one-way ticket to a halfway house on his behalf, Wenger brought in signings ready and able to plug holes in the first team (particularly a left-back, center-back, forward and attacking midfielders).  Just like Wenger’s calculated moves to recruit young talent with pace earlier in the window (Gervinho, Miyaichi, and Oxlade-Chamberlain), Wenger’s transfer business in the last 48 hours seems like a deliberate attempt to depart from his modus operandi (the recruit-young-and-develop policy) and address two qualities Arsenal has lacked ever since the Toure-Gallas central defensive partnership broke up: leadership and experience.

While the midfield signings of Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun went some way to bandage the fresh wounds left by the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsenal fans are sure to feel somewhat aggrieved at missing out on a young superstar midfielder that seemed imminent.  Don’t get me wrong, I rate the signings of Benayoun and especially Arteta very highly. Both players will bring a considerable amount of Premier League experience to the Emirates in addition to creativity that has been lost with the aforementioned departures.  However, Arteta’s form and health in the past two months must be questioned and at 29 may represent a transitional signing along with Benayoun who is on loan.

A once greatly praised public figure who promised much change but has failed to deliver it while drowning in a sea of financial meltdown and lack of leadership. On hearing this description in political terms then you think of Barack Obama, a man who has lost much of his shine since his election in 2008. However, if this description were to be used in a footballing context then it relates to only one man, Arsene Wenger. The once great manager of Arsenal football is losing squad members faster than Joey Barton can start a fight and if he is not careful the transfer window could close on him before any major reinforcements are brought in.

At the start of the summer things seemed positive for Arsenal football club. The word from Spain was that Barcelona could not afford to sign both Fabregas and Sanchez and since the Chilean winger was their first choice it seemed there was a decent chance he would stay another year. There was also much talk about Nasri signing a new contract and that finally Wenger would sign a big tall centre back that could play in the Premier League and help to add some stability to the side. Then it all went wrong. But let’s not cover old ground, we know what Wenger has done (and hasn’t done) so far this summer, no need to keep mentioning that his management of the club is making the McCan’s look like good parents in comparison. No need to mention that he promised that a Premier League centre back would be signed to add some steel to the back four. And no need to keep bringing up the fact that as things stand now Arsenal football club will do well to not only qualify for the group stages of the champions league but also manage to avoid losing to Man Utd by less than 3 goals this weekend. Yes these are the days your grandparents talked about, these truly are the golden years once again for the north London club.