Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our "Unbelievable" Squad

“We sold Kolo and Adebayor but bought Vermaelen. That money is for me. I know how much I have and I am happy with it... Do we have the squad to compete with the other [‘Big’] four? I say yes. We have an unbelievable squad. Where do you put all the talented players?"

- Arsene Wenger, who'd have a problem (hypothetically) fitting Benzema, Villa, Huntelaar, De Rossi, Akinfeev, M.Diarra, van der Vaart, Zapata, Sakho and Richards into this current Arsenal side

I think we have an "unbelievable" squad as well.

I think it's unbelievable that Almunia's still our No.1 goalkeeper. I think it's unbelievable that Song is the only physically robust defensive midfielder in the side. I think it's unbelievable that we're using the transfer surplus to resign our kids on large contracts, and not using it to bring in on experienced players to augment our side. And I think it's unbelievable to think that Wenger can't find a spare position to place a player like Akinfeev. Or Villa. Or Huntelaar.

There is a lot of unbelievability going on at Arsenal at the moment.

Earlier in the week, Gazidis said that:

"We believe transfer spending is the last resort. That's a sensible view to have. Re-signing existing players is a far more efficient system. What Arsene will not do is spend money on players that do not add something of real value."

I disagree with Gazidis. At the moment, we're paying very large contracts to youngsters who haven't proved that they've earned it. Take Theo Walcott. Now, I love Theo Walcott, but I think it's a disgrace that we're paying him 60k a week and yet can't find the money to bring in someone like Huntelaar or Villa.

It's something we've got to sort out.

I fail to see how resigning a promising young player to a very large contract turns him into a great player. Especially if that young player hasn't done anything to justify such a large contract. Just because we want to pay Theo Walcott more money than David Villa earns, doesn't automatically turn Walcott into a better player. It just turns him into an overpaid youngster with a fat contract and with a lot to prove.

Contrary to Gazidis, I think the sensible thing would be to pay our players what they're worth, and use the extra money saved to bring in experienced players who can add "real value" to the Club.

And today, Peter Hill-Wood escaped his minders and held a "wide-ranging interview with ESPNsoccernet". I can't seem to find the full interview on the soccernet website, but I did find one excerpt in which he said:

"Arsene thought long and hard about selling Adebayor. But there were pretty strong rumours last year that he wanted to go. Perhaps it was time to let him go. I don't regret losing him, in fact I don't regret any of the sales made by Arsene, he has pretty good judgement as it has been shown time and time again. He doesn't always tell you, i.e. the press, or even me exactly why he is selling them, he might not always give me the reason, but we always back his judgement."

And while I agree that Wenger's an excellent judge of talent, I'm scratching my head at the moment. Peter Hill-Wood might be content with Arsenal cruising to 4th every year, but I'm not. I look at the financial reports coming out of Arsenal, and we're rich. We can afford to spend a significant amount of money to bring in the one or two players that would complete the team. We've certainly got £40 million in the bank at the moment, and that could surely be used on a class 'keeper or a solid defensive midfielder.

I'm probably being overly negative here. But we're leaking goals like a seive, our problems haven't been addressed, and Club Management is chatting to the media and telling everyone that the Arsenal are going splendidly. There's a fundamental disconnect going on here, and it irritates me.

Fulham up tonight. 2-0, with Szczesny to start, and Eduardo and Vermaelen to score. It's a game we should win, and should win comfortably.

C'mon Gunners.

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