"If we bring some players in then they have to be experienced. I think we have been in the race this year with the team we had. We will be stronger next year just with the internal improvement and with the experience these players will have."
- Arsene Wenger, on the dreaded internal solutions
The Telegraph considers the above quote to be a tantalising sign that Wenger's going to go for a big-name signing. I consider the above quote to be a deflating sign that Wenger believes in the status quo and that no significant changes will occur over summer.
The reason I believe there's not going to be a change this summer is that Wenger's been saying we're only in the market for "top-class" signings ever since we sold Vieira and forgot to replace him. Since then, we've signed players like Fabianksi, Silvestre and Campbell, promoted Almunia, and we're STILL only in the market for "top-class" players.
Wenger thinks we're going to improve naturally through internal improvement. I've got doubts about this. Bendtner and Song have improved. Diaby and Nasri have shown glimpses of their potential. Walcott has been missing all season. Denilson has been a bit lightweight. Unless Wenger sprinkles some fairy dust over all these players, they're not going to magically turn into world-beaters.
Actually, I wouldn't mind relying on internal solutions if we managed to employ a hard-line defensive coach to instil some hunger, pride and tactical awareness in our youngsters. Our performances since Tottenham have been rather limp. I tend to think we've got a good range of players at the club, but they lack application and a winning mentality. In the early weeks of this season, we saw how awesome our team could be if we're hungry, determination and willing to press for every ball. The reason we faded away was that our application tailed off as the season wore on. What we need next season is a sustained effort across the whole season. If we get that, I think we can challenge again next season.
But then again, a good 'keeper wouldn't go astray....
So on the 350th last day of my 20s, I felt uncomfortably like I was acting as my brother's surrogate. My brother's off interstate for a couple of weeks for work. Yesterday I went clothes shopping with my sister-in-law and my baby nephew, and as she later remarked, that kid could've been misconstrued as being mine. And today, I had an early Mother's Day lunch with my parents, my sister-in-law and my baby nephew, and my brother's in-laws. I don't know how that came about, but it was a bit strange; and mildly disturbing, to say the least.
No wonder my nephew been looking at me strangely. He can't quite figure it out, either.