"It’s not over 30, it’s over 32. So when you have a player 32 he will just get a one-year contract. It depends on the positions as well. If a central defender, then no problem to sign them until 34. But a striker is different. After 32 you go from year to year.”
- Arsene Wenger, transfer theory revisionist
Turns out that 2 + 2 = 5, four legs good but two legs better, and Oceania is at war with Eurasia and Eastasia and has been since the beginning of time. And Arsenal have an over-32-year-old policy, not an over-30-year-old one.
It's something Wenger's done to justify the signing of Squillaci from Sevilla. Squillaci's 30, a journeyman defender, and French. Wenger's done some pretty radical things in his time, but this is up there with the signings of Silvestre and Bischoff. You look at the transfer fee (€4m) and the years on the contract (3) and you wonder if that money could've been better spent on a younger player who could still give the side experience, leadership and support.
I'm getting a bit sick of seeing Wenger buying kids for the attacking positions, and buying "geriatrics" for the defensive positions. Why can't we just buy a bunch of 25-28 year olds for the key positions, and let them provide the leadership and the experience for the kids? Squillaci gets a three-year contract, will probably be okay in the Premier League for a couple of years, and then get released on a free transfer. Why not pay £15m for a Mertesacker or a Zapata and then sell him on for £15m again in four years' time?
But I'm really angry about Wenger changing his transfer policy in such an ad hoc manner. If we're extending the over-30 policy for Squillaci and Silvestre, why didn't we extend it to Pires, Gilbert Silva, Vieira? In his first ten years, Wenger created a successful footballing culture. He then gutted that culture by selling off all the experienced players, and replacing them with kids who didn't know the first thing about being part of a successful football team. And now he's realised his mistake, and he's trying to inject some experience into the side by buying cheap journeymen, washed-up defenders and experienced free transfers.
It just doesn't wash with me. I wish he'd stop trying to cover up his mistakes. He made a gross error of judgement when he let the Invincibles all leave at once. He made a mistake in Transfer Theory, but that's okay, everyone makes mistakes. But I wish he'd stop thinking we're idiots, and I wish he'd just be fucking honest for once and admit he was wrong.
So on the 241st last day of my 20s, finished up at the place in Wandin, bought some tomatoes and mushrooms and had rather too much spaghetti for lunch. Feeling rather full at the moment.