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The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

There are few available players world wide that can offer a genuine improvement to most of the teams at the top of the Premier League. They already have good players which explains why they are at the top in the first place.

Identifying those players is one thing. Bringing them in it seems is something else. For the fans the solution is simple. Make an offer that can`t be refused but then the easiest job in the world has always been spending someone else`s money. For the club owners and more realistic managers spending has to be based on revenues though even that doesn`t stop some from spending those they haven`t yet got.

For Arsenal fans our failure to recruit an experienced midfielder is a failure to act quickly and positively enough. But to a similar extent the same could be said of all of last season`s current top four. Liverpool need a left side midfielder to balance their midfield. Popularly this is supposedly Gareth Barry yet though all they have to do is to pay £18m they haven`t yet done so. Manchester United need another striker and if reports are correct all they need do is hand over £30m or so and Berbatov is theirs. Still they haven`t yet done so. Despite having enough players to field two teams of international players Chelsea have a need for Robinho. They can have him it appears for something like £35m but haven`t, for the time being at least, handed over what it would take to bring him in. Unless you have multiple options then waiting for the one available player who you can believe will genuinely improve the side seems to be something that all top clubs have to accept.

We now know this week, because their respective managers have told us, that we haven`t bid for Barry but we have for Alonso. Assuming he is our primary target why not then give Liverpool the £18m they need for Barry and we take Alonso? According to one report Real Sociedad have dabs on £5m of the figure up to £13m of Alonso's transfer fee and 20% of anything above. If that`s true and Liverpool are expecting to cover the entire cost of buying Barry at £18m then they'll need something like £26m for him. If they can only get say £15m then they'll have to find another £8m or so from resources they might not have.

Despite that while there is still a small chance of a deal being brokered it then makes some sense to wait to try to get what you really want at something close to a price that represents acceptable value. The alternative is to go for plan B which is in all likelihood a player that isn`t demonstrably better than what we have but would add to the numbers. Plan B might be an option forced on us because we do need the numbers but that means settling for second choice.

Arsenal fans would probably feel our needs are more urgent than others though that has more to do with current injuries weighted in the midfield with Diaby, Rosicky and Cesc all currently out. Yet taking the step to go for plan B too early then loses you the chance to get what you want if a deal is still possible. Similar decisions affect Manchester United and Chelsea in their transfer targets. Frustrating though it is criticising the club and its manager for acting in the same way as our peers fails to appreciate that those that can genuinely improve on what we have are few and far between and even fewer of those are realistically available. Those that are available involve costly and possibly complicated financial deals but while a deal is still possible then they are worth waiting for. It also fails to acknowledge the quality that we already have. If it`s not to be, then a stopgap option may be the only choice, to increase the numbers but not necessarily the quality. Given the sums involved that should only be when our primary target is firmly out of reach.

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Date:Monday August 25 2008
Time: 9:57AM

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That's all very well, but then why let Gilberto and Diarra go if finding replacements was going to be so convoluted? Extenuating circumstances or not, we have a defecit in our squad and that's been badly managed. The difference with United, Chelsea and Liverpool is that they haven't sold players in the aforementioned positions, they have at least held on to what exists there, we have depleted.
Little Dutch
25/08/2008 10:12:00
I suspect Diarra went because he was a negative influence and Flamini was telling Wenger that he would stay. As for Gilberto he would only have been kept on for possibly a few games at the beginning of this season to cover injuries to Cesc and Diaby. In hindsight it might have been foolish to let Gilberto take advantage of a good career move but if Wenger does have the intention of bringing someone in before the transfer window closes, to get the numbers back up, it was still probably the right thing to do.
25/08/2008 10:20:00
Wenger said that somebody would be signed before Wednesdays match against Twente. I think it's pretty obvious that Silvestre is not that signing, that was an unforeseen opportunity that Wenger grabbed. I'm not sure about his latest comments that we might not need to buy, i think that's just bluffing. Let's see what the next three days bring...
25/08/2008 10:56:00
Nothing wrong with what you're saying Amos, but Arsene has set high standards and must live up to them... so he either has a hidden master-plan he cant tell us about (on the transfers front) or he's made a miscalculation that has left us exposed. I believe it's the latter because when he sounds quite relaxed about whether we sign someone or not, I think he IS genuinely relaxed - and he shouldn't be. As others said, shedding 3 players in the middle and not planning as early as possible how to nail at least one replacement, is not quite good enough. I think that there is more at play here than simply whether we challenge for the title this season - by not reinforcing and bringing some weight in, we may send wrong messages to current and prospective players which can come back to bite us in the future - I wouldn't want us to be detrimentally labelled as just a laboratory for youngsters. We need to get some balance back in the team so this waiting game can be dangerous.
25/08/2008 15:19:00
Riskier yes - entirely unavoidable I am not so sure. That makes the assumption that he has plenty of choice at an acceptable level. Most fans will accept any new name without knowing very much about them at all but Wengers aim isn't and can't be just to appease fans. With hindsight maybe some things would have been handled differently but that is always likely to be the case. The bottom line is he can either get someone worth adding to the squad in the next seven days or he goes with what we have got at least until the next window. Whether he is right or wrong to do so we'll find out in time I guess.
25/08/2008 16:22:00
Over the past week, I've become more concerned at the rate at which Wenger is letting players go rather than the players coming in. We've sold Hoyte, and let Traore and Senderos (reportedly) go on loan. What is Wenger upto ? This squad was already thin and needed 2 more signings IMO before selling Hoyte. These players will not make a huge difference, but surely we need a bigger squad. We will have more than our usual share of injuries, as always, and I am filled with apprehension at the shape of our current squad. I'm quite certain that Wenger will sign a mid field player, but that will still not be enough to compete even for 2 trophies (PL + CL).
25/08/2008 22:26:00
I think that Arsene did actually have plenty of choices but he lost the momentum and then allowed the Euros to introduce some delay in his making moves. It's not about appeasing anyone but doing what needs to be done. If Wenger does decide to go with what we have, it will be the biggest mistake he has made in 12 years.
25/08/2008 23:29:00
It too hard to play the waiting game when the team you love loses to Fulham, but even harder when that team plays so poorly!
27/08/2008 16:55:00
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