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Free at Last! says Wenger

When it comes to transfer spending there is no sum too great and no trophy that can`t be gained simply by bringing in two or three world class players. Knowing who those players are and whether they will marry with the world class players you already have is the great uncertainty that makes all transfer spending risky.

The transfer windows have taken something of the form of a game within a game. Like party political broadcasts the sane will avoid them until the election or transfer window is over. As each window approaches headlines carry promises of 'war chests` and big spending amongst those teams deemed to be capable of doing so. The media stokes up the fever amongst a salivating audience with the closing hours adopting something of election night media frenzy as the clock ticks down. For some bizarre reason some supporters will even stay up all night in the hope that the close will bring news of a big money signing by their club. At the end of the process winners are declared with those spending the most announced by pundits and commentators as those having strengthened and therefore to achieve a CL place and those deemed to have under spent, if one of the previous CL qualifiers, the ones to yield their place to the big spenders.

The reality is never quite as simple as that as spending money, as any objective watcher will tell you, doesn`t always result in a strengthening of the team. If the spending isn`t properly balanced then you could as easily end up weakening the squad as Liverpool have perhaps found to their cost this season. Changing rules in any event should force clubs to be a little more prudent in what they spend even if the travails of Portsmouth FC, one of a series of financial failures, haven`t already brought the dangers into sharper focus. The Uefa Financial fair play rules won`t now be fully adopted until 2015 but they`ll be gradually phased in before then. New rules on squad sizes and structures coming into effect in the PL next season will require some thought in structure and make up though these will have the curious side effect of making players like Chris Smalling more attractive than his experience suggests he should be.

The financial restraints of stadium investment are for the most part behind us. The property development dividend is finding its way into the coffers on top of revenues increases as a result of the stadium development. Wenger has publicly declared that the club is in a better position to invest in the team than it has been able to do for some time. The strategy hasn`t involved 'soft` loans from billionaire sugar daddies or rights issues the money the club has is its own which brings a responsibility of its own too.

Arsenal has never had the reputation of big transfer spending club, not since the Chapman era at least, though a simple look at total player budgets including wages, as news of the deal struck a couple of seasons back to ensure Cesc`s 'stickiness` illustrates, undermines the notion that Arsenal aren`t big investors in their squad. In summer 2001, with David Dein claiming his credit card was in meltdown the club spent £22.5m on three players van Bronkhorst, Jeffers and Richard Wright with a fourth Sol Campbell joining on a free. The only significant departee was Silvinho for a modest £3m resulting in a big net spend for the times. Not much doubt about which player provided the best return for David Dein`s credit card payments in that summer.

In the past two summers Wenger has tried to sign first Alonso and then Melo for reportedly large sums. This summer it`ll be interesting to see what Wenger is tempted to do for the final season of his current contract. There are popular ideas of what weaknesses the squad has but just as Wenger surprised many by selling his star striker and buying a right back before mounting a strong title challenge the season before last he is as capable of frustrating popular perceptions this summer. Then again he has also shown with the signing of Arshavin that the negotiating team, with Gazidis to the forefront, is capable of putting together the glamour deals.

Since that summer of 2001 this is probably the first summer when the foot is more likely to be hovering over the spending accelerator rather than the brake. Even last summer, despite a couple of seasons of decent profits, the uncertainties of the property market called for a cautionary approach. This summer fewer encumbrances beyond the need to get real value are there to inhibit Wenger. With just one year to run on his contract what he does this summer may well decide what he does next. Another trophy less season may make him feel, as he has alluded to recently, that it would be time to let someone else cash in on his legacy. On the other hand if he does win something what better valedictory exit could he have?



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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday April 27 2010

Time: 12:22PM

Your Comments

I still don't expect AW to splash the cash this summer. Chamakh is already a done deal, and a call has been made to Martin Jol for the services of his RB at Ajax. I think it will be more interesting to see who Le Boss cashes in on. Sagna and possibly Clichy will be called into the office for the old " we've received an offer " conversation.
Cockney Rich
I will be interested to see whether AW spends more than he used to before the new ground.
SFC Forever
Good article Amos but doesn't this recent admission from Wenger about new found freedom contradict what the Board have been saying for the past 5 years? This latest statement from Wenger surely validates those Arsenal fans who have suspected all along that Wenger has been working with one hand tied behind his back? The official line from Arsenal FC has been "There may be financial restrictions but this in no way affects our transfer ambitions and Wenger can have any player he wants". Whilst the fans have said "There is obviously not enough money because Wenger is not an idiot, if we can see what we need then surely he can too." So I would say the fans who have suggested we have a highly compromised team which has been treading water post Highbury were right all along.
Professor Calculus
I think that Chamakh is a defenite arrival, Van Der Wiel is a probable arrival. That leaves a goalie, CB and if we have enough left, a midfield enforcer. But I suppose it will in part depend on whether Sagna or Clichy are shipped out as I can see the vultures (i.e. Real Madrid, Barcelona et all) circling around them this summer. But I imagine that even if they do go, we should receive a substantial amount and therefore there will be no reason why the squad cannot be replenished, so we are not found wanting in any areas next season as we were this season. BTW we are now linked with Subotic of Dortmund, though I do understand this is only a rumour. Anyone ever seen this guy play?? Is he any good?
True-Gooner-Blood
I don't see Wengers announcement as an admission of anything just a statement of the obvious. The financial position and the policies utilised to deal with the financial restrictions would be pretty clear to anyone following the club on anything other than a superficial level. I am not sure whether the official line quote is a direct one but the paradox in it is pretty apparent. Wenger has said all along that the reliance on youth was forged to cope with financial restrictions. In that regard it has been reasonably successful. The whole stadium project was designed to put us into this position and given the way football regulation is now moving that process is being vindicated. Treading water, if that's what it has been, can be seen as by far the better option to that of drowning.
Amos.
Not necessarily, Calculus. There is a difference between reckless spending and prudence, which can make the difference between financial good health and dire straits; just ask Pompey (or 'Arry). The fact that "Wenger can have any player he wants" should not remove from Wenger's choice to thread the path of prudent spending. You and the fans you have referred to sound like the club never did ANY spending all those years, but the club paid for the services of Arshavin, Sagna, Eduardo and Vermaleen. Spending does not have to be huge to be effective, as Amos' article tried to point out. Big names do not always guarantee trophies and considering that Arsenal has remained competitive, despite "treading water, post Highbury" should tell you a thing or two about that fact. Of course, I do not attempt to answer for Amos, as your post was directed to him; these are my own views which I have always stood by.
Naijagunner
The admission and contradiction is very simple. For 5 years Wenger could buy any player he wants, now Wenger claims he can buy the players he needs due to new financial freedom. You can't see the contradiction there?
Professor Calculus
Wenger was never going to 'want' a player that prevents him signing players he needs. The club has the cash to spend £80m on Ronaldo or Rooney but though Wenger might want them in the team he also wants to keep be able to afford to keep Fabregas and van Persie. What Wenger really wants is always going to be that which serves the club best over the long term. In that respect what he wants and what the board has wanted has also been in concert - which is why he has never been the problem it might have been in other manager/board relationships. To both his and the boards credit.
Amos.
Incisive article, by the way, Amos. I do not expect AW to splash the cash as most would imply, as this would not be Arsene's way. The backlash from disappointed fans is on-going and Wenger has only reacted to the general sentiments, not necessarily as an admission of any great weaknesses in his present squad, but to show he is sensitive to the needs of fans, world wide. This squad doesn't need a big make over; just some tweaking here and there and we will be ready. I subscribe to the need for more experienced men, though, just seeing Sol's impact on the side, just to push the lads across the line when we get close. What's with all the restriction on Squad size and Nationality quota, anyway? An attempt to bring down the quality in the PL?
Naijagunner
Agreed Naija. AW is very sensible. His policy is not reckless, mindless spending. Sure it would be great to have the likes of Villa, Torres, Aguerro etc playing for us but at the same time the club has to be careful to spend within its means as I would not want the club to go the same way as Man Utd or Liverpool who are financially much worse off than we are. I think AW mostly always makes shrewd signings especially in more recent times and unlike many other managers in football, learns from his mistakes with signings that havent quite worked out. I do expect AW to spend this summer but it will not be huge mega stars arriving at the club. It will be players that are relatively well known and talented and are ready for a step up to a big club who we will pay a sensible price for and will become stars at this club. I do expect the purse strings to open up much more once the debt on the Emirates is cleared but for the time being if it means a safe and sound financial footing for our club to be on to spend sensibly and wisely in the transfer market, I am all for it especially with todays climate and examples of clubs being crippled by their debts.
True-Gooner-Blood
Where are the quotes in there from Arsene saying we're "free"?
shewore
I'm not even arguing with any of that Amos, my simple point is that claiming everything was fine but only now it's fine, is contradictory. For me Wenger is basically saying "We've done well but it was tough and we did it the hard way, now we have more freedom with room to move." That's my interpretation. If anyone in any company claims that the current scenario is the better one, they are also simultaneously claiming that past events were less than ideal, especially when they put current developments in the context of a breakthrough.
Professor Calculus
I agree with Professor Calculus. I was given the impression that although in principle, money was available to Wenger, he chose not to spend it because of the desire to build a team through youth development and that big money signings were not always the answer. And yet he is quoted as saying, "Due to the construction of the Emirates Stadium, for many years we could not spend a lot. Our financial situation has greatly improved. We are finally able to buy the players we think we need." This last sentence suggests a watershed to me and a release from financial shackles that I was led to believe did not exist. I have to say that I feel rather uncomfortable with this
Sir Henry
He will have forgotten how to spend wisely. Another Francis "rabitt in the headlights" Jeffers please.
Glenns Return
Sir Henry, I too feel ' uncomfortable ' and I think AW still has sleepless nights over the £17m spent on Reyes. Despite the noises coming out of the Emirates, the £15m - £20m players are still out of our reach, and not on AW's radar. The only way he will spend that kind of cash is if the player in question is ' exceptional ', and even then he will sell players to recoup his outlay.
Cockney Rich
The current scenario is the better one but only the natural consequence of what went before it. The financial restraint of the stadium development was less than ideal but accepted and coped with as an inevitable consequence of going where we wanted to go. This is no unexpected announcement of unforeseen change here. A breakthrough maybe but its an expected one - only what what was meant to happen and what we were told would happen.
Amos.
It's funny, Arsenal fans dream of being able to sign players which most other big clubs assume are well within their reach, and yet when the reality of spending big hits us we start to back track. When you don't have a sugar daddy, spending big on one player is terrifying, if we made a mistake we would have to live with it, we couldn't just write it off and make amends in the next transfer window. I don't think Wenger will start spending huge amounts of money, I just think he will be able to go for more of the finished articles and he will have more players realistically on his wish list.
Professor Calculus
Sir Henry, the watch words there are "players we think we need". We may all WANT Torres/Messi/Ronaldo, but does the team NEED him? Does the management THINK they need him? That is the issue. Very few clubs can go through new Stadium construction and not reel under the burden of repayments; Arsenal has done it, by making shrewd buys and navigating the CL places every season. Now, the Manager has pointed out that burden is less and you are "uncomfortable"? What with, really? I don't think Wenger's statement will change his spending policy; or, do you?
Naijagunner
Yeah I'm mostly agreeing with you Amos, where I disagree is in the club making out that any financial restraints would not compromise our transfer ambitions, there was indeed a plan to deal with the stadium development costs but this plan in no way affected Wengers transfer ambitions. That is what the club has been saying, this new statement suggests a new freedom to sign players which are needed. My interpretation is the club has had to put on a brave face, none more so than Wenger, the club is only now in the situation it claimed to be in - able to enter the transfer market with relative financial freedom.
Professor Calculus
i will believe it when i see it, this is the same old ruse to get us all excited for next year so that we renew our season tickets, the club will not spend more than 20m in the closed season
fran merida
Fran, you say it like it's happened in the past!! Oh wait, it has.
shewore
I dont understand this.. Why does everyone want Sagna and Clichy to be shipped out?
Sajit
Naijagunner, my concerns are not about how Wenger spends the money, however much that is, it’s about what we as fans have been told with regards to how much money is available. That’s what I’m uncomfortable with, the fact that we’ve been “managed” and led to believe something that isn’t true. It is great news that we now have some funds available and, indeed, Wenger will spend it on players he feels we need. But now there appears to be a larger pool of players for Wenger to look at, those that cost a little bit more, and in the past have been out of our financial reach.
Sir Henry
Absolutely fran, I'll believe it when I see it. :) As Thomas infamously quoted in the Bible.
Sajit
The semantics of the boards assertion that transfer ambitions wouldn't be compromised by financial constraints due to the stadium were subtle I'd have to agree. What they didn't tell us, because we shouldn't have needed telling, was that those transfer ambitions would be tempered by the ability to fulfil them. In other words if the money wasn't there neither were the ambitions. In fact Wenger's ambition was to try to keep the squad together and he maintained a relatively substantial wage bill through that period in preference to paying big transfers and their associated costs such as agents fees.
Amos.
Ive always thought he was restricted but could make one or two 'big' purchases every summer, which is pretty much what he did. And could break the bank if we really needed it, maybe at the cost of the next summers budget (Arshavin in January 2009 could be the reason why we only signed vermaelen this summer). I think we will start seeing more £10-15 million signings now.
Tom14
I always got the feeling that the board were not being fair to Wenger when they say we have money to spend as Arsene always considers the total cost of a player and not just the transfer fee. The papers will throw figures around for players and say he'll cost you 20M and you can afford that but the true cost of a player is far more after signing fee's, wages, insurance etc. When the board says we've got 80M in the bank that is true but it's not all "avalible" for transfers as a single player cost's more than his transfer fee. I always got the feeling that Wenger understood the full cost of a player and felt that while the stadium project and the whole periphery Highbury Sq project were at a certain level we could not complete for the very top as the total cost was too risky. We are coming out of that now but I'm not sure we're all the way there just yet. We'll probably spend in the summer and more than usual but not the kind of spending the papers will want. I'd be amazed if we buy a player over 15M
PENZ
Great interview with Lee Dixon: http://www.sport.co.uk/features/Football/989/Sportcouk_meetsLee_Dixon.aspx
jaelle
Agree with PENZ. fran merida, the point is not about how much we spend be it just 15 million or a club record 30 million, its about AW covering all the gaps in our squad with quality players. Some quality players could be available free or fairly cheap as they could have only 1 year left on their contract. Dont know why you are so insistent about seeing big bucks spent.
Deltaforce
Interesting. If Arsenal had had more money do you think they'd now have better players than Nasri and Diaby and Eboue? Isn't the financial limitations a bit of an excuse? Isn't it true that Wenger invested in these kids in the hopes that they would win trophies? Indeed, not just in the hope but in the BELIEF THEY WOULD. Surely he tried to repeat the blueprint he devised when he first came to England, when he picked up Viera, Henry and Anelka and Petit. Only this time the class he hand- picked simply weren't as good. To turn around now and say "well, this lot are losers but we knew this all along, we had to persevere with them because we had no money", makes a mockery of Wengerian footballing ethics.
Tony Rocky Horror
My point, exactly, DF. We have always spent, but not big bucks. I feel that philosophy won't change much, even with this 'freedom', unless the player is truly exceptional. Sir H, I see your point, but I don't know that Wenger will pay excessively for any of those pool of players you mentioned. He will strengthen the squad, though; he knows the next season he will be out of excuses.
Naijagunner
TRH, its not about getting better players than Nasri, Diaby and Sagna but MORE players of their calibre who also have greater experience than them to show them how its done. It is these extra players whose cost to the club in terms of wages is high that AW couldn't buy to supplement the squad.
Deltaforce
Not the same situation TRH. They have competed for major trophies during a time when the reliance on youth was to a much greater extent than when Anelka found himself playing alongside Vieira, Petit, Adams et c., or Henry alongside Pires, Campbell, Gilberto et al. Whats important is that the core of that young talent in Fabregas, Song, Diaby, Clichy, Denilson, Nasri, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela is still with us alongside maturing talent such as RVP, Eboue, Vermaelen and others. But now we no longer have to let experienced players go prematurely and can afford to supplement the squad with developed players. To describe them as losers can only be a relative term when their minimum achievements form the maximum aspiration of those outside the recent top four teams.
Amos.
Fair point i suppose Amos. Spoke to two Gonner associates of mine a couple of weeks ago and thier differing points of view seemed to exemplify the struggle of perspectives that is going on at the heart of Arsenal at the moment. One was becoming increasingly frustrated at the trophless situation and was questioning Wenger's approach: the other tended towards your point of view and argued that the club has been managed well during a time of massive transition, and that winning trophies during this time was never going to be practicable anyway given the situation. Stability has been maintained.
Tony Rocky Horror
Personally, i can see both sides of the argument, but i have to say that Wenger does need to start varying his tactics a little regardless of the financial situation. Yes, you could say he has done a great job keeping the club there or thereabouts without the resources he really needs, but you can't wriggle away from the fact that Arsenal might not have lost some of those crucial games if he had had a plan B_ and the bottom line is that it's Wenger who teaches the players to pass and pass again, regardless of how the game is evolving.
Tony Rocky Horror
The frustrating thing is that winning trophies during that time wasn't impracticable at all. In the 5 years since we last won anything we have competed in a CL final mounted 2 fair tilts at the title and made some SF appearances. What those frustrated with Wenger are claiming, with some justification for their argument it should be said, is that having been as close as we have, on the surface at least it should have been possible to do just a little more to have picked up at least one trophy in that time. At the same time it is also possible to see that that little bit more that some imagine could have been produced may just as easily had no impact at all. What is important is that we are in a position now to continue to compete strongly and that will surely bring its reward.
Amos.
I have to disagree with you there Delta. The fact is that you don't need more of these players at the standard you already have, you need more at the Viera, Henry standard. I accept that these are once in a lifetime players, but still.
Tony Rocky Horror
Lets be totally honest... we already have our summer signing sorted. Wenger doesn't really like to change things too much so Chamakh added to our existing squad will more than likely be it. We might sell a player or two but other than that, i cant really see much more changing... why would it???
lifeisagooner
TRH, sometimes you'll find those two opposite positions that you described (among gooners) within the same person, such as me! I find I'm at a bit of a crossroads re my belief that AW will ever deliver us a trophy again. I've begun to wonder if he's forgotten how to win. I think he's gotten poorer tactically (and he was never a tactical genius). His obsession with putting on subs in the 66th-67th minute in every game regardless of what that particular game actually needs has become frustrating in its mindless predictability. I feel that more and more opposition managers find him easy to figure out. Even the most mediocre are not as intimidated by him as they used to be. His abject failure to build a team with defensive discipline and cohesion is baffling for someone so intelligent and experienced in football. His refusal to recognize the need to develop young players alongside older veterans is just as baffling. You don't have to be a genius to recognize these concepts, they're basic. Season after season we all see the the defensive problems never get addressed. So frankly all this stuff about money and new players coming in really doesn't focus my attention all that much. It's WENGER himself that needs adjusting. So come August I'll be happy to see we have a brand new top class keeper, a strong CD pair at the back, a good stand-in for Song in midfield, etc. But what if in training and coaching, there's still the same lack of attention to set pieces, communication, defensive awareness and discipline? The rest, to me, is secondary.
jaelle
lifeisagooner, "why would it??? " -- we need serious moves for a keeper, that's why. We will never win a trophy if the keeper issue does not get addressed.
jaelle
Jaelle - great post & rings completely true. I'd even say his substitutions are slightly later than that these days (correct me if i'm wrong). And i'm still convinced we don't practice set pieces, under Wenger the only genuine specialist goal threat from Free Kicks is Van Persie, i most certainly wouldn't put Henry in that bracket but maybe Bergkamp. I've lost count of the amount of times people haven't know who's taking corners and the defending at them sometimes is beyond a joke.
shewore
If Wenger is easier to figure out tactically how have we managed to win more games this season than last? So far only once in the last 5 years have we won as many games. Take into account the worst season for injuries we have ever had and maybe his tactical ability is less questionable. Plus his overall win percentage stacks up pretty well against most current PL managers including SAF so if not a tactical genius he's not exactly a slouch either. As for practising set pieces you only need read Pires autobiography to know that we do that as a matter of course.
Amos.
Our mixed record at set pieces is in my opinion, not so much because of the quality of the delivery as the quality of aerial prowess in the box when the ball arrives. Getting a player like Chamakh to complement Bendtner and Vermaelen in the box should help next season.
Deltaforce
Sorry Amos, but you can find a set of statistics that will tell you anything you want to believe. I know that you're a rationalist, a quantitative statisitician, and that's fine_unitil the qualititatative evidence contradicts the numbers crunched. For this reason alone, i've always been suspicious of 'objecitve' data. In the end, stats can take tell you part of the story, but people will always reach their own conclusions on the basis of the how they 'feel' in relation to the things they want and their values. Might i therefore refer you back to Wenger's statement about winning trophies at Arsenal being an 'obligation', or something along those lines.
Tony Rocky Horror
Then there's our crossing - which is consistently woeful. Simple, basic things like crossing low toward short players; players working on their crossing ability, never seems to happen. Oh never mind. I'll just stop whining and continue to watch Lyon-Bayern.
jaelle
Not another 'stats don't tell the whole story' lecture! Why would anyone ever claim they do anymore than anyother single piece of information does? Why should you be any more suspsicious of objective data than you are of subjective data. The only thing you need to be suspicious of is the capacity to absorb, digest, rationalise and contextualise any piece of information you are provided with. If you aren't confident of your ability to do that then you may wasting your time engaging in a debate about it in the first place. Of course winning trophies at Arsenal is an obligation. The fact that it is, is a mark of expectation founded on our success and ability to challenge consistently.
Amos.
I'm sorry, could you clarify that? I just don't understand what you are talking about.
Tony Rocky Horror
I won't bother then :)
Amos.
Well, whatever then. Bye.
Tony Rocky Horror
Brilliant article Amos.
gronedrone
Out of your depth, then, TRH?
Naijagunner
Not out of my depth Naij, i just didn't comprehend what he was attempting to articulate. I think he was trying to say "so what, i don't care what you think, because i think you're stupid", and there's actually no response to that other than to say "bye then, because the other party has no interest in the debate: or to be more specific, debating with you. Fine.
Tony Rocky Horror
The internet is a democratic medium, where people are free to converse, and are at liberty to engage or disengage in anyway they see fit.
Tony Rocky Horror
If you, on the other hand, are interested in debating with yours truly, then your best bet would be to speak to my people.
Tony Rocky Horror
I'm a bit late on this, but I agree with Prof Calc' statements on how the Board handled press statements, esp Edelman and his horribly misleading '70M is available for spending' comments. It was only the fans who read the fine print who understood his comments in the right perspective. We all knew that it would take abt 3 seasons for the finances to stabilise, and it took longer due to the property crisis. At least now, the property business might yield a profit of 20M (even though the initial estimate was 100M, after the crisis atleast a loss was averted) and that money may be available to Wenger. If you notice, Wenger has been signing more of the finished articles over the past 2-3 seasons (Sagna, Eduardo, Arshavin) and that is a gradual trend due to greater financial freedom. And that trend is only set to improve. Perhaps, he can sign 2-3 more players and add to the squad size this summer.
prits
But I do agree with Jaelle who makes a good point about the state of affairs internally. The coaching set up, the medical team, the attention paid to simple things like crossing, defending set pieces etc need a lot of work. Lee Dixon makes a good point in his interview, that there are a lot of candidates who would love to take up a coaching stint (Keown, Winterburn, Dixon himself, Tony Adams etc). I still remember the fantastic work that Keown had put in 2006, during our CL run in, and I think this team needs another stint like that.
prits
Hahah Amos "If Wenger is easier to figure out tactically how have we managed to win more games this season than last? So far only once in the last 5 years have we won as many games." Could just throw that back at you and ask why he hasn't won any trophies in that same time, either doesn't really carry much water. He's never been one for tactical ingenuity but more reliance on players that he puts on the pitch to go out and do their stuff. Be interesting to see if you agree on that.
shewore
shewore, our not winning trophies in the last 5 years has more to do with our squad - its mental strength, depth and quality than tactics. How would you explain a supposedly tactically inept manager winning seven major trophies before the 2004 squad was dismantled?
Deltaforce
before i engage you in this answer can you provide me with where i said he was tactically inept? And your point pretty much backs up what i was saying about him letting players do their job on the pitch and not worry too much about changes midway through if required.
shewore
Dont really understand about how a point I made about the squad backs up a point you made about tactics shewore but whatever floats your boat.
Deltaforce
Nice one on avoiding my first question. Well you said it was about lack of mental strength, depth & quality rather than tactics - which is what Wenger relied on during our glory years (instead of just tactics), which is what i said in this comments section, pretty simple really.
shewore
Its not as simple as that shewore, genius though you are. We are the third best team in England currently with a squad which was decimated by injuries to its spine. That should tell you something - the remaining squad has pretty much performed as much as they could possibly have. The dissapointment is there because they came so close. In my assessment AW's management and tactics stretched the current squad as far as ANY manager could have stretched it. Now some additions are required. So no I dont buy your point about tactics.
Deltaforce
In game tactics, no way is Wenger up there with the best in the business. What he was the best in the business for a while though was producing the talent, and letting them doing it on the pitch, i really can't see how you can disagree too much with that. And i didn't mention anything about genius. I do wish you'd answer my question as to where anyone's said Wenger is tactically inept though?
shewore
Your question is about semantics shewore. You have repeatedly said how Wenger is not one for tactical ingenuity and I asked why you thought he was tactically inept. Besides all the manager's you consider to be "up there" in the tactical business have very deep and expensive squads which have cost hundreds of millions. Its their squad which allows them to make changes.

If you argue that Wenger should be making substitution changes earlier than the 67th minute it is a subjective opinion. And surely we can agree that there is more to tactics than substitutions in any case? Arsenal are one of the few teams which play to a system - a system which relies on each player doing a specific function. Its also a system where players who can multi task are valued. This allows us to play to a reasonable standard even when hit by injuries to key players. A team's structure, balance and style are all part of tactics. Making substitutions is but a minor part of tactics.
Deltaforce
Not semantics at all, I never said he was inept, just don't think he's a master tactician. Can't be bothered to carry this on as i don't know where you're going, especially when one post i talk about "in game tactics" and you say "substitutions are but a minor part of tactics" effin load of rubbish mate, suggest you watch a few games in our heyday when we were protecting a lead and threw on players who knew hot to keep the ball and reassess that statement.
shewore
The heyday you spoke off came 6-8 years ago under the same manager. The tactics didn't change much just the personnel who now come on as substitutes cant seem to keep the ball and protect a lead. True to form your analysis is quite superficial for someone who claims to have seen quite a few games. Lets agree to disagree.
Deltaforce
That's exactly it!! He hasn't changed tactics the quality of players have just got worse so he hasn't been able to fall back on anything else.... Just to clear this up, i'm saying he's not a master tactician.... you're saying he is?
shewore
He's got to have some mastery of tactics to have achieved what he has done - especially so with a side as young and inexperienced as he has employed over the last few seasons. It isn't his greatest strength but it certainly isn't a weakness either - he wouldn't have achieved as much as he has with the consistency he has if it were. Deltaforce has it right though - it's a superficial argument. Not really worth the effort to continue it.
Amos.
Don't join in then or respond as you have done above then Amos if you feel it's superficial, quite simple really.
shewore
You couldn't be more correct in your assertion shewore. I accept the argument that Wenger must have some tactical apptitude to have won the trophies he has (although he's very tellingly never managed to win the champions league for which a mastery of in play tactics is essential) If he is some genius strategist his teams certainly don't seem to be a reflection of his talent. Maybe somewhere along the line he concluded that tactics and strategy were irrelevent. A bit like Amos's attitude towards anyone who disagrees with him.
Tony Rocky Horror
I would say that the large number of goals we have scored in the last minutes of games this year an indication of Wenger's tactical abilities.
TPowell
I wouldn't, i'd say they were down to his preperation into his player's fitness levels & their "desire & character".
shewore
Well, when he starts subbing players in and changing their positions on the pitch, I would say that is implementing in-game tactics. Now not varying tactics before matches based on who we're playing is something he does not do.
TPowell
or does do, rather
TPowell
TRH - "If he is some genius strategist his teams certainly don't seem to be a reflection of his talent." The present team is the 3rd team under Wenger. This one hasn't yet lived up to its billing but the first two were definitely two of the better teams to have graced the EPL.
Deltaforce
Of well Delta, there's not much point in having the debate then? You're happy with his tactics.
Tony Rocky Horror
TRH, I'm fine with our tactics and happy with our overall strategy. Its the squad and some defensive nous which could do with some improvement. Its puzzling why you are seemingly perturbed about our tactics! A spurs fan should be happy about any failings that we have. Admit it now, you always have had a secret crush on the Arsenal.
Deltaforce
Hope Barcelona go out now. Disgraceful that the referee sent him of for that. Pedro is a diving cheat.
paul_ownz
I love passionate debate and ideas which is why i frequent the forum. A secret crush on Arsenal? No, i support the pride of North London, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.
Tony Rocky Horror
To borrow a phrase from fever pitch TRH, you could be married to Spurs but could be looking for some extra marital with Arsenal! paul_ownz yeah that was a harsh decision from the ref. Motta was already on a yellow though when he shoved pedro in the face. It could easily have been another yellow. Was not a straight red definitely.
Deltaforce
Correction: it was Busquets who went down theatrically and not Pedro.
Deltaforce
Barca have run out of ideas. They are done now methinks. Inter could even hit them on the break like they did against the Chavs...
True-Gooner-Blood
Inter are a nasty little side IMO. Yes they got the win, but Mourinho's team don't half leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Gooner_Vin
Inter are a nasty little side IMO. Yes they got the win, but Mourinho's team don't half leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Gooner_Vin
Both sides used plenty of gamesmanship. What I find frustrating is to see how referees keep ruining CL games, esp. big ones like semifinals and finals, with ridiculous bookings. In 2006 the whole football world was looking forward to the spectacle between 2 wonderful attacking sides-all ruined by the ref who sent our keeper off instead of just letting Giuly's goal to stand and giving Jens a yellow. Today's game could've been a good spectacle with Mourinho intending to attack to get an away goal--instead his team had to change the gameplan and defend for over an hour. Cris and Toulalan did not need to be sent off either. Still, I'm not surprised Inter are thru. I've felt all along that they'd make the final and that Mourinho would get his 2nd CL trophy.
jaelle
Mourinho gets the job done and his stock is rising. He does what he needs to do to get what he wants. Inter's game tonight may not have been pleasing to the eyes but, by God, they snuffed out Barca's threat in an unbelievable way. Arsenal didn't lose to the UCL Champs afterall. Talk about tactics and a coach who knows how to vary things with each match. Hmmmh.
Naijagunner
Inter would have played the same way if they had 11 men. Barcelona had no real chances apart from the Bojan and the disallowed Bojan chance. The goal they scored was offside. I just keep think if only Messi hadn't scored that wonder goal straight after Bendtner's goal, maybe just maybe we could've held on for the 90 minutes. And I can't understand why Barcelona in the last 20 minutes refused to take corners, Xavi just played the ball short to Messi and they went back to square one. And it was interesting to see Pique, a CB, played better up front than Ibrahimovic.
gronedrone
TRH is a cynic who hangs around the forum, waiting for any sniff of dissenting debate in the Arsenal fans' camp and chips in with sarcasm, in the name of debate. It is puzzling how other fans can come here to "shed crocodile tears" for Arsenal's tactics and performances, even though we know deep down, they are rubbing their hands with glee. Much like taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen for another man's migraine. Thanks, but no thanks! I will rather support Arsenal (a team with deep footballing philosophy, strong financials, competing every year and soon to dominate) than bother with some side(s), names withheld, who have spent silly money over the years, with little to show for it. Pooh!
Naijagunner
Sad, very very sad.
Tony Rocky Horror
Ok then Naij, lets actually debate a topic and let the members of the forum decide on an individual basis who's the cynic and who knows their stuff.
Tony Rocky Horror
Mourinho is an over rated (for lack of a better term) manager who has only succeeded by managing the wealthiest clubs in every country he has managed in. Chelsea, Porto and Inter all had resources far in excess of every other club in their league at the time he was there. Yes, I know money doesn't guarantee success and he does use his excellent tactical ability to help his vastly expensive teams win trophies, but afterwards there is no legacy, no youth product, nothing for the future but an aging team with no resale value. His teams are generally full of despicable characters who are in urgent need of a good kicking. His tenure at clubs is full of lies, deceit, gamesmanship, immorality. It gets trophies, that is true but it leaves nothing behind but a disgustingly bitter taste in the mouth.
LondonGooner
.....he is a disposable manager in a disposable "I want it now" world.
LondonGooner
Indeed LondonGooner. For that very reason I can't bring myself to call Jose Mourinho a 'great' manager unless and until he decides to spend a longer period of time at a club - let alone build something that outlasts him. He's got nothing in terms of legacy in that sense.
GoonerLou
Clutching at straws for me. He might not stay long term but he knows how to get the job done. Real Madrid are the richest team in the world but endless amounts of managers have gone and failed to win anything. With Porto 2 titles, 1 cup, 1 super cup, 1 uefa, 1 CL. With Chelsea 2 league titles, FA cup, 2 league cups. With Inter 1 title and possibly the treble. Not bad for 7 years work in 3 different leagues
paul_ownz
But he's also one of the very few managers out there who actually could win the CL. The fact is, if you picked up the phone tommorow and gave the man everything he wanted, you'd probably be closer to the sacred jug than at any other time previously. The question is, "is it worth it"? What's more important_glory or stability? The things that last that will be here tommorow, or the glory that feels intense in the instant, but fades in time? You only live once. Do you really care about all this legacy stuff that much anyway? On the other hand, trophies mean nothing if the club goes bankrupt chasing its fantasies of glory. Forest won the European Cup after all, but noone considers them a European super club do they? Of course you can say that you can have both, but is the evidence really supporting that assertion? Isn't that a bit of a cop out? It seems to be the case that Arsenal find themselves at a philosophical crossroads_and their dillemma is a profound and existential one.
Tony Rocky Horror
Blah blah blah. It really is very simple. Wenger is not the manager he once was.
Glenns Return
To quote Le-Grove today "The coach has exclusively revealed to the match day programme that he is talking to a number of players about joining before the world cup. Call me a cynic… but this all seems a little choreographed. I’ve been informed by numerous people that club level tickets are not selling as quickly as hoped. Arsenal are actually calling people who have freshly registered for season tickets, so that tells me that their call centre has worked a majority of the 4billion long waiting list. Just goes to show… a name on a list doesn’t mean anything. There have been countless occasions this season when I’ve had spare tickets. We get a fair few readers these days… and I couldn’t shift 4 half price Liverpool home tickets. Demand for the Emirates ain’t what it used to be. If Arsenal want to attract corporate money, they’ll have to act like a major football team." ----------------------- Is all this talking by Arsene just a ploy? As fran said ages ago..
Sajit
Sajit, with the greatest of respect, LG is not the most reliable of blogs when they say they have insider information. Most of the conclusions they draw from the "insider information" they claim to have are cynical or doom & gloom predictions. Besides, that blog is not pro anything. They are anti Arsenal board, virulently anti manager, anti youth policy, anti club ticket prices, anti club stewards etc etc. The only positive thing I have ever seen them do is in their match predictions! No matter who we are playing - Barcelona, United, Milan, Liverpool they will predict a 3 or 4-0 win for us! Am sorry but rational thought is a major casualty on that blog.
Deltaforce
Whilst it is true that the demand for the Emirates isn't what it was, to suggest that this comes as some sort of massive surprise to the club is foolhardy indeed and in keeping with the harebrained, moronic, simplistic thinking that populates every crevice of that blog. The club will have been well aware that the novelty factor would wear off soon enough and to suggest they are resorting to hyping up fevered transfer speculation in a blind panic is pretty daft. Club level renewals go out in early March, ours came through this week, so if they were looking to entice club level/ corporate renewers, they're timing would be obscure to say the least.
Little Dutch
must get benzema, BENZEMA AND ANOTHER DEFENSIVE MED, AND DONT FORGET TO ADD TWO QUILITY DEFENDER, AND GET A GOALI, ASTON VILLA NUMBER 2 THE AMERICAN HE'S BLOODY GUUD.
futbolar8
 

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