Football

Arsene Wenger needs to stop making excuses

Wenger's excuses are fast running out (©GettyImages)
Wenger's excuses are fast running out (©GettyImages).

It's getting really tiresome now, isn't it? Not just the usual fluff that comes out of Arsene Wenger's mouth but also the endless articles that criticise Arsenal and their manager. Unfortunately, it looks like both are set to continue.

In his pre-match interview, the Frenchman admitted that the transfer market was a worry for him, citing the rise of big-spending PSG and Monaco as a major hindrance.

Indeed, despite his previous promises that he will bring in players this summer, it looked as if he was bracing Arsenal fans for his age old excuse that there is no quality out there.

Low and behold, he said the following in his post-match interview: "If we do not spend money it's because we don't find the players. I'm not the only one to work on that, we are a team who works on that and we are ready to buy the players if we find that the players are good enough for us.”

In his defence, the Arsenal manager has, for once, been ambitious in the transfer market. Trying to sign the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez was a real statement of intent as were the figures being banded around.

In many ways, Wenger was too ambitious, certainly in his attempts to bring Suarez in from a direct competitor for Champions League football. It was always a next to impossible deal and today he finally gave up hope of signing the Uruguayan after Liverpool refused to sell at any price.

This, of course, leaves Arsenal without any notable transfer targets, especially since another target, Luiz Gustavo, was snapped up by Wolfsburg, and, although it may cause understandable unrest around the Emirates, it looks like no big money deals will be done this summer and thus the status quo will be restored.

Having tried and failed to bring in world-class players, expect Wenger to return to his tried and, ahem, tested method of bringing in talented youngsters.

He has already signed one in the shape of Yaga Sanogo but more will surely follow. It's what he knows, what he's used to. It's almost as if he doesn't know how to complete the big deals.

Both Gustavo and Higuian looked certain to sign but they slipped away at the last minute, their hearts seemingly set on going elsewhere. Many put this down to the fact David Dein is no longer at the club – he was, after all, their transfer dealer, their deal-clincher – and it is clear they have struggled without him. Why haven't the club brought in someone to replace him?

Many Arsenal fans are quick to blame Wenger for their transfer market failure, suspicious of a man so clearly obsessed with turning youngsters into stars rather than buying ready-made players.

They don't believe him when he says he will bring in big-money players because he never has, so why would they expect him to deliver now? The fact he has gone after the big-money players this summer and failed only reinforces their views.

However, the blame should be more evenly spread. Wenger refers to his 'team' that works on transfers and they too should be held accountable. If his scouts can't find players of sufficient quality to improve on what is a very average Arsenal side then they should be sacked. There are many players out there who would improve his team.

Wenger often claims that he will only buy players who will improve on what he has. In his mind, why buy another central midfielder if he's not better than Jack Wilshere? But that's not the point. A squad needs depth.

What is more, how can you fail to improve the defensive midfield area of the team, when he doesn't have one? Any defensive midfielder would improve the team, Arsene.

Luiz Gustavo would have been ideal but there are other good ones out there. It baffles me that he did not try to sign Etienne Capoue, Kevin Strootman or Victor Wanyama but the list of defensive midfielders who are worthy of Arsenal doesn't end there: Maraoune Fellaini prefers to play in that position and would give the midfield the physicality it deserves, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Nemanja Matic, Maxime Gonalons, they would all be available at a reasonable price.

It is not just limited to defensive midfield either. The wing positions need reinforcing following the long overdue departures of Arshavin and Gervinho.

Both Podolski and Cazorla can play there while Walcott is often used as a winger, despite his preference to play as a striker, but it really only leaves Oxlade-Chamberlain as a recognized winger. Who to bring in then?

Well, my vote goes to Willian of Anzhi. The Russian club are willing to sell for somewhere around £25 million and in this market it represents good business. The Brazilian is fast, creative, skillful and would fit in seamlessly with Arsenal's style of play.

He is desperate to come to the Premier League to increase his chances of representing his country at next summer's World Cup, and although Liverpool are favourites, Champions League football and London are hard to turn down (unless you're Luiz Gustavo).

Yesterday's 3-1 home defeat to a team which will surely be fighting to avoid relegation this year has once again brought up questions about Arsenal's defence. Yes, they somehow had the second best defence in the league last year but it seemed to be more down to luck than organisation and quality.

Again, there are players who are available who would improve on what he already has. Sakho of PSG is on the market and would be an improvement on the vulnerable Mertesacker and the rash Koscielny.

Vermaelen too had a poor season last year, while Szczesny looks set to follow what has now become a long line of sub-par goalkeepers with yet another error-strewn display. Rene Adler, Ron Robert Zieler, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – Germany has an embarrassingly large number of top class goalkeepers, all of whom play at relatively unfashionable clubs, all of whom could be bought.

Add the likes of the experienced Julio Cesar and the talented Stephane Ruffier and you must question Wenger's comments that there is no one out there who could improve his threadbare and, frankly, poor squad.

Wenger needs to stop making non-sensical excuses and act. Yes, on paper, his team should have beaten Aston Villa but much bigger tests await and with all his rivals improving, he faces a near impossible task of qualifying for next year's Champions League if he doesn't make major improvements to his squad.

Not only do Tottenham now have a superior squad but Liverpool too arguably have a stronger first eleven than Arsenal. It does not bode well and yesterday's embarrassing defeat just proved that.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Luis Suarez
Football
Aston Villa

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