It’s been a tough week for the Arsenal - it’s hard to remember the last time talking about it wasn’t.
Now please don’t get me wrong, through all the trials and tribulations, I have steadfastly remained a faithful Gooner and have entered many a pointless quarrel to prove so.
Like many other Arsenal fans, Saturday’s game left me feeling so indifferent and frankly tired. All the enthusiasm built up over three months of football-less weekends suddenly zapped out of me.
Of course, over 48 hours the dramatic feelings of agony and loss have predictably faded. Today the feeling is more sombre, more reflective.
Despite the lack of transfer activity I still sensed an underlying positive feeling around the club, yes admittedly there was a detectable tension as well, but that’s to be expected at the start of a season.
Perhaps there was some naivety on my part, but who really expected things to go as badly as they did?
It wasn’t just the mere fact of losing three points - it was at home, we had three injuries and a suspension to top it all off. The most potentially damaging aspect, however, didn’t even happen on the pitch.
It was the loss off that little positivity that was keeping things together. I will avoid the apocalyptic 'all is lost' crisis ramblings. Obviously it’s not there just yet, it’s only matchday one, the suspension will lapse and the injuries will heal - eventually.
And two potentially productive weeks remain in the transfer window. When you look at it that way you start wondering what the fuss is about, then you remember the universally acknowledged threadbare state of the current Arsenal squad and the equally well-raised concerns about the quality of the same squad, you start to see a picture of what is going on.
Basically the biggest issue here is not necessarily with the result (painful as it is), we could have signed every player we have been linked to and who knows, things could have still worked out a certain way.
The result really just exasperated already existing frustrations amongst Arsenal fans. Taking a look around popular Arsenal forums and Twitter seems to confirm that, although admittedly not the best places to look for sanity and intelligible opinions, but barring an outing with a pen and pad it will do.
Frustrations about what exactly, you may ask? The most commonly used phrase to answer that is the lack of expenditure/spending. A dubious phrase implies that all the problems will be fixed by simply throwing money at them, I mean there’s a chance even that might not work - who knows?
Of course it’s obvious the best players come at a premium but that has it obvious drawbacks and there’s no guarantee of desired results (a certain blonde haired Spaniard comes to mind).
A lot of our best players in recent history have been acquired at reasonable fees - think Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski - good, quality well-seasoned pros who were signed in their prime.
I don’t think it has to be a Edinson Cavani or a Radamel Falcao, but how we could use another Cazorla, a proven and experienced talent who’s good to go. Are they out there? I don’t know but I sincerely hope someone at Arsenal is losing sleep looking.
Historically I don’t believe Arsenal have ever been one of the extravagant clubs, even at the best of times. I grew to love with the idea of a club that’s financially responsible but still capable of producing a high quality of football and competing at a top level and felt a sense of pride that mine was the club chasing these ideals.
I believed that was the ultimate goal at Arsenal and believed that after all the suffering, when the time came thoughts would turn to building a team capable of doing such. My understanding of such a time being this season; off the back of a strong finish to the season, with no contract drama, no big-name losses and the apparent loss of financial restrictions, the conditions seemed perfect to start.
Whilst of course being realistic, Rome was never going to be built in a day but I was expecting to see some foundations, maybe a few walls being put up, signs of serious intent manifested in a squad of true depth and quality (said with no disrespect to the current players).
This is where the frustration stems from. It’s the thought of this eventual progression that has kept the many trophy-starved Gooners fed over the years - that’s causing our frustration. At this stage the thought of spending yet another season scraping with Spurs for fourth place is just simply not enough anymore and there’s no real excuse why that should be the case.
Now comes the question, what is going to happen now? The answer - well obviously something!
Yes, something has to happen, looking at how things panned out on Saturday, it’s really hard to see us getting far as it is.
Everything that could have gone wrong did exactly that, leaving us embarrassingly exposed yet again! The gaffer himself said we are lacking in numbers before a ball had even been kicked. So presumably the powers that be were well aware of the need for signings already?
Now one game in and left painfully exposed its threatening to throw us into a full blown crisis. Given the prior existence of the awareness of the lack of depth in the squad and already existing questions about the quality within it, the decision not to do anything is truly baffling.
This brings questionability to whether they will do something now. If it was a case of looking for the right deal, showing up to the negotiation table with the scent of desperation and a hint of crisis lingering around definitely won’t make that pursuit any easier.
Also consider the quality of players that might end up being signed, thus far we have been linked to top players like Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez - players that would hopefully propel us to the top and put us back in the elite.
This further encouraged the then growing opinion that the progression I mentioned earlier was finally here. Signing a few of such players would go a long way towards dispelling the small dark clouds starting to hang over the Emirates, although ultimately nothing will be truly forgiven until real tangible success is achieved.
Abig fear of mine is that if signings are made at this stage they might not even match up with the supposed ambitions of the club. Picture if you will, after everything we end up with a Ciprian Marica (whoever that is) and Mathieu Flamini - tragic.
Ultimately it’s difficult to reason or even guess what is coming next at Arsenal. These next two weeks could be paramount not just for this season ahead but many seasons to follow. I think at the end of the day everyone wants to see Arsenal succeed, and I cannot imagine that Ivan Gazidis and Co. would allow all their hard work and investment to come to nothing.
Arsenal's success is their success and the same goes with failure. Falling out of the top four would be the ultimate failure and there would be big questions regarding whether the project would be sustainable without the lucrative Champions League revenues - including the sponsorships and endorsements that come with it.
Since one can never be sure of anything in this world, I would say I am 95% positive that suitable action will be taken sooner rather than later, and I will all be waiting anxiously for it.
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