In a recent interview, Santi Cazorla voiced his frustrations with a lack of championship drive, stating "We haven't got a winning mentality and we have to believe in ourselves… Sometimes you can get used to not fighting but we can't do that. Arsenal is and always will be a historic club."
And a historic club it is indeed. Arsenal has built its culture around the idea of playing football "the right way", which is motto that few other clubs abide to consistently. Arsenal are respected through its foundation, its values, and its history of championship glory. Arguably its biggest feat, the club has built its success by developing youngsters, and not from spending millions on several proven players.
Arsenal has never been a big-spending team. The Gunners have always fought strategically and nobly, and turning young footballers into stars has been a giant part of the philosophy.
There, however, is where the glaring concern lies: Why are Arsenal always the producer, and rarely the customer?
Arsenal are a club that values its traditions, and they have usually payed off throughout its history. In recent years, however, the Premier League's other top dogs have been hijacked by multi-billionaire owners, and a lack of spending on quality players has furthered Arsenal away from its winning culture.
The most recent signing in Mesut Ozil, who cost £42 million, was a definite step in the right direction. However, as we can all see, one big signing does not equal immediate success, and as in Ozil's case this season, there is a risk that comes with investing in one individual expecting to change a club's winning outlook.
The primary problem seems to be that Arsenal are always a step behind. For the better part of the last eight years, Arsenal have consistently appeared to be contenders until around March, when they suddenly look weak and vulnerable while the other contending teams begin to feast on just about anything. Sure, the blame can be put on the players. They are the ones who are out there performing. In reality, Arsenal simply does not have the depth that many of the other contenders have.
With all due respect to Olivier Giroud, the fact that he was not replaced in the latest transfer window really sends a clear message to Arsenal fans: the club is not willing to spend, or at least not spend very much. Ownership continuing with Giroud heading the attack proves that they are not nearly as aggressive about winning as fans want them to be. If Arsenal really was, he would not be the starting center forward right now. Plain and simple.
If Arsenal were to combine a stellar youth development program with the leniency to spend like other big clubs, there is absolutely no doubt that they would be a legitimate threat to win the league every year. There must be a refined balance between "playing the right way" and investing in quality players, and if that balance is made, success will follow.
More than anything, the club simply needs a change in direction and a kickstart towards a more exciting future that once again includes winning and glory. As much as it may defy the Arsenal tradition, spending wisely on top players, and more than just one at a time, will instantly contribute towards making title dreams a reality. Respect, loyalty, and tradition can still be retained. In fact, they have already been imprinted into Arsenal's roots, and it would take a mighty force to remove the positive qualities that the gunners have exhibited throughout the last several years.
But now, there can be no more moral victories. Arsenal need a trophy. Not the FA Cup trophy, as refreshing as that may be to see, but the Premier League trophy. Or the Champions League trophy. They are the ones that really matter. If Arsenal truly wants to win, they need some new faces. Faces that will contribute heavily to the roster every week of the season.
Just by showing more commitment, vital current players such as Santi Cazorla will be convinced that winning is part of the future. And that is a victory in itself on many levels.
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