Ideological struggles have pockmarked Arsene Wenger's time in charge at Arsenal in recent seasons. He stood by the beautiful football that was winning him fans but few trophies, and while those around him implored him to spend his club's plentiful resources he sat on his hands and refuged to join in the great Premier League spending spree, praying that Financial Fair Play would come to his rescue.
On that point, he has been fully vindicated. The likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have been pinned back - the latter by a hefty fine and transfer limitations and the former by selling players to finance deals for others.
Having kept their powder dry, clung on in there for 4th place finishes and Champions League football while raking in the cash in recent seasons while fans pulled their hair out, it seems as though the wily old boss is having the last laugh.
He's already got Mesut Ozil signed up, and now he's been joined by Alexis Sanchez, one of the stars of the World Cup and a truly world class performer. In years gone by this deal would have been merely a pipe dream for the Arsenal faithful, but they're now dining from the top table in the transfer market.
So it was with a heavy heart to read this morning that Arsenal's move for Sami Khedira had stalled over his wage demands. A bid has reportedly been accepted by Real Madrid from Arsenal and all that's left to discuss are personal terms.
The German, who has won the Champions League and the World Cup within the space of a few months, is said to want £150,000-per-week in order to sign on the dotted line - £20,000 more than the club's current top earners.
A princely sum, sure, but put it this way; you'd only get Wayne Rooney to turn up from Monday til Wednesday for that figure.
Same old story
“The hard line for Arsenal is that, if Arsene Wenger wants Khedira, it’s time for him to move his salary structure. At that stage Khedira will join Arsenal," said Spanish football expert Graham Hunter this morning, and that seems to strike at the heart of the issue.
Wenger has done well to shift his mentality from being frugal to relatively free-spending, but clinging on to the old wage structure just doesn't make sense when he's targeting some of the world's best players.
Let go, Arsene
This feels as though Wenger is desperately clinging on to his old ways which he has to let go if he wants to drive the club forward and win another Premier League title. This is 4th placed Wenger competing with the Wenger that desperately wants to win.
Whether Khedira is the right man to target or indeed the right man for the job is an argument for another day; if it isn't Khedira then it will be another player who comes along and asks for big money. If Cristiano Ronaldo rocks up in north London asking for £350,000-per-week is he going to be turned down?
Wenger has done a brilliant job of setting up Arsenal for the future, but now is the time to loosen up, and seize the moment he has helped create.
Otherwise there is a team in Blue across London who would have no problem forking out that sort of cash for a player of Khedira's quality. In modern football, that's the price you pay if you want genuine success and silverware on a regular basis.
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