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Wenger, Arsenal and the problem of insisting on value for money
No-one likes over-paying for things. Getting a bargain always gives you a good feeling, but when everyone is saying one thing and you’re saying another, it may be time to consider an alternative viewpoint.
Historically, Arsene Wenger has been every club chairman’s ideal for a manager. Not only does he deliver trophies and a successful team on the field, he does it without the extravagant purchases so enamored by many other top exponents of the profession. The problem with that sentence however is the word ‘historically.’ Over the last few years, Arsenal trophy cabinet remains as empty as their ‘transfer war chest’ is full. The problem with a policy that has worked well in the past is that it may not do so in the present, and clinging to beliefs when reality is showing them to be bereft of results leaves people thinking that what was once a studied and successful approach to player acquisition is now just plain stubbornness.
Having an opinion of what a player is worth in the transfer market is all well and good, but the simple fact is that the only thing that decides the true worth of anything is what someone will pay for it. Put simply, anything thing else is just an opinion, and an invalid one at that. Of course, there will always be budgetary restraints on what any club can spend, but if the money is available, and repeated noises emanating of the Emirates indicate that this is the case, suggests that money availability is not a problem. It seems that once Wenger has a price fixed in his head, he will not go beyond it, as it does not represent good value for money. Now, that’s all fine and dandy, so long as you’re prepared to accept the consequences of the policy. The boos echoing around the Emirates on Saturday as Wenger walked, shoulders hunched, down the tunnel, indicate that the fans are not.
Sad to say for Wenger, being linked with high profile signings such as Rooney, Higuain and the on-going Suarez saga, simply does not cut the ice. Offering the £40 million plus £1 fee for Suarez was only ever going to be met with derision from Liverpool. If Wenger thinks that Suarez is what Arsenal need to get them back into a position where they are truly competitive for the major trophies, then he needs to get then deal done. It’s really that simple.
It would be a terrible shame if the abiding memory of Arsene Wenger is of a manager who stuck to his principles and Nero-esque, fiddled around in the transfer market whilst Rome burnt around him. Sometimes you have to pay the price required, as the alternative is the you pay the price for not doing so.
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