Arsenal: Arteta? Benayoun? Wenger Has Got It Wrong Again

The signings of Park Chu-Young, Petr Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Gervinho have the hallmarks of Arsene Wenger written on them. And that’s not a good sign….
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The signings of Park Chu-Young, Petr Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Gervinho have the hallmarks of Arsene Wenger written on them. And that’s not a good sign….

The signings of Park Chu-Young, Yossi Benayoun, Mikel Arteta, Petr Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Gervinho have the hallmarks of Arsene Wenger written on them. And that’s not a good sign….

While the footballing world tries to work out a) who they are and b) what the hell they are doing at Arsenal Football Club I can tell you confidently that these players will end up as failures – a complete waste of time, effort and most importantly money. The fans’ hard earned, foolishly parted with money.

Trying to calculate the total layout is difficult as the club insists on not disclosing fees but the quoted sums (£3m for the Korean, £6m for the German, £1m for the Costa Rican, £2m for the Charlton reserve, loan for the Liverpool AND Chelsea reject and £10m for a tramp's version of Fabregas) while appearing to be trifles, all add up. Their wages too will add up and we’ll have those wages eating up our funds for the next few years of their contracts while we flounder about outside of the top four. Do four average players really equal one Ashley Young? The answer is, simply, no.

Let’s not beat around the bush, alongside the multi-million pound summer acquisitions of mega-rich Premiership clubs – Aguero, Mata, Henderson et al – the Arsenal signings appear to be a kind of desperate attempt to salvage a once proud managerial reputation from the jaws of humiliation.

Rather than desperately trying to avert further short term embarrassment the club needs to be looking to the future. A future beyond Arsene Wenger, Pat Rice, Boro Primorac and Dick Law.

The Arsenal signings appear to be a kind of desperate attempt to salvage a once proud managerial reputation from the jaws of humiliation.

It’s not just poor signings that have led to the drastic downfall at Arsenal, it’s the entire psychology that surrounds the team.

As Robin Van Persie paused before his run up to take the penalty against United, Arsenal fans knew instinctively he didn’t have it in him. As good as the Dutch international is, something has always been missing from his game: Bloody minded confidence and a winning mentality. Van Persie, for all his talent, represents what Cesc Fabregas, Alex Hleb, Eduardo, Emmanuel Eboue and the rest of the post-Invincibles Wenger sides have stood for: failure. An inability to finish a game, take a chance and win a trophy. I don’t blame the players for this I blame the manager.

At United the confidence simply oozes out of the squad from the training ground to the dressing room to the tunnel to the pitch to the post match press conference. They are full of it. Swagger untold, emanating from Alex Ferguson; the mentality of the team important above all.

In the aftermath of Van Persie’s meekly cuffed penalty, the United players ran to De Gea and lauded and embraced him for what was frankly an easy save. Van Persie meanwhile – the new Arsenal captain – was left to scream in anguish while his Arsenal team simply turned their backs in resignation. Not a consolation or gee up in sight. Individuals, not a team.

After every United game, win or lose, the players are told, even forced, to go and applaud their fans. On Sunday the Arsenal players –Tomas Rosicky chief amongst them – ran off as soon as the final whistle went – not a shred of respect for the Arsenal fans who pay their wages and had travelled up to see their team get mauled. Wenger has never taught his players to respect the fans – this is a major flaw.

Football is about camaraderie, confidence, team spirit and psychological toughness. The “unbelievable mental strength” so often quoted by Wenger is a myth.

Arsenal need to start looking towards the future and to managers who can instil confidence and a winning mentality. The majority of Arsenal fans you speak to agree the right manager would be Jose Mourinho. There are many reasons why that appointment will never be made. Chiefly because there is no David Dein on the board to make such miracles happen. The powerlessness of the modern Arsenal fan is embodied in the fact that Dein after decades of service was forced from the club and, despite grumbles under our breath, we the fans do nothing publicly to protest at such a wrongdoing. We are now suffering for it while Wenger wields power absolute.

Arsenal need to start looking towards the future and to managers who can instil confidence and a winning mentality.

For me, the right man to change the ethos of Arsenal Football Club is David Moyes – a manager with a track record of identifying quality players and motivating those players to achieve feats far beyond the resources and budget Everton have at their disposal. A man who will scream at players, will speak the honest truth and will ensure that any man who pulls on the Arsenal shirt will give 90 mins of unadulterated blood, sweat and tears.

Arsene Wenger is not that man. Tony Adams recently said he used to laugh at Wenger’s attempts to motivate the team. You can understand what he meant but, frankly, the joke isn’t funny anymore.

And yet, whoever we want to see take the reins once Wenger’s once magnificent reign is over, is merely pointless conjecture. Le Professeur has already decided who will replace him and has informed the board to appoint his chum Dragan Stojkovic from Nagoya Grampus Eight as his replacement in the event of his departure.

We are looking at complete power in the hands of one man. No manager should ever be more powerful than his employers or beyond their criticism. At Arsenal the money men kowtow to the football man and now that the football man has lost the plot the whole thing is unravelling before our eyes.

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