Had Arsenal’s PR people dealt with January’s transfer window in an intelligent way, then the club wouldn’t currently be a victim of its own ineptitude.
Allow me to explain.
You don’t go into a poker game with your cards facing your opponents, but that’s exactly what Arsenal have managed to do.
Instead of the club declaring they were victims of FFP and that they would look to reinforce the squad, once Emery had made an assessment at the end of his first season in charge, they left it to him to clumsily admit that there was no money available for the transfer window.
Perhaps, it was felt that the well mannered Spaniard would create an air of sympathy and understanding, which prevented him being dragged out of the building and set upon.
There just doesn’t seem to be a general plan at the Emirates or a cohesive strategy going forward, it’s all a bit ‘make it up as you go along’ ploy and as a result, Arsenal have started to be viewed as fallen giants that have become a bit of a joke.
The expensive loan deal of Dennis Suarez was a complete fiasco, Emery apparently wanted him even if he wasn’t fit, which he wasn’t.
Embarrassing, is putting it mildly and before the season was even over, it got worse when The Mirror’s John Cross, stated that the club only had around £40m available to spend in the summer. We don’t know how he arrived at that figure or if it’s true, but most fans will freely admit that it doesn’t sound like a realistic sum for the size of the rebuilding project.
Let’s just say that Cross is right for a moment and they only have enough money to buy Lionel Messi’s shin and elbow.
The hierarchy will have failed the club on massively by not stepping up to the plate in January. If they had managed the situation back then, Emery wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of a second sabotaged transfer window. One in which sees the coach backed into the corner on every deal, as other clubs look to squeeze the maximum amount from the miserly north London outfit.
The likes of Celtic would probably have already sold Kieran Tierney for £18m by now, had they not been in such a strong bargaining position. Celtic’s Neil Lennon will hold on for a deal that approaches £25m including a series of add on’s, because he realises, Arsenal are desperate to secure the player in this summer transfer window.
It’s a case of who blinks first, but ultimately Arsenal may have to look elsewhere for younger and cheaper options.
Meanwhile, Neil Lennon is under the illusion that Celtic are a big club and deserve a massive fee, but the youngster has no pedigree in the premiership and a fee exceeding what Arsenal have already offered (£15m) seems almost farcical.
Lennon wouldn’t perhaps be so unrealistic if he managed in the Premier League. He is slightly deluded in his opinion, but bear in mind you could probably go to any shopping centre, pick the first person you see, appoint them Celtic manager and still win the treble.
It’s early days of course but fans are getting twitchy, not least that Emery’s priorities seem to be in attack or midfield rather than in defence.
There is so much speculation at present, that you need thigh length waders to get through it all. Every day sees more names added to the list of potential targets and if they all arrived, Kroenke and Co will have forked out around £190m in the transfer window.
That’s not going to happen.
William Saliba, Lucas Vazquez, Kieran Tierney, Nabil Fakir, Jarrod Bowen, Dani Ceballos, Hakim Ziyech and Yacine Brahimi are still heavily linked with Arsenal and now, there’s a new name to add to that list.
Reports of a £40m bid being tabled by Arsenal for Crystal Palace winger, Wilfred Zaha, seem like the ramblings of an excitable lunatic, because the price could rise even higher to £80/ £100m. This is basically because Steve Parrish is hoping to tempt suitors to make an offer for the Londoners and the club will seem less attractive as an investment without Wan-Bissaka and Zaha.
Any Zaha deal will apparently be structured over a five year period, now known in the press as an ‘Argos deal’ and which may include a player going in the other direction. The main problem appears to be the fact that he signed a four year extension only last season which with the benefit of hindsight was simply daft.
Arsenal need to sharpen up their act and stop confessing their short falls. In the days of Chairman Peter Hill-Wood, you’d be lucky to find out what he had for breakfast, let alone what amount of money Arsenal had to spend. He would have made an excellent poker player and Vinai Venkatesham and Raúl Sanllehi, would be leaving a hypothetical gambling venue minus their cash, their cars and possibly their shirts.
As frustrating as it was when former manager, Arsene Wenger refused to discuss transfer targets or money, we were blissfully ignorant and our expectations were managed successfully to some extent.
This ‘shout it from the roof tops’ strategy is extremely questionable and at least, when Edu finally reports for duty, there will be someone in post that can bring cohesion to the transfer process.