Removing the dead wood at Arsenal is something that basically every supporter has been calling for since about March of this year. I’ve talked to several of you on twitter and the list is long and varied as to who should be shipped out, but the general consensus is that we want most everyone gone. Denilson and Bendtner I think will both be on their way, and I don’t think anyone will be saddened if Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Vela, Arshavin, Almunia, and Squillaci follow them. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out fellas. Some people would add Clichy to that list as well, but I’ve always been a bit of a Clichy fan so it’s hard for me to put him on there, although if he and Nasri don’t sign new deals then they will be gone too.
Now that we’ve got the list together of who to ship out, let’s analyze the problem a little bit more. I think if you look at that list of players that aren’t up to scratch, it shows a problem with Arsene’s transfer dealings as a whole over the past couple of years. All of those signings, with the exception of Almunia, have been in the past 4 years. Wenger expected them to develop and build the foundation of a squad that would compete for the top honors in football, and it never materialized. Is it a case of poor scouting, poor transfer decisions, or just poor coaching? Sure, they have all had moments of greatness, Vela in the Carling Cup, Arshavin’s 4 goals at Anfield, etc…but the problem has been that none of them can be consistent enough to hold down a regular place in the team, much less compete for trophies.
The Invincibles, in my mind, was the culmination of Arsene Wenger’s first “project” at Arsenal. He had brought in the players, molded them into a team, coached them up, and reaped the rewards. He had taken players with a lot of talent and supplemented that with a lot of experience. For every young stud like Henry when he first arrived and Anelka, we had a Bergkamp and a Tony Adams. The problem with the current squad is there has never been that balance between youthful talent and energy to go with experienced players who have been through the wars. He sold off Vieira, Henry, Campbell, Lauren, and Gilberto, to replace them with the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, and Eboue. When you look at it like that, this plan was destined for failure from the very start.
Arsene is coming to the close of his career, and much like most of the current squad, I believe his talents are waning. He has not shown the foresight and knowledge of the transfer market that we all assumed he had. We thought the genius would eventually show through and that his master plan would somehow come to fruition. It hasn’t, and it’s time for an overhaul. If Arsene Wenger is unwilling to change his ideas on how to put a team together, then it will require someone else making that change. He’s been a brilliant manager for us over the years but being stubborn year after year is absolutely mental. He’s so stuck on his ideas being correct that he is unwilling to branch out and accept that this time he might have been wrong.