By: Tarik Demoura
As I write this article, Arsenal have gained a credible goalless draw with Champions Leicester City. Laurent Koscielny was back at the heart of the defense alongside Rob Holding, who was looking more assured and had a solid game. With Summer Signing Granit Xhaka also gaining his first start to a game and looking a player that can improve the Gunners bite in midfield. These were positives to take from this performance.
However some of the same issues are there for all to see. The enigma that is Theo Walcott continues to frustrate in my opinion. In the twelve years he has been at Arsenal he has never fully realized his potential and at 27 should be at his prime. The time has come to accept that he will never be a top class player and the time for him to move on has come. On the other wing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shows great pace, power and direct running, but he still lacks the composure in the final third and this is a make or break season for him if he can stay fit. Add to this the decision to play Alexis Sanchez through the middle means you take away from his game and so far he has been poor. The lack of a real presence up front when Olivier Giroud is missing is still a real issue as teams will let Arsenal have the ball in wide areas as was the case with the Leicester City Match.
Clearly this can be shown when Nacho Monreal from down the left got into crossing positions on so many occasions, but when you look in the box, there are no targets to hit. And its not just about having height, it is also the lack of a real natural goal scorer. One whose movement and natural instinct is to get into goal scoring positions and have a real appetite to score goals. That, more than anything is what is missing. A greedy arrogant striker, an “Ian Wright” type of striker. One who play’s on the shoulder of defenders and who’s only job is to score goals.
Arsenal have some very talented and technically gifted players and Giroud in my opinion, is an underrated player. When fit, Danny Welbeck is also one of our best forwards but not a natural striker. What the squad needs to add is a real goal scorer. If Arsenal can also add an experienced defender, a striker, and most importantly avoid the injury’s that have plagued the club for the past five seasons; then the Gunners will have a real chance to challenge this season. What frustrates the Arsenal fans that I speak to the most, is that these are not new issues and season after season the club has fail to bring in the players to take the team to the next level. And with the arrival of three top class managers at the Manchester clubs and Chelsea who are wasting no time getting there squads in order and paying huge fees to get the players they need. It seems Arsenal are being left behind and not willing to do what it takes to compete despite having huge match day revenues and cash reserves to do so.
The feeling is that making money is more of a priority than success on the pitch and with the highest ticket prices in Europe, its easy to make that assumption. The supporters and pundits alike find it hard to understand why Arsenal are so ill prepared for the season. And why other clubs can get there transfer business done while the Gunners hesitate and are not prepared to pay the fees that are required. Case in point being The Mustafi deal, as I understand it could have been done for £30 million two weeks ago. Alexandre Lacazette would be an Arsenal player for £45 million and that alone is the only reason for the delay. As Bids of £29 million for the Lyon Striker and £25.9 million for Valencia’s German centre back are what Arsenal are only willing to pay.
While I agree these are high prices. The market dictates that Pogba is worth £89 million and John Stones is £47.5 million, so if you want to get the player in you have to pay the price. It’s there for all to see and the biggest concern is a repeat of last summer when no outfield player(s) came in. Overall whatever happens before the close of the transfer window, its plain to see that that the Wenger Era is coming to a end and while that is the case the club cannot move forward. While you cannot ignore what Arsene Wenger has done for the club, but you also cannot ignore the fact that two FA Cups in 12 years is not the record of a top class manager.
What has been achieved is Arsenal have become a top class business making as much if not more than most clubs in Europe and one of the most expensive to watch. And while we have owners and shareholders who see profit as a priority over success on the pitch and have no real affinity with the club or fans is the major issue at Arsenal. In my opinion, the only stake holder to recognize this is Alisher Usmanov. If he had the ability to gain full control of the club and finally starts to heavily invest in the club as he states then, this is crucial to the future of the Arsenal football club.
Written By: Tarik Demoura, follow him on Twitter; @
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