Saturday 6 July 2013

Will ‘big’ signings even make a difference?

So the Arsenal purse strings are supposed to have been loosened and the money is set to flow.

Judging by the way the long-expected Higuain deal has panned out, there probably won’t be any evidence of that until the clock strikes midnight at the close of transfer window.

But let’s assume Arsene does actually splash the cash a bit more freely. My fear is that the tiki-taka-lite style we deploy and the attitude among the squad means no matter who we sign we still won’t challenge for the title.

I should rewind slightly and – on the off chance that this is the only blog that survives the end of the world – offer a bit of context since my last post following the Sunderland game in February. My hope then was that a team spirit could be forged which would propel us on to better times. It didn’t really turn out that way. As much as you could admire the way the team didn’t crumble after defeats to Blackburn, Bayern Munich and Sperz – not to mention another immensely satisfying last day win to deny our nearest and dearest neighbours a Champions League place – when you look back on the run-in there was little to draw inspiration from.

The clean sheets gained and home draws against the likes of Man U and Everton did not reflect a new-found resilience but were the result of giving up what attacking flair the team did possess for some pretty stodgy defending that got the job done.

It is too hopeful to think the end to the campaign offered a platform for greater things this coming season, just like a couple year back when Arsene lauded our unbeaten run and chose to ignore the fact that most of the results were draws not wins.

And it’s that aspect of history repeating, despite the pledges of Gazidis that money will be spent, which is most dispiriting. We have been ready to wipe the slate clean and start afresh at the end of almost every season since the move from Highbury. But while Arsene has changed the characters pretty often, the script has remained the same – a lightweight team, playing too often at a meandering (aimless?) pace, not possessing the ‘belly fire’ or nous to beat title rivals.

The one crumb of comfort I have is the 2007/08 season when we suffered no major departures in the close season and a stable, decent team was augmented by a ‘fox in the box’ striker (assuming Higuain plays the role of Eduardo) and went on to play like champions for six months. No, it wasn’t a full season but I’d settle for six months right now.

So perhaps I am being a bit too Stewart Robson and Arsene can make this style and system work and things will change now he has a bigger wallet – to answer my question in the blog title, maybe a ‘big’ signing(s) could make a difference.

But can you imagine a Wenger Arsenal side, even with Higuain and perhaps another stellar new name, once more going to Man U, Man City or Chelsea with a genuine expectation (not hope) of winning? I can’t and that’s why, sadly, the one transfer I was getting genuinely excited about was seeing Arsene replaced. I’d like to see us take a different approach to solving the same familiar problems and acknowledge that playing with more power and pace does not immediately make you a worshipper at Fat Sam’s anti-football alter.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with the sentiment of your post, however there was a major departure before 07/08 - Thierry Henry. As major as they get but it seemed to do the team good for a while. Neil


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