A few weeks ago, Arsenal fans were pulling their hair out in frustration as a result of one of the most dismal transfer windows in recent memory. We had scraped 4th place at the end of the season and with only a few weeks left before the transfer window closed, there was an ever-growing fear that no money would be invested in to new players.
Safe to say then, that when the news broke that Arsène was in the process of being offered a new contract, the anger amongst Arsenal fans reached boiling point.
The Arsenal Supporters Trust wrote a letter to the board expressing their deepest concern that, in the midst of the increasing uproar, the board’s main priority appeared to be offering a new contract to a manager who seemed to have lost his touch.
Fans felt they were being taken for fools and words such as ‘farce’ were being spouted poisonously from the lips of exhausted and frustrated Gooners.
However, things soon started to look up again. The North London Derby was won and the day after, Mesut Özil signed a contract that would see him ply his trade at the Emirates for years to come.
Reports have surfaced again recently that contract talks have reignited and Arsène is to be offered a new contract worth £15million. The question is, does he deserve it?
The short answer is yes, but it does need justifying, as there is much to be considered.
The transfer window was a shambles, but we were promised money would be spent and it was. £42.4million on one player shows that Arsène Wenger has every intention of living up to the promises he has made of taking Arsenal forward. Not renewing the contract of a manager who has just set the wheels of change in motion would be somewhat short sighted.
No matter how frustrating the last 8 years have been, we must consider that Arsène has addressed the stadium debt since the Emirates was built and we were aware of the short term hindrances it could throw up.
Talking to the press last year, Wenger said: “The target is to make a profit. It looks normal for any company in the world, so I don’t know why it is surprising. We want to pay the debt we owe from the stadium we built, that’s around £15 million [per year]. So it’s normal that at the start, we have to make at least £15 million [profit] or we lose money. I accept one basic principle for every company; that you can spend the money you make.”
Although Arsène has stated that the outstanding stadium debt hasn’t tied his hands in the transfer market, it is obvious that paying it off has been a priority.
Nonetheless, we were told this year that the debt was almost paid off, and that the money was available to pay top dollar for top players. He wasn’t lying. He seems to have executed this debt plan perfectly, whilst keeping us in the top four at a time when other clubs have been spending wildly.
Another factor that further complicates the situation is the January transfer window. Apparently, we are looking to spend around £40million on a top striker, but it is well known that prices in January are inflated and winter business can be risky. Just look at Fernando Torres.
If Wenger feels it would be better to wait until summer 2014, we’re going to have to wait another year to determine whether or not Arsène is aiming to maintain the level of ambition shown by the Özil signing.
On that note, it is worth mentioning that Arsène Wenger is one of the reasons Mesut Özil chose to sign for us: “Wenger is a world-class manager – he’s demonstrated that for years. A lot of players have developed under his guidance in the past and that’s why I decided to join Arsenal.”
The players currently at Arsenal, particularly Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also speak very highly of Arsène and put their trust in the Frenchman, so who are we to say he should no longer manage Arsenal?
The most important thing however, is a factor that is largely out of Arsène’s hands, and that is stability. We are in a position of total togetherness as a club, both in terms of management, and the team. Manchester United have just lost Sir Alex Ferguson and Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham have each made a fair amount of signings, all of which will take time to settle.
At this point in time, it would be foolish to upset that which is one of our biggest advantages.
Header Photo Via Ronnie Macdonald- http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronmacphotos/