So finally the will he/won’t he transfer of Andrey Arshavin has gone through and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
Arsène Wenger’s side have played the type of football recently that is almost unrecognisable from the Beautiful Game his sides are renowned for.
We’ve all been guilty of getting hugely frustrated to the verge of anger about the debacle which has been this transfer, wondering why it has taken so long and why other deals have gone through so much quicker.
We may never know the entire story.
What is certain though, is that calls for a demonstration and Wenger’s resignation were way off the mark...
Wenger may well have too much power at Arsenal – he could do with some resistant support who tells him things he may not be able to see. All great leaders have loyal and wise Lieutenants willing to stand up to them if the situation demands it and I fear Pat Rice and Boro Primorac aren’t that assertive.
A strong aide would have urged him to buy a defensive midfielder and a centre-back, and perhaps he will do so when the summer comes and he can sell William Gallas without the handicap of being cup tied in Europe.
But Wenger’s loyalty to Arsenal is total, which is why he doesn’t hide behind the financial constraints that have made his job doubly hard in the last couple of years and which he never fully divulges.
CEO Ivan Gazidis may well have said that the Champions League isn’t essential, but the property slump has messed up Arsenal’s gameplan and slows down the advantage the Emirates stadium was supposed to bring us.
The CEO’s statement may well deter some doom-mongers and take some pressure off the players (let’s be honest though, some of them could do with a kick up the backside!) but it’s pure PR spin.
That is why Wenger hasn’t spent big money on players. That is why he and the board (who do the financial side of things) hoped to get Mathieu Flamini on a cheaper deal than the Frenchman felt he deserved and eventually got elsewhere.
The same can be said of C*shley C*le, Bobby Pires, Edu…
That is part of the reason why the Arshavin deal went on so long.
Zenit could not accept that no one else was prepared to pay them bigger money for their star and touted him around to others.
Anyone who has done business with Russians (and I have done so in the not too distant past) will tell you, the recession has hit Russia harder than most. There has been a dramatic change in the social environment and losing their equivalent to David Beckham at cut price was always going to result in the club losing face.
In the end, they blinked first because the player had decided it was time to leave and the club had already bought a replacement.
It was torture for all Gooners and all of us with season tickets felt anger once more that our huge ticket prices were not funding new faces when the club so desperately needed one (or three!).
But that is the problem with being prudent, with being responsible. We are not a rich man’s plaything (yet) and hopefully we will see some stability.
As my colleague said, Arshavin won’t play on Sunday – a place on the bench is the best we can hope for and even that is unlikely.
But in the meantime, while the club is scrapping for results and needs our support, we have to give it to them.
Arsenal has punched above its weight for a long time, initially because of Highbury and then because of the Emirates debt burden.
The reason we have all become so spoilt is down to one man – Arsène Wenger. We may not agree with him, but like any great patriarch, we will all realise how magnificent he has been when he is no longer here.