By Avenell Dave
We’ve been fortunate at Arsenal Addict to have met Ivan Gazidis on a couple of occasions and found him to be refreshing with plans to overhaul the club.
A lawyer, business-savvy and with huge experience and vision, we got the feeling that he wants to make a lot of changes to the way the older brigade have run things at the club, but wants to ensure that the revolution is gradual, so as not to cause too much of a negative reaction from the club's conservative mindset.
In the past week, we’ve seen his good work in evidence, with Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey all signing new deals. One thing Arsenal have not always done is to secure their players so they only leave when we want them to go.
Edu, Bobby Pires, Mathieu Flamini and Slyvain Wiltord have all left for nothing, having cost us a tidy sum when they arrived (with the exception of the Flamster).
So it makes sense to me that Gazidis would work with Arsène Wenger to tie down tomorrow’s stars as soon as possible, given that in all cases, their stock is rising.
That said, I wonder whether Ramsey really needed a new deal – or asked for one. Having only arrived last summer, surely another year in what would most likely be a four year deal would still give time to sign him up and save us a bit of money. No matter.
Gazidis talked this week about ‘building a team rather than buying one’ and I agree wholeheartedly with that philosophy.
Real Madrid may well win everything but Ch*vski have never won the Champions League despite buying a team and Real's last Galacticos side was not quite as dominant as the outlay on players suggested it should have been.
Whether it is done for financial reasons or just down to Wenger’s mindset, building a side brick by brick could well reap dividends.
But all of us know that we need a couple more new faces, people with experience and drive, who can lead the young Guns to the glory we keep being promised.
With Felipe Melo virtually signed by Juve (and despite an impressive if suspension-riddled season, I still wonder if at his price and having moved so much, whether he would have been a good buy) and Gokhan Inler saying Wenger is no longer interested in him, it leaves few options.
I’ve heard the rumours that Blaise Matuidi is in town for talks – and from what I’ve seen of him on YouTube, he looks the business.
Remember, since Patrick Vieira left us, we have not won a trophy and while we came so close with Flamini in the side, he left before a dynamic partnership with Cesc Fabregas could really be established.
Given that Wenger wanted his players signed before pre-season began, one wonders whether signing the youngsters up first was the right strategy.
That said, I am sure Wenger’s attempts to buy Melo will not be the end of his window-shopping this summer – and that Gazidis is bluffing as any buyer must do so as not to appear desperate or at a disadvantage when looking to spend.
If Thomas Vermaelen is the sum of Arsenal’s recruits this summer, I think all of us will wonder if Wenger really has lost the plot – but I really don’t think it will come to that.