By Avenell Dave
One of my fellow Addicts was incandescent this morning, frustrated at the fact that Xabi Alonso has signed for Real Madrid.
On the one hand, we could have had Alonso for a third of what Real paid for him last season and baulked at the price and on the other, Liverpool have gone out and bought Alberto Aquilani for £20m with some of the proceeds.
I have no doubt that both deals have been rumbling for weeks, with Liverpool refusing to sell Alonso until the Aquilani deal was in place, much as the Alonso deal with us last season may have partly hinged on Gareth Barry moving to Anfield from Aston Villa.
Why aren’t we spending money as soon as we sell someone, my friend asked me and David Dein has lacthed onto that Gooner frustration this morning.
Dein played a huge role in Arsenal’s success in the last 25 years and his political power-playing, contacts and vision for the club played a significant role in putting it where it is today.
Dein was apparently reluctant to undertake the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove, believing that pumping money into the team rather than the stadium was the key to success.
On present form and trophies gained since we moved, you would have to say that he is correct.
He is quoted today as saying: “The landscape is changing. Manchester City, Aston Villa, Everton and Tottenham are not going to stand still, to say nothing of Manchester United, Chelsea.
“Have they [the directors] ever said, 'Arsene, don't have a conscience over the cost. We've gone past that stage now. We've got to be brave and bold in the market. Just tell us, how much do you need to win the Champions League?' He's never had the luxury. Is it (the team) strong enough to compete with the likes of Barcelona and Milan? Compared to Manchester United, we are in the Stone Age.”
Dein understand football better than most of us and has to be admired for refusing to offer his skills and expertise to other clubs, loyal to the end to the Gunners.
But the suggestion that Wenger has not spent money is incorrect...
In the past year we have bought Samir Nasri for £11m (or £15m if some reports are true), Aaron Ramsey for £5m, Andrey Arshavin for £15m and Thomas Vermaelen for £10m. That’s at least £40m of anyone’s money and with the exception of Ramsey, they are all first team regulars.
Sure, the sales of Manu Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Alex Hleb and Justin Hoye brought in at least £55m, not to mention the sell-on clauses we have benefited from, but with the debt burden Arsenal has, spending two thirds of what we earn through sales is not quite as prudent as some believe we have been.
And that doesn't factor in the money we spend on what is now considered the best Youth Academy in England, producing talents such as Jack Wilshere who will be a star before long..
If there is one player who we have missed of those sold over the last 12 months, it is Mathieu Flamini, and he left on a free! In my opinion, he never had any intention of staying once European giants started circling, determined to maximise his earnings as he did when he left Marseilles.
We all know that Wenger desperately needs a world class defensive midfielder, and a central defender would be a real bonus – report of attempts to sign Sevilla’s Federico Fazio suggest Wenger is on the lookout. Now is not the time to throw our toys out of the pram.
It’s curious that Dein left Arsenal because he allied himself with Stan Kroenke and then Alisher Usmanov and having parted with both of them, currently has no-one with a block of shares to back up his vision of returning to the club.
Criticising the club is all he can do to get himself heard.
Kroenke has been successful with all the sports teams he has been involved with and while the transfer window is still open, I for one am going to wait patiently and hopefully for new faces that can turn our great squad into winners, rather than lament what others are doing to catch us up or move further ahead of us.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, however successful we are or are not in the next few years, I have a feeling we’ll all yearn for the Wenger Years when Le Boss has left and we’re perhaps less competitive than we have been under his guidance.