Wenger must keep his head while all around are losing theirs

By Avenell Dave

Let's be honest, the last few tranfer windows have been horrible for Arsenal fans.

Even setting aside the tortuous courting of Cesc Fabregas every summer by Barcelona, it's been plain for all to see that the squad has needed strengthening and that simply hasn't happened.

Cue late season collapses, questions over the ambition of the Board and the aptitude of Arsene Wenger, minor fan protests and the media and rivals having a field day.

We can make excuses about the financial constraints Wenger is working under, and I do wonder how forcefully he has asked for funds in the past when they've been so desperately needed.

But the fact remains, this is clearly panning out into a close season of revolution in N5, not evolution.

You can make a strong argument for The Invincibles being broken up too quickly or not being adequately replaced and post rationalise about Wenger's seemingly unerring faith in Project Youth and players who simply didn't perform.

But while his faith in the Denilsons, the Diabys and Almunias of this world was/is misplaced, the development of Mathieu Flamini, Johann Djourou (who until the run in was outstanding in the heart of the defence) or even Thierry Henry who had even lost faith in himself after his disappointing foray at Juventus, explains why he persisted with players who have let him down.

Every fan I speak to thinks Arsenal have to make some stellar signings to show we mean business.

There's an argument that football has changed since the early Wenger years when a Petit or a Vieira could be picked up before any rivals even knew who he was.

And the move to the new stadium certainly needs to start reaping dividends - and that means quality players being paid market rate rather than a lop-sided investment overpaying a vast number of youth players who won't make it.

But the fact is, as Arseblog quite rightly pointed out today, Arsenal don't tend to buy superstars, they make them.

Dennis Bergkamp is the only big big name we have signed over the years - and certainly he proved to be a catalyst for an era of success - but even he was seen as damaged goods after a disappointing couple of seasons at Inter.

Losing Gael Clichy yesterday was right for all concerned. He has cost us more goals than anyone other than Manuel Almunia, had a reputation for having a frail temperament in the dressing room and is no great loss.

How will Wenger cope if both Nasri and Fabregas both leave? Time will tell.

If they both go - and while I don't want their transfer sagas to drag on I certainly want the situations resolved - Wenger will be under big pressure to bring in a player of the status of Eden Hazard.

I remember last year all the talk was that we should sign Yohann Gourcuff, fresh from a disappointing stay at AC Milan and a fine return to France.

This year those who watch French football say he had a miserable season and so Wenger's reluctance, if he was even on his radar, proved correct.

Arsenal cannot afford the quick turnover of players we're seeing at Man Citeh.

From a financial point of view it's reckless and from a team building point of view it rarely brings consistent success.

If Wenger claims on September 1 that Squillaci, Lansbury, Frimpong, Vela and Afobe are like new signings who he believes in, I'll wonder for the first time if Wenger's time at Arsenal is up.

But that's not going to happen.

Wenger will buy and we'll find out when the deal is done, not when he starts trying to unsettle players like Tw*tcher did with Giuseppe Rossi yesterday.

Everyone is panicking about the lack of signings and I understand why.

But we must have faith that lessons have been learnt and shortcomings will be addressed.

Not trusting the board or the manager will create an atmosphere of angst and fury which will only further constrain the team.

Wenger needs to keep his head - and I for one have faith that he will - while all those around lose theirs.