By Avenell Dave
Arsene Wenger today confirmed that the constant uncertainty surrounding captain Cesc Fabregas and midfielder Samir Nasri meant the club is in crisis ahead of the new season.
While speculation remains that Fabregas will get his wish and sign for hometown club Barcelona this weekend with Nasri doubling his weekly wage with a move to Manchester City, Wenger conceded that Arsenal have NO chance of competing for the title.
With a tricky Champions League qualifier against Udinese, Wenger added that Arsenal would now be focusing on the Europa League.
"We are going to revise our policy at Arsenal and start to do all our transfer business in public," said Wenger.
"Of course, footballistically, we cannot compete after losing our captain and the French winger. Even if the transfers stall and they do not leave, Fabregas and Nasri will never play for this club again and I am happy to let them rot in the reserves and suffer the full ire of the fans.
"It is time for me to stop believing in the players I have and accept that a combination of the financial constraints I am working under and the challenges we have had in signing new players should be discussed publicly after all.
"I have of course planned that Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen will take over captain duties in the new season and that Cesc is hereby stripped of the honour after sullying the club's image.
"I do not want to give hope or optimism to our fans or expect them to accept that we do not have the wealth to throw money at any situation until it is solved.
"I also want to make it clear that we have no intention of bringing in any new players, regardless of whether we sell or keep the wantaway players. For me, it is simple, I was successful for a few years at Arsenal and now do not care if we win or lose. I am simply seeing out my contract and will leave knowing that whatever happens, the club is in a better place than it was when I arrived."
Did any of you really expect Wenger to come out and be as honest and forthright as that on the eve of the new season?
There will come a point, I am sure, where Le Boss will explain that he is delighted with new signings, perhaps even going so far (as he alluded yesterday in a controlled environment) that the uncertainty hasn't been ideal.
But footballers and football fans, alarmed that he is deluded, should think about the uncertainties that football transfers create. If he says the deals for Cesc and Nasri are done and something goes wrong, how stupid does it make everyone look and how awkward would it be for the players who then have to remain at the club?
Yes, Arsenal have made mistakes as I said earlier in the week. They should have sold Nasri earlier in the summer and given an August 1 deadline to Barca to put up or shut up.
We aren't going to come out of the deal for Cesc as well as we should but we may well do better from Nasri than we could have hoped.
The new season is starting tomorrow against Newcastle, in case any of you had forgotten, and we need to get a good result while the loose ends on deals are tied up.
This is a massive month for Arsenal, no doubt about it, but does Wenger or the team need any more pressure heaped on it than it already has?
Wenger doesn't do everything perfectly - we can all see mistakes he has made. But can any of us say we do our jobs perfectly with no hint of error?
I'm not saying Arsene Knows Best, I'm really not, even though his early success has raised expectations to an unprecedented level.
But isn't it about time we all got behind the club and fight those in the media and from other clubs who just love to put the boot in?