A summer that could define Monsieur Wenger

The summer of 2012; a defining summer for both the direction of the football club, and the destiny of Arsene Wenger.

The club, while learning from last summer, has once again put itself in an unfortunate position of letting yet another star player run his contract down to just one more year.

Although Wenger has stated that Robin Van Persie will stay and run down the last year of his contract, if he is not to sign a new deal, can we take this statement at face value?

This is coming from the same Arsene Wenger who stated that Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri would not be leaving last summer and the same Arsene Wenger who stated that Andrey Arshavin would not be leaving in January.

Undoubtedly this summer has begun with a signal of intent, and has seen Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud join the club for a combined total fee believed to be around £20m. While optimists have used statistics to compliment Wenger for this coup, the pessimists have once again harangued Wenger for taking the cheap options.

Last summer, we went to Lille, decided Eden Hazard was too much and ended up with Gervinho. In January we went to Dortmund and ended up bringing home Thomas Eisfield (not denying he could becoming a good player) instead of Mario Gotze.

Wenger has never been the manager to spend £38m on a Sergio Aguero, he’d much rather lay out £2.75m for a Robin Van Persie at a young age and see him develop into a world class player.

While this has worked on numerous occasions, Wenger has sensed that this transfer strategy is outmoded and has opted for experience, bringing in 26-year-old Podolski and 25-year-old Giroud. Hopefully the optimist will be proven correct and Wenger will have achieved yet another transfer coup.

Podolski at 26 has over 100 caps for Germany and while there is no questioning his talent, question marks have been placed over whether he can perform at a big club, having failed at Bayern Munich, albeit at a young age.

For a 26-year-old to have amounted over 100 caps for the German national side signals his talent and I believe Podolski will add another dimension to our game and prove to be a steal by Wenger.

Giroud, on the other hand, is fairly unproven on the International stage having only gained 9 caps for France and having been largely over looked by Laurent Blanc at Euro 2012. However his goal scoring record cannot be ignored, having scored 39 times in his 86 appearances for Montpellier, propelling them to Ligue 1 glory last season.

His technical ability combined with his strength and height should help him adapt to the Premiership and this should set him apart from the Chamakh comparisons.

However, the transfers should not end there. To challenge for major silverware, Wenger still needs to offload the dead wood while ensuring the squad has enough depth to challenge on all fronts all season.

With Wilshere coming on slowly and expected to miss the start of the season, another centre midfielder should be Wenger’s top priority. Yann M’Vila, Lucas Biglia and Javi Martinez have all been linked and although a move for M’Vila now seems to be off, the apparent need to bolster our midfielding options seems to be key.

Francis Coquelin is coming on nicely and played an important role last season but I largely anticipate him to start the season at right back for us next season, with Bacary Sagna expected to miss the opening months.

Therefore, the need to bring in extra midfield cover is pivotal. If the mummers regarding Alex Song are correct, Wenger will be faced with the tough challenge of finding a suitable replacement whilst not compromising the strength in depth.

The need to strengthen the squad goes further than a midfielder. Another winger should be considered to replace the loss of Yossi Benayoun and to cover for Gervinho, with the latter being incapable of helping the club challenge for major honours.

A defender should be purchased, preferably a versatile defender, someone in the Micah Richards mould, who would feel comfortable at both centre-back and at full-back and a goalkeeper needs to be added to the squad in the light of the potential departure of Lukasz Fabianski, with Hugo Lloris being heavily linked.

Although I may be asking for too much, this squad is still far off challenging for major silverware. With the teams around us expected to strengthen, Wenger is facing his biggest and most defining summer as Arsenal manager.

Can he persuade RVP to believe in his Arsenal project? Can he demonstrate to the fans that the club has title winning ambitions? But most of all, can he prove to himself that he is still a great manager, capable of producing title winning teams?

The clubs motto reads “Victoria Concordia Crescit” or victory through harmony, however with the current running of the club and the perceived financial gains from our negative transfer expenditure and high season ticket prices, the clubs motto will soon read “Victory through Financial Fair Play”.

If Wenger can convince RVP to stay, strengthen the squad and bring silverware to N5, he will have proven to all his critics that he isn’t finished just yet. This summer could define him. His destiny rests solely in his own capable and prodigal hands.

In Wenger We Trust.

Elliott Dagul


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7 Responses to A summer that could define Monsieur Wenger

  1. colario July 3, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    This coming season will not define Arsene Wenger's position at Arsenal, that has long been established.
    It may define some fans as being supporters of Arsenal and others as hangers on.
    Fans should note 'boo' or attack one player in anyway then you attack the team and the whole club and in doing so you define yourself. Colario.

  2. July 3, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    i believe you are a nugget who knows nothing about the club.

    firstly… WHY DO FANS WANT TO GET RID OF “DEADWOOD”??? the moment i hear that i cringe. we don't know the truth about wages or anything so don't assume shit. selling players has nothing to do with us winning nor does it have anything to do with robin's contract or anyone elses. we have a self-imposed cap and that's that. no matter what some import who only been supporting the club since twitter started says.

    why on earth would you say coquelin played an important role last season but expect him to start a right back… then go on to say we need a versatile defender like micah richards who can play RB/CB when we already have vermaelen, koscielny, mertersacker, djourou, bartley and miquel? or alternatively santos and gibbs for left backs? jenkinson, sagna and coquelin are all arsenal quality. why would you think we need another defender? how many players do you want?

    also wilshere will be out for a couple of games so lets get martinez for 25m or m'vila for 17m? what stupid reasoning especially when you think about the fact that you also wanted a defender. i think we MAY sign a defender OR a defensive midfielder but not both. and most likely will be an overall utility player and no way contesting for the first team.

    The only one I agree with is a keeper… we already have a killer squad…………

    —————————————— Szczesny / ??????? / D. Martinez ————————————————

    Sagna / Coquelin* / Jenkinson — Koscielny/Vermaelen/Mertersacker/Djourou —- Gibbs/Santos/Coquelin*

    ——————————————— Song / Frimpong —- Wilshere / Arteta —————————————–

    Walcott / Gervinho*/ Chamberlain* — Rosicky / Ramsey / Diaby — Podolski / Gervinho* / Chamberlain*

    ————————————————— RVP / Giroud / Podolski* —————————————————–

    Add to that these youngsters…

    and Bihmoutine

    And we can definitely contend.

    I'd just like us to sign a back up keeper and possibly a DM to replace Frimpong.

  3. GoonerRob July 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I agree with what you are saying. Song does not do the defensive role required of a dm and i believe we could strengthen with a classic dm. I dont believe we need to spend £15 mil on Lloris, a cheaper option will probably be sufficient. I agree with your view on transfers and having been an Arsenal supporter and traveller for the last 40 years I agree this team does not have the strength in depth to challenge for silverware.

    Good article, keep it up

  4. TheRealArseneWenger July 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Having read through this, I don't agree that you are a nugget. Ive supported arsenal my whole life and have never been more disheartened by a team more so than this one. What we did last year was phenomenal, but coming 3rd and 4th is not an achievement. This squad is too thin. Wilshere could be out another whole season, how do we know whats going on? We need to add another 3 class players to this current crop without letting anyone go, especially not RVP. Your article is spot on in my opinion and I'm a huge wenger fan. If we are going to be serious contenders then i agree with your assessment of the team. Although this summer might not define wenger, it will certainly cause more anti-wenger sections at the arsenal if he fails to keep our best players and replaces them with second rate like he did last year. This summer is a chance for wenger to prove to us, the paying arsenal fans, that he can keep us up there with the big boys.

    Come on you Gunners

  5. Th14 July 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    The best and most agreeable article I've read this Summer. Exactly what I and many of my mates have been saying since the end of the season

  6. July 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    I'm with Colario, this season wont define Wenger, I think the league titles & cups won together with building of a new stadium whilst on a tight budget has defined him. Throw in with that the only Premier League manager to take his team through a season unbeaten and have turned a net profit on player dealings throughout his entire tenure and you get a good picture.

    I remember many calling for us to have Andre Villas-Boas in place not so long ago and look how he worked out wih an unlimted budget.

  7. YoungGun July 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    As a younger generation Gunner who is a season ticket holder and an away follower, i agree with the majority of what you say. Although this summer may not define Wenger i do believe it could impact upon his future at the club. If he wins silverware, his critics will go away but this is down to him. I agree that we need to get rid of the deadwood. This squad definitely isnt strong enough and the main gunner must not watch the arsenal regularly if he believes that this squad is strong enough to challenge for major honours. Although i dont believe we need a winger, i do believe we need a versitile defender and a couple of midfielders, one dm and one creative one. Wilshere may be out for a while, we dont know, so cover is needed. Our wage budget is tight because we pay over the odds for youngsters to tie them down to the club. We should follow the Man Utd way of paying the youngster what they deserve rather than what would keep them at the club. Welbeck was on £19k a week, Lansbury is on nearly £15k! If Wenger is willing to offer RVP £130k a week, the club is clearly moving away from this tight wage structure.

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