We would all be hard pressed to find anyone around the Emirates who use the word “successful” when assessing Arsenal’s transfer accomplishment over the past few years.
The exit door has been quite busy, of course, but the lack incoming talent for the financially well-off club has become more irritating than a nasty rash for Gunners faithful. Just ask any supporter; find them at the nearest North London pub, staring forlornly into their pints and finding it increasingly difficult to remember, you know, the “good times.”
But there is one man who apparently believes the club’s policies have nailed the sweet spot. And that man is none other than manager Arsene Wenger, who boxed a few verbal rounds with media Tuesday in Istanbul ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League play-in match against Fenerbahçe.
At the very least, Wenger’s timing is off. Even if he believes the club’s spendthrift ways have served Arsenal interests in the long run, it’s just not what increasingly restive supporters want to hear. Not after watching Wenger’s men fumble away the Premier League opener, dropping a home debut for the first time since 1993 in a 3-1 setback against Brad Guzan and Aston Villa.
Not after the club’s highly public swing-and-misses for Gonzalo Higuain, Luiz Gustavo and (apparently) Luis Suarez.
Not after the big bummer that is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s long-term injury.
And yet, here was Wenger, sounding combative as he responded to the transfer-related criticism, more of which fell Monday from Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew, who was bothered by Arsenal’s “disrespectful” and distracting pursuit of midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
I cannot listen every minute to every state of mind for everybody,” Wenger said. “You cannot look all the time in life at what others do. You do what is right for you. I would just like to reiterate to you that in the last 16 years we have been very successful with transfers.
“If you look at the players who play [against Fenerbahce], they are top quality players. You should never forget that. It is not always to think what is outside is better than what you have. What is important as well is to rate what you have and our fans have to understand that as well.
“What is important is to go out and see a good football game. All that other stuff is good for the newspapers, but it is not real football. A squad has to have the right number. And we will have the right balance when the transfer window closes, don’t worry.”