We are now in the final week of July now, and apart from Granit Xhaka, we have not signed anyone of anyone experience to take our squad to another level. With only a few weeks left until the start of the season it is vital we, at the very least sign a striker and perhaps a wide player like Mahrez.
Reports from Eurosport France on Saturday stated Mahrez has agreed to join us and all that was left was to agree a fee between the two clubs. We’ve been here before, remember Jamie Vardy? Look what happened there. I find this Mahrez link very hard to believe but what is more damning is why.
Why would Mahrez, or any other player for that matter want to sign for Arsenal?
I know you will probably have a series of answers prepared, how you signed Ozil, Sanchez and Cech, and while I commend you for those, those are the exception not the rule. Cech, by the way, was a location issue, he could have and should have got more money at PSG but wanted to remain in London.
Why didn’t Vardy end up joining us? Don’t pretend and hide behind his ‘loyalty’, the release clause was met, it was clearly a matter of not being able to convince him to come to our team. It shouldn’t be too hard to convince him to come to us.
The reality is that Arsenal are not considered a big club anymore. We cannot compete financially on wages or transfer fees, nor can we compete in terms of our record of winning trophies.
Don’t believe me? Just look at all the players we were targeting this summer and look what happened.
Higuain will join Juventus. They, quite simply, have a better chance of winning trophies, and Juventus payed a much higher transfer fee. Icardi will move to Napoli as part of the transfer merry-go-round. Mkhitataryan was offered mega wages and was convinced by Jose Mourinho to join despite not having Champions League football. They will sign Pogba soon, again, competitive on fees and wages, and convincing the player that they will win trophies in the not too distant future with the squad they are building.
I know you are probably trying to sell them the same story, that we can win with this squad, but footballers aren’t stupid. They’ve seen you take our team in the last 12 seasons with false hope of winning the title and having an inevitable collapse and finish fourth most of the time, which, by the way isn’t an achievement (more on that later). Why would an incoming player believe you a thirteenth time that you will win the title this year? As much as we both hate Jose Mourinho on many levels, at least he wins titles more often than not. This is why he’s able to attract quality players even with no Champions League.
On the other side of Manchester we have Gundogan, another who we were looking at, Nolito who would have been a great striker signing for us, and potentially Aubameyang, one who you absolutely admire and would have been perfect for us. For the same reasons as above, these players have decided to join Manchester City for more money and a better chance at trophies. It is literally a no-brainer.
You will insist that we have Champions League football, but does that really matter at all? There are 3 other teams in England who can offer the same thing, not to mention several others in Spain, Germany and Italy, who, again, probably have a better chance at winning titles than us.
Advertising Champions League football as your main argument is kind of like being the only 4 star hotel in a particular town which has ten 5 star hotels. The argument will work, but only when you’re competing with the 3 star hotels, which brings me to my final point.
The only way we will be competitive in the transfer market is when we are competing with say, Liverpool, West Ham or Everton for a particular player. Any player that is remotely world class, we will have intense competition for and we simply cannot compete with the two Manchester clubs and the rest of Europe on any level.
So even if for some reason no other big team wants Mahrez’s services, something which I highly doubt, the question remains, why would Mahrez want to come to us? We may offer more money but can we offer a better chance to win the Premier League, something he already won last season? He already gets Champions League football with Leicester and God knows we won’t be winning the Champions League any time soon. He isn’t stupid, he knows this. He is better off staying at Leicester. To try and convince him that our squad is better than Leicester’s is patronising of the highest level given their squad won the Premier League last season and we choked once again.
So while many fans hold out hope of a world class striker or winger joining us, I have no expectations whatsoever. There is no good reason for a player of that calibre to play for a team who will pay them less, give them false hope and not win anything of significance. This isn’t the 2004 Invincibles’ squad we are selling to prospective players this is 2016.
We may sign someone this transfer window, but it will be somebody of mid-table quality. A few mid table clubs will bid, but because we have Champions League the player will join us. Then you will turn around and say he isn’t better than Giroud, so we won’t sign him anyway.
What a farce of a situation. This is why us not winning the title this year hurt so much, with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in Manchester we couldn’t compete on or off the field in 2016/17. For us not to take advantage of the open league last season was down-right unacceptable.
Forget the title, we will be lucky to get fourth place this coming season.
I really think your time is up Arsene, I really do. We need a new person with fresh ideas to take us back to the title winning days of over a decade ago.
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