A familiar, sinking feeling…

No offense to Kim Kallstrom, who appears to be on his way to join Arsenal, but it’s hard to resist a certain, sinking feeling as the transfer-news trickles in. Apparently, even Osvaldo’s apparent move from Southampton to Juventus is not enough to prompt Mirko Juvinic to consider leaving for Arsenal, despite the fact that Osvaldo’s move means there are now five strikers contending for two spots in a lineup that Juvinic was struggling to break into before Osvaldo arrived. In other dispiriting news, it looks as if a deal for Draxler is all but dead in the water with Arsene himself reportedly refusing to agree to the £37m transfer fee in the player’s contract, believing this to be too much for an (admittedly) unproven player who is vast in talent but short in experience.

Be that as it may, most of the opprobrium heaped on Arsene has focused on his spendthrift ways, which in many ways is penny-wise and pound-foolish. If we aren’t all in for Draxler and hesitate to spend £37m on him now, yes, this reflects a certain amount of economic wisdom. Simply put, we can’t lavish that kind of cash on a player with the same kind of abandon that Chelsea, City, and even Man U can. However, refusing to pay what he’s worth now is only likely to backfire as other clubs, circling like sharks in the water, will sense the blood that’s left from wounds we’ve inflicted on ourselves through our apparent failure to secure Draxler’s services now. Come summer, his stock will almost certainly rise, and what was once £37m will seem like a pittance compared to what he might command in a more-open market.

However, rather than nickel and dime ourselves to here, worrying about the finances, I’m worried about the larger issue—an apparent lack of faith in one’s own philosophy. Here we have just the kind of player Arsene loves to sign—young, crafty, gifted on the ball and capable of playing almost anywhere in the midfield, ready and eager to expand his game under the manager’s guidance—and, Arsene, renowned or reviled for his ability to find young talent and make them into superstars, is balking at the finish line rather than sealing the deal. Of course, it comes down to the economics again, but this time around, Arsene seems simply unwilling to put his money where his mouth is, and this suggests a lack of confidence in his own ability. Gone, by and large, are the days when he could pluck some undiscovered talent from some backwater, third-tier league and convert the starlet into the world’s next superstar. Every other team in Europe has legions of scouts; each up-and-coming player has his highlights all over youtube. Ten years ago, before Abramovich and others got involved, a player like Draxler could be signed for—£8? £10?—but the spiraling salaries and the inflated demand created by Abramovich and others means that the price has risen many times over.

Being philosophically opposed to competing in that market is all well and good—but why, then, announce the Puma deal five days before the transfer-window is to shut? What message does Schalke or any other club read into that other than “Arsenal now have £150m more than they had last week”? Why should they negotiate themselves down with a club whose entire market value is only slightly larger than that sponsorship? Nope. We’ve made that bed, and now we have to lie in it.

Just as worrisome is that we’re now casting about without apparent aim or direction. As much as I hope that we’re seeing Wenger’s Law of Inverse Relationships at work, we’re all of a sudden making inquiries and bids left and right. Kallstrom came from out of nowhere, we’re now apparently after Salomon Kalou, back in for Berbatov, continue to chase Tello, and…and…I don’t know.

Of course, there are several hours left to go—two as I write. I just hope they bring me ample reason to apologize and eat my words.

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13 thoughts on “A familiar, sinking feeling…

  1. Anonymous

    JonThere is little to add to what you have written. I too have written much the same and I suspect more will be written echoing this theme over the next few months. Arsene can only hope that he has guessed correctly but I suspect that, despite being a brilliant manager when it comes to developing players, he has allowed himself to believe that he can still operate the way he once did in a world much changed from that of ten years ago. You make a very good point regarding the Puma announcement. I saw it as having more money but missed the point that others did too. Schalke has outsmarted him and will gain at least 20M more than they might have taken four days ago. If, as I anticipate (sadly), they fail at silverware, Arsene will rue this day and the public will be calling for his well-coiffed head.

  2. Anonymous

    Go to bed. It's all over for this transfer window. Don't wake up until Wenger, Kroenke and the money men have left our football club.

  3. Anonymous

    Wenger: It's a story fabricated by the media.Schalke: We have never been in contact with Arsenal, and do not expect to sell Draxler.1) Anonymous journo invents a story.2) Story snowballs through being rehashed by other media, despite there being zero evidence.3) Arsenal don't sign the player.4) Some random rumour about why they didn't sign him is invented by the media to cover up their bullshit ITK stories about his signing being imminent.5) People berate the manager for missing out on signing a player that he may not have been interested in signing at all.

  4. Anonymous

    couldn't of put it better myself.. what the hell is wenger thinking. Hes the one that should be taken to have a medical; has he lost his mind. ye were second in the league at the mo but believe me that won't last everyones strengthening around us and were shopping in the bargain bin. god help us if giroud gets injured. and to give wenger another 3 years is laughable.. news flash arsene its not your money u buffoon.. im so angry….

  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous #2 (3:26pm) It may be a fabricated story (I don't believe AW nor Schalke)), but it does not deal with the major issue, i.e., THE LACK OF ANOTHER STRIKER or someone that might have served as striker (Draxler), let alone, maybe even more defensive and mid-field help. Unless it is different in the UK, interest rates are very low these days and so the money is not earning enough in the bank to cover what they might have to pay for a striker or even Draxler six months from now. Of course, by then someone will scoop him up for 45M and AW will announce he was not good enough anyway as he finds an obscure 2M 17 year-old striker that no one has ever heard of on the last day of transfer window.

  6. Anonymous

    You've ignored the immense weight of expectation that comes with a massive transfer fee. Maybe Wenger was factoring that in. A striker is what we needed. Lets face it, not a backup to the chance squandering Giroud but someone to displace him in the pecking order. Nobody that good is for sale at any price. Depressing, & I'm resigned to 3rd at best this season

  7. Anonymous

    Why will he be worth £45m? Based on other players who have commanded similar fees, he's not worth anywhere near the £37m quoted now, o how do you come to the conclusion he will be worth more after the World Cup?This is Mata/Ozil/Higuain money. Proven internationals at the peak of their careers, not players with potential, who may, or may not, even make it.Of all clubs, we have seen the number of young players with potential who didn't make it, so to spend £40m on just one unproven 20 year old would be incredibly risky, and a virtually indefensible transfer strategy from the Arsenal.Why do you disbelieve Wenger and Schalke, yet believe the media who have nothing to go on other than a rumour, which was probably invented by someone in the media?

  8. Anonymous

    the expectations are already there, and are unlikely to go down over time. a player of drax' potential is being valued on where he'll be in 2-3 years, not where he is now. the expectations will get bigger when the summer window opens and there's a bidding war. if anythign AW does him a favor by signing him now.

  9. Anonymous

    Third place? Have you seen the form of Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Do you forget United play their best footbal in the second half? This could be the most spectacular collapse yet

  10. Anonymous

    Penny wise pound foolish?Since oligarch & sheikh $ arrived at the shore, Arsenal would be in hell hole if Wenger decide to outspend them every year to protect his reputation. Every season, there can only be 1 champion emerging in PL, CL & FA. At that time, Chelsea & currently, MC have all the best players at their prime, not to mention MU & of course CL would have Barca & Bayern etc.Now that their star players are towards their tail end of their career & Arsenal's younglings are maturing, this season represents the best chance to win a silverware. That's what an economist will think, the risk:reward ratio. That's why we buy Ozil. This season may be our only chance to win anything before other $$$ clubs start replacing their players. SO WE NEED A STRIKER pronto! We don't need Draxler & wait till next year to convert him! We don't even know if the experiment will succeed. Spend £37m for an experiment. What if it don't work out? Let him join Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshire, Cazorla in midfield. That's a £37m luxury we can't afford. Strikers are not available in Jan. Period. Even proven strikers have trouble adapting & excel in PL. What makes you think that Wenger will not take a 2nd bite on Suarez, who is proven & worth every penny? Take Draxler £37m & perhaps another £13m to prise him away if necessary; provided Liverpool wanna play ball. Wouldn't you want that to happen? Or wait for some hidden talent to emerge during the WC.Come on guys,be a real supporter. If every supporter needs a trophy to prove their love for the club, then Everton, Southampton, Villa etc will be void of fans in their home games! I'm speaking as a fan from Singapore & I'm not even English!

  11. Anonymous

    Form over the last six league games:Man City – 6 wins – 18 pointsArsenal – 5 wins, 1 draw – 16 pointsChelsea – 5 wins, 1 draw – 16 pointsLiverpool – 3 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses – 10 pointsSo, other than Man City, Arsenal are in as good (or better) form as the others you've listed. In the last two seasons Arsenal have finished strongly after poor starts to the season. If your memory isn't good, ask a Spurs fan how well we've done in the run in.Man City will probably win the league, but with their resources it would be a disaster on an unprecedented scale if they didn't.It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

  12. Anonymous

    You're right and I apologize for being unclear. I don't mean to say that we should have been spending like City or Chelsea over the years. I meant that it seems foolish to balk at a player's price now when it's entirely likely the price will go up, now down. The penny-wise reference means that, in trying to wheedle Schalke's price down a bit but failing, we expose ourselves to having to pay a much higher price in the summer.As to Suarez, I've opposed him since the rumors first came out. Man, can he score, but he's a timebomb. That, and Liverpool would never sell to us as they likely see us as the top-four team they're most likely to overtake. I'm a real supporter, at least in my opinion. It's my belief that we need another striker, and I'm deeply disappointed that we didn't get one. I'm afraid that our best chance at winning the Prem in a decade has gotten quite a bit harder. On the other hand, we'll go into FFP very well positioned. The silver lining to not having splurged on a Draxler-level transfer means we don't face quite the same pressure as Chelsea or Man City to trim our rosters to avoid sanctions going forward. That's a bit of cold comfort at the moment, with the window having just shut, but it's something to look forward to.I still rate our chances of winning the Prem as very high–it's a three-time race, in my opinion, and we're in great shape. If we can just weather this rash of injuries…

  13. Anonymous

    Hey Jon, no apologies necessary. I really wish we'll win something this year. The years of in-fighting amongst fans yearning for silverware & demanding Wenger's head is really annoying. Fergie & Mourinho will protect their own reputation/legacy for selfish reason & spend the club's money to appease fans but Wenger bit the bullets & did whatever necessary to protect the club. The way he did his business – mid to long term plans. He obviously did work out the timings where he can spend & try to win something when other teams are at the weakest. In Jan, what can one do if all clubs refused to sell their successful strikers? The only one they're willing to sell is probably hopeless.I'm in the stock market & what every stock trader knows is TIMING & if the economic situation is ripe to buy or shortsell or even refrain from executing any orders till things are clearer. It's too bad that Mancs are too strong as this moment, I hope they'll collapse soon (though unlikely). If you're Wenger, how are you going to overcome Mancs & MU in a few weeks time..?It's better to build on what we have – encourage/transform Podolski/Carzola/Ozil into a more attacking role….than to hope for a newcomer to seamlessly fit into our team. Getting Karlstrom will allow for this to happen. When Ramsey, Wilshere & Walcott is ready, we'll be more than a handful for the opposition.


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