Buy or bye? Make or break? Wenger’s got it sorted, finally. (Originally on YAMA)

Posted on May 10, 2012


“Bye or buy” – the words on the lips of many Gooners at the end of this January, as we failed to add any significant improvements to the squad. Excluding Henry’s short-term loan deal, the only player we signed was 19-year-old Thomas Eisfeld from Borussia Dortmund. The fans knew the squad wasn’t good enough to push for silverware, yet I don’t think Wenger realised it. So, during a period of much frustration, part of our fan base ended up making Wenger’s summer plans for him: buy or bye. Either he leaves the club, or he stays, whilst acquiring players with the ability to significantly improve our squad.

It seems Le Professeur has opted for the unthinkable; he’s actually going to buy players. Even better, the ones we’ve been linked with. And no, that doesn’t mean a highly rated twelve year old from the suburbs of Paris; we, Arsenal, are actually signing established players.

The first official acquisition was of course, Lukas Podolski. That being said, rumours surfaced earlier this year suggesting we’d already signed Matias Suarez (24-year-old Argentine forward) and Lewis Holtby (21-year-old German midfielder), but I wouldn’t hold my breath, they seem to just be rumours. As we have mentioned in an earlier article, the second star signing Arsene has made is the much sought after Yann M’Villa, of Stade Rennais. I was afraid that the Podolski signing would be a bit like our loan deal for Thierry Henry, a smokescreen, something to keep the fans happy until the window shuts and we go back to realising that the team is not of the quality required to win trophies. But no, up popped the news of Yann M’Vila, and suddenly there’s a sense that we’re going to actually strengthen our squad this summer, instead of selling two of our best players and waiting until deadline day to sign anyone.

We all know that money was the main factor for $amir Nasri when he left earlier this season, but he did say his decision was partly down to Wenger’s lack of mobility in the transfer market, and to an extent, I concur. This is a situation we have to avoid, and I think Arsene is doing a pretty good job of doing so.

Are the signings of Podolski and M’Vila enough to “convince” Van Persie to sign a new contract? Who knows? I don’t think it’s solely down to making new signings early, but just to show that we’re attempting to get things done, to be dynamic and ambitious. This includes the reshuffling of the backroom staff and offloading the dead wood players – something Wenger tried to do in the summer with Squillaci but failed to do so. The main factor behind Van Persie staying is that his options are limited. Very few teams are actually interested in capturing his signature this summer, and they know that it will be very difficult to draw him away from Arsenal for two reasons. The first reason is that Robin and his family are very happy living in London and being involved in the Arsenal setup. The second reason is that he hasn’t actually expressed a desire to play anywhere else, unlike last season when a certain Spanish midfielder of whom I shall not name did so.

What Wenger has realised, finally(!), is that we need a lot of cover, due to our seemingly routine injuries throughout the season. Look at Arteta for example, without him we haven’t won a single league game this season, says a lot. On the other hand, one could argue that with Wilshere fit and Arteta injured, we could have kept our good form going – we’re bound to find out next season anyway.

A midfield three of Ramsey, Song and Rosicky does not seem to be working. Despite Rosicky’s best efforts on Saturday against Norwich, there was no creative spark and no solidity (I’m pointing my finger at Song for that one). As for Ramsey, I don’t know where to start. He’s a good player, but has been overworked this season and it has taken its toll. He’s been awful the past few games and it’s a shame because everyone gets on his back about it. I’ve managed to find one positive from Ramsey’s atrocious performances; at least it shows Mr Wenger that a great deal of cover is needed if we are to finally win some silverware next season.

I’ve praised Wenger’s transfer policy quite a bit so I’ll go back to a little bit of criticism. Olivier Giroud has revealed that he is in deep discussion with Bayern Munich over a potential move as they have reportedly activated his €13m release clause. Well isn’t that one to miss out on. Giroud is the sort of striker that would do well in the Premier League due to his unrivalled aerial presence. He’s also realised that you can shoot from range, which is something our current crop (bar Arteta and Van Persie) are yet to discover.

Thanks for reading, and don’t believe everything you read in the paper.