Everybody’s entitled to their opinion and Stewart Robson, a former Arsenal midfielder, has shared his with the press. Robson, who played with the Gunners for six years and left in 1986, has come out and said that he doesn’t believe manager Arsene Wenger knows how to spend the club’s transfer money and won’t make any good signings this summer. He then backs up his words by citing examples of Wenger’s recent failures.
Robson makes his point and some fans will agree with him while others won’t. That’s simply the nature of football. But along with naming players he feels were bad signings, the former Gunner said some players such as Thomas Vermaelen and Andrei Arshavin have actually taken a step backwards while playing for Wenger. He added that the manager just doesn’t have the skill to spot world-class talent when he sees it any more.
Of course, in the past Wenger has made some astute signings, but his recent transfer record has been questionable. Managers can’t just sign players these days based on their names, the teams they play for, and their records. They have to be scouted extensively before they’re signed and there are several other factors that have to be taken into consideration. For instance, players need to be interviewed so you can learn about their loyalty, off-pitch habits and if they can adapt to a new country. You also need to study their past to determine if they’re injury prone on what their level of self confidence is etc. Some fans wonder if Wenger takes the time to do this and Robson is one of them.
The former player stated, “I am not expecting any marquee signings at Arsenal. There is a lot of talk about it, but I don’t know if I would trust Arsene Wenger with that money. Wenger doesn’t appear to want to sign the top-class players, or what other people would describe as top-class players. He goes out and says: ‘I can buy you cheaper players for a better price who are going to be world-class players in the future’, but that hasn’t been the case in the last few years.”
Robson then goes on to list some of the players Wenger signed over the last few years including Philippe Senderos, Marouane Chamakh, Denilson, Armand Traore, Nicklas Bendtner, Sebastien Squillaci, Carlos Vela, Andre Santos, Emmanuel Eboue, Lukasz Fabianski, Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young, Gervinho, and Nacho Monreal. It’s true that most of these players just don’t have what it takes to excel in the Premier League while somebody who does, such as Ryo Miyaichi, was sent out on loan.
Wenger did sign some good players over the last few years though such as Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, and of course Santi Cazorla, who’s recognized rightly so as the best of the bunch. It’s arguable though if any of these other than Cazorla, are actually elite world-class stars. Robson added that “Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski are past their best and Gervinho is another player who they spent a lot of money on and hasn’t really come to the fore.”
Arsenal’s bill for player wages is approximately £143 million, which represents about 61 per cent of the club’s total revenue. However, that will be reduced this summer since Denilson, Squillaci and Arshavin have now been released. Other players that could leave the Emirates before the transfer window closes in August could be Park, Chamakh, and Bendtner. These are all players Wenger brought in under high praise, but have been disappointments at Arsenal.
To make matters worse, when Wenger has signed some legitimate stars such as Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, and Cesc Fabregas etc they’ve all left the club in controversial fashion. There have now been rumblings from the likes of Koscielny that he’ll leave the club if Wenger doesn’t strengthen it during the current off season. With a rumoured 70 million pounds of transfer money in Wenger’s pockets it’ll be interesting to see exactly who joins the club before next season kicks off and what Stewart Robson has to say about the signings.