Make "Arsene knows" a clarion call again

The maxim “Arsene knows” has, in recent years, gone from being a unifying clarion call among Gooners to become an elemental point of division among fans, arousing passions and prompting what is at times churlish in-fighting within the supporting community. It is no coincidence that the course of this development has mirrored the leanest spell in terms of silverware since Wenger first arrived 12 years ago, or that this period has been characterised by the ascension first of Chavski and secondly the re-emergence of a trophy-winning Liverpool for the evolution of the “big four” has bred frustration, anxiety and even resentment. Now, with Citeh apparently able to challenge this elite grouping these sentiments seem to have only been further electrified, with concerned Gooners and anti-Arsenal sections of the media stoking what is becoming a hysterical and potentially non-productive atmosphere at the beginning of a season defined by Wenger as decisive.
Let me state my own position. I believe Wenger to be one of the most pioneering, innovative and talented managers to have graced modern football, who has had a transformative and radical impact not just on Arsenal Football Club but the English game in toto. He is our most successful manager, and he is revered in world football. However, I’m no paid-up member of the “Arsene knows” brigade, and have at times during the past couple of seasons become disillusioned at his stubborn and occasionally blinkered commitment to what he himself now calls his “project”. The principles of this project for me are sound and admirable – secure the club’s financial future through prudent management and ensure it possesses potentially rich football returns through the creation and development of a self-sufficient and self-generating youth-model. That said what has annoyed me has not been the absence of extravagant signings – the argument that Wenger doesn’t spend money doesn’t necessary stand up – so much as strange transfers (Silvestre), a lack of foresight (the Flamini and Gilberto departures in one summer) and confusing team selections (Arshavin in Chelsea semi). Also, while I think our manager commands our respect, I don’t like the notion that a figurative wall of sound exists around “the project” whereby any criticism is tantamount to betrayal or not supporting the club.
All of this therefore probably makes my present conviction all the more bizarre, and that is that far from sounding the death-bells of Arsenal’s imminent departure from the “big four” and chastising our manager, we actually perhaps need now more than ever to get fully behind him and the team. I don’t believe Greedybayor to be a major loss in terms of his profligacy, attitude and money he has provided us with and while I would be very sad to see the legend that is Kolo depart the guy is fetching us a very good return having not looked near his best since Sol left. If Fiorentina want to give us around £10 mil for Eboue then by all means, and if Senderos – a player much maligned but who I feel has been given somewhat of an unfair time – has suitors then he may as well go to. Why? Because a proper clearout is arguably long overdue, and whilst we don’t need the money in the sense that we’re in danger of going under, it makes sense according to our model to generate a sizeable transfer kitty by separating the wheat from the chaff.
What do we need then? Well, that’s a point of debate although I think all agree central midfield is an area which – if left unaddressed – will potentially jeopardise our top four status. So does “Arsene know” after all? Arsene is no fool and is fully aware that he is under pressure and scrutiny like never before. He is also aware that in addition to Citeh, there are major clubs such as Manure and AC Milan who are sitting on large wads of cash that they are able to burn at will, so timing is everything here. I cannot believe that he would potentially let Greedybayor, Kolo, Eboue and/or Senderos all go without plans ready to be set in motion – especially as he has already felt the wrath of the fans once this year. Until the transfer deadline passes let’s give the man the opportunity to do his work, ignore all this baiting from the media, and get behind the team that we all hold dear.

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