Did Wenger purposely adopt “Project Youth” or was it forced on him?

 

Stringfellow Hawke’s view

AW knew as a club we could not compete with a mere 38,500 capacity stadium, so he encouraged the step up to the Emirates, knowing full well that a few seasons of hands tied on transfer side would ensue, but the overall long-term gain for club was secure.

He agreed to this, confident in his ability to breed a younger, cheaper side and remain competitive.

He succeeded without any shadow of a doubt; I think some struggle with the concept that competitive does not always mean picking up silverware.

AW had hoped the silverware would come as well, but the advent of the chav billions could not have come at a worse time in our history and development.

In the 4 years at the Emirates, we have challenged twice for the title, had a Carling Cup final, and CL and FA cup semis. Not bad at all on the budget.

So in summing up, I think project youth was not entirely forced on him, but it became the almost impossible job due to the 100’s of millions the chavs, the yanks at utd and pool, and the enic crew at spuds have been chucking around since we moved house.

Thankfully, the worst of our reliance on project youth is over and we can now fully compete for big signings, and blend these in with the youth.

The greatest indictment of project youth has obviously been the lack silverware; yet, the conveyor belt of talent that has been established within the football academy is now respectfully talked about all over the world.

Add to that the odd genius (Wilshire anyone) that the academy will produce from time to time and now with the fruits of the Emirates enabling Wenger to go out and add a 30M player to the mix and football utopia is closer than we think my fellow Gooners.

London’s view

I don’t want to throw cold water on all that optimism especially as I like to think myself an optimist as well. But I do differ, not by much but significantly enough. For example, I don’t believe that Wenger had anything to do with the decision to move to the Emirates. To make my point quickly, I use the crass example that this would be like a manager of McDonalds telling the corporation where they should open the next shop, as hard working as the managers of McDonalds are they have nothing to do with the expansion of that business. Wenger equally would have had nothing to do with the relocation of the ground; those decisions are made exclusively by the board on behalf of the shareholders.

I am equally critical of Wenger’s actual involvement in the construction of the training ground; an accolade credited to him by the board for reason that his elevation suited them at the time. If my memory serves correctly the old training facilities burnt down, naturally Wenger would have been asked by the architects what he would like included in the new build, although, no more than that. But to suggest that Wenger walked in and told the board that he wanted a new training ground and somehow designed it himself simply does not ring true?

If you believe, as I do, that Wenger reluctantly accepted project youth then to my knowledge there can only be two reasons for this decision: firstly as SFH suggests above that he agreed with the board to work on a much tighter budget for the first few years of the new stadium. Or, secondly that it was forced upon him by the arrival of Abramovich.  Prior to this it is worth remembering that by today’s standards Wenger used to spend money like a drunken sailor or shore leave – the arrival of the Russian billions changed everything.

The Tevez deal in Manchester will be pointed to in years to come as the symbol of when financial power shifted from one side of town to the other. In our case people will look back at the Wright Phillips deal as the point when financial power shifted in London.

Wright Phillips: playing for City at the time started making noises about wanting to come to London; we showed our usual interest but Abramovich sensing an opportunity to make the point trebled his wages and doubled the signing fee, I exaggerate but not by much; the Russian had made it clear that there was a new financial heavy weight on the block.

David Dein said at the time that it was like having a Russian tank land in your front garden and start firing fifty pound notes. There was simply no point in going after the top players because if we showed an interest Chelsea would go after them just to prove a point in the same way as they did with Wright Phillips. Radical change was required to combat this onslaught – and Project youth was formed.

But once this was started it had to be seen to fruition so for example when Wenger said he didn’t want to crush Alex Song’s confidence by bringing in someone more experienced I for one completely understood and still agree.

With the kind of financial imbalance that remains since the Russian’s arrival it is a miracle to me that Wenger has done as well as he has. Project Youth has been designed to outlast Abramovich’s financial strong arm tactics and by the noises he is making now we may just have done that…….the worm is turning again and we are better placed than most.

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109 Responses to Did Wenger purposely adopt “Project Youth” or was it forced on him?

  1. London says:

    Morning All

    An early post especially for all those living in the time zone one hour ahead.

    A special thanks to SFH for being a good sport and allowing us to use one of his comments which inspired this post.

  2. brdgunner says:

    I think that the club told him he wouldn’t have the funds for a while sso he fastforward what he had already begun with the youth project.

    The youth project is not about this team of players, Cesc, Diaby, Theo et al. Its about the entire future of the club, and having a top and consistent youth set up.

    I believe so anyway.

  3. stonroy says:

    Hey Mate,
    Whatever argument you make, the performance against Wigan (being one of several this year) showed no heart, no character and no will to win. That has nothing to do with who you purchase, that is Wengers effect on the players and the discipline he instills.

  4. Tilt says:

    StringFellow Hawk: +1

    I think that Wenger accepted the challenge of running a club on a shoestring budget as a challenge. He knew very well what he was doing. And people think he is “cheap”, amazingly ignorant.

    After Barcelona won the league in -99 it took them 6 years to win the league again, during that time thay developed their academy that is now producing new world class players every year. I think that we are on the same path.

  5. London says:

    I thought we showed plenty of heart at Wigan, I seem to remember we were 2-0 up with 15 minutes to go, those 15 minutes highlighted our injury problems rather than a lack of heart. Do you think we would have conceded three goals with Fabrégas, Gallas, Vermaelen, Song and a completely fit Van Persie playing from the out set? Of course you don’t. Yes this is an excuse but what else are we going to do on a Saturday afternoon…..go to Tesco’s? I think not. I will be at the Emirates cheering the boys on.

  6. London says:

    Top comment Tilt

  7. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all you early birds, I have a little snippet of insider info on the spending power available in recent years. A couple of years ago I worked with Ken Friars brother-in-law and we had a chat in the kitchen about our AFC and transfers and he tellingly said something along the lines of “It’ll be tight for few years but after that things will be better.” Now of course he would talk to his wife’s brother about all manner of things so I’m guessing his comment was borne of such informal chats.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post, and really good to see opposing viewpoints expressed so clearly.

    I believe (and it this is not based on anything but intuition) that AW WAS involved int the decision making to move from Highbury, and in the design of the stadium. How else were the Board going to keep an ambitious and very in-demand manager?

    And what a carrot to stay – the chance to build a club from U-11’s to the first team. To create the training facilities to benefit the players, and to oversee the construction of a super-stadium.

    How could AW not stay?

    As to the Project Youth – which is a misnomer as AW has signed many players in the past 5 years – I believe it was a mixture of both Sfh and London’s viewpoints.

    BrD makes a good point – this project is about the long-term future of the club

  9. Big Raddy says:

    London. I had you as a Waitrose Swiss Cottage man :-)

  10. Alfa says:

    Chary, not too tight for Mr. Friar though…

    Good to see both points of view. I’m more with London on who pulls the strings financially. Of course AW believes in what he and the club are doing, but this is a business that could not afford to match the spending of others while keeping up the cash flows and profits.

  11. London says:

    Morning BR

    This is one of those situations when all views can only be based on intuition but hopefully the post makes people think a bit deeper about what you rightly call the misnomer entitled “Project Youth”.

  12. London says:

    BR

    The parking is a nightmare there ;)

  13. stonroy says:

    London it’s not about cheering the boys on, always have always will, but that final 15 minutes you have to admit was gutless. Doesn’t matter who it was, you wear the Arsenal shirt you must maintain certain standards.

  14. Rasputin says:

    Morning London,

    Congratulations to you and SH on a very well reasoned joint effort.

    I suppose they couldn’t have called it “Project tighten our belts but don’t tell anyone” :P

  15. charybdis1966 says:

    LOL Alfa, I’m sure he was referring to transfer spending ability! I’m pretty sure Wenger had a fairly major say in the design of the new training facility as well as Ashburton Grove)(I can, and never, will bring myself to call it the “E” word.”

  16. deep throat says:

    wilshEre

  17. London says:

    It’s funny how people come on and are critical about those that chose to be up beat about the future. I would understand if they were still in the depths of depression from Saturday’s game but I am not sure it is the case they seem to be affronted by other people’s optimism. Anyway if they are unhappy now I think there is going to be one almighty melt down after this weekend because I think we are going to get murdered by City. That’s up beat about next season lol

  18. London says:

    Stonroy

    I was as unhappy as I am sure you were about the final 15 minutes, I am only now just about capable of talking about it. If you are still suffering you have my understanding sympathy.

  19. Goonerman says:

    This is a very interesting post from a Lady on another board (well she calls herself a Lady anyway). An attempt to analyse Wenger’s approach and some comments on the impact of Ambramovich:

    ‘ I really think the whole mourinho abramovich affair deeply hurt Wenger. They completely altered his (the french) market and stole our targets from under our noses. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn they spied on our scouts, because some of those players we’d watched over 50 times (Cech, Essien, Drogba come to mind). And they played the most mind-numbing negative football. And it worked.

    This must have affected Wenger. He is incredibly principled and I’m sure he took it personally, because he then went extreme with the ‘entertaining football’ campaign (which ironically is what made abramovich sack mourinho), and the whole economic argument. Don’t be fooled though, part of that ‘anti outside investment’ philosophy is borne out of Wenger and Arsenal trying to prove a point.

    If you’ll allow me to try and explain, there is nothing inherently unethical about outside investment in football. It is often presented as an evil, ruining the market, destroying the long-term future of clubs. But we have a free-market economy, and if a wealthy owner wishes to support a business which is losing money, he is free to do so. It benefits the economy. It might even benefit the game, allowing previously unsuccessful clubs like Chelsea or Fulham to compete and alter the football landscape. I’m not arguing one way or the other. I am simply saying that Arsenal have made a point of preventing outside investment at the club, and Wenger certainly agrees with them. But it is not certain that they are right, and some Arsenal fans might sincerely disagree.

    As to the way we play, I think the idea that there are two competing philosophies of football, one negative and defensive, often physically aggressive, the other attacking and beautiful, can be misleading. Of course you have the classic dynamics of Brazil v Italy, Holland v Germany, La Liga v Serie A, but anyone with half an analytical brain will see that it is a question of balance.

    I think at that point, with the stadium on the way, Wenger started thinking about his own legacy. He probably thought Arsenal would be his great work, given the contract and his age, and I’m sure he reflected deeply on what he wanted to leave behind, as well as what was best for the club. His whole entertainment philosophy is actually potentially lucrative. It is marketing from the pitch up, an idea which Arsenal have been tragically slow to exploit, only recently creating positions in such areas at the behest of Gazidis. That aside, he clearly decided the argument one way.

    And so we saw an endless line of small but gifted, clever footballers, and not even a suspicion of negative tactics or bullying presences. To be the only one, the flag-bearer for a vision of football never seen before on these shores in the face of a wall of doubters takes huge self-esteem.

    And so it is linked to ego. That is not to say it must be bad, but simply that it is, in part, an exercise in vanity for Wenger. He has decided in his undoubted wisdom that this is the way Arsenal should play, and some fans will agree and others won’t. He and Arsenal go down in history as one of the few who tried to achieve something beautiful.The most tragic thing of all is that being vindicated is incredibly difficult. You basically have to win a major trophy before anyone will say it has ‘worked’, and as we all know football so often comes down simply to luck.

    In any case, I’m starting to feel that the reason that there is such fierce debate among Arsenal fans now is that these two big decisions, on how we play our football and how we run our club, were clearly made one way or the other, and stuck with despite criticism. There will be fans who fundamentally disagree with the course we took, and it explains why many die-hard fans of Arsenal have serious doubts about Arsene Wenger.

    As for me, as i meditate these ideas, what strikes me first is how pointless it all is. If you accept that assembling a great side always involves a balance between the two opposing philosophies, it becomes redundant to go too far in either direction. And I confess I fear we might have done just that. I am not an admirer of football. I don’t watch Arsenal to see art. I am a fan. I want to see Arsenal win every game. If they don’t, I’ll be in a terrible mood for days. ‘

  20. Rasputin says:

    Do we want to beat citeh and help totnum get a CL spot or do we want to earn a draw through a spirited performance and win our last two games secure in the knowledge that the spuds won’t be playing with the big boys next season?

  21. stonroy says:

    No I’m not suffering mate, because I wasn’t surprised. I love my Arsenal and that has nothing to do with optimism, optimism is the absence of calculated intelligence as far as I see (that’s not a dig at you by the way). Do I think we will be better next year? Yes! Do I think we will be champions ? No, unless the teams above are as poor as they were this year but I don’t think they will be.

  22. Alfa says:

    Rasp, I want to win.

    goonerman, thanks for that. Which site was it posted on, we ought to give them credit for such a thoughtful post.

  23. Rasputin says:

    Morning Goonerman and welcome,

    I have been going on about a ‘balanced side’ for a couple of years now. If we concentrate too much on a single conceptual style of football, we become predictable and vulnerable to those who practice the antithesis or in the case of Barca we will lose out to those who are just better at it currently.

    Skill on its own is great, but skill, blended with pace and power is the winning formula that epitomised the Invincible years.

  24. London says:

    Fair doos Stonroy

    Good to have you on the site.

  25. Morning all – quick pass though, going to be on a conference call for most of the morning but will be back to have some good natured debate later in the day.

    I note some very good comments this morning.

  26. Hus says:

    My problem with Wenger is not that he has not spent, is not project youth, but the fact that he does not know how to strike a balance in attack and defence.

    The reason we were so royaly F***ed by Utd and Chelski at home is because the team are so naive. Campbell has been our bet player in this recent run, what does that tell you. He should keep him on for another year and maybe bring in Keown too and teach the back 4 to play as a unit and teach players on our flanks to cover and track back.

    You could get the best defender around and put him into the current Wenger team and he will, regress because their is no communication. And don’t even get me started on the goalkeeping situation! If he buys a top keeper that is the first step as none of our defenders trust Clownmunia & Co.

    How many years do we have to see the same Goalkeeping errors, the same lofted ball down the middle which defenders allow to bounce, Clichy tripping on the ball or being exposed with no cover.

    Yes, we need to strenghten with 2/3 top players but primarily we need to tighten up as a unit too and also need to ship out players who do not understand how priveliged they are to be playing for our club. They may be nice lads but, Almunia, Fabianski, Eboue, Denilson and even the much improved Diaby&Bendtner are not good enough to play regularly for Arsenal.

    Send Eddie out on loan and Bring in a few experienced players along the spine, dont have to be worldbeaters, just experienced, strong, battlehardened pro’s who know how to win.

    As a gooner will end on a high, what a man Sol Campbell has proved to be, his strength and passion when he has played recently (and Pace against Bale and Rodellaga!!) have been inspiring…HE KNOWS what it is to play for THE Arsenal.

  27. James says:

    My article of why I think there’s something very deeply wrong with Arsenal

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/382494-theres-something-very-wrong-with-this-arsenal-side

  28. Alfa says:

    James/Andrew thanks for coming on.

    There is nothing deeply wrong with our side. There are a few players underperforming and some tactics to sort out. Isn’t that football?

    Essentially your article seems to be saying that the current team don’t have individuals of the quality and experience of Henry, Viera etc. Most Gooners would agree, whatever their views about Wenger, the club etc. How does that mean there is something deeply wrong? Any club in the world would want those players at their best.

    As for now, if you saw Henry come on against us at the Emirates, you should see why he won’t play for us again, with the greatest of respect to him. AW sold him at the right time and Guardiola didn’t bring him on against Inter for a good reason. Paddy we can judge this weekend but AW hasn’t been wrong before on letting players go.

  29. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Nice posts SFH & London

    I reckon you both make valid points as to how The Arsenal have arrived to this point in time.

    If Le Gaffer does spend, supporters from other clubs will be ducking for cover. May all Arsenal people let fly with 5 years of frustration in their general direction :twisted:

  30. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Nice posts SFH & London

    I reckon you both make valid points ss to how The Arsenal have arrived to this point in time.

    If Le Gaffer does spend, supporters from other clubs will be ducking for cover. May all Arsenal people let fly with 5 years of frustration in their general direction :twisted:

  31. I always find it very amusing when people kick off there blogs/posts/comments etc with the immortal words

    “i love arsene wenger, i am his number one fans.. but..”

    I get the same feeling as i do when i hear a racist or a homophobic person say “my best friends indian” or “one of my best mate’s is a gay”

  32. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Ras

    I hope spuds prevail in 4th. Coz CL footy could see them do a Leeds United. Sorry BR, I know you love your strong London Derby rivalry, but I’d like to see them suffer, slowly :lol:

  33. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    One of my best friends is a Tottenham supporter, what does that say SFH :)

  34. more than enough, gg9 ;)

  35. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Tottenham & CL footy will be like the dog chasing the car. Once he’s caught it he doesn’t know what to do.

  36. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    more than enough what?

  37. as it “says” more than enough

  38. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Point taken now

    Actually he lived in Spain for a while & is more Athletic Bilbao, who are probably the spain version of spuds anyway.

  39. Alfa says:

    SFH there is a difference in that disliking AWs current tactics is perfectly reasonable and consistent with liking him.

  40. andy says:

    Good article. I think it has to be true that financial constraints have forced AW to follow project youth and like any manager he would love the power to buy anyone from anywhere. I for one am glad we are not a mancity or chelsea and we dont just go out a buy a new collection of top names thus losing the team. However now we have the money i think that where we haven’t been making 1-2 top aquisitions each season like all good teams do, our plight has been highlighted and some of the stop-gap players who AW had to make-do with should and will be replaced. I think we need to have a one-off big summer spend on 3-5 quality players and then integrating the new breed of youth will be much easier.

  41. Livers says:

    Afternoon all, been away for a few days.. thank god ! It’s been a terrible time of late..

    I think Arsene’s nous in the transfer market is of players of a younger generation whom he feels can adapt. How many times has he bought big money signings that have gone wrong, Reyes, Wiltord to a certain degree, Jeffers et al. If it’s youth then “they will grow and mature” etc etc

    i’m not sure he’s comfortable in paying the big bucks

  42. andy says:

    Am i right in thinking that Jeffers and Richard Wright were at the time panic english buys in order to try to convince one of our stars at the time to stay. I cant remember who the player was though ?

  43. chippy says:

    I always find it very amusing when people kick off there blogs/posts/comments etc with the immortal words

    “i love arsene wenger, i am his number one fans.. but..”

    I get the same feeling as i do when i hear a racist or a homophobic person say “my best friends indian” or “one of my best mate’s is a gay”

    Thats a silly statement to make you can Love what Wengers done for this club but that dosent make him immune from his mistakes and what ever you think SFH he has made a couple of big ones over the last two seasons, We still havent gone anyway to solving our naive defending or the calamitys we have in goal and they have been apparent for 2-3 seasons and you cannot put that down to money,

  44. London says:

    Hi Livers good to have you back.

    You see, I reckon Wenger has no problem spending big bucks, it was the arrival of Abramovich forced him to take a different route.

  45. Chippy – he half solved the defence last summer… go back and read blogs from novemeber/decemeber last year

    when gooners were lauding gallas and vermalen to being the best defensive pair in the premierhsip.

    injury ravaged that partnership, clichy was out for 3 months aswell… only sagna remained a constant.

    to fix the problem fully this summer, he needs to buy more cover in that area.

    and buy in the age range of 22-29, sol aside, i dont like the idea of buying back up centre backs post 30.

    nobody likes to blame injuries, but they bulldozed out defence this year.

  46. London – a combination of having just moved to the emms, therefore having a lack of big funds to consistently battle chav for players, and the ridiculous money chavs were dishing out anyway… were the ingredients behind project youth.

    In reality, the mix our of views must surely be the correct underlying reason for project youth.

  47. I would love to see a full list of every wenger signing, along with the age of the player signed and fee paid, to fully understant where his strengths lie in buying players.

    I don’t fully subscribe to the view his big money signing dont work out.

    Reyes for me… was a wonderous talent, a blinding player who lit up the premier league with his talent… he just did not settle in the London.

    Did that make him a bad player?

  48. chippy says:

    Our defence is all over the place and has been for two seasons ill get the stats if you like weve conceded yet again far more goals than our nearest rivals and at times resemble a rag bag outfit at the back,

    You cannot overly blame Injuries Chelsea have been without Carvalho for most of the season coles been absent as much as Clichy Boswingas been out all season, For united Ferdinand and Vidic have played hardly a game together whilst Brown and O Shea have missed large chunks of the season,

    Some depth would defo help but weve got to become a whole lot more organised and that comes from the top,

  49. andy says:

    True about Reyes, and i dont think Wiltord was that bad either, just not very happy being played as a winger.

  50. chippy says:

    SFH,
    Reyes for me… was a wonderous talent, a blinding player who lit up the premier league with his talent… he just did not settle in the London.

    Couldnt Agree More on that remember watching him as a youngster for sevilla v Madrid tore them apart one night think they won 3-1 or 4-1,
    Dont think them ugly bastard brothers kicking him out of a game helped either he was never the same after that,

  51. Chippy – of course you can blame our injuries, against wigan we had our entire denfensive spine out of the team

    Gallas, Vermalen and Song in front of them.

    Our problem is the back-up to the first team is not good enough, the first team, fully fit for 38 games, would run away with the title.

  52. andy says:

    Is the reason our backup isn’t good enough because in many cases its our third team ? We seem to loan so many promising younsters out that when we have injuries we have to call on the kids. We have some very good lads out on loan who would make far better subs than we often have available to us.

  53. Big Raddy says:

    I too would be interested to see just how AW’s big money signings have worked out.

    Take out Jeffers and Wright and I think we would be pleasantly surprised at how good he is.

    Reyes did well considering he never truly adapted to the PL, and Wiltord, although not my favourite player scored many vital goals for us.

    Theo has to be a question mark ATM.

  54. London says:

    To me Reyes was a great potential that was never reached becasue he couldn’t settle in London. Apart from the Chelsea goal my memories are of him being on his backside whining to the referee or whoring himself around in a Real Madrid shirt. I do not have fond memories of him at all. A great shame, a great waste and the only person he has to blame is himself.

  55. chippy says:

    We seem to always be saying If Only tho dont we ;-)

    Cannot see how you can make that assumption when we havent beaten either Chelsea or United this season in fact we got walloped by both and if you look at the line ups from our match with United at home you will see they had far more injuries that day than us !

    Until we defend as a unit we wont win titles,

  56. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/jan/31/arsenal-manchester-united-player-ratings

    We missed RVP and they missed Ferdy and Vidic.

    Had bendy or RVP played in those games against utd and chavs, totally different ending imo.

    We had no outball, we passed it around in midfield, got to the final 3rd, and had nowhere to go.. lost it and let them counter us.

    I agree with the defending as a unit bit, undeniably true!

  57. andy says:

    Defending !!!! I’ve heard of it and seem to remember we used to be quite good at it at Highbury. Maybe there’s an old manual left there. Can someone go and av a look and give it to Arsene before August.

  58. BR – has the emailed to me… i am assuming it is in Danish… christ, it’s a harsh sounding language.

  59. AA23 defo out for the city game according to wenger, as are almunia and denilson.

    song may be back.

  60. Big Raddy says:

    In a nutshell SfH. Kessler says that this is his “Life’s fight” and he is back.

    Bookies don’t tend to agree with him!

    We need Song back. Hopefully Vela will get a start on the left.

  61. Livers says:

    Hmmm, glad I’ve started a debate about Reyes.. Yes he was a wondrous talent…. Was…

    Arsenal – Real – Athletico – Benfica – Athletico shows how much talent he used

  62. dandan says:

    Good Afternoon all.

    Great post String and London very neat idea.

    London I am removing my prize for chucking rocks in the lake and watching the ripples spread from Raddy, who has held it for some time and awarding it to you for your classic ripple post today.well done LOL

    Good to see you back Livers.

    AS for our defence were we able to resign Gallas which begins to look doubtful and providing J Djourou, Gibbs and Traore are fit with a resurgent Sol also on the books I see no need to sign more than one defender. If Galas doesn’t make it then an additional FB/CB utility player would also be handy.

    To me and I think most Gooners it is our Kamikaze Goal keeping first introduced by mad Lens that is the big problem, Lets hope Sebastian Frey does sign his experience would be priceless

    Our new french forward is by all accounts a whizz in the air, so Woolcott and Clichy will have more options than just the killer pass through the crowd to feet in the box, Bendy can also cross a ball so expect to see him wide more often if RVP is fit although I suspect AW will nurse him, if god willing he comes back from the world cup in one piece.

    A older CM capable of standing in for song would also be handy, we will get the Arron bonus later on in the season, Plus LJ to play ball with Cesc. So a max of three players and you can get your silver polish out and get ready to bow before the open top buses at season end,

    Half a million of us they reckon were there in 72 to Welcome the boys home hope you lot can do better.

  63. I too put Seb Frey at number 1 on the list of keepers i would lilke us to sign.

    Lloris is a phenomenal shot stopper, but his slight frame could quite easily be bullied in the box on set-pieces in the premiership, he showed this last night.

    We need a keeper who is not just a shot stopper, but one who can command his box, his defenders and excel in the collection of balls into the box.

    Frey is the ideal candidate, and is about to turn 30.

    So the perfect age for a goalie aswell.

    Being french and very well kwown to the boss will help.

  64. Reyes – has won trophies and helped use his obvious talents to bolster every team he has played for.

    At Seville, he helped them win the second division.

    At Arsenal, he was instrumental in the invincible season, scoring quite a few important goals en route to the league title.

    At Real Madrid, again he was very important in giving RM the impetus to the win the spanish title.

    At Benfica he won the league cup.

    Now at Atletico, i am sure he will help them win the uefa cup, super side, who should beat a poor liverpool side over 2 legs, starting tonight.

    No manager has been able to stop his nomadic ways, but he has been an asset wherever he has played.. and won plenty of medal along the way.

  65. London says:

    Rayes may have done all those things at other clubs but at Arsenal (the one and only club that counts for me) he wasted his talent. He whined and complained about how hard this tackle was or how hard that tackle was and in the end he ran back to Spain with his tail between his legs. Such a shame, he could have been our Ronaldo instead he let his talent slip and that cost us points. If we had had a more dedicated player we might have won the CL. Henry was not wrong for being pissed off with him.

  66. Henry was pissed off with him for the racism thing with aragones.

    But then TH14 was a prima donna who wanted to be centre stage all the time, he hated reyes from day dot, his body language told you that, he could see JAR had it in him to upstage him.

    Check the RVP goal out on utube, the blockbuster volley at charlton, i was in the stand that day and clearly remember thinking “wow, henrys looks mighty pissed off with rvo for scoring that goal”

    utube backs that up.

  67. London says:

    I was also behind the goal that day……a marvalous goal from the Boy Wonder. Do you remember who sent in the cross?

    We will have to agree to disagree on the Reyes thing I have an irrational dislike of him for many reason but above all for wearing Real Madrid’s colours while still being an Arsenal player.

  68. oh absolutely, he was a disgrace for that real madrid stuff, no doubt about it, and of course he could have done so much better for us.

    but i cannot class him as the complete failure signing many do, he should not be on the same list as jeffers, wright et al.

    he did at least achieve something during that invincible season.

    he was on total fire aswell when 04/05 started, he was scoring almost a goal a game for the first 12 or so games, but as somebdoy mentioned earlier, that dark day at OT killed our undefeated record and JAR.

  69. btw, how many times have you guys/gal on AA been spammed by that “just broke up with my girlfriend and took pictures of her” :lol:

    i get hit with it about 4 or 5 times a day!

  70. Reyes starts for Atletico against Pool.

  71. dandan says:

    String. What do you know about Rene Adler

  72. not seen this guy play, dandan

    i read the stuff in the mail this morning about us making an offer for him… bit out of leftfield.

    honestly, if we are going to pay bucks for a keeper, i am sure frey will be top of wenger’s list

    we almost had him before he went to italy a few years back, but took lehman instead.

    be gutted if we passed the frenchman up for another german.

  73. London says:

    SFH

    Ahh, I see what you mean, regardless of the fact that he obvously is not my favourite player, I agree, he certainly doesn’t belong on the failure list.

  74. dandan says:

    Evening london are you well

  75. GhostFace says:

    Did Wenger purposely adopt project youth or was it forced?

    By all accounts seems you are both saying the same thing but for different reasons.

    SFH – forced because of dept (no surprise there)

    London – Forced because of Russian muscles.

    It baffles me that we believe that Wenger can or will spend money to get a 30m player.

    I doubt he values anyone at 30m. If pele was available for 35m Wenger would bid 10m.

    Our transfer record says so. Our russian smashed the record and it wasnt even above 15m…

    While I agree to an extent the dept and the spending power of the Russian gave us a uncompetitive advantage to sign world Class players I believe that Arsene also shorthands himself with the penny pinching.

    For instance look no further than Sol Campbell..when it is clear that we couldve got a long term CB replacement.

    SWP might be one example in many but a player like Anelka wouldve chosen to come to us instead of the Chavs and I doubt he is happy there at all.

    Penny pinching has cost us World Class players like Xabi Alonso and Ronaldo to name a few…we couldve had Riberry as well before the 2006 World cup…but decided Rosicky and Hleb were better than that option.

    In the end…whether project youth was forced or not We didnt necessarily have to dismantle the invincibles with the speed at which it was dismantled and some of the true legends like Bobby P wouldve stayed even at a cut price.

    I disagree it was forced.

    Besides it is not the first time Arsene Wenger has embarked on a project youth before.

  76. dandan says:

    I am with you SH, Frey is the man

  77. GhostFace says:

    As ive said…

    And continue to say.

    Money or not.

    It has no bearing whatsoever with our defensive shortcomings.

    The squad is good enough. But the coaching isnt. And by that I mean defensive coaching.

  78. Gf – the alonso stuff was more gutter press crap.

    liverpool would have sold him to us, had the barry deal not fallen through.. but it did, so they kept him.

    all this myles palmer rubbish about 500 grand costing us his signing makes me laugh.

  79. GF – before the injuries to gallas, clichy and vermalen, throughout periods of the season, they were a solid quartet with sagna.

    they helped us to the top of the table in the early part of the season.

    since the injuries to those key defensive players, we have had issues… so i would argue the “squad” is NOT good enough on the defensive front.

  80. GhostFace says:

    I agree it is not clear what went on about the Alonso transfer but what we know is that we werent going to smash our transfer record to sign him.

    Benitez was desperate to get Barry and it was clear he wanted to offload Alonso so an extra 3-4m wouldve tempted him more than we think!

    I am not a fan of myles Palmer…he sounds like an idiot.

  81. Alonso with Cesc would have been a dream premierhsip midfield.

  82. GhostFace says:

    SFH

    How many times has AW come and said we gave away cheap goals with our starting back 5?

    We gave away cheap goals when we lost to City…the defending was shameful…cheap goals to West Ham…cheap goals to Utd at home…with our starting back 5.

  83. We did, but i think there is not a chance in hell a back four of sagna, gallas, vermy, clichy and song sitting in front.. would have let in 3 goals inside 10 mins to wigan.

    We are in desperate need of real cover for our back 5, and a keeper is a must.

    Maybe, if we had a more confident keeper in between the sticks on sunday.. the defenders would have player more confidently?

    I cannot savage fabianski, as i honestly rate him, certainly more than almunia, but his confidence is in bits and has been since wembley last year.

    He will start against city this weekend, and could easily produce match winnning saves.

  84. GhostFace says:

    Absolutely agree our starting back 5 wouldnt have conceded 3 against Wigan…Almunia has dropped some clangers but not any where close to Fabianski.

    Honestly i hate to keep disagreeing with you but i dont see how you rate Fabianski.

    He’s been absolutely terrible since the FA cup semifinal against Chelsea last year.

  85. lol, not many understand why i rate him… i think it stems from his display against newcastle in the cc about 3 seasons ago… honestly… he made a double save that night, that had me and all the fellow gooners around me in the south upper… gasping in disbelief

    i will try and find on youtube, but it was a superhuman double save… that took real talent, i can see he has it in him, but his confidence is blown apart, if he gets that back, he is a proper goalie.

  86. GhostFace says:

    there was a double save that was World Class he made against Wigan in CC?

    Could that be why Wenger was comfortable selecting him?

    He made a double save at Wigan and it was jaw dropping but there are some basics that he consistently gets wrong like he keeps getting beat as his near post.

    Look at the goals against at the 4-4 with liverpool last year…maybe im a bit harsh in my criticism for such a young keeper but when Anelka scored from 30 yards out that beat him at his near post again…i couldnt stop shaking my head in disbelief.

  87. yes, you are right wigan not newcastle.

    i think wenger would select him for more than just one double save.. he must see plenty of saves like that in training.

  88. i really hope for arsenal, for fabianski and for us.. the lad does not drop another clanger on saturday.

    that would finish him right off at arsenal.

  89. for me, at the moment fabianski is like TH14 when he first came to arsenal, he kept hitting the corner flag.. but then it clicked and his confidence went through the roof.. the performances followed.

    i just hope fab2 can pull a 90 minute game with no clangers, a clean sheet and some super saves.

    then we might see what he is really made of.

  90. London says:

    SFH

    Your comparison of Fabianski with Henry when he first arrived is so admirable, I can’t help but smile.

    Ghost Face

    To have a better understanding of what I think read this.

    http://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/arshavin-cost-80p/

  91. London says:

    Oh and good evening DanDan I have only just seen your welcome.

  92. GhostFace says:

    Ive just read the article interesting Article.

    Youre absolutely right.

    Nobody wanted to pay more than 12m for Arshavin.

    And it makes sense because he was in the final year of his contract.
    ————————————————

    Barcelona had bid for Arshavin right after the Euros which unsettled the player completely.

    The 28-year-old idolised Barca as a child and came close to clinching a dream move to the Nou Camp last year.
    The move stalled when Arshavin starred at Euro 2008, where Russia finished third, and the Catalans refused to up their £12million bid.
    ‘When the transfer collapsed, of course I was upset,’ he said. ‘But then I took it as fact. It was fate.
    ‘And of course I moved to Arsenal. I think my current club are the second most entertaining in modern football. It was well worth it.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1222116/Andrey-Arshavin-Id-loved-Spurs–Arsenal-second-best-Barcelona.html#ixzz0lrimAdT2
    ———————————————-

    Barca where after him, City was in there as well, And something about Spurs but there are no complaints about the process.

    To my knowledge we are the only ones that were in for Alonso and we didnt pay the asking price. Because there was an asking price.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    Morning.

    Should Arshavin leave in summer, would his signing be considered a success?

  94. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    No

    But while on the subject of signings & in view of these posts, Arsene Wenger could have/should have signed Mark Schwarzer. He was cheap @ the time & IMO now one of the best stoppers going about.

  95. London says:

    Morning BR

    Arshavin helped us secure forth place last season so in my opinion he has been a success even if he leaves this summer. Where would he go that is better than Arsenal? There are only two places that still seem to be deemed to be better than THOF and they are Barça and Real, well he certainly is not good enough to get in the Catalan team and I am not really sure he is likely to be wanted by Real. So that being the case I can’t see him going anywhere this summer although I can see Rosicky leaving us before the start of next season.

  96. London says:

    Morning GG

    Schwarzer was good last night but he is a classic hindsight choice. We all get everything right using that magic wand.

  97. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Evening London

    Very true re the 4th spot last year & hindsight, but its gambles & the eye for a Schwarzer pick up that make great managers. He should have got him, he has been great for years. But now its too late coz he is 38 years old ;)

  98. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    100 up (slow clap from the members enclosure)

  99. London says:

    Ghost Face

    I don’t know if you are around but anyway. Your post at 10:09 is interesting but loses all credibility when you say there was an asking price for Alonso…..you simply do not know this — you don’t — so please do not try and say you do. That being established I have to ask myself why would you chose to pick that stick up and beat Arsenal with it……..very strange behaviour for a supporter to want to beat his own club don’t you think?

  100. London says:

    Morning again GG

    Schwarzer is 38? Bloody hell I didn’t realise that; he played his socks of last night.

  101. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I’d like to see Fulham win that comp for محمد عبد المنعم فايد He seems to be such a gentleman.

  102. London says:

    Now that is just plain showing off GG

  103. Big Raddy says:

    lol ” Slow clap for the members stand.”

    I agree about Arshavin. Though he may well like to play in Italy. AC like an ex-AFC player.

    There is much talked about the Alonso transfer, but as far as I can see, we could not have influenced the deal. MoN’s intransigence over the Barry sale precluded any deal with L’pool. I do not believe that an extra 2/3 mill would have sweetened the sale.

    I would like to hear MøN’s private opinion of Barry

  104. London says:

    An “O” with a line through it……how does that work ;)

  105. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  106. Livers says:

    SFH – On the Reyes thing. He wasn’t instrumental in the unbeaten year at all.

    He scored 2 goals both of which were after we’d won the league already. Away at Pompey and Fulham.

    The point being, when he’s been at a big club he’s soon gone

  107. [...] Did Wenger purposely adopt “Project Youth” &#111&#114&#32was it forced on him … [...]

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