I had intended to write an amusing post about the manager down the road and his assertion that he is not a “wheeler-dealer” referencing Crouch, Defoe, Keane and a host of bankrupted clubs, but I find other matters more pressing this morning.
I am accustomed to Arsenal disappointing me in not buying stellar players, I have grown to accept Mr Wenger’s assessment of our playing staff and the areas that require improvement, I may not agree with his view but he has far more knowledge of his squad. However, the non-signing of a new GK upsets me because in my opinion it damages the potential of the club to win silverware.
Arsene indentified the problem early in summer by making an approach for Schwarzer. By doing so he publicly demonstrated his acceptance that Almunia is not good enough, a realisation that was reached by the fans 3 seasons ago. The football world now knows that Arsenal require a new GK and unsurprisingly our competitors refuse to allow their GK’s to move and strengthen our team. Why would they? So, if the deal depended upon Given going to Fulham, why could the Arsenal management not anticipate there could be difficulties? Where was the Plan B when Plan A was so full of risks? More to the point, where was Plan C? It would be naive to think transfers are simple processes – as Kelsey pointed out they are akin to the chain of a house purchase.
Furthermore, I cannot understand why Wenger made Schwarzer his target. Why not buy a 30 y.o. with sell on value? Are Given and Schwarzer the level of our ambitions as a replacement for Almunia? I accept London’s viewpoint that our new GK could well have been brought in as cover for Almunia, however, had this been the case why didn’t AW make it clear he had faith in his No.1, thereby saving face for all concerned?
Rasp wrote “I would have some respect for the decision if we were fast-tracking Mannone or Chesney”, which is a very good point and perhaps we will see this happen over the course of the season.
What really upsets me is that today Arsenal are diminished in the public eye. Without exception pundits and fans have accepted we need a more reliable GK and at last it appeared that our esteemed manager agreed, yet we go into the season in the same sorry state we ended last. Wenger made his intent clear with the approach and came out empty handed. We have been bullied by Fulham! Not Real Madrid not Barca nor Inter, but Fulham.
I fully respect Fulham’s intransigence and opposition to the demands of the player, as DanDan wrote “they have only done what we did with Cesc”.
The victim and victor in this sorry affair is Almunia. Having acted with respect and humility he deserves all our support throughout the season (or if we are lucky January), but evidence suggests it would be foolhardy to expect him to maintain the quality of his Blackburn performance.
That Arsenal and Arsene will continue to entertain and attempt to win silverware is without contention, whether they can do it with this goalkeeper is.