Whilst looking enviously on at those teams lucky enough to be in the Champions League semi finals, and of course being repulsed by the theatrics of the cheating/diving/referee harassment at the Bernabeu last week, one other thing cropped up in my mind.
Last summer the clamour for a quality goalie had led to suggestions that we replace one Manuel(Almunia) with another (Neuer) as well as other likely lads to go in goal for us, Stekelenburg, Given and Reina. Reina, it has since transpired, was the subject of a serious bid from us according to Bob Wilson, and not the much loved by tabloid hacks “an unnamed source within the club”.
While the Schalke keeper performed a sterling job in keeping the indigo (scabby) nosed Glaswegians mob to just two goals ahead last week his showing on Wednesday was less than stellar.
I’m sure we can all easily imagine at least two of the four goals being conceded by our Manuel and the outrage from our support would be no less vicious than it was after West Brom away, for example.
It raises the question of how much Neuer’s value has fallen after those high profile clangers and perhaps how we are better off sticking with a known quantity in Chesney.
It’s fair for the fan base to clamour for signings in areas of the pitch where we are thin on the gorund numbers wise and quality wise but what is apparent is that buying a player is not just like ordering an item off Amazon(other web-based retail sites are available) – you find someone you like, then “add to cart”.
Not only does he have to be available, he has to want to join us and his place in the squad must be clarified(first choice, back up or squad player) – I sense Wenger is the sort of man who would honour such promises made by a prospective signing so he may well be ham strung by this “inconvenient” ethic.
Somehow I feel N17’s tax dodger may not have such qualms about players arriving on false pretences…allegedly and IMHO.
After these considerations there is the sticky issue of valuation, which I will swerve around as the arguments for how much cash we do – or do not – have has been done to death and beyond.
What I also feel is that there is a touch of what I call “Other teams players” syndrome, whereby the good other teams players do is exaggerated and the worth of our present players is down played.
This is not to say squad complacency should be tolerated but the disproportionate praising of another teams player, who some Arsenal fans can’t help but feel are better BECAUSE they play for someone else, is what rankles.
A feverish summer of transfer speculation awaits and it may seem a tad premature to focus on this with three critical games left but I’m just imagining the flak that Neuer would have got had he performed for us as he did for Schalke and the slating our club would have got.
The red tops would, in their usual knee jerk fashion, have labelled our new keeper a dud and proclaimed our transfer strategy as proof of Wenger’s senility.