I got in to a debate on Twitter, as tends to be my way, after reading an article in the Independent. In fact, if I had to point to one single reason why I stopped blogging daily it would have to be Twitter. Sure, at the start, there was a woman, but she went away but Twitter didn’t. It gave me an outlet to vent somewhere I could talk and talk and talk about Arsenal and, in the end, it meant that when it came to writing a blog all that I had wanted to say had already been said and I couldn’t be arsed going over it again.
So after the Independent debate it struck me that this was the reason and I pulled myself from the debate. One of the good things about Twitter is how easy it is to interact with people, it is instant, unlike a blog. But, also unlike a blog, you have to condense your thoughts and can’t explain yourself properly.
Plus it’s *really* hard to do sarcasm or, at least, for people to get it on there.
Anyway, I digress, The Independent.
Here was a piece by James Lawton tearing in to Arsene Wenger for spending money on such a flawed character as Luis Suarez. He concluded the piece with the line
What’s it all about Arsène? The worry has to be that it is, if you forgive the expression, pure desperation.
I should have known what I was in for. Aside from Lawton’s reputation for being anti-Arsenal the piece started with an opening salvo which claimed that Arsene Wenger had lost attachment to his higher values, you know, those values which have seen him ridiculed for years as big named players left and Arsenal replaced them with young players.
But here’s the thing. Arsene hasn’t lost any values in trying to spend big on a player and it is certainly not desperation – it was always part of the plan.
The plan, the big move to the Emirates was always going to require some belt tightening but the property crash hit hard and belts moved in another notch. City and Chelsea brought in sugar daddies and the prices of footballers rocketed, none of that was in the Arsenal plan – but the ability to be able to be fully self-sustaining, to pay £40m or £50m on one single player from money they had earned, without landing the club in debt and risking its future, was always in the plan.
Sure, questions can be asked about the decision to sign Luis Suarez, the man who will win at all costs and has shown that he has absolutely no problem in doing whatever it takes to get what he wants, be that suing a club to be allowed to move on, biting an opponent to force a move or using abhorrent language to get under the skin of an opposition player. None of those facts are in doubt.
But as a person who despises Suarez even I cannot deny the man’s inherent ability to change a football game and while fans are rightly asking what this means for the club and how he will fit, what right do the press have to judge the morals of one of the world’s best coaches based on his decision to buy Suarez? Did they question Brendan Rodgers morals or Kenny Dalglish’s or did they simply ask ‘does the club know what they are doing?’
It is not desperate to want to buy Suarez. Who else is there out there in the ‘world-class’ bracket? Rooney? He wants to go to Chelsea. Ibrahimovic? He won’t come because Arsenal once asked him to go on trial and, as we know, Zlatan doesn’t do trials. Should we have paid well over the odds for Gonzalo Higuain? Who else is there the calibre of Suarez out there?
None of this says that we couldn’t find another way if we tried, of course we could. And it doesn’t negate the fact that I have real issues with us signing him, but if Arsene Wenger thinks he is a good fit for Arsenal, then who am I to argue? What good would it do anyway.
But to say that he is desperate? To say that a man who has operated on a shoestring budget for eight years to enable the club to get to this point has some sort of point to prove is simply ridiculous.
Should Arsenal buy Suarez and should they win a trophy this year you can bet your bottom dollar that papers will scream at us that Wenger was wrong all along and had to admit defeat by buying big.
Buying big was always part two of the plan. Only people who don’t understand part one can’t see that and by doing things the way he has Wenger has shown that he was right all along, that he could get Arsenal to a place where they were not only full self-supporting, but able to compete with the richest clubs in Europe.
The only desperation around at the minute is from certain journalists who see their tired and worn-out Wenger narrative in danger of getting torn to shreds.
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