Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWenger reacts quicker to player discontent - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Wenger reacts quicker to player discontent - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Wenger reacts quicker to player discontent

As with every summer of Arsenal transfer activity, pre-season has been marred by rumbling of a contract dispute involving a major player. Following on from the lead of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas before him in voicing their displeasure with a perceived lack of ambition in Arsene Wenger’s choice to use the Emirates coffers with frugality, this time round it is Robin Van Persie, scorer of 37 goals in his most recent season, to deny the Gunners his commitment to the cause as the Dutchman sees trophies and medals as a more attractive proposition.

It is from the example of Nasri and Fabregas that Van Persie will take the most heart, in that Nasri has claimed a Premier League winner’s medal while Fabregas has racked up four trophies with Barcelona in a single year while Van Persie’s most fertile goal-scoring season failed to end the wait for trophies at Arsenal that has spread seven years and counting. Some of the striker’s disillusion will come with the fact that Wenger is unwilling to match the financial muscle that Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea find easy to flex with ease, while Arsenal have landed Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski for a combined fee of £21 million, over double that has been spent at Stamford Bridge in landing Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Brazilian talent Oscar to build on their Champions League triumph, a feat that remains a mere pipe dream on the red side of North London.

That Manchester City have plucked four players from Wenger’s side since the arrival of Shiekh Mansour and his entourage is a great indication of the President to the Pauper like balance between the two teams who were separated by 19 points last season. Such a gap in competition understandably does not appeal to the pragmatist in Van Persie who wants to join the more affluent surroundings of a club like Manchester City who can afford to be without £25 million worth of Argentinean striking talent for half a season before calling upon him at the eleventh hour to help deliver a breakthrough Premier League trophy. Arsenal and Van Persie beat City in April of last season in a result suggestive enough of their potential, but the infuriation lies in the fact that Wenger remains stubborn against constant cries of investment to ensure it happens on a more consistent level.

It was only untapped 17 year old prospect Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Lille winger Gervinho and Monaco striker Park Chu-Young, hardly marquee signings to rival the £30 million shelled on Sergio Aguero, that Wenger bought in to the Emirates last summer before a transfer rush at the end of August, sparked by a demolition at Old Trafford, spared the French manager’s blushes somewhat. Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos and Yossi Benayoun were all shrewd pieces of business but they reeked of desperation, an admittance that Wenger had again got his summer of trade wrong, a fact more peculiar when it is considered that he lost two of his more integral talents before he was launched into a humble foray into the dregs of the transfer market.

Now with Van Persie staking his claim to head in the same direction as Nasri and Fabregas did last year, Wenger is taking drastic action to prevent a repeat of last August by launching into the market with early vigour to attract some of La Liga’s more available, yet more gifted talent in Malaga’s Santi Cazorla and Real Madrid’s almost forgotten Nuri Sahin in order to bolster a squad that is beginning to take shape with attacking versatility regardless of Van Persie’s eventual fate, should he decide to follow through on his desire to leave or be swayed by a new found optimism and renege on his contract wrangling. Jack Wilshere’s scheduled return for October, the premature emergence of Oxlade-Chamberlain and news of a tightened defence with the help of new assistant Steve Bould should be enough to sway even the most disillusioned Arsenal fan, or even Stan Kreonke after his vociferous boardroom discontent upon news of Van Persie’s choice, that Arsenal can claw back the gaping chasm that had developed between them and the two Manchester clubs.

If Wenger can enter the opening weekend with Spain’s skilful Cazorla on board alongside the cultured Sahin, joining with Podolski and Giroud who both bring vital top-level experience to the fore, then he will have proved that he is no longer the ponderous coach that had threatened to station Arsenal behind the progression of the English clubs who are exposed to more resources and he is now the reactionary manager. The Gunners and Wenger should be commended for their cautious approach to transfer business but a due paucity should not be synonymous to the most careful of bargaining and it is Wenger’s turn to show that he can indeed compete on the continent by signing clever and, unlike before, with time to spare.