Aresnal are in a strange place since we signed Mesut Ozil in 2013. Gazidis claimed that Arsenal had the funds to rival Bayern and made us believe we would be a big club. Whilst I don’t trust the Arsenal Board all too much I genuinely believe that we have the money to easily become one. Various reportings always indicate that we are top 10 in revenue in the world, have one of the most (if not THE most) expensive season tickets in the world and a massive worldwide fan base, so we have the blue prints down. Many pundits used to believe that Arsenal were 2 or 3 players off a title but that was due to the financial burden of the Emirates and the selling off our best players. But like I said, since the beginning of 2013 that hasn’t been an excuse but the main reason this hasn’t happened is because of Wenger.
Arsene Wenger and is both a great club asset and a hinderanace at the same time. He has had such fantastic influence on Arsenal that our best players, Ozil and Sanchez, both joined because of him. Bellerin and Xhaka will tell you how Arsene makes them feel wanted by the club. His eye for finding hidden gems and promising youth is also incredible I mean just look at the list: Viera, Henry, Van Persia, Fabregas, Wilshere. Coquelin, Nasri, Clichy, Bellerin and Elneny just to name a few. However with the pros come the cons. Whilst I praise his scouting ability he has unearthed some false gems too, with the names like Eisfield, Miyachi, Gervinho and Sanogo to name a few. His biggest shortcoming however is his tactical naivety in games. In supposedly easier games the players morale is inconsistent, substitutions are happen 75 mins into the game and Arsenal seem totally disorganised and unaware they are on the pitch. His reluctance in the market also has caused us trouble in the past with several high profile moves being cut short due to his refusal to even try and meet the price asked (Suarez…say no more). The reasons above are why we aren’t a super club but the other option which Arsene has tried (yet for the most part failed) to implement is less fancy but a much more rewarding system, a self sufficent club. Various clubs like Ajax, Benfica, Sporting, Dynamo Zagreb, Santos, Schalke, Dortmund, Southampton and more have all built themselves off incredible scouting youth systems. I believe all these teams would be super clubs if they managed or manage to keep hold of their young talent products. Southampton have been spectacular at shaping young talent in the Premier League: Bale, Shearer, Lallana, Chambers, Shaw, Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlin, Ward-Prose, Simms, Walcott, Schniedlin…etc. Arsenal themselves have taken a few talents but they, along with others of our own, just haven’t panned out due to injures and inconsistencies. A important issue to consider though is the fact that at the top clubs it hard to implement young players nowadays, I mean look at Chelsea’s ‘second team’ of loan players, many are quality but won’t get a chance as Chelsea buy big and continue to sign more promising players than them. Do you risk a title to develop a world beater? Most clubs don’t take the risk. But when they pan out they become fan favourites and loyal to the club. Look at Man United’s old team with Fergie: Neville, Beckham, Scholes and Giggs all had strong loyal feelings (maybe less so Beckham) towards United staying for the majority of their successful careers. With Iwobi and Bellerin I see the start of a new generation of top class talent that will lead us to glory maybe someday and we must keep our faith in them to make sure they love the club in return.
Arsenal has the choice of being Super Club or Youth Development specialists. If I were in charge, I’d go with the latter. Arsenal’s team isn’t even in full gear yet, seriously look at all the players aged 23 to 26: Chamberlain, Ramsey, Elneny, Coquelin, Wilshere, Mustafi, Campbell, Xhaka and Welbeck. Add a bit of world class experience with Cech, Koscielny, Santi, Mesut and Alexis. If we, somehow, get that team to max potential we will have a solid team with a chance at titles, then get young talent like Iwobi, Bellerin (who’s already got his place really), Maitland-Niles, Bielik, Toral, Zelalem, Reine-Adelaide, Willock and more to challenge the staring line up. The only thing that must change is the search for hidden gems. Arsenal must buy the biggest and best young talents or improve the scouting network to the level of Chelsea, City and United.
Arsenal must make an identity for itself soon or else they will fall behind their rivals in the title race this and the rest to come because they know what they are.