Well, midnight has come and gone, and barely even a rumour around the club means that, for once, it seems there will be no late deadline day arrivals at Arsenal.
And that in itself will let the doom and gloom brigade have their fun, predicting bottom half finishes, empty seats, mounting debt, and everyone from Spurs to West Ham becoming a bigger force in English football. Unfortunately, with an international break going on, there can be no football to silence them.
Am I disappointed? Absolutely. In fact I’d go as far as to say that it’ll be almost impossible for us to win the league now. To do so would require a great deal of luck with regard to injury, luck that we have not had over the past few seasons. Our first team is as good as anyone’s, but we have potential in reserve rather than readied players, a fact that cost us last season.
Am I joining the ‘Wenger out’ brigade that blighted the comments section of the last entry here? Of course not. These fans are a cross between two evils – fickleness, and believers that real life is one big Football Manager simulation. In that world, we could fill the gaps in midfield with anyone we wanted, even ridiculous names like Gerrard (as one commenter suggested).
But this is the real world. Aston Villa refused to sell Barry to anyone, Liverpool first wanted far too much money for Alonso and then became reluctant to sell when their midfield depth was tested. Inler signed a new contract, and who else could come in and provide value for money? Wenger’s genius is that we don’t often know the name we want, just the line ‘the usual sort of cheap but excellent Wenger signing’. And some of those same people now want him out.
Wenger clearly could not find someone who a) wasn’t ridiculously overpriced, b) had the quality to make a difference this season, and c) had the mental attributes he looks for. The latter point is why we don’t sign mercenaries, the likes of Robinho, who is now chasing the easy money at Man City.
Also, consider this. The general reaction to the board’s words of ‘there is money to spend’ is ‘okay, so spend it’. But is it really worth spending 15m, even 10m, on a player who really isn’t what we’re looking for, only to find that the player you really want becomes available a year later, and you can’t afford him because you blew the kitty on mediocrity?
If this all seems like I’m seeing the world through rose tinted glasses, then don’t be fooled. The fact that we don’t appear to have signed anyone is a major blow. I know why it has happened, it is because the right player was not available, but it is a problem nonetheless. Perhaps not a surprise given how Clichy was talking up the existing squad earlier in the day, mindful that maybe it wouldn’t be strengthened, but I think if a league challenge was realistic, we needed more bodies.
Now our only hope is luck with injuries, and perhaps a boost in January. The thought of Cesc getting injured now doesn’t bear thinking about.
But please, enough of the knee jerk reactions. That goes for you too, Myles Palmer, with your typically sensationalist piece about how Man City will now remove Arsenal from the top four. They will be strong, no doubt, but it takes a lot to break that quadopoly. Just ask Spurs.
Remember – there is still an outstanding core of talent at the club. And they need our support.