The Frenchman and his chief executive Ivan Gazidis are in imminent danger of a mutiny from the fans, as they desperately struggle to steer the Gunners’ ship back towards title contention.
The fans are crying out for quality signings, but should the Arsenal boss be given more credit for the clear-out operation undertaken this summer. So far, the club has released Andrey Arshavin, Sebastien Squillaci, Denilson, Craig Eastmond, Kyle Ebecillio, Sanchez Watt, Jordan Wynter, and Jernade Meade, whilst moving on Andre Santos and Vito Mannone and loaning out Francis Coquelin and Johan Djourou.
That’s quite an overhaul – 12 players that were considered sub-standard or ineffectual have been offloaded from Arsenal’s books and sent packing elsewhere, with Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho expected to depart imminently, effectively getting rid of 15 players that have been draining resources and mediocritizing the standard of the pool for some years now.
Whilst the fans were expected big names to have been added to that pool by now, and are undoubtedly getting increasingly agitated and concerned at the seeming lack of urgency to bring new players in, should they be cutting the boss more slack given that Arsenal’s quite clearly been busy shaking off the fleas ?
Getting rid of underperforming players – whether first-team or reserve level – is no mean feat, especially when you consider the kinds of wages some of them were and are on at the Emirates.
It was clearly the priority to cull the herd and offload some of the deadwood before bringing in new additions to replace them, which would account for the apparent lack of activity in the transfer market so far.
If Arsenal have cut loose 15 players by mid-August, one would anticipate that if they put the same effort into bringing in even 7/8 new players by early-September, they’ll be in a healthy position to move forward.
The weight of the deadwood has been a burden for years, but free of that weight perhaps Arsenal can actually progress with their ‘ambitions’, about which the club has been so vocal about in recent months.
The problem is, of course, that undoing the mistakes of yesteryear is not going to be enough to change their fate; standing still remains the fastest way of moving backwards, especially when all around you others are cracking on.
Arsenal and Arsene Wenger now face a race against time to bring in new additions, and the talent pool has been diminished in the month they’ve spent ridding themselves of these non-performing players.
The next few weeks will be crucial to Arsenal's future – if they can exert themselves to bring in players in the same manner they did in getting rid of the deadwood, Arsenal will have a squad capable of competing; but if they don't, they will be completely unprepared for the new season. Again.