Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been under intense pressure, increasingly season by season across the nine years the Gunners went without silverware. Now, with that period behind them following their FA Cup win last weekend at Wembley, the club can now put their best foot forward.
More good news is surely in store for the Emirates faithful following the clubs new sponsorship deals, which alleviate the financial restraints they have been bound by over the same period. And rumours and reports now suggest the club will follow last September’s mouth-watering £42.4 million club record signing of Mesut Ozil with a big spend this summer.
While some reports suggest a figure of around £100 million, I would suspect the club would be more likely to spend somewhere between £50 million and £70 million, given the manager’s well-documented frugality in the transfer market.
However, what the club must ensure, regardless of their accounts come this September is that they bring in quality over quantity. The days of bringing in potential stars of the future, players will talent who are diamonds in the rough must now be behind them, the club have insisted they have the financial muscle to compete with the big spenders and now is their opportunity to prove their willingness to do so.
I am talking about the difference between bringing in, for example, Francis Jeffers (£8 million), Edu (£6 million), Pascal Cygan (£2.1 million), Philippe Senderos (£2.5 million), Emmanuel Eboue (£1 million), Nicklas Bendtner (£200,000), Aleksandre Hleb (£11.2 million), Alex Song (£1 million), Denilson (£3.4 million), Eduardo (£7.5 million), Lassana Diarra (£4 million), Mikael Silvestre (£750,000), Sebastian Squillaci (£4 million), Andre Santos (£6.2 million), Park Chu-Young (£3 million), Gervinho (£10.6 million), Nacho Monreal (£8.3 million) who combined have cost a total of £79.75 million across the years since the turn of the millennium and, instead, buying two players for a cost of £40 million each.
They could buy one player of that value, a striker for example, and then two players (perhaps a right-back and a centre-back) for £20 million each. They could bring in a goalkeeper to genuinely challenge Wojceich Szczesny for the No.1 spot rather than, for example, a free transfer from the Championship like Kasper Schmeichel.
There must be the audacity and the confidence in the transfer market to go out and chase a £40 million striker and force the deal through at all costs and offer the £200,000 a week in wages. The club have the money and, as they proved this season with the FA Cup win and the 127 days they spent at the top of the Premier League, they have a fantastic team and squad that just needs that world-class polish on it.
The Gunners could probably have Karim Benzema if they want him (just as they could have had his former teammate at Real Madrid, Gonzalo Higuain last summer) but they have to assert themselves over the market to get the deal over the line this time. Arsenal fans do not want to see second-rate players coming in and neither to their current squad, I’m sure and, ultimately, it will pay dividends in the end for Arsenal to buy quality over quantity.