There’s a plan, isn’t there? We’re just little people and don’t grasp the complexities. Arsène is the Mayan chief, talking us through the wonders of the universe and explaining how things hold together. We’re minions; little yellow beings, beholden, wrapt in awe as he explains it all, to a chorus of, “oohs” and “aahs”.
The board asked him to explain his thinking. He put his arm around Ivan, wove a pattern across the skyline which dumbfounded the CEO in its complexities. The board quivered in the background, too scared to talk because they have nothing to say.
Stan on the other hand bought into Arsène’s plan straightaway. “Stan, I’ve got a great idea…”; the gold is safe in the Wenger edition of the Italian job. Kroenke sent a fleet of helicopters and rescued the bus. The bullion was loaded onto a ship and is now being used at Stan’s Texas ranch as sandbags against the advancing floodwaters.
That’s the plan.
The rest of it, we’re making up as we go along. Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelsea for £35m? Thank you very much for a player who was in the last year of his contract.
If the rationale for selling him was simply that, then I don’t really question it. I’m guessing the vibes weren’t good about him signing a new deal. Shoehorning Ox in at wing-back was a futile gesture of appeasement. If the result of this is Bellerin on the right and centre backs in the centre, is it a bad move for the club?
Meanwhile, Mathieu Debuchy – the only other specialist right back at the club – is offered to Brighton, as Wenger seeks to hasten their return to the Championship. Calum Chambers is the deputy right back, it appears.
Arsène Moves In Mysterious Ways
Well, he does. There’s no two ways about it. The logic which puts a player whose head is at Chelsea on the Anfield pitch and then relegates another to the Anfield bench because he’s thinking about Milan, baffles me. As does the sale of Shkodran Mustafi for around £15m less in cash than we paid. This, remember, is an inflated market and a player who we signed last summer.
This is where I hope we have a plan because we’ve been an utter shambles in the centre of our defence and with Mustafi missing two of those games, you can hardly pin the blame on him.
It’s shaping to be a busy week with Kieran Gibbs at the heart of a tug of love between Watford and West Brom, while Lucas Perez is heading to Deportivo. Selling Perez and Mustafi leaves a huge question mark over the scouting and recruitment team at the club.
As I write, reports break of the mathematical formula for Chilean strikers has been found: Alexis Sanchez = Raheem Sterling plus some money. Whether there is truth in this remains to be seen; Arsenal maintain that there were no serious bids for Sanchez this summer – now there is one.
A big decision must be taken. Do we consciously write this season off and rebuild or try for a top four finish with what we have? The latter seems unlikely with just Sterling added while the former begs the question, what the hell has been going on at the club?
To get the answer, we must resolve the manager’s future. Is he to be given more than this season and next to achieve the rebuild? If not, lose him now and let someone come in to sort out the mess.
What’s The Plan, Stan?
The danger is that Arsenal are heading into the same mediocrity in which Kroenke’s other investments dwell. We’re the most successful KSE enterprise on and off the pitch. None of Kroenke’s other clubs is as high-profile or financially successful. The Rams are a cash drain at present and Arsenal underpins his balance sheet. He isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Can he be bought out and who by? Will it be any better? It’s hard to envisage it being worse. What Wenger needs is pressure internally. He’s over-ruled the other directors so it’s down to Stan to change his tune. That won’t happen; Wenger doesn’t rock the boat. He doesn’t demand huge funds to spend while he obfuscates to such an extent that we’re all left baffled.
Numbed minds make great crowds; applauding on cue, cheering on demand. These are the crowds Kroenke wants. His sporting M.O. is simple: great facilities draw in the crowds irrespective of on-the-pitch performances. Not in English football it doesn’t, or at least, not in the long-term.
This is our reality TV show: The Great Arsenal Bake-off. We ordered a nice cream cake but the plate’s been dropped and now it’s passed off as an Eton Mess.