Itís all about the number 10 now

By Ian Henry

Looks like a busy summer ahead?

Eight more league games and hopefully two more FA Cup games to come. Arsene Wenger needs to win all 10, or at worst win 9 and gain a face-saving draw against Man City next Saturday. Anything less than that and I believe he will walk away. Defeat against City and the bandwagon will start rolling; defeat at Goodison Park the week after and it will accelerate; the question is can Arsene Wenger keep hold of the reins. He hasnít signed his new contract, and despite the Arsenal hierarchy saying itís just a matter of time before he signs, I am not so sure.

Personally, I hope he walks away irrespective of the results between now and the end of the season, because if he signs for another three years we will have another three years of the same: a team which is possibly good enough for the top 4, but may not be good enough against a resurgent ManU and an improving Everton next year; a team which will probably get out of the CL group stage in second place and lose to a group winner; and a team with a lack of defensive structure, big match game plan and a weak collective mentality that is prone to collapse when away from home at the big teams. Had any other of the top teams lost 6-3, 5-1 and 6-0 at their rivals in the same season, the manager would go; not at Arsenal.

Managerial stability is all fine and good in theory; in practice at Arsenal the beneficiaries of such stability are Arsene Wenger and his bank account, and the Board who can avoid making a tough decision and having to spend money to compete properly. Arsene Wenger has done wonders for Arsenal; he has transformed the club in so many ways and his legacy will be very long lasting. For the record and for what it is worth, I am indeed very grateful, although that gratitude costs me a pretty penny every time I go to the ground.

However, Arsene Wenger is past his best and has been past his best for many years in my view. As the Chelsea and Liverpool games showed, he is being consistently out-thought tactically by younger more astute managers and he has presided over a decline in the quality of the squad in a manner which in any other walk of life would be regarded as a dereliction of duty. This squad is so far off the last title winning side, it is embarrassing. A fit Wilshere and a fit Ramsey, and maybe Cazorla would be good enough for the Invincibles squad but none of this team would have started in 2003-4.

Even if Ė and it is a big if Ė Arsenal can finish the season with a strong run in the league and an FA Cup win, I suspect the scale of what he needs to do with the squad in the summer will fill him with dread. He has regularly spoken about how it is difficult to integrate more than three players into the team over the summer, recently citing Spurs as a good example of the problems which flow from buying so many players. The problem is that Arsenal are likely to need to bring in as many as 10 new players this summer, with many of those simply required to maintain the disappointing status quo, never mind adding to squad.

Most people would agree the team is two or more likely three ďqualityĒ players away from being competitive; let us assume that those three are the mythical top striker, the mythical top defensive midfielder and the mythical top central defender. Letís assume that this is done (although knowing Arsenal of recent years it wonít), but that is just the start.

We will need two goalkeepers this summer as Fabianski will leave on a free and Viviano will depart without having made any impact; we will almost certainly need a new right back to replace Sagna; we will need another, fourth choice centre back (the mythical top defender will effectively replace Vermaelen who will leave). So thatís another four, to add to the three top quality players which we started with.

Podolski is also likely to depart, as is Giroud, so thatís another two (and please donít tell me that Gnabry and Sanogo are good enough). That gets us to nine new players. I reckon we also need a proper winger, bringing us to ten. I canít see Wenger bringing in even half that number. In which case, if he stays, it will be more of the same next year, only worse.

Win 10 games, sign 10 players. Job done. Simple.

24th March 2014 09:00:00


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Its up for grabs now  8:41am 24th Mar 2014

If Wenger remains in charge you can forget it, you must be smoking something if you can even seriously think that he would bring in all those players. He will maybe buy one or two, loan a couple in and promote internally. That is what he always does, and this leopard won't ever change his spots. Remember in his mind it will have been a very successful campaign, if we once again attain our imaginary fourth placed trophy! He will state he can't compete against the financial doping clubs, so in a strange way it would be funny to see Liverpool succeed, where he has so consistently failed. That then would blow another of his and the AKB's arguments out of the water, as it would be the ultimate proof even for the most die hard Wenger disciple that their is a common denominator in our failures - Wenger himself! An FA Cup win would only mask over this reality, as nice as it obviously would be to end our trophy drought. - Post No. 51111

WENGER OUT (thanks for the memories)  8:45am 24th Mar 2014

Thanks Ian, you echo my thoughts pretty much. For the record I will be sad when Wenger leaves, I like him as a person and whether you like it or not, he's been the face of this club I love for a long time. I will also be incredibly excited when he leaves because change will definitely occur, good or bad. It would seem that the writing is on the wall now, so there's no point in knocking him further, I will focus my remaining effort on willing us on to the FA cup. Thanks for all the good memories Wenger and almost as importantly the bad ones - with nothing but good memories you'd be little better than a ManUre glory hunter - Au Revoir! - Post No. 51112

Ramgun  8:48am 24th Mar 2014

On all known form, why do you think that Wenger will walk away from £25 million? As for Cazorla I wouldn't have that flat-track bully at any price. The fact that we need 10 players after all these years since 2004 means that the manager has not done his job and should go. It is as simple as that. - Post No. 51113

Arsenal Fan  10:31am 24th Mar 2014

Every summer we need players to replace the players who have left or not performing, but every summer Wenger falls short of bringing in the 2-3 players we need. Yes, we brought in Ozil last summer, but we also needed a quality DM who's not yellow card happy and quality striker. As hard working as Giroud can do at times, his finishing leaves a lot to be desired. I don't really know why the upcoming summer will be different with Wenger. It will only change if Wenger leaves. - Post No. 51123

Max Stirner  10:33am 24th Mar 2014

Wenger is mentally gone, tactically inept, stupidly arrogant, inanely stubborn, he has become a laughing stock, when Gary Neville says what a great manager he is look for the suppressed smirk. Lets be clear, Wenger has no credibility now, he's like an old boxer whose slow and punchy, retire now Arsene to avoid more serious pain. - Post No. 51124

Kerryman Gooner  11:10am 24th Mar 2014

We only need nine. Diaby will be back next season. - Post No. 51134

JAMIE  11:17am 24th Mar 2014

Liverpool have played a dozen less games than all the other top teams so they should have far more left in the tank. If Liverpool had played the same amount of games as the rest they would be about 5th. - Post No. 51136

Malaga Gooner  13:41pm 24th Mar 2014

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. (Albert Einstein) Ring any bells? - Post No. 51157

jjetplane  13:50pm 24th Mar 2014

MAX STIRNER you old anarchist you! Nicely said Ian and I think he needs to go sooner than later for his own good. Very frustrating that Arsenal as a club did not put the wheels in motion two years after Paddy put that penalty away. I feel sorry for him on the one hand but the other says that this man (earning that money!) has done little for the club over the last decade. For every good win or run of form from a player we have the traumatic dips in form and the incredible injury list which makes you wonder whether Jack, Ramsay and Walnutt have passed into Diabyland and there to dream football while earning excruiating amounts of Wonga-ga-ga ..... Only Swansea next ...... - Post No. 51158

Man United Killer  14:27pm 24th Mar 2014

"Arsene Wenger needs to win all 10, or at worst win 9 and gain a face-saving draw against Man City next Saturday. Anything less than that and I believe he will walk away." if only wishes were horses... *Wengers Arsenal-Never Contenders, Always Pretenders* - Post No. 51161

johnnyhawleylovinggooner  14:32pm 24th Mar 2014

That is ten players and a new manager! A new manager and a marquee forward would be a game changer-as long as it is a top rank manager that is proven at this level we can push on. I always thought AW expects too much from players and does not seem to see the need to help them when things go wrong.Frank Mac CLintock stated that none of the present players would get into any of AW previous winning teams and wondered why he stuck with them for so long.hard to argue with that yet I do not think the team is as bad as was AW who failed to have the team ready on Saturday and after his team talk been done for him it is really hard to take.I can only hope now we finish in top 4 and win FA cup and he goes with some pride,he deserves that at least. - Post No. 51162

Man United Killer  14:43pm 24th Mar 2014

I sincerley hope this is meant to be nothing but a tongue-in-cheek article.Believe it or not but the quality of the players we have is not main problem we have-granted that most of them aren't title-winning players.Our boring indirect,unincisive, no-end-result style of play is our primary problem.All fingers point to the manager-he is tactically clueless,shambolic in the transfer market and downright arrogant-Does it get any worse?One of the main reasons Liverpool (mostly average players as well) are doing so well is how direct their game is.They create lots of chances and they are able to tuck it away because they dont have donkeys for strikers. *Wengers Arsenal-Never Contenders, Always Pretenders* - Post No. 51164

Ian Henry  15:20pm 24th Mar 2014

For those of who you think I am smoking something, I am not; I know full well Wenger won't sign 10 players see the last but one line of the final full para in my post) but he would need to if stayed. For those who think I am writing tongue-in-cheek, well yes and no. The only tongue in cheek like is the last one. To be clear, I think Wenger should go irrespective of the results between now and the end of the season and I have thought the same for years. The new manager will however still need at least 10 players, 3-4 additions and 6-7 to replace those departing. Other than Gnabry there is no one remotely good enough in the reserves who can step up. - Post No. 51170

BADARSE  15:20pm 24th Mar 2014

Yeah Malaga Gooner, you keep saying that again, and again. As Leslie Phillips used to say, 'Ding! Dong!' - Post No. 51171

maguiresbridge gooner  18:01pm 24th Mar 2014

A busy summer ahead? not for wenger it won't, we've all been here before, forget what's needed it'll be two or three more of the same. The band wagon against OGL has started rolling Ian and not just after or because of our latest humiliation on Saturday, it's been rolling for quite a while and it's getting up steam (especially as OGL has employed a couple of good cart horses to pull it) as it's plain to see he's not up to the job any more whether some want to believe it or not, and winning the FA Cup is not going to change that. So i agree wholeheartedly that he walks regardless. Arsene has indeed done wonders for Arsenal and that can't or never will be denied and we're all grateful and always will be but the time has come for him to call it a day before the band wagon gets out of control. Good Article. - Post No. 51178

Westlower  18:09pm 24th Mar 2014

@Malaga Gooner, Albert Einstein, probably the best attacking midfielder ever seen in a Bayern Munich shirt. So much brainier than everybody else in the Bundesliga. The Sun newspaper reckons he's reputed to be a distant relative of Albert Wenger, grandfather of our Arsene. True or false? The Sun wouldn't make it up would they? E =mc2, that is true! - Post No. 51180

John Abrehart  18:13pm 24th Mar 2014

I agree with much of what you say Ian and the thing that depresses me is that we used to be a club that the game looked up to, we set standards and did things 'the Arsenal way'. Not any more, we have become a laughing stock and not just on the field of play. I refer to the Kalstromm debacle, the ineligible sub at BM, the raw kid as our striker against the Champions of Europe, who had not scored for the club at any level, the dismissals in the big games and the £1 over release offer for Suarez to mention a few. During transfer windows if it is mentioned in the press that we may be interested in a certain player, we seem to withdraw from the running as if it not the done thing to confront Arsenal in this way. Have we not possibly lost Mata, Hazard and Cahill this way? Such arrogance when compared to an earlier era when Arsene identified a target and David Dein quietly tied up the deal. It seems to be that the catalyst for our current demise was the 'night of the long knives' board meeting when DD and Nina were ousted. The old Etonian 'lock down' agreement ended and a sadly dying Danny Fiszman sold his shares to the Americans. The Americans started to run the club as a franchise and non-football people were put in charge of things they knew nothing about. Sad but true I think. - Post No. 51181

Red Member  18:15pm 24th Mar 2014

10 players!!!! Ha Ha Ha. Not going to happen - Post No. 51182

John  19:47pm 24th Mar 2014

Haha ! Another keyboard manager! Stop wasting your time writing your crap as it makes no sense.... - Post No. 51189

Bob  20:16pm 24th Mar 2014

10 players to enable us to compete with the very best is probably not that much of an exaggeration. At the very top level, it's about having a deep squad with 17-18 absolute quality players these days. Wenger has saddled us with a squad of players who, with few exceptions, are not of sufficient quality or character. That's why injuries to key players impact on us more than City, Chelsea or Liverpool. He needs to give way gracefully and enable someone with an appetite for assembling a team of quality winners to take the reins. - Post No. 51192

Jason B  0:04am 25th Mar 2014

Hah ha ha.If only. The man should've been sacked years ago.**** the stadium paying off bull****.Inspector Clue less needs to go . - Post No. 51208

Wengerballs  8:47am 25th Mar 2014

"Looks like a busy summer ahead", many seasons how have naive fans like you being saying that? - Post No. 51218

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