Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wenger to spend £80m transfer war chest after Arsenal's Italian Job pt2

Morning Gooners.

So here we are, Wednesday, the day of our Champion League qualifier with Udinese a tie we lead in by a single goal and we go to Italy without conceding an away goal.

It's an important game. That is not in doubt. But we have every chance to progress even considering the players we've left at home. I'm glad that Arsene Wenger has won the right to be on the touchline for this one.

We've travelled to Italy without Jack Wilshere. He suffered a set back in training on Monday and will miss tonight's game as well as Sunday's trip to Old Trafford. He'll also miss England's games next month, but I'm obviously not concerned by that.

On top of Wilshere, we'll be without Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci, Kieran Gibbs and Abou Diaby.

Johan Djourou, Armand Traore and Tomas Rosicky have travelled following thier absence through injury, as have Alex Song and Gervinho who are serving domestic suspensions.

We traveled to Italy without Samir Nasri, after Arsenal accepted a £24m bid from Manchester City for the player. Personally, I can't believe we lucked out on this one. To receive such a huge fee for a player in the final ten months in his contract is extraordinary. We completely lucked out that the Middle Eastlanders weren't prepared to wait until next summer for him.

I always thought when Nasri was stalling on signing the deal Arsenal had offered him that he would be off instead of penning a new deal with us. There was something which wasn't quite right about why having agreed a deal verbally with the club that he would not sign the contract. Nasri wasn't honest with the club or the manager.

He made Wenger look stupid in front of the media when week after week last season the manager would be asked in his press conference about the Nasri deal and he would say the player would sign. We all know now he'd had his head turned by the huge wages on offer that City were dangling in his face.

And who can blame him? If I were offered twice the salary I am on, I don't think I would refuse. It's the way of the world. To be fair to Nasri, he would have seen out his final year at Arsenal had the club not sold him and on last Saturday's showing given everything for the team. But he was not honest about his intentions to the club or Wenger and that disappoints me.

The club believed the deal would be done when they verbally agreed it last autumn. But then Nasri was tapped up and not just by Manchester City. His team then tried to spin the story that the player wanted to be shown that Arsenal would spend serious money in the transfer market to prove their ambition and that Arsenal had failed to get the paperwork completed swiftly. All lies, because his mind had already been made up that he would not sign a contract extension with the club.

I'm not sad he's leaving. In fact I'm glad. At the present time Arsenal cannot afford to let a player who someone will pay £24m for now leave for free next summer. That money will help to strengthen out squad, at a time when the commercial deals the club are signing off won't generate the cash needed to make an impact in the transfer market.

Nasri has left us with some good memories. He scored some cracking goal and the purple patch he had for five months last season showed he could be a player we'll miss in the future. But I won't miss his inconsistency  nor his ability to go missing in games. When the going got tough and we needed someone to step up, Nasri wasn't the player who would fulfill that role.

With the cash now stacking up, it is time for the manager to reinvest it in the squad. That won't happen until after tonight's game. But if we want to face Manchester United with a team who can compete we have very little time until the Friday lunchtime deadline to have players registered with the Premier League  do these deals.

The outcome of tonight's match will also have some baring over whether we go for our primary or secondary targets. It will take some serious money to sign Eden Hazard and Yann M'Vila but that's not an issue considering the fees from Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri deals has yet to be spend and we've still got cash left over from the Adebayor and Toure deals. These players will want Champions League football and if we progress that's something we can offer them.

The quotes being used to bash Wenger this morning which were made in Kuala Lumpur by the Frenchman when he was hopeful that both Fabregas and Nasri would stay can be turned around.

Wenger said:
"Imagine the worst situation - we lose (Cesc) Fabregas and (Samir) Nasri - you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. 
"I believe for us it is important the message we give out. For example, you talk about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving. If you give that message out, you cannot pretend you are a big club."

I think we're still a big club. You don't play Champions League football for 14 seasons in a row or go to cup finals or fight for the league title if you're not. But we need to show ambition by signing the player who will strengthen our squad now and not player who have the potential to come good in a couple of seasons.

First we need to progress tonight and then begin the rebuilding. I'm glad the Fabregas and Nasri sagas are over but I'm even more pleased we got as much money as we possibly could for them. We can look to the future without worrying about their commitment to the club and team.

I'll post a team and betting preview later.

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