30 May 2014

Arsène: he's like a new signing!

This is it. This is the season. Finally, with the silver-backed silverware monkey off of our backs, we can finally stop dwelling in the past and start preparing for the future. With news of a new contract for Arsène made official on Friday, it's time for him to put his freshly-minted money where his mouth is. Well, first correction: Silverbacks can only be gorillas, which are not monkeys, but the point remains. Second one: Arsène won't be putting any of his own money where his mouth is; it'll be the club's. Having sorted all that, it's time for Arsène "he's like a new signing" Wenger to make a few, new, actual signings, or his contract won't be worth the paper it's printed on. Unless they got the paper for free. And it's French. And they borrowed it from Ligue 2.

More seriously, Arsène's new contract, the glory of winning the FA Cup and slaying the 800-pound gorilla (362.874kg gorilla?) will amount to little if we can't build on it going forward. With news Łukasz Fabiański's move to Swansea officially confirmed, and with rumors of Bacary Sagna's move to Man City proceeding apace, we'll be all but forced to do some kind of business, if only to shore up those positions. Arsène has admitted as much, promising while hedging at the same time:
We know we have to… have a successful June and July, that's where you strengthen the team. It's very important that we are good now in the next two months until the end of August, that we can give to the team some more quality and go into next season with the belief we got from [the FA Cup] win...What I can promise is that we work very hard on a market that is very, very congested with many people who have a lot of money. But we have a big advantage, players want to join us and if we find the right quality I'm sure we can strengthen the team....The fact that the Financial Fair Play rule comes in hopefully will stop [the] craziness that happened on this [transfer] market. With these two [things] together, I think we can fight on a more even level than before.
There may enough loopholes in that statement to drive several trucks through, but at some level, even Arsène seems to acknowledge that we have to do some business. This isn't Gazidis talking. It's Arsène. Even through the media-filter, the cagey, wiley manager has admitted that he has to seize the momentum that the FA Cup win has generated and take advantage of the wiggle-room that FFP has created in order to add some quality. Then again, there are quite a few if's and other conditionals attached to the statement, so, in classic Arsènian fashion, it says quite a lot without saying much. It's a little bit...niggle, if I may say so.

After a season that offered so much promise, that flirted so flirtatiously with glory, only to snatch it away, only to once again claim it in another form, Gooners can hardly be blamed for feeling the hunger even more than ever before. Whereas Real Madrid might suffer la Decima with the bloated satiety of a Jabba the Hut-like torpor, our FA Cup win should have the effect of a Ritz cracker tossed to a starving man. In other words, whatever hunger or desire we've nursed over most of the last decade has only sharpened; it's been whetted against the grindstone until it's achieved a razor-thin edge.

With the World Cup but two weeks away (less, even), the time to do business is now. Sure, we may not be able to land the biggest names right off, but we must strike while the iron is hot. Aurier. Schweinsteiger. Welbeck. Further afield, Cavani. Di Maria. Casillas. Why not? Dare to dream. The past nine years or so have demanded that we exercise patience, judiciousness, calm. We've crossed a Rubicon of sorts, and there should be no turning back now.

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