When I’ll ‘spend the money’, by Arsene Wenger


“Spend the Money! Spend the Money!” Arsenal away fans chanted at the end of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Leicester City, where the Gunners could count themselves lucky not to have given up at least one penalty.

After two games, Arsenal only has one point, and the fans appear to be upset with the lack of transfer activity. And so, rather than speaking about the players that played well or the actual match itself, manager Arsene Wenger sat through a post-match press conference answering for his team’s lack of transfer activity.

“‘Spend the money’ in itself is not the quality,” Wenger said in response to the chants. “Spend the money buying a top player, that is different, and we are ready to do that, you know. I just said, ‘I spend 300 million if I find the player, if I have the 300 million.’”

Wenger quickly added, “And I’m not to forget that we are a club that has 600 employees that we need to have a responsibility to them, as well.”

The comments will not be music to Gooners’ ears, of course. They don’t want to hear about the employees at the club, nor do they want to hear about only buying players of the right “quality,” which is seemingly Wenger’s favorite word to repeat whenever the topic arrives.

The fact that Wenger sat at a podium that read “Leicester City Football Club” made the comments sound even more absurd. Not to take anything away from the reigning champions of England, but Arsenal beat Leicester City twice during the Foxes’ championship campaign last season, and many North Londoners believe Arsenal missed its window to win a league title by failing to spend a season ago.

A year later, a 0-0 draw against Leicester City had fans belting the same tune, wondering if the club heard their voices at all or if they were simply being ignored. To make matters worse, Arsenal’s 0-0 came on the heels of Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United for a world-record fee and a masterclass performance that helped the Red Devils claim a 2-0 victory against Southampton and stay at the top of the table with two wins in two games.

Arsenal was fortunate to leave Leicester City with a point. (Omnisport)

Arsenal was fortunate to leave Leicester City with a point. (Omnisport)

So, are the fans wrong to ask Wenger to spend the money, to overpay for players?

“They are highly influenced by the media, and so that’s part of the process today,” Wenger said, trying to explain away why the fans vociferously expressed dissatisfaction. “We try to make the right decisions. It’s as simple as that.”

After two rounds and only one point, one finds it difficult to argue that the Gunners have made the right decisions over the summer. Of course, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud will return to fitness and have a positive impact on the squad, but the lack of spending over the summer has resulted in a slow start to the season. With Manchester United andManchester City racing out of the blocks, Arsenal’s title hopes could evaporate quicker than an ice cream cone on a sunny summer day.

“Unfortunately, nobody speaks about the performance of Rob Holding today,” Wenger said, attempting to scold the room full of English reporters. “You should be happy. He’s English. He’s 20 years old.”

Wenger added sarcastically, “But I’m sorry he didn’t cost 55 million, so he cannot be good.”

Yes, Holding played well. He deserves recognition, but the Gunners needed goals on Saturday, as much as they needed an experienced defender in their opening day defeat to Liverpool. Meanwhile, rumored target Alexandre Lacazette netted two goals a day earlier and already has five goals in his first two games of the season for Lyon.

“If we find players who can strengthen our team, we are not reluctant to spend the money,” Wenger insisted.

Seemingly, Arsenal was unable to find Lacazette or Gonzalo Higuain or the numerous other strikers that have passed the Gunners by. So, as much as Wenger may not enjoy the never-ending transfer talk, anything less than three points on a weekly basis will lead to complaints about lack of spending.

By not paying for players in the transfer market, Arsenal will continue to pay the price in the fan forums, in the papers, in the stands and, most importantly, in the league table.

Culled from http://sports.yahoo.com/news/wenger-responds-to-fans-chanting-spend-the-money-during-arsenal-match-213408880.html

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