POSTED: Thursday July 21st 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wenger's Arsenal Legacy Could Be Decided Before Harvest.
Pressure Mounts on Arsenal's Manager to Deliver Success.
As summer marches through its solstice and the days begin to shorten, most fans of The Beautiful Game slowly awaken from their football-less comas and afford themselves some muted enthusiasm at the languid procession that is the pre-season.
For Arsenal fans this tone of indifference is slightly less apparent; and rightly so.
One thing is certain, both Manchester clubs and Liverpool will be stronger by the time the Premier League season kicks off on the 13th of August than they were back in May. Chelsea and Spurs may spend late or maybe not at all. The Arsenal squad, who finished last season in fourth place, has shown precious little change to date with the exceptions of Gael Clichy leaving for Eastlands and a deal bringing in Gervinho from Lille completed. However, in the next month Wenger knows he will need to be at his astute best in the global transfer market if his team are to compete in a division that is strengthening near the top year on year, especially if certain expected departures come to fruition.
Club captain Cesc Fábregas will almost certainly leave to continue his already impressive career at his boyhood club, Barcelona. He will depart with the blessing of most fans and be remembered as a club legend not least for the mature and professional manner with which he's conducted himself this year amidst fierce media speculation and glacial pressure from the Catalan giants. Huge though his loss will be to the first team, plans will have been made for this eventuality. In Samir Nasri though lies an entirely different problem.
I try to be objective where I can, but as a fan I can't help but feel a degree of anger at this situation both at the player's impatience and greed and at the club's sloppy attempts to get a contract signed months ago.
With a single year remaining on his contract and a refusal to re-sign leaves Arsenal with an ultimatum; sell Nasri to a rival club now and try and replace him in a hyper-inflated marketplace, or refuse to do business and hope that a positive start to the season will convince the player to commit to a new deal before he can talk to other clubs in January.
Unhappy players often produce poor performances. On the other hand his best form could surface instantly if sold to United or City.
Whatever the resolution may be one thing will remain constant, Wenger must reinforce his squad within the next four weeks in defense, midfield, and attack. It seems likely he will do just that but whether the players he chooses have the quality and adaptability to make a much needed instant impact is another matter.
Fixtures away at Newcastle home against Liverpool and a trip to Old Trafford will sandwich the two-legged Champions League preliminary qualifying tie. Regardless of the potential opposition, failure to progress to the group stages would mark a step backwards so large that Wenger's footing would surely never recover.
And so the clock ticks for the Frenchman. The final days of this summer could either witness Wenger at his majestic best stepping out into the sun once again, or his final bow into the darkness of autumn before September even arrives.
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Organization: Arsenal Aether
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