Transfer market perils, continuity and Wenger’s reasons not to buy Arsenal a striker

The number of column inches dedicated to football players potentially changing clubs depends on the publication you read, but there is no denying it – the soap opera of transfer rumblings is a pertinent part of modern football.

Fans dream of landing new high-profile stars to propel their respective team to glory, while plenty of media outlets will give supporters interested in hearsay, rumour and some small degree of fact the hit they crave on a daily basis.

Despite all the off-field hype of the transfer market and the endless chatter of potential moves, there is no denying that player recruitment plays a significant role in determining the success of modern-day teams.

At one time in the not-too distant past, it was the amount of money that was spent that would dictate success.

Examples of rich clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain immediately spring to mind, with these nouveau riche outfits splurging their way into silverware contention.

However, there is a fine line between buying results and excess leading to failure, which has sparked an argument dictating continuity in football as actually more important than expenditure.

No fan base has been more frustrated at their team’s transfer activity in recent years that those that regularly frequent the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have become the nearly-men of English football, with the Gunners supporters craving for the day that they will end the drought and once again become Premier League champions.

Since their last triumph in 2004 there have been a number of close calls, including this season, but issues over consistency and the insinuation that the team lacks leadership still remains.

Olivier GiroudThat said, there is no doubting the North London side’s star quality and on their day Arsenal play as attractive a brand of football as anyone in Europe – but long-lasting success has evaded them.

Gunners fans have called on their manager Arsène Wenger to turn to the club’s chequebook in a bid to increase their chances of a Premier League title.

Although a new commanding defender and certainly a dominant central midfielder have been on many of the Arsenal supporters’ agendas for some time, the club’s lack of a perceived world-class striker has been the biggest gripe.

Although Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck have all looked like the solution at various different times, the fact that Arsenal do not have a Sergio Agüero, Luis Suárez or Zlatan Ibrahimović leading the line is seem by many as the critical reason for the lack of recent silverware.

When quizzed (again) about the North London club’s plans for recruitment this summer, Wenger mused that the current trend for successful teams was not based around extreme expenditure – rather a collective ethos.

“If you look at the top three teams, you will see they have not changed their team a lot,” he said.

“We have to strengthen our squad but it’s not obvious to find the players despite the money the English clubs will have. We are already working but we have to find the players and that is not easy.”

Leicester City celebrateLeicester City look odds-on to complete a momentous title triumph with almost the same team that narrowly evaded relegation last season, with the low-key summer acquisitions of N’Golo Kanté, Shinji Okazaki and Christian Fuchs bolstering the Foxes ranks.

Tottenham sit second and are much improved, despite Toby Alderweireld, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min being the only new faces of note at the club over the last 12 months.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side are a far-cry from the Spurs outfit post-Gareth Bale, where over £100 million was splurged on a wealth of new players but the team was actually worse off as a result.

As such, Wenger has a point.

The French manager has an unlimited amount of trust and belief in the players that he does bring to the Emirates Stadium and thrives in helping them to improve.

It has worked for him in the past, with the former Monaco trainer turning the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry from also-rans into world beaters – and winning trophies in the process.

Given that football is a team game and the example of Leicester this term illustrates the point perfectly, having a group of able players that grow together and work for each other can be the recipe for success.

The temptation for a team to try and buy their way to success will always be there, but Wenger clearly believes that Arsenal’s close misses in recent campaigns will bear fruit in the long run as his current group of players improve as a unit.

Whether he sticks to the mantra this summer remains to be seen, while the Manchester clubs and Chelsea look set to try the complete opposite tactic and splurge hundreds of millions – finding a team ethos and work ethic afterwards will always be the key.

By

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City.

I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline

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