Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal were never in the race for Wilfried Zaha, but one must wonder whether the Crystal Palace stars' destination would have been any different even if the Frenchman was interested.
In truth, there was nothing other than January speculation to go off of, and with Theo Walcott committing and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continuing to bloom, Wenger's not short in that type of player.
It may or may not prove to be a lucky miss or a case of the "one that got away," but Wenger will never know as Sir Alex Ferguson looks set to clean the deal up in clinical fashion. (full story)
It's been a Ferguson trait—to differing effect—to snap the money men into gear to secure a signing he feels the club has to make, and Arsene Wenger used to do that too.
So as we enter the business end of the January transfer window, we sit here again, watching and waiting patiently for some movement from Le Professeur—who acknowledges the need for additions, but seems struck by a paralysis in executing them.
There really aren't enough excuses to cover sixth place in the Premier League with just nine wins from 22 games. Robin van Persie's exit clearly costs Arsenal but again, Wenger was docile in overseeing that inevitable departure and rebuilding a side capable of competing.
It's clear that this Arsenal side needs considerable strengthening despite whatever project Wenger and his dwindling band of loyalists claim to see.
You cannot argue with some of his more cerebral purchases, but you also cannot agree with his postulation of a false economy in today's transfer market.
Chelsea—never usually ones to be associated with a tactful transfer policy—have acquired Demba Ba, Oscar, Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses, Gary Cahill and Juan Mata for more than reasonable figures over the past 18 months, and all of those players could and would have done a job in this Arsenal side.
They are just a few of the many attainable options Wenger has passed up in recent years, and you have to wonder what side could have been turning out for the Gunners if opportunities had been realised.
Last summer's purchases of Podolski, Cazorla and Giroud have worked to a degree, but they were never adequate to countenance the loss of van Persie and close the gap on the top.
Previous to those, the Frenchman has a bit of explaining to do. The names Gervinho, Chamakh, Squillaci and Andre Santos are mistakes, and overall, not enough quality has been acquired.
In an interview at the weekend, Theo Walcott said he felt his Arsenal teammates lacked belief: "We've got some very, very good players here but I think players don't believe they are good enough at times." (Full story via The Guardian)
Yet the apparent lack of belief is no surprise, given most of them know they were signed because they were a cheaper alternative than someone better, who hadn't already signed for someone else.
Arsenal's deficiencies and limitations are regularly exposed and with it comes the realisation that they must act in the transfer market to rescue yet another deflated season.
The summer is too far away to re-plot, especially when now is the time to act. Nobody doubts the money is there, so where are the reinforcements?
Wenger often denotes a lack of decisiveness and authority in his team, but if he looks a little closer to home, he will see what's causing those effects.
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