Archive for May 26th, 2008

If stability is the key to success, United will be in pole position next season

Add comment May 26th, 2008

For years now, Arsene Wenger has underlined the importance of stability (google “arsene wenger stability” if you don’t believe me).  And Arsenal have, for the most part, matched that ideal.  We have kept the same manager, resisted takeover appraoches, remained in the top four Champions League places, and (for the most part) retained a similar squad season-to-season.

Going into next season, however, arguably only one of The Big Four could be said to be in a stable position: the current Champions, Manchester United.

Chelsea are undergoing another Russian Revolution, with the man who got them to within two finals and two points of a treble, Avram Grant, sacked.  He is likely to be followed through the revolving doors by Steve Clarke and Henk Ten Cate, whilst the futures of about half their playing staff are still up for debate: key personnel like Carvalho, Lampard, and Drogba could all be elsewhere come August.  Of course, Chelsea always have the money to replace anyone who goes, but the time it will take for them to settle in has to be accounted for.  Their relative success this season was down to the same core of players sticking around after Mourinho left.  This summer might prove an upheaval too far.

The problems with the ownership at Liverpool are well-documented, and leave Rafa Benitez in a heavily-undermined position.  Not only does he have to put up with constant rumours about the owners trying to replace him, but he does not know where to go in order to obtain the transfer funds he needs to improve the side.  Until DIC take over, further frustration awaits the Scousers.

And then, there’s us.  It’s remarkable really – a season in which we progress beyond all expectation, and suddenly it looks as if we might lose half our first-choice midfield.  It’s the equivalent of Mascherano and Kuyt upping sticks and leaving Liverpool (imagine a shoot-out between Kuyt and Hleb; it’d go on forever), or Essien and Joe Cole departing Chelsea.  On top of that, arseblogger has kindly informed us that Barcelona are reporedly trying to lure top goalscorer Emmanuel Adebayor to Spain.  Even if players who leave are replaced with superior talents, the flurry activity still goes strongly against Arsene’s principles of stability.  Indeed, he himself admits that foreign players often need a six-month settling in period.  How far might that set us back?  It’s impossible to guess.

And then, the bastards that are Manchester United.  Financially powerful enough to hang on to any player, and with the reputation and trophy cabinet to attract additional talent, all is looking well for them going into the new season.

Our hope has to be that stability is not the key to success.

That, of course, would make Arsene Wenger wrong.

Oh dear.  We’re screwed.

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