Arsenal Need 'Experience' Not Just 'Youth'

The transfer window came at the right time for the Gunners this summer. After tailing off completely toward the end of the season with Arsenal ending their season in shambles, the Arsenal fans needed something positive to immerse their minds in. That is exactly what the transfer window should provide them. Arsenal, like several other top teams, have been linked with several players ranging from different leagues and the fans have been immersed in the whirlwind of speculation the transfer window brings.

While Liverpool have already made a big money signing by capturing Jordan Henderson from Sunderland and with Manchester United looking poised to seal deals for Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David de Gea, Arsenal have been fairly inactive in the window as of now with Charlton youngster Carl Jenkinson the only major signing of the transfer window so far. With Arsene Wenger promising a busy and active summer transfer period the rumor mill has been in overdrive with several players being linked with the Gunners. Some of these include Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill and Gervinho, just to name a few.

After announcing the signing of Jenkinson, Wenger has come under criticism for signing another youngster, when many felt that they required an experienced player and not another unproven signing. These people have questioned the logic behind signing another youngster when the pressing need for Arsenal was signing some experienced players who would add quality and at the same time provide some steel and spine to the Arsenal team that has looked lost in tough situations.

The critics who have criticized Wenger for signing youngsters couldn’t have been more off the mark. There is definitely no doubt that Wenger needs to dip into the cash reserves if the Gunners are to challenge for trophies next season, let alone win it. There have been defensive lapses at crucial junctures with the Gunners’ inability to deal with set-pieces an obvious flaw.

There have also been several instances when Arsenal’s attack has let them down this season. All these areas require attention no doubt, but signing youngsters do no harm but can instead ensure a bright future for the club in the long run, be it is under Wenger or any other manager. Signing youngsters will do the Gunners no harm as long as Wenger does not see them as the solution for Arsenal’s problem. These youngsters should act as backup, a fall back plan if the Gunners are faced with an injury crisis.

Having youngsters in the team who have been with the club for some time and have gained experience at the club means that a few years down the line when a need arises for a player to fill any particular position, you always have a ready-made replacement within the club. Wenger has embarked on an ambitious youth project that has focused on integrating youngsters into the first team from an early stage and one that has prioritized the maximum use of young players as much as possible.

Wenger has shown an over-reliance on players who are either inexperienced, too young or both. So this summer fans wanted Wenger to act logical and smartly in the transfer window and sign the players who can actually improve the Gunners the very next season and not just players who can flourish later or fulfill their potential in a few years time. The problem with the youth project is that there has been no harmony between signing youngsters and keeping onto established stars. Wenger focused all his efforts on creating a talented squad with vast potential for the future that he missed a key ingredient, the experience and the quality it brings.

United showed the benefits of having players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in the squad. This Arsenal has the talent but lacks the experience and spine and so the club must sign players who add this to the team. But that does not mean that the Gunners shouldn’t sign youth. What Wenger needs to do is strike the perfect chord between these talented and upcoming youngsters and established and experienced campaigners who can help the Gunners end their trophy drought next season itself.

Arsenal need to lay a strong foundation to build on and at the same time has to win trophies so as to ensure that they can still attract the players that can help them to win trophies. That platform will be achieved by signing both talented youngsters and top notch performers.

Arsenal might have collapsed in spectacular fashion towards the end of the season and that has left the Gunners enduring another disappointing season, one that can be sadly termed as a disaster. But for large parts of the season until March, it looked anything but.. The Gunners were going strong in four competitions and their collapse has left them in ruins.

But for large parts of the season the Gunners looked strong and we have realized that the Gunners do have quality to mount a title challenge but with some strengthening in the right areas with quality players, they could very well go onto lift the trophy. Looking forward to the next season, Wenger has to win a trophy or could face intense backlash from the frustrated supporters. Wenger should have realized this and he should act accordingly.

This summer is the one that could very well decide the fate of Arsenal as a top club in the footballing landscape and so the "right" signings need to be made. Arsenal fans need not worry if Arsenal sign players like Connor Wickham, Oxlade-Chamberlain. These talented players are just further examples of players who can strengthen the ongoing policy at the Emirates. But Arsenal fans will be very much worried arises if Wenger only signs such players. As long as Wenger is willing to sign the likes of Cahill, Christopher Samba, Gervinho or Karim Benzema this summer, then Arsenal fans can look forward to another exciting season as the Gunners could well fight it out for top honors.

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