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Why didn't Arsenal spend £30m on Pascal Julivei?

Why on earth didn’t Wenger sign this guy? 51 goals, 28 assists, 14 clean sheets, 4 orphans saved from a burning building and 1 cure for cancer he has found (so far) in just the 16 games Pascal Julivei has played for FC Volotnikov. Reports from the Russian media claim it would’ve only taken £30m for Arsenal to sign the Frenchman who resides in Russia, who has a Brazilian Uncle and a Dutch sister. Now I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen the guy, but looking at his stats on WhoScored we’d be stupid not to sign him right?

Well we haven’t signed him and we didn’t sign anybody else either so its meltdown time again in the cyber world for Arsenal fans. If I had a pound for every person who has said to me ‘Wenger should’ve just spent £30m’, I would’ve probably been able to purchase Ade Akinibiyi for Arsenal on a short term contract. So out of pure boredom of repeating myself,  I always reply to this statement with a simple ‘on who’?

No word of a lie, the replies I get are repetitively reminiscent of my nephews Buzz Lightyear toy whose buttons have stuck in so he repeats the same line over and over again. I’m not by the way suggesting that anybody said we should sign ‘Buzz Lightyear to the rescue’, even though with some of the opinions I’ve heard over that last 4 weeks I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had suggested such a signing. Any way you can imagine the familiar names of Cavani, Falcao, Benteke, Diego Costa etc, you know the deal now, anybody mentioned in the Daily Star, or who is top of the goal scoring charts on Soccerway.

I keep hearing this whole ‘money speaks’, this idea of if you chuck enough money at it, then you will get what who you want. Which could be true, I don’t deny that, but even though we do have healthy cash reserves at the moment why would we want to pay over the odds for a striker who a) we don’t particularly want right now and b) is untested in this part of the world, and would take a while to acclimatise. Some suggestions that we should’ve spent £50m on Diego Costa, a man who 12 months ago was valued at about £7m, has now had 6 months of scoring goals in La Liga, and apparently we should spend £50m on him. That is absolutely absurd. God help Arsenal Football Club if some of those lot got their hands on the club.

Who is to say that Atletico would accept such a bid anyway? They’re in with a real possibility of winning La Liga, they’re in the last 16 of the Champions League, why on Earth would they let their prize asset go smack bam in the middle of the season. They could make £50m by having him in the team, winning the League and going far in the Champions League.  It makes no sense why any club around Europe would sell their key man in January even for ridiculous amounts. Put it this way, how much would you sell Laurent Koscielny for right now? Imagine we were still in the January transfer window and Barca called up and said ‘name your price’, would you really sell, and if you did sell it wouldn’t be for market value would it?

Just because Arsenal has had a history of selling their star names in recent years, doesn’t mean every other club across Europe has the same mentality as us. The fact remains that in January key players do not move unless an absolutely stupendous bid comes in, a release clause is matched or the selling club is in dire financial straits.

Speaking of release clauses, the whole Julien Draxler saga really messed with our minds. A player who we really didn’t need at this current point in time. A fantastic talent definitely, but for some fans to get upset over the fact we would not spend the amount of money Schalke wanted was quite embarrassing. Firstly how many people have actually watched full games of Julien Draxler? If Wenger planned to bring in a young German player on a free transfer at this time of the season, people would’ve gone mental but because he has a certain price tag, people lose their minds and say ‘we must get him, we must spend’.

The chase of Draxler however was a signal from Wenger that there were no strikers available and he was ready to strengthen the squad in any other way possible. Let’s take a look at the strikers that did move across Europe in the January Transfer Window. How many would you have taken?

  • Grant Holt – Aston Villa (Loan)
  • Kenwyne Jones – Cardiff City (Loan)
  • Lacina Traore – Everton (Loan)
  • Dimitar Berbatov – Monaco (Loan)
  • Shane Long – Hull City (£7m)
  • Pablo Osvaldo – Juventus (Loan)
  • John Guidetti – Stoke (Loan)
  • Ignacio Scocco – Sunderland (Undisc)
  • Marco Boriello – West Ham (Loan)
  • M’Baye Niang – Montpellier (Loan)
  • Alexander Matri – Fiorentina (Loan)
  • Helder Postiga – Lazio (Loan)
  • Toni Sanabria – Sassuolo (Undisc)
  • Salomon Rondon – Zenit (£15m)

Now bear in mind we were not the only club searching for a striker in January, it’s been widely publicised that Chelsea were also desperately in search of one. It doesn’t look promising does it, how many of those would’ve actually fit in with our style of play, our hard working philosophy and really inspire us to win a trophy this season?

None is the answer in my opinion. Some may say Berbatov, but a nonchalant, lethargic striker is the last thing we need if we want an alternative to Giroud, especially if we’re going to be paying him his astonishing wages. If money did speak as highly as claimed in the January market, surely more clubs across Europe would’ve made purchases for strikers?

Also how many of the targets we were linked to in the papers actually moved clubs? Morata, Klose, Tello, Vucinic, it’s not like Wenger didn’t try. Ultimately however if the clubs do not want to let a player go on loan they don’t have to, there is only a certain amount of money you can offer in loan deals and is unlikely to turn the head of any unwilling to sell Chairman. The minute you start paying silly amounts is the minute the perception of your club changes in the window. You can’t expect other clubs not to find out, at the end of the day you will end up paying silly amounts for everyone. So for those who say “its not Wenger’s money”. Well it is, because it is his transfer kitty to improve the squad, once you overspend on one player, the next player you try to sign may suddenly become unaffordable.

The real issue here, before you all start to think I am Wenger’s number one bum chum, was the lack of activity in the summer. I don’t really want to get dragged into another Suarez/Higuain debate, I think the answer is pretty simple, the club messed it up. However the summer is the easiest period to grab a striker permanently or on loan, however it seemed as though we didn’t have a plan B or C, signified by a last minute dash for Demba Ba on deadline day. Despite the signing of Ozil, which was a glorious bit of business, our summer was a poor one.

The signing of Ozil was fortuitous and we never seemed to have a real plan in regards to summer targets, which ultimately boils down to the manager. One thing I do agree with Tim Payton about was the fact that if we had signed Cabaye a few weeks earlier, Mesut Ozil wouldn’t have been an Arsenal player. It’s not as if Ozil was a planned target, neither was Flamini for that matter. My main problem is Wenger doesn’t seem to be getting his primary targets, and then when fails to do so, does not have a clear back up plan put in place, which doesn’t bode well for the summer for when we inevitably go on the hunt for a striker again.

It could never be expected of Wenger to bring in a striker in the January; however he put himself in that position in the first place. Maybe he did have a target for January and had been working hard on it whilst the market was closed. We honestly don’t know, things change all the time in football, but I would like to think Wenger did have a plan, but after the summer I’m not convinced that we do have a sufficient strategy put in place at all. Hopefully I am proven wrong. We have seen calculated acquisitions from Wenger in the last few transfer windows, he has learnt his lessons after bringing in the deadwood from previous windows, which is why I am proud that he hasn’t just given Villa £25m for Benteke, which he could’ve easily done. There is absolutely no point in signing just anyone for the sake of it, have we fans not learnt from the last 8 windows of spending money irrationally on players who really aren’t up to the mark and then a year after getting them ranting furiously on Twitter about how they aren’t good enough for Arsenal. Maybe Wenger has a summer target that he is focusing on, let’s hope he gets him this time, and if he doesn’t let’s hope he has a Plan B and C in place, unlike the summer.

We need to get behind the team anyway; this same team has been top of the League for the majority of the season. Giroud is going to struggle as the season goes on, so let’s support him rather than berate him, like I see many people do.

Thanks for reading.

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