clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How do you define success?

As we all know by now, Samir Nasri joined Cesc in pursuing their careers with another club. As much as I want to get righteously indignant about that, I just can't, because I compare it to myself - if someone offered me more than twice the money I'm currently making to do my current job in another location, I would go faster than you would believe going were possible. So, good luck to Samir and Cesc, but they're not my worry any more. My worry is Arsenal, and where they go from here.

So much ink has been spilled (virtually or otherwise) on the question of Arsenal's transfer policy I'm not going to talk about it here. I do have a question, though, given that policy. What does success mean to you?

By almost any measure, Arsenal have been of the most successful clubs since the invention of soccer introduction of the Premier League in 1992-93. They have a longer history of success than that, though - Arsenal have never been relegated in 125 years in the top flight, they have been winning trophies regularly through the years, with the exception of the oddly barren 1960's when they won nothing and their average league finish was 8th place.

The last six years have been a similarly fallow period, at least trophy-wise; the lowest Arsenal have finished in that time is fourth though (as opposed to 12th as recently as 1995, and 17th in 1975-76). In fact, in each of the last six years, Arsenal have finished either third or fourth, which is consistent if not a bit disappointing.

That brings up a question, though. Do you consider the last six years to be a success or a failure? Certainly by looking at the table, it's hard to argue the "failure" position, at least to me - European soccer every year, top four finish, all that good stuff. But look a little deeper, and you see and hear a lot of discontent, particularly because of Arsenal's almost complete lack of inbound player movement in the last few years as good players leave the club for big bags of money new challenges elsewhere. Arsenal seem to have reached a plateau somewhat.

Asking "success or failure" seems like it's kind of only 85% of the question, though - it seems like there's more to it. It's a success in that with limited player acquisition and salary spend (at least relative to the other "big clubs", Arsenal have managed to tread water; on the other hand it's a failure, because the shortcomings Arsenal's squad have are seemingly easily addressed in the transfer market, and yet are consistently not addressed.

Here's the question, then. If Arsenal do nothing in the transfer market this season and finish fourth again, is that a success or a failure? If they do buy someone (or someones), and still finish fourth, is that a failure? If they do nothing and finish third, is that a success? Is success purely measured in shiny tin pots, or is there more to it than that? There's been so much talk about what has to happen that I'm not sure how people are defining what success is any more.

To me, success is maintaining or improving the status quo, no matter if players are bought. Winning is awesome, but not the end-all-be-all. What say you?