I love listening to Arsene Wenger talk. He's funny, he's dry, he's brilliant, and he forgot more about soccer this week than most of us will know in our lifetimes. He spoke to the dot com today about the transfer window, the market as a whole, and Arsenal's place in it.
If you've been an Arsenal fan for a while, there's nothing particularly surprising or shocking in the conversation; Arsenal typically play transfer seasons very close to the vest, very quietly, and with a minimum of churn from outside sources. Which frustrates many of you, I know, because we want to Know The Plan. But right now, there's a small group that Knows, and it ain't us.
Arsene opened up about that part of the process just a bit, saying:
It is difficult because there's more money in football, more clubs with big resources, and less players available. The funds are there more than the players who could strengthen the squad. That is a big problem.
And, more tellingly to Arsenal's current situation:
It is simple. For any deal, when you want to buy something you go to see the owner and if he doesn't want to sell, he doesn't want to sell. You cannot buy. In our job it is exactly like that. When the players are not free you cannot buy them because it's the club who decides, the person who owns the contract who decides.
(A note: Wenger here means "free" as in "available", not as in "without cost")
So, basically, what he's saying is what we've said all along - in any transfer season, not just this one, if Arsenal don't get a player, it is not for a lack of trying. or because nobody knows what they are doing. Arsenal can't just roll up, say "We're Arsenal, give us your best player" and have it happen - a lot has to go right for a team (any team, not just Arsenal) to acquire a player.
We all want Arsenal to get the best players; we all want Arsenal to get whatever they want. But the operational reality of the world is that that is not always possible; it's annoying, but that's the way business goes.
So the next time you get frustrated about Arsenal not getting the Next Shiny New Toy, remember: the current owner of said toy has a large say in what happens in a deal or a non-deal.