Dick Law’s departure at the end of this month comes after a turbulent transfer window, where it was much ado about nothing. The exit door did spin a bit, but the entrance still retains the cobwebs that Arsenal fans have become accustomed to. The question is: who is to blame for the lack of quality incoming players and the inability to retain those already at the club?
Perhaps Law, effectively the club’s contract maker, needed to fall on his sword, citing family issues, so that Arsenal can improve upon their dismal dealing on the transfer market. It must be added that we can only speculate, as the Gunners never wash their dirty linen in public.
Of course, in the corridors of power, there are many closely guarded secrets and keeping quiet is one area that Arsenal have excelled at. We heard that some board members opposed offering Wenger a new deal, but who were they? According to the Metro, Ivan Gazidis and possibly Lord Harris of Peckham may have voted against the extension. The Metro believe that Lord Harris wanted Wenger to use more of the transfer kitty in 2014 to strengthen the squad and the CarpetRight owner is not known for adopting a penny-pinching approach to business, so may have thought it was time for a change after a succession of disappointing transfer windows. Meanwhile, either Ken Friar and Sir Chips Keswick’s support of Wenger could have wavered, making a split vote. If that were the case, Stan Kroenke would have had the deciding vote to keep the manager, which brings Arsenal to where they are now: looking at another year of uncertainty.
The next question is who pressured Law to leave? We hear Wenger and he are allies, but are they really? More to the point, who will appoint Law’s successor? Will it be Gazidis or Wenger?
If Wenger can choose Law’s successor, which I suspect he can, then this will further increase his power base. In fact, it seems more likely that no successor will be chosen, which may also suit Wenger, who seems to avoid having anyone around him who may question his decisions.
The upshot of this sorry episode is Arsenal fans can expect another quiet transfer window in January and an exodus of star players in the summer. However, it is also true that the Gunners have assembled a strong squad that are capable of winning at least one trophy this year, if their morale is positive.
Whether Arsenal will win a cup remains a moot point, as whatever is going on behind the scenes has certainly had a negative impact on both the players and the manager. If after Law’s departure, the next transfer window brings up more of the same Arsenal failings, then surely something must be done to address a problem that has been ongoing since Ashley Cole left for Chelsea in 2006. Incidentally, David Dein (who was involved in transfer negotiations) left the following year, so could there be any parallel between that situation and the Law departure later this month? We’ll probably never know, but Arsenal are crying out for someone like Dein to return to the club and take some of the weight off Wenger’s shoulders, while singing from the same hymn sheet.