Wenger's accountant mentality
Wenger's killing Arsenal by putting payroll ahead of players
Arsene Wenger confirmed the suspicions of his critics yesterday.
Arsenal employ the Employee of the Year.
Their Manager of the Year left the building years ago.
After the 0-0 draw with Leicester yesterday morning (Singapore time), a contest that only reiterated the Gunners' pressing need for a striker, the Frenchman defended his lack of spending.
He gave a terrific account of himself - as an accountant.
As an Arsenal coach, on the other hand, his defence was dazed and confused.
"We are a club with 600 employees who we need to have a responsible attitude," he said. "It is surprising that you come out of football games and you don't speak about football games, you have to speak about money."
But he had done the same.
He put pay cheques before his playing squad, which was noble but not part of the job description. Disillusioned Arsenal supporters saw not a manager, but an HR executive fussing over a company's payroll.
His justification for not buying at least a striker and another centre back was more damaging than failing to win either of his first two games.
His intentions are clear. He won't change. He cannot change, not now.
The English Premier League has moved away from him, both economically and ethically, cutting him adrift with his principles.
Wenger is a man alone with his money bank; counting his coins as his tepid Gunners tot up their missed opportunities.
Alexis Sanchez's performance at Leicester underlined that his many, bustling, dynamic qualities do not include leading the line.
The occasional scowl as the game mostly passed him by betrayed an unhappy winger. With his back to goal, he essentially turned his back on his natural strengths.
It didn't help that the other Theo Walcott turned up against the champions, the indecisive, jittery one, more trigger-happy than a gun-toting octopus.
Olivier Giroud was introduced for the final 12 minutes, another one of Wenger's bizarre tactical decisions that can be so perplexing.
The French striker needed more time to assert himself. Sometimes, 90 minutes are not enough for Giroud.
But Wenger was adamant. He has £300 million ($528.4m) to spend. If he finds the right players, he insisted, he would spend the £300m.
His patter convinced less than a snake oil salesman's promise to cure impotence with two teaspoons a day.
As Wenger and every overpriced season-ticket holder at the Emirates already knows, there is little value in the transfer market. And the few raw gems that occasionally shine through the greedy quagmire are rarely spotted, either by Wenger or his scouting network.
Rob Holding showed his potential at Leicester, but a centre back much closer to the finished article is proudly touting his wares at Old Trafford.
Eric Bailly went to Manchester United, a club with no Champions League football, for £30m. Arsenal were not linked to the Ivorian defender.
At 22, just two years older than Holding, Bailly was probably considered an unsound investment in a risk-adverse boardroom, where the manager treats Arsenal's treasure chest as his own.
In July, Napoli's president invited Arsenal to make an offer for Gonzalo Higuain. The Gunners baulked at the (admittedly insane) asking price for a 29-year-old striker, who ended up at Juventus instead.
But Juve mostly bankrolled the deal with the equally silly cash anticipated from Paul Pogba's sale to Manchester United, a club vying with Arsenal for the title.
That's the madness of the merry-go-round.
For Europe's elite, it's a farcical fairground attraction filled with the greedy and the occasionally unscrupulous and Wenger wants no part of it.
But if he steps off the merry-go-round, he walks away from the title.
His admirable contempt for the transfer chaos is sadly irrelevant.
Besides, Arsenal fans want in. They're paying through the nose for a chance to sit at the top table. Wenger's laudable values appear hypocritical when his club continues to charge some of the highest prices in the EPL for match tickets.
The Gunners faithful are not asking the earth, just a chance to participate in the race. "Spend some ******* money," they sang at the final whistle.
The anger was palpable as one sobering image proved too much to take.
Having swopped his shirt, Jamie Vardy left the field in an Arsenal jersey.
Sweet dreams were once made of this.
Of course, he stayed at Leicester. Once again, the Gunners didn't dangle a big-enough carrot.
So they are left with a squad short of attacking and defensive options that will win nothing without major investment in the coming days.
But, for that to happen, Arsenal need a manager, not an accountant.
Denied penalties, but Foxes won't blame ref
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri refused to criticise referee Mark Clattenburg after the Premier League champions were denied two penalties in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 0-0 draw with Arsenal.
Leicester, beaten 2-1 at newly promoted Hull City in their opening game, had a penalty appeal turned down late in each half at the King Power Stadium.
The first, when Danny Drinkwater tumbled over Laurent Koscielny's outstretched foot, seemed the right decision, but replays suggested Hector Bellerin should have been penalised for tripping Ahmed Musa late on.
But Ranieri (below) told BT Sport: "The penalty is when the referees whistle.
"I don't want to speak about the decisions. The manager makes mistakes, the referees make mistakes, the players make mistakes."
Leicester lost Nampalys Mendy, who was making his full debut, to an ankle injury early in the second half.
"I don't know (how bad it is)," Ranieri said.
"He was blocked. Tomorrow we'll check. I hope it's nothing serious. He's not happy, of course."
Like Ranieri, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also saw his side lose on the opening weekend, with last season's runners-up falling to a 4-3 home loss to Liverpool.
While the Frenchman's side remain without a win, he was pleased by their display.
"It was a game of top-level intensity and I believe we responded well to last week's disappointment," he told the BBC.
Wenger, under fire for not making enough reinforcements to the squad this season, also revealed that the club are on the verge of making a new signing.
He told BT Sport: "Yes we are close (to another signing).
"But I would say spending in itself is not a quality. Spending and buying the right players is a quality.
"I am a bit fed up to always respond to the same things. We look and analyse absolutely everything and we have to make the right decisions."
The player is believed to be Valencia's German centre back Shkodran Mustafi.
- Wire services.