Arsenal transfer troubles: even the fans' protest falls through
Former players join criticism of Arsene Wenger as Gunners fail to land a single outfield player in the transfer window
Former Arsenal stars Martin Keown and Sol Campbell have criticised Arsene Wenger's failure to land a big name striker in the summer transfer window. The Gunners didn't sign any outfield players with goalkeeper Petr Cech their only acquisition during a window that even by Arsenal's recent standards has been a major anti-climax for fans.
Some supporters took to social media on Tuesday afternoon to organise a protest against Wenger's transfer policy outside the Emirates but come 7pm - the hour the demonstration was scheduled to start - there were no Gooners with a grievance on view, much to the amusement of the Daily Mirror.
Perhaps the keyboard warriors demanding action had a look out of their bedroom windows at the weather and resigned themselves to finishing fourth in the Premier League and exiting the Champions League at the Last 16 stage, or perhaps they were unable to make it all the way to London to protest.
Whatever the reason former favourite Martin Keown feels for the frustrated fans, telling BBC Radio 5: "When I left Arsenal ten years ago, they were dominating the Premier League. We went unbeaten through a whole Premier League season. The fans got used to seeing trophies coming through. There's a frustration now because they had to lower their expectations because of the expenditure on the stadium - now there's no excuse in those terms."
The former defender, a member of the Arsenal squad that won the double in 1998 and 2002, said Wenger could once again pay for his refusal to strengthen a squad that has managed just three goals in their opening four league games (and two of those were own goals).
"I feel it's a missed opportunity because the Premier League, without Manchester City there, is almost there for the taking," explained Keown. "But... Arsenal don't want to spend those fees on those players."
Sol Campbell, who was part of the Arsenal side that reached the 2006 Champions League final, echoed Keown's sentiments, and questioned the competence of the Gunners' transfer approach. He told FourFourTwo: "You can see they're in the market, trying to do a deal but sometimes it's almost too little, too late... That type of deal might need a few more days to get it going."
Manchester City spent approximately £160m on new players over the summer, while United also splashed the cash - including £36m yesterday to bring untested teenager Anthony Martial to Old Trafford from Monaco.
"You can't compete with them," said Campbell. "Doesn't always bring you success though. The trouble with Arsenal, is they've just got to get everyone fit. That's the trouble already - there's a few players out and we haven't got that depth."