Arsenal’s Failure is Systemic and Recruitment-Based

Arsenal's failure
10th February 2018, Wembley Stadium, London England; EPL Premier League football, Tottenham Hotspur versus Arsenal; A dejected Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal (Photo by Shaun Brooks/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Arsenal’s Failures in Recruitment and Tactics go hand-in-hand

To say that Arsenal’s transfer business has been disappointing in recent windows would be an understatement. Obtaining Xhaka, Mustafi, Lacazette and a few other first team players took out massive chunks of the transfer budget, most notably in the past couple summer transfer windows. Despite having huge expectations, all of Arsenal’s big signings have failed to make a significant impact. Between 2014 and 2018, the Gunners failed to invest in a true world-class footballer, which could be the reason for the departure of a sick-and-tired Alexis Sanchez. It seems as if Arsenal’s failure is due to their poor recruitment and systemic issues.

Instead of finding a system that works, and signing players that fit into that system, it seems as if Arsenal decided to invest in random players and then try and find a suitable system after.

The use of different formations have made it difficult to find suitable players

In the past few months alone, Arsenal have adopted a 3-4-2-1, a 4-3-3, and even a 4-2-3-1. Finding suitable players in transfer windows is so difficult when the team is using multiple formations. Xhaka, Lacazette, and Kolasinac are all very one-dimensional players that have struggled to fit into these formations. Xhaka struggles in a 2-man midfield, Lacazette gets suffocated unless he has someone playing near him that can pull defenders, and Kolasinac doesn’t have the turning speed or the stamina required to play effectively as a wing-back. These are all results of Arsenal’s failure to find a suitable, long-lasting system in recent seasons.

Looking at clubs such as Manchester City and Liverpool, they possess certain players that are so tactically flexible. This allows them to shift and shape their formation depending on certain match situations. High-level coaching and recruitment make this possible. They find players that suit the structure that the manager prefers, and then scout their ability to become dynamic footballers. Kevin De Bruyne and Roberto Firmino are the prime examples of this concept.

Arsenal must find a system and stick to it

It’s important that Arsene Wenger sticks to one formation or variations of one formation for the rest of this season. This will allow him to judge his current players’ performances in the system he feels is best moving forward. This correlates with Sven Mislintat’s job as head of recruitment, as he scours the market in the summer to find dynamic, multidimensional players that fit the system perfectly.

Arsenal’s failure in the transfer market cannot be allowed to continue, especially with the new backroom staff that the club possesses. The pressure now is on Arsene Wenger to develop a proper structure within the first team. Arsenal have to be shrewd with their recruitment in coming transfer windows if they wish to compete for the title.

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