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Wenger at Arsenal 2000/2001. The transfers and the fiasco.

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Arsene Wenger had won the double with a team that included Anelka, Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit.  But by the summer of 2000, all three had gone.

These days, as we contemplate the eternal Cesc saga with Barca it is easy to forget this recent past history.  £30m for the latter two, to Barca, following the £25m or so for Anelka led to commentaries on other team blogs about Arsenal being a selling club.  And we were – although at a sensational profit each time.

But the name Barcelona did not chime with such distaste in those days.  Besides which there was no Anti-Wenger movement, no Anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs, bickering away at everything that the manager did.  Most of us had faith that the man who had given us European football and a double knew what he was up to.

But there were departures.  At the same time as the Barca moves, Nigel Winterburn left to join West Ham – but at least there we had cover in Silvinho and Cole.  Silvinho had played 31 times last season, and Cole had made his debut.

To replace the departing players Wenger brought in Lauren for £7.2m, Pires (an astonishing bargain at £6m), Wiltord (see below) and Edu.  With Edu there was never a set fee revealed – but then nothing much was ever revealed about him.  The story is (and who really knows if it is true) that he had a Spanish (or was it Portuguese) passport and thus dual nationality making him an EU citizen and thus able to play for Arsenal.  But when he turned up at Heathrow (so it is said) it was discovered the EU passport was a fake, and had been handed to him by his agent as a way of getting the deal with Arsenal through.

Who knows?  All we knew was that we had Edu to play where Petit had played, and he was not here.

The final signing was Wiltord for £13m.  So most of the money for the two departing double winners was used.  We had lost two stars, but in return and without really spending anything we had got

  • Pires
  • Edu
  • Lauren
  • Wiltord

Not at all a bad set of deals.   There was no replacement for Edu – rather the manager turned again to Grimandi to cover.

Things then looked fairly decent, and if you just look at the record book for the games it doesn’t seem too bad a scenario.  We had one defeat in the first thirteen games, and four draws.  The rest were won, including two games where we scored five (against Charlton and Man City), and we beat Liverpool and Man U during this run.

But…

In each of the first two games Patrick Vieira was sent off – and so took a long suspension.  There was also talk of him leaving English football, although of course he didn’t.   Tony Adams was injured and the insanity of international call ups arose with Lauren playing for Cameroon in an Olympic team.

The opening team of the season had been

Seaman

Dixon Keown Adams Silvinho

Parlour Grimandi Vieira Ljunberg

Henry Kanu

By mid November however we were on our third goalkeeper (first Lukic and then Manninger coming in).  At right back we used Luzhny, Lauren and Vivas.  At left back Cole came in for a few games.

Keown was consistently there but Adams was replace by Luzhny for around half the games played.  In midfield Pires and Wiltord started on the bench but got starts as the injuries mounted, and Bergkamp flitted in and out of the team.    No two games ever saw the same team out and November became a nightmare as we lost to Everton and Leeds, drew with Derby and beat only Middlesbrough.

December was a mixture including beating Newcastle 5-0 and Leicester 6-1 while losing 4-0 to Liverpool.  On New Years Day we even lost to Charlton.  It wasn’t looking so clever.

The story of this season, including the cup matches, continues in the next article.

Making the Arsenal

Arsenal History index

Untold Arsenal Index

The Wenger Index….

Of the 13 bottom clubs in the Premier League in 1999/2000 only 3 are still in the top division.

1999/2000 – Mr Henry arrives

After the double, the Sheffield affair

Mr Wenger’s second season – the closeness of failure and success

Mr Wenger’s second season – who played, and the comparison of results

Mr Wenger’s second season

Mr Wenger’s first season

Before and after Arsene

The season before Arsene: what happened on the pitch

The Bruce Rioch Year – the man, the myth

3 comments to Wenger at Arsenal 2000/2001. The transfers and the fiasco.

  • agentsmurf

    As you know Im a spurs fan and as much as I enjoy how Barca play and how they run the club, they need to end this Fabregas saga quickly. To go after a player for 2 years and then say they won’t pay more than 35mil is crazy. Arsenal know how much they want him as they, and their players, haven’t shut up about him for 2 solid years. They need to put up the cash, or stop talking about him. Its unfair on Arsenal and Cesc. He is Arsenal’s player and they want to keep him, so they get to set the price. Its for Barca to SHOW how much they want him by offering enough, rather than them SAYING how much they want him. For the record, I think Arsenal should sell him and strengthen in other areas as his mind is elsewhere, but Barca have got into his head, and that seems unfair

  • wenger is anice manager but he doesnt listn to the demand of his fans which makes him apoor coach

  • Anne

    @agentsmurf:

    I think that you should go back and take a look at my two articles on Untold about media fraud in the Cesc transfer saga. The truth is that it WOULD be “crazy” for Barca to “go after” a player for 2 years if they aren’t even willing to pay for him. And by “crazy,” I mean that it doesn’t make any sense. At all. With all of their other transfers, Barca just does it the traditional way, ie, makes an offer, negotiates with the club, etc.

    But why would it be that, with regard to Cesc, Barca’s only sign of interest in him is coming through the media? Surely, if they really wanted him, the club would have actually DONE something about it by now. What I’m getting at here is that you need to take a MUCH closer look at the credibility of all these Cesc reports in the media. They are NOT to be taken at face value! And that goes for all the stuff about Cesc’s mind being “elsewhere” as well. If Cesc wanted to leave Arsenal, he would submit a transfer request. But he hasn’t done that, and I don’t think he wants to go anywhere. Here’s part 1 of the article:

    The Cesc transfer saga, how they lied to us – part 1

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/12733

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