Arsene Wenger seems to have a bit of a preoccupation with Lionel Messi these days. A few weeks ago, he jokingly told the press that Arsenal would surprise them by signing Messi in January. And now that the transfer window is open, he has again brought up the Argentine wonder in reference to his club's beleaguered transfer policy.
From the Guardian:
Asked how tough it is to make decisions on incoming players, he said: "It's very difficult because the level of expectation is very high."
"People want to see Lionel Messi. They don't want to see a promising guy. First of all the name gives hope. When a guy has no name people are already sceptical, so it's much more difficult for us."
There is an obvious logic to fans wanting a known star instead of an unknown gamble -- especially fans who are paying for the most expensive tickets in the Premier League -- but there isn't a single Arsenal supporter on the planet who expects them to sign Messi. Of course, if a few more of the promising guys that Arsenal have signed in the midst of their trophy drought had fulfilled their promise, those supporters would be more forgiving and accepting of guys with "no name." Instead, they've had their trust let down and, as is to be expected, they're no longer as trusting.
But this is all just an excuse for Wenger. If he says the fans expect new signings to be Lionel Messi, he can try to place the blame on supporters for having unreasonable expectations when those signings are labeled disappointments.
If only Wenger could find a balance in offering name brand hope on no-name parts by doing what Chinese street merchants do and assigning knock-off names to new players that sound like the word's biggest stars but aren't quite there. Andre Santos could've been Bareth Gale, Marouane Chamakh could've been Snavid Silla, Gervinho could've been -- well, he was already given a Brazilian nickname and that hasn't helped.