The transfer window is wide open and cash is being spread around like cut price confetti.
Players are coming and going, passports and visas are being readied, suitcases are stuffed to the brim, agents are endlessly calling on behalf of a client and bank accounts are bulging and emptying hither and dither.
Arsenal are still, we are told, active in the transfer market and the board is restructuring the operation as we speak but there is one purchase that won’t go ahead, one that the average Gooner would love to see, the return of David Dein.
Ask any Gooner and they will more than likely say that David Dein’s departure from Arsenal football club in 2007 was a fundamental reason for the absence of silverware in Recent years. Dein is a football man, more importantly an Arsenal man and if he cut himself by accident he would probably bleed red and white.
He was a man who went to every game, watched at ever level and supported Wenger ‘s shopping list and Revolution when he arrived in 1996. Hell, he bent over backwards to assist and facilitate the boss in his quest and left absolutely nothing to chance to achieve it.
In footballing terms, he was Wenger’s Peter Taylor, the legend that was Brian Clough needed the foresight, intuition and savvy of Taylor to make Nottingham Forest the force in World football that they eventually became.
Wenger and Dein were able to achieve success almost instantly were the Butch and Sundance of North London, based on a philosophy, friendship, and desire. Dein, however wasn’t appreciated by everyone, more importantly the Arsenal board and his dual role with the FA would unfortunately upend him further down the line.
One could argue that the building of the Emirates was a major factor for the stagnation and empty trophy cabinet, it was but it was less important in the eyes of many than the departure of ‘Mr. Football’
Whilst he was at Arsenal, he managed to help turn the club upside down with Wenger, seeking major changes from the academy up, into areas that had been ignored over many years including fitness, game preparation and even what the players were eating. Wenger and Dein had a plan, a blueprint for success and it was a winning formula.
Dennis Bergkamp recalled the lack of structure at the club on his arrival and was shocked by the lackadaisical approach and indiscipline but that all changed when Wenger arrived.
Dein’s importance to the club has been played down, the credit he deserved was never forthcoming but maybe that’s because he had far bigger plans that would shake the board of directors from their comfortable and expensive leather chairs. Floating the club shares on the stock market and the introduction of foreign investment were two of the issues that helped him through the door.
The truth is that Wenger couldn’t have rebuilt the Highbury house without Dein, the major changes needed to complete the overhaul of the system required like minded individuals and Dein was a willing Che Guevara, always there, whenever and where ever needed.
He was only too pleased to go on an errand to close a deal and get the signing, willing to do the necessary to get what was needed and to push Arsenal into the modern era.
Dein’s departure meant that along with financial restrictions, Wenger had to go it alone, assume all responsibilities and dabble in a difficult transfer market. Dein was the wheeler dealer responsible for many a coup and the recruitment of many a star at Highbury, of that there is little doubt.
Once he had gone Wenger was given free reign and it all stopped working pretty quickly. Coincidence ? I personally don’t believe in them and if the board could turn the clock back, I suspect they would at least consider it over a bottle of wine.
Dein had lots of support, not just from the Manager but the players and fans alike. They recognised the work he was doing and Arsenal looked like a force to be reckoned with.
That optimism soon disappeared after the cups dried up and money was hard to come by.
Wenger himself said around the time
“David Dein is needed in football because this guy has revolutionised this club [Arsenal] and also English football. He is top quality "
Others were also disappointed, Thierry Henry was said to have thought about his position at the club upon hearing the news and we all know what happened there. Just like Wenger’s mismanaged contract negotiations last term which destabilised the club, the ousting of David Dein, did exactly the same.
Paul Merson, pundit and Arsenal favourite said:
“Bring David Dein back. If you’re going to make one signing this season, bring David Dein back. There’s my signing."
Many of us feel the same, he has been sorely missed and the club, although it’s reshuffle needs someone who understands the club, Wenger, and Football