Last season, after Arsenal finished fifth in the league table and lost the Europa League final, as supporters, we expected something better this season.
We dreamed of finishing in the top four, fighting for silverware, playing in the Champions League and much more.
But it didn’t take too long for those dreams to turn sour under Unai Emery and become nightmares.
In truth all those hopes evaporated long before Mikel Arteta took over. Yet we still expected him to turn things around by performing miracles.
However, to expect such marvels was too much – it would have been too much to expect from the best manager in the world. So the question is: What did the club expect from Arteta?
I would say, the club and Arteta himself did not expect much from this season, unlike many supporters.
Arteta tried different formations and tactics to get the best out of the team. Just like the other managers do in pre-season. That’s right, for the club and Arteta this half-season was like a pre-season.
Some fans are really frustrated with our midtable finish and missing out on European competition for another year.
But, based on the current squad depth, are we really strong enough to fight for the title or finish top four to play in the Champions League?
The answer will be a big no. We have to accept in reality that we are not strong enough. As Arteta mentioned after the disappointing 1-0 defeat against Aston Villa: ‘The league table doesn’t lie.’
As a team, Arsenal are so far behind the top sides. We need a full squad rebuild and it will not happen in one transfer window. It will take time. And the fans need to reset their expectations accordingly.
We must understand and respect the process. Before the start of 2015/16 season Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was asked in a press conference about their season’s goal, the answer was '40-45 points' but surprisingly they earned double their target and the 5000-1 outsiders at the start of the season became the Premier League champions for the first time in their history.
Apart from an excellent Leicester squad coming together to shine that season, it helped that Leicester fans’ expectations were so low.
I feel the time has arrived for Arsenal fans to accept the reality of our situation at the moment and set realistic expectations.
Fans want a quick fix and expect multi million pound cash injections from the owner, as much it would be nice. They want big money signings to turn around the boat overnight.
Yet, big name signings do not guarantee success. We have seen Atletico Madrid marquee signings Joao Felix and Thomas Lemar hardly set La Liga alight while Eden Hazard has flattered to deceived since joining Real Madrid from our London rivals Chelsea.
These type of signings can also create a big financial burden for the club in the long run. Arsenal’s current financial situation does allow the luxury of big signings either – with many believing at least half of the squad is simply not good enough to compete at the highest level, while the other half still needs time to fully realise their potential.
To replace the deadwood with the world class quality players will cost £400m to £500m. No one can spend that much in one or two transfer windows. Not even Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or PSG.
For a club like Arsenal it will take years. To rebuild the squad fans must allow a couple of transfer windows and enough time to develop the youngsters.
With Arteta, the club will not splash a lot of money in one transfer window and set a high target as they did with Emery. Arteta mentioned numerous times about the plan and process.
Things will be a bit slow but efficient. The way Liverpool have developed their champion team under Jurgen Klopp.
There are no short cuts. Fans must back Arteta and ‘believe in the process.’