Wednesday 21 January 2009

Avoid the Circus

There are some Arsenal fans who have expressed the view that we will not become successful again until Arsene gets his chequebook out again and spends big. Some blogs believe its as simple as 2+2=4 and find it hard to believe that Arsene won't do it.

Whilst it is just about possible to buy your way to success, it took Chelsea about £400m of Abramovich's money to do it, the suggestion that splashing the cash on about £50m worth of players is going to make any differenbce whatsoever, is stupidity of the highest order.

As an example, lets take the complete circus that has been in progress with our dear friends at Shite Hart Lane. Big fat Martin Jol's Spudders finished 5th in 2005/06, having had a Champions League spot nicked from them on the last day of the season after the famous lasagne incident. Ha Ha.

Since then, I am aware of the following "major" signings (all figures press related approx):

Woodgate - £8m
Kaboul - £8.2m
Zakora - £8.2m
Corluka - £8.5
Dos Santos - £8.6m
Hutton - £9m
Bale - £10m
Pavlychenko - £14m
Valencia (tbc) - £14m
Modric - £16.5m
Bent - £16.5m
Bentley - £17m
Total - £138m

Now, to be fair to Spurs, they have lost Berbatov, Carrick, Keane and a couple of others in the meantime, but the net spend is still about £80m. Yet, since 2006 Spurs have gone backwards very fast in terms of their Premierleague positions. Yes, they won the Carling Cup last year, but big deal - my 10m swimming badge is at home somewhere.

Obsinho, our resident corporate analyst, has found Spurs' finances difficult to fathom. Where is this money coming from and how much more is there in the pot? These are tough questions to answer and its quite possible that even members of the Spurs board do not know the full answers. Much of the problem with modern financing is that there is so many smoke and mirrors, securitised and factored, that often no-one knows what the real situation is.

Now, in any event, if the theory that spending lots of money improves a team, then a net spend of £50m on 5th place Spurs must have propelled them into the top 4, right? Of course not.

The message is that the ability of a footballer is not measured as simply as his transfer price. I have absolutely no idea how the directors of Spurs justify this kind of spending to their shareholders, but there is absolutely no quality control on their cheque book. It should also be remembered that this massive spending has not led to a single player staying loyal to Spurs when a big club comes knocking - Spurs put up a brief fight over Berbatov, Keane and Carrick, but they ultimately took the money. And wasted it on Darren Bent and David Bentley.

Arsene Wenger refuses to play this game and he is damn right to do so. Some people have mentioned that we should have cashed in on Adebayor. Well the popular replacement was Roque Santa Cruz, who has been crap all season, and Blackburn now want £40m for him. That is idiocy.

There are other managers quietly doing a good job on a shoestring, such as Martin O'Neill and David Moyes, who understand how to motivate players and build a team, rather than reaching for the cheque book whenever anything goes wrong. But make no mistake, the ability of these managers is to take players from the sidelines of obscurity, like Arteta or Young, and make them look world class. They are following in Wenger's footsteps.


Anonymous said...

excellent post.

Anonymous said...

This a good post and i think we all understand that going on a spending spree doesn't bring glory just look at liverpool yes won c/l but other than that nothing else it also goes for newcastle who every season seem to be in a relegation battle.The vast amount of fans ask for Wenger to buy 1/2 players not like spuds a whole team also we all believe that our god Wenger is far superior to the others and believe he will get certain players needed at the  right price.There don't have to be big names as shown in the past he has unearthed surprises but we all must admit that the current crop of players some have been found wanting so we believe a couple of experienced players could improve the team.Danny Fizman says 30mil is available for transfers,if it's true or not is another matter,but we leave that in Wengers hands as i think that he knows that with the injuries and some of the others not performing he needs a couple of faces to get a c/l place.

RKS said...

well said, ted.

p/s: it's palacios, not valencia btw.

Ted said...

Good point. I guess they might buy Valencia next....

Anonymous said...

I don't know why there is so much pressure on Wenger to buy, don't you think if he finds a good player he will buy? I believe it when they say that there is money available for Wenger if he needs it, but he hasn't found anyone worth buying or was unable to buy who he wanted because the selling club won't sell, why is it hard for people to understand that? We should be proud of a manager who doesn't think about his own glory and just spends his clubs money speculatively hoping they would work out, rather carefully considers all the implications, even if he is the one who gets the stick, when things don't work out. I think Arsenal fans need to remember Arsene is proven to be a good buyer/seller of players, there have been one or two mistakes, but overall he has bought some true gems, Henry, Viera, Pires, Ljungberg, Anelka, Fabregas etc. etc. - and none of these players cost anything close to what Tottenham paid for Darren Bent! so give Wenger a break and let him get on with the job he has been doing with great distinction for the past 12 years.

Anonymous said...

I don't think most reasonable Arsenal supporters are asking for us to throw obscene amounts of money at any players. But we would like to see some proven talent brought in and mixed with the youth that are showing potential. Rather than having a team full of potential.

A quality teams' starting XI can afford to carry one or two players that are learning the game and gaining experience. But no team can play a starting XI of 6 or 7 youngsters that are still mistake prone and expect to challenge.

We need a better balance and, I feel, that is what aggrieves most Arsenal supporters right now that are looking for us to sign some players. They don't have to be superstars. Just a couple of solid performers for 6m-8m would do.

Ted said...

I think you make a fair point Rhinogooner, but any ideas who we could pick up for £6 - 8m, and who could walk into the first team?
I guess we might get Jimmy Bullard for that money.

Anonymous said...

Reo-Coker is a player I think could make us more solid in the middle. I realize that, at this point, Villa are not going to sell to us.

Distin would improve us. But we have too many other established centerbacks right now. Shouldn't have bought Silvestre in my opinion.

I'd be curious about how much Elano or Petrov of Man City would cost.

Maybe Bullard would work for us. I am somewhat uncertain about him.

Scott Parker would be welcome.

Maybe test Chelsea with a bid for Cudocini. He could compete with Almunia for the starting role.

Don't laugh but I've always thought Olivier Kapo looked a decent player.

Outside of England, I like Albiol and Vicente (Valencia), Maxi Rodriguez (Atletico), Van Buyten or Demichelis (Bayern), Diego (Werder Bremen), Makoun (Lyon), Cana (Marseilles).

I'd really like to see more leaders in the team though. Players who can grab the game by the scruff of the neck and refuse to except defeat. I'd like to see us play at a higher tempo from the off as well. Get after our opponents for the first 15-20 minutes and see if we can't grab a goal or two. We used to play that way and teams would give up after the first 30 minutes because they'd already be 1 or 2 down. Then we could play at a more relaxed pace and the players would stay fresher and we'd accumulate less injuries.

Last thought that stuck out for me this weekend was how Hull have a player like Mendy on the right side of midfield, who isn't really a world beater, but caused us fits, and a team with the stature of Arsenal are playing with Eboue on the right side of midfield who also caused us fits...

1979gooner said...

awesome post ted, think i may retire from writing now and leave you to it...

great points, there is such a demand for it, it's a bit like a kiddy wanting a second helping of ice cream even though it isn't good for them and will most likely make them feel sick,

you get that buzz from a transfer straight away, however once the initial buzz has worn off, you are left with a player who still has to adapt to a new club, team mates, house etc and maybe country

in an attacking sense we have so many options, we're not even that badly off in terms of defensive ones,

Arshavin is a great player though, but there's no point breaking the bank, and certainly no point just signing people for the sake of it, a la spuds,

at the end of the day a lot is down to the coaching, the tactics and the manager,

i think if arsene took over at another premiership club then he could transform even an average bunch of players,

if arsene left then the same bunch of players we have now would not do as well as they currently are,

i am rambling and going nowhere fast, end of ramble

Anonymous said...

Great post !!

I specially like the last line.., " they are following Wenger's footsteps " :)

And lastly when Cesc / Theo / Tomas / Eudardo come back they are as good as we dont need to buy anyone !

Obsinho said...

Good post, and I'm always keen to review the black hole of Spurs finances. An agent on Skysports last night suggested that no deals are taking place as clubs are unable to secure loans at the moment - City don't need to, and the conundrum that is Spurs are the other exception.

So the fact we are bidding serious money on Arshavin is a clear indicator of the fact we are in no financial crisis as a club.

Spending is not the answer - new players do provide a buzz. But it's balls to say signing Arshavin would mean more people renew season tickets and buy merchandise. He's not exactly Kaka is he?

The issue with signing an Eboue replacement is that we happen to have the most exciting English talent in an age sitting in the squad - Jacky Boy. My real desire for the coming months is for Wenger to play the lad. He has said youth will be the way forward, so allow the fans to share in your faith by showing faith yourself. If Cesc was good enugh, then Jack looks to be ready.

Anonymous said...

We don't expect wenger to throw money around ,we leave that to the twats down the road,but we are expecting to see a experienced player or two to come in and bolster the team.In 1 post there right some of the players have been found wanting and combined with the injuries we lacked strenght in depth and so no competition for places.It's ok to say we winning and grinding out results but look at the teams we struggled against,to be honest over the last 12 yrs we would not have done,but on this view this has shown the players are not of the same calibre and if a couple of experienced players, who had challenged for honours are recruited even if on loan, it would give some urgency and direction to our play and less of a struggle.

Ted said...

Some interesting names thrown into the pot. We have sniffed around Reo-Coker before, likewise Vicente. Petrov and Elano have also both looked excellent in patches, at least when Sven was in charge, and could be worth a punt.

Thing is, I think we have some real talent coming through in Wilshere and Vela. I know he is not popular, but Denilson has done very well this season as well.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the dialogue we're having here Ted. I completely agree that we have some young talent coming through that look like they could become world beaters. Vela, Wilshere, Ramsey, Simpson, Gibbs, Coquelin all really excite me. And I don't want to hamper their progression to the first team.

But equally, we have some players in the first team that I think would struggle to get playing time at teams battling relegation, let alone at a club competing for trophies. Yet, Mr. Wenger plays these sub-Arsenal quality players ahead of Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere, etc. And it appears to be based on a pecking order rather than ability and past performances. And forgive me, but sometimes it appears that Mr. Wenger gives more opportunity and favoritism to the African and French lads.

I don't delight in picking on Arsenal players, but Song for instance, has arrived at a good time for him since we lack a solid defensive minded player in CM. So he plays more than I feel his ability merits. He has gotten a chance to prove himself because of our current situation, whereas players like Muamba and Sidwell never got a proper crack because we had Vieira, Edu and Gilberto. Now let's be reasonable, how many people would rather see Song getting this much opportunity over Muamba or Sidwell?

As for Denilson, I like his attitude and I will admit that he has some ability. But for me he is very average overall. He does some things well, some things not so well. And in the end he doesn't make many mistakes but he doesn't make much happen either. Just my opinion. I'd like to see him push the team on when we're struggling. Maybe dribble at players or release some probing passes. He's not a defensive player for me. I feel he is too small and not physical enough. I just want to see him make us tick more than he does. Like Flamini and Vieira did.

So I hold the opinion that we should bring in a few players of proven quality. Not players that would cost loads of money, just solid performers. And they will sure up the team for the present and help bring the youth through for the future.

One last quip, Palacios to Spurs for 14m?!!?! Absurd. But we could have had him for less than 1m. We had too many midfielders at the time so we passed. How many would swap him for Eboue now?

Apologies for the long post. I seem incapable of short 2 or 3 sentence replies :-)

Obsinho said...

The mediocrity in the starting 11 is undoubtedly what has got us where we are - we should not rely on Eboue, Song & (sadly) Diaby to win us titles. But they are all great squad players.

I would happily see us cash in on one or two in the summer (rumours of a £5m bid for Eboue from Atletico), to give Rambo, Jacky and Merida a chance.

But the point is they are squad players - we wouldn't have expected Cecs and Theo to be out for so long. And once they got part of the team, it makes more sense to retain them than drop them and put pressure on a youngster. Consistent line-ups win more - this has been seen repeatedly over the years.

Finally, and I know that Rhino was clear on ths being opinion, but I don't get why Denilson gets such a bad press. His Opta stats are second only to Barry (and therefor better than Alonso) and he rarely puts a foot wrong in a game. He is not remarkable in what he does, but neither was Gilberto. He's 20 and will become immense for us.

Anonymous said...

We really have to ask what we want for Arsenal,do we want to seriously challenge for honours or just do enough to qualify for c/l spot.If we want to challenge for honours then we have to blend a mixture of experienced players with youth to substain it as the moment we seem to just try get a c/l spot.That means we have to spend money it's as simply as that not buy a whole team but a couple of players in both transfer window windows.It kills me to say this but look at utd for last 20yrs there have seriously challenged on all fronts and what there did is buy 1/2 players here and there(with a bit of underhand actions)yes i know there have 800mil debt but there fans get the chance to rub our faces in it.refer to villa and everton yes there on a shoestring and can motivate but what have there won?exactly f/all.To to put it in a nutshell we gonna have to spend some cash and possibly serious cash to put us up to be serious contenders or we end up as a team where players at the end of there careers will come and have a last taste of the limelight.

Anonymous said...

This is one those posts you can argue about till the cows come home.The majority of the fans do believe we need players but proven players not youngsters.We not suggesting that we spend 20-30mil per player and to be truthful not well known but capable of bolstering the team in crunch matches we going to face as the season progresses.In certain positions we found wanting and in 1/2 of the replies suggest lack of competition for places has had a affect also but since Cesc injury the m/f seem void of ideas and Nasri has picked up the mantle.At present only 2/3 players have got us through which is not acceptable and the rest should start showing what there made of.
I'm afraid in this day and age you have to spend money to be in the reckoning and the board got to realise this if not then it's back to the eighties where we only challenging in domestic cups and never mentioned for the title.


Anonymous said...

I am a Arsenal fan but i am not stupid my question is. Is Arsenal a BIG club? I say no

Arsenal doesent attract the best players they dont hold on to their best players they dont show determination to get a player that will improve the squad and the fans who pays some of the biggest ticket prices are Gullable, they are prepaired to kiss Wenger Ass what ever he does.

Rumors say he has a Job at Madrid if so he will not have control over transfers as he has here at Arsenalhe will only be a coach/manager

I hope to GOD we dont make the CL then we will loose a lot of money to save 6mil on arshavin.

Our fan base will continue to plummit No trophies no new fans
No Star Player.

Bottom Line Big Clubs as listed

Man U
Real Mad
Ac Milan
Byern Munich

Arsenal are may be on par with Lyon
or just behind