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Wenger: People Want Big Names

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has candidly spoken out about the pressure he is under in the transfer market, as well as the more competitive nature of scouting on the continent.

Speaking about signings, Wenger 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."

With specific reference to Sunday's opponents Swansea and their capture of Michu for a paltry £2m, Arsene expanded, 'We have some clubs who are doing very well and sometimes when you are at a big club your scouts are a bit more cautious because they think, 'Oh, it is Arsenal so it has to be a top-four player'," the manager said.

"Naturally they look less at players who play at smaller clubs, which Swansea can afford to do. You`re always scared that if he [turns out to be] a player who does not do well, the scouts are looked at as responsible.'

The Arsenal manager has recruited Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Eisfeld in the last 18 months and he suggested that Germany, along with Spain, is a bigger hotbed of talent than France, one of Arsenal's scouting strongholds.

'The competition is high on the scouting front. The country where we were really, really competitive was France. They produce less players than they did 10, 15 years ago at top, top, top level in France.

"The emerging countries that are producing players look to be Germany and Spain and they have many good young players. They have taken over."

But he did suggest that one of his previous countries of residence, Japan, was becoming a burgeoning market for talent, 'We are trying to diversify much more where we are looking," he said. "In England you are a bit limited.

"I find that a new market that is very interesting and very competitive is the Japanese market. Look at the number of Japanese players who play now in Germany for example."

So, when are we signing Messi then?




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 4 2013

Time: 9:44AM

Your Comments

Sounds as though he's having a bit of a pop at our some of our scouts not casting their nets at different levels. He's right though that we're more excited by recognisable names than we are by unknown potential. Just think back to the excitement when we signed Arshavin and the failure that proved to be. Similarly with Reyes. By contrast very few took the signing of RvP as a mark of ambition. There's a good piece on that whole issue of expectation here: http://www.theshortfuse.com/2013/1/3/3833618/arsene-wenger-lionel-messi-arsenal-transfers?
Amos.
Not being funny, but who's asked for Messi? I was excited about Podolski, Cazorla i'd seen a few times and he excited me, Mertasacker i was pleased with as a signing. Arsene don't half spout some nonsense at times, like when after the fulham "spend some ucking money" game he gave it the "we can't spend 50m on one player" - well no one's asked you to Arsene!
shewore
Right on cue shewore and the sort of reaction my link refers to! :)
Amos.
A few people went nuts when we signed Oxlade... "we don't need another youngster"... I remember it well. That's what he's talking about, Shewore. 50m is easily spent on a player if you offer them whatever wages they want as well as having to pay a big transfer fee; 25m fee +100k/wk for 5 years = (over) £50m.
damiano_tommassi
Yep, people want big names when they're paying big money. Seems reasonable enough to me.
Wyn Mills
Damiano don't bore me with that, it was a direct reference to the Torres transfer. Amos, just had a butchers mate (difficult with all the effin pop ups on this site), mildly interesting, doesn't really tell you anything you don't know does it? A Wenger disciple absolving him of all criticism then rounding up with a nice "Wenger is not exempt from critique", just to balance it up. We pay the highest prices in the world, we want to see proven quality joing us. Another thing that gets my goat is the amount of defeatism there appears to be with transfers "oh well! we couldn't sign him cos Chelsea wanted him", we're officially a bigger club than them, aren't we? Do Chelsea and City sign all of the top players possible in the world? We've got more wrong than right over the last few years in the transfer market, just look at who we're trying to shift out. And the times we have got it right we've had to sell them cos they won't wanna be surrounded by the dross they've had to endure playing with.
shewore
I think AW is over-exaggerating to prove his point. Of course every single Arsenal fan would love to see Messi in the red and white, but not one single Arsenal fan would ever, EVER expect him to be able to sign him. Ridiculous. Be we do expect some big name signings, maybe unfairly so in some cases, but when the tickets prices are as high as they are, the team under-performs as often as the do and the pile of money continuously sits in the bank doing nothing it's not too bad for Arsenal fans to want some marquee signings. Of course they don't always work out .... but you know what, sometimes they do. See Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud.
Rocky7
and the immediate thing that struck me with the article (didn't make the point above) is how damning the strap line is "Arsene hasn't changed, we have", well, guess what? So has football, so has Fergie, so has absolutely everything. Evolve or die.
shewore
You need Adblock to get rid of the pop ups. I don't think it sets out to tell you things you don't know just some perspective on the things you should know. The fact that he's supportive of Wenger doesn't make him wrong. It's the argument you should be dealing with not the personality. If you read it as absolution you probably need to read it again as he says, quite rightly, that Wenger has always made the same mistakes just that the circumstances around them patently aren't the same. The defeatism on transfers only concerns those aching for recognisable names. If we'd wanted Torres we couldn't have signed him. We apparently wanted Mata but so did Chelsea. Unfortunately they didn't want Arshavin.
Amos.
No need to guess that football has changed as that's exactly the point made in the article. You're taking the word 'we' too literally. The grasp of nuance and complexity referred to still seems to be evading you. ;)
Amos.
Is Wenger surprised that the level of expectation is high? Hope he isn't confusing us with Swansea. He needs to look at his payslip every so often and remind himself what he's being paid to do.
Wyn Mills
Shewore - "we can't spend 50m on one player" was said by Hill-Wood, rather than Wenger, wasn't it? And in what way is it demonstrated as a direct reference to Torres - or is that something you've assumed (given his statement was made 20 months after the Torres transfer)?

"We pay the highest prices in the world, we want to see proven quality joing us" - so if we'd signed Michu for £2m, you'd have been unhappy? We should return Oxlade to the Saints, because he wasn't proven quality when he signed?

We're trying to shift the captain of the Russian national team, who scored four goals in a game against Liverpool and was incredibly hot property when we signed him - but he lost form. Similar to if we'd signed Torres for 50m. Also a proven striker in Chamakh, who came here and never found his form. And Squillaci, signed for (next to) nothing as a cover player.

Dross? Really? Vermaelen, Koscielny, Szczesny, Sagna, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Chamberlain, walcott, Giroud, Diaby, Rosicky... Dross?
damiano_tommassi
No Damiano, it was Wenger after the Fulham game "We cannot buy players for £50 million and, even if we try to strengthen our team and spend money if needed, that is fact." Your examples don't exactly cover yourself in glory, why omit the obvious names? Oh, cos they don't support what you're trying to say. Amos no one's saying that Wenger hasn't made the same mistakes, year after year after year, as has the Arsenal administration, I think what people want to say is some change in the way the transfer market is approached. Arshavin kept us in the champions league when he signed for us, that's nearly enough to justify the outlay, no one can deny he was a quality player (and probably still is), he's just been massively mismanaged at Arsenal. Who can remember Almunia punting long balls to him leading the line for a good chunk of the season?
shewore
Sorry Shewore, which obvious names? I thought Chamakh, Arshavin and Squillaci were the obvious ones (because we're trying to shift them right now).

Ah, see that's a different quote, isn't it? made four months after Torres' move, much more likely to be a reference to him, yeah. Do you believe it is a fact that we can't spend £50m on players? I suppose that's what it comes down to... I don't think we can. Partly because if we bought two of those (players being the plural) we would quickly empty the bank account. But mostly because anyone at that level - and there aren't too many players at that level - would a) want 200k/wk minimum, potentially ruining our wage structure and unsettling the squad, and b) want to play for a team expected to win things every year, which we are not.

No response to the Michu/Oxlade point? Or your comment on dross?

Arshavin mismanaged? How's that, then; because he wasn't played through the centre? Boo-hoo. He's an experienced, professional footballer, and to blame his shocking drop in form on playing ten yeards further left than he's used to would be churlish; that does not explain we he can't make a five yard pass anymore. Also, I remember him playing up front once or twice, as opposed to leading the line for much of a season.
damiano_tommassi
Arshavin was never a top player just the best one in the playground in the Russian League who had some eye catching moments in cup tournaments but was out of his depth in the PL. It's not as though there's a great rush to recruit this 'mismanged' star is there. But he was the only option we had once it was clear that Rosicky was out for the season. Arshavin scored in 3 of the 12 PL games he played in 2008-2009. Only the 4 against Liverpool could claim to have directly earned us a point we wouldn't otherwise have had. I accept there's more to it than goal scoring but to claim he was the key factor in CL qualification that season is gilding the lily a little too much. But it does show that even signing recognisable names can result in as many mistakes.
Amos.
Listen carefully and read slowly. The quotation I referred to was made after the Fulham game, at the end of the season, when we drew 1-1 with ten men and a lot of the away end chanted "spend some ucking money", Wenger's "50m" inferrence to Torres was exactly that - as he was the big money move made halfway through that season. The point I am making is that we all KNOW that we CAN'T spend 50m on player, but that no one has asked/demanded/whatever that we spend that amount on one player, much in the same vein that no one has said they'll only be happy if we sign Messi - geddit....? With regards dross. Eboue, Denilson, Bendtner, Djouro, Almunia, Squilacchi, Silvestre are all names i'd describe as that - and their subsequent playing time at either our club, or other clubs, would back that up. re Arshavin, did you even read what I said? I said he was played through the middle, leading the line, too much. A 5ft midget being used as a battering ram! It worked for one home game and Wenger played him there for about another 3 months. And i'm not excusing his performances since then! I just think he hasn't been played in the right positions since, he did get us in the champions league spots though when we signed him, he gave us fresh impetus and no one can deny that. Michu/Oxlade didn't really register as a "point" to be honest.
shewore
Arshavin has bags of natural ability he's just chosen not to use it for a couple of seasons now, he was massively exciting when he signed - the last couple of seasons would make that easy to gloss over though.
shewore
Hey Shewore.
Quite aggressive, and ignorant. Well done you.

"Listen carefully and read slowly. The quotation I referred to was made after the Fulham game" - yes, I have registered that, now that you have actually provided that quote (as opposed to Hill-Wood's 16 months later). Did you see the words "Ah, see that's a different quote, isn't it? made four months after Torres' move, much more likely to be a reference to him, yeah." I agreed with you. Read it slower, maybe?

"The point I am making is that we all KNOW that we CAN'T spend 50m on player, but that no one has asked... no one has said they'll only be happy if we sign Messi" - okay, well the first point is that Messi is a 5-letter way of making a point quickly, as he is (arguably) the best player in the world. No-one asked us to sign Messi, and Wenger is not inferring that someone did, he's making a point. And second... if you're not signing someone in that very top bracket - Messi, Villa, Hazard(?), Mata(?), Falcao(?), people criticise - like when we signed Oxlade. Another point he was making very succinctly, but seems to have flown over a few heads. How much do these players cost, at the very top level? What would it take to buy Messi, £300m? Villa for £25 (at his age)? Hazard for £100? Mata the same? How much will Falcao cost Chelsea (if he moves)? Wenger has spent £44m on three players this season; spent £20m on Santi alone, spent £53m last season, £15m on Arshavin, both our centre-backs cost £10m each, Gervinho cost £10m, Oxlade £12m, Nasri was £16m. How much more do you want him to spend - every penny we have, taking a gamble on recouping it through tournament wins (like Leeds did)?

It's hard to argue that 'the dross' doesn't include some poor players, but did Nasri leave Arsenal because Eboue, Denilson, Bendnter, Djourou, Almunia and Silvestre were on the bench?

"re Arshavin, did you even read what I said? I said he was played through the middle, leading the line, too much" - yes, I read it, and responded to it. I just disagreed. I said "I remember him playing up front once or twice", as opposed to a three-month run. Anyone got any 'Arshavin up-front for Arsenal' stats? What do you think is the right position for him?

"Michu/Oxlade didn't really register as a "point" to be honest." - bless you, I'll explain. you said "We pay the highest prices in the world, we want to see proven quality joing us" - so I asked if you would be unhappy if we had signed Michu - a non-proven player - for £2m like Swansea did, and he was now banging in the goals for us like he is for them. Does that register?

"Arshavin has bags of natural ability he's just chosen not to use it for a couple of seasons now" - it's been a while since I read something as ridiculous as that, unless I'm misunderstanding you. He chooses to be poor; to annoy his team-mates, the fans, the manager; to ruin his career to not be able to make a five-yard pass?
damiano_tommassi
He has chosen not to use it? Has he really? So inside the player with consistently poor possession and passing accuracy stats throughout his time with us is an unerringly accurate pass master with magnetic boots but he just doesn't want us to see that side of him? Arshavin is a good player but just not at this level - bottom half of the PL at best or championship maybe but not what we thought we were getting. The fact that he was an 'exciting' signing at the time is rather the point of this whole issue.
Amos.
I have a very short attention span, and even shorter appetite to respond in kind, so let's try and break it down thus; i) Torres - great, we're in agreement. ii) not exactly sure what your point is, Wenger is using Messi as a ridiculous starting point from a defensive point of view, there's no need to mention him as no one else on the planet has, it's rather patronising (unless of course you're an intelligentsia and can see that it's not, everyone else is just baying for blood and frothing at the mouth - heathens!) iii) dross, yep, they were dross, more agreement. Nasri probably more to do with money and trophies, players like Cesc and Van Persie more like my original point iv) Arshavin, not sure, probably where a team's built around him, which thankfully it's not, i think he's been massively poor for a while now v) boring point, can be made nicely with a select few examples, for your Michu i give you Chamackh, and raise you Gervinho (see? kinda cyclical ain't it) vi) yea, i think he's a lazy bar steward who doesn't apply himself. It does happen you know, not every player applies themself to the utmost of their ability.
shewore
lol possibly Championship player, behave. So we've made someone who's clearly a bottom half player a top earner at the club? Sorry Amos, not that simple, he was (and possibly can still be?) quality on his day. Definitely a European level player when applied properly.
shewore
Wenger's purchases have of late been panic reactive buys rather than considered strategic ones. Can anyone honestly point to Arteta and Mertesacker and say these were marquee signings that got people excited about the club's chances of winning honours? Nope. Giroud and Podolski were reactions to RVP's ultimatum. Carzorla virtually fell into Wenger's lap, a truly fortuitious set of circumstances which he took advantage of. Some of you will recall Arshavin also being something of a panic buy following long term injuries to Rosicky, Fabregas and walcott. So after years of underspending, of buying predominantly young and cheap, we now have a manager who acknowledges that the youth experiment hasn't fully paid off. That you need a blend of youth, experience and sheer fecking proven class. It's taken him long enough, but what he doesn't want to do now is patronize the fans with guff like 'we expect caviar and Messi'. We don't. We expect a team that is balanced and can compete. We expect to win the odd trophy. And we'd prefer not to have to sell our best player every season.
Wyn Mills
The problem is precisely that we haven't been able to make him anything we would want him to be unlike many other supposedly lesser talents who were able to flourish. Not something that anyone of any comparable level would want anyway. He wasn't good enough to become even an Adebayor who developed far more as a player. Undoubtedly there was a hope that Arshavin could make the step up but it was a gamble that didn't pay off. One we wouldn't have taken if Rosicky hadn't been injured and there'd been anything else available. Quite how you can be so starry eyed about players like Arshavin simply because we spent a lot of money on him yet dismiss other players whose contributions have been no poorer as 'dross' is one of the curiosities of football fandom.
Amos.
You really can't see that saying 'no-one's happy unless we sign players like Messi' makes a big point in a short time? It's not patronising, and the fact that the *****tersphere has blown-up with idiots baying for blood is irrelevant. Too many stupid people who don't understand the meaning of words, other than 'spend', 'some', '********' and 'money'.

RvP left, basically, the team we have now. A team with plenty of quality players, only missing an RvP. I doubt that the *****ness of 6th-choice-striker Bendtner, out on loan, had much influence on him. And I have little doubt Cesc would have stayed with us for much longer if Barca didn't exist (as opposed to flouncing off somewhere for bigger wages, like a Nasri), but I suppose we'll never know.

So your assertion is that Arshavin was good, hasn't been played in the right positions since, and now isn't trying? When he was good, wasn't he playing left-mid, where he's played 99% of his playing time for Arsenal? That doesn't make sense to me. not much about Arshavin does.! He came and showed his quality on the pass, dribble, and shooting with both feet, and nowadays can't make a simple pass. I don't understand how or why that is - much like Torres' fall from grace, or Shevchenko's. I think to call it laziness is a bit odd, though. He always appears genuinely distressed when I see him play, disgusted at himself.

Chamakh and Gervinho are interesting people to choose - both proven, experienced players to some degree. Absolutely nothing to do with the point under discussion though, which is that you said "We pay the highest prices in the world, we want to see proven quality joing us". Michu does not fit this category. As a point of fact, Gervinho and Chamakh fit your criteria much better, so it would seem by your logic that you should be happier with both of those players than you would have been if we'd signed Michu for £2m. And the reason I mention this is to point out the exclusive, poor logic being applied within the argument, which also highlights one of the biggest problems in football - spiralling wages and fees. Why should players cost 50m? Are £50m players better than 'cheap' players (£2m is a lot to me, personally!) - and for a perfcect illustration of that, is Torres better than Michu? Maybe, maybe not. But I can say for sure that writing off players because they cost less than £20m, or because they haven't already won everything with someone else, would be cutting off your nose to spite your face. And expecting players to be perfect for the club or to be more successful than existing players, just because of a high transfer fee, would be pretty naive.
damiano_tommassi
Seeing as both Mertesacker and Cazorla were players that Wenger had tried to buy a year before he got them describing them as panic or simply opportunistic buys is a foolish claim. Podolski was strategic buy to give us some penetration on the left to replace the ineffectual Arshavin. He was a confirmed buy even before RvP had his 'talk' with Gazidis/Wenger. Giroud was simply a purchase to try to replace the gap in the forward line (in numbers at least) once it was clear RvP wasn't staying. Has Wenger decided the youth polciy hasn't paid off? It seems to me that with Ramsey, Wilshere , Ox and Jenks we still lean a fair way towards youth and Gibbs and Walcott (for the present at least) were products of the previous youth policy.
Amos.
Wenger's words come as no surprise - he's been saying this for a while now, so that he doesn't have to answer the tough questions. I would be pleased if we spent 10-15M on similar quality player as Poldi, Mertesacker or Arteta (and the squad is crying out for 1-2 more). There is a certain portion of the fan base calling for big name signings but I believe that is a minority. Wenger is clever, who understands this. As for the scouting, we have not been innovative enough, others have caught on to our tactics and we've been left behind as a result. Of course it's tougher to pick an Henry or Vieira from obscurity now, but that is the scouting team's job - I'm sure they are paid more today than they were 10 years back. If they are 'scared' (as Wenger seems to suggest in his comments) to take a risk with a player from a smaller club, that is a reality check for the scouting team who need to re-invent their strategy.
prits
What are the tough questions that aren't being answered then prits?
Amos.
So why didn't he buy them a year before? Reason...Merts was available on a cut-price fee and we'd just been stuffed 8-2 by Utd. Carzorla? Another steal at 12m and Wenger was fortunate in taking advantage of the financial turmoil at Malaga. Would he have bought the same player for over 20m? Doubt it. Yet we all know he's worth it. Wenger may not have explicitly stated the youth policy hasn't worked but it clearly hasn't, and his recent purchases reflect a greater emphasis towards experience.
Wyn Mills
Mertesacker has said his club wouldn't release him. There're plenty of reasons why a deal can't be done when you want it done. Only in the illogically simplistic mind of football supporters can you just roll up with whatever cash you have in your pocket and come away with exactly what you want whenever you want it. Similarly Malaga's need a year earlier wasn't the same as it was this summer. It takes an equally distorted mind to criticise a club for spending £12m on a player they should have bought for £20m. Wenger has always bought experienced players, there has never been a summer he hasn't, but clearly the restrictions aren't quite as tight as they were when the stadium finances were at their most inhibiting. Depends on how you determine success of failure I guess. Given the activities of Abramovich and Mansour at atime when finances have been restricted the 'youth policy' which in fact only existed for a relatively short time at least kept us in the CL while remaining solvent. What other policy would you have pursued with the same resources to guarantee that we would achieve even the same level of success let alone do better than we did?
Amos.
When the fans are asking him to spend money, why is he not spending on more players at 10-15M , rather than look at a Messi? He has evaded that question for a few seasons now. Wenger's stock response to a question of not spending money is to compare it to signings of 30+M and say we cannot compete.
prits
There is an in-between player between a 'Lio Messi guy and a promising guy'. I do agree that he has been making more purchases in this mould over the past 3-4 seasons (Arteta, Cazorla, Mertesacker, Poldi, Arshavin are all such examples), but when looking at squad depth, we've always been lacking 2 more players, every season. So my question to Wenger would be - "why aren't you signing 1-2 more players like this to increase competition and squad depth"?
prits
DT - the Messi comment wasn't needed, it's just a wind up and he knows full well what he's saying. He's not thick, he'll know exactly what kind of reaction it'll get. Your next comment 'only missing an RVP' that'll be the best player in the league who's carrying Utd towards the title then? Only RVP....Yeah i used to rate Arshavin when he joined, not any more tho, and when i've seen him play he doesn't seem that arsed tbh - you must be watching different matches. I'm not picking players in retrospect, please stop harping on about Michu. Spiralling wages and fees are a problem, you won't hear me arguing for that.
shewore
Prits - cos he's gambled too much on injured key players, like Diaby and Rosicky (what could've been) - it surely is the undeniable truth
shewore
Was that the tough question? Why don't we buy more players for £10 or £15m? I think Damiano has already pointed out that the club has bought a number of players at or around your price level. There's not much point just buying players simply because they cost £10-£15m though.......and squad restrictions mean you can't simply stockpile players. You really need to look beyond the superficial to understand what is being said. The point is not that we cannot spend £50m or £30m on this or that player, or that anyone is asking the club to do so, it is that other teams have been doing so. Criticising someone simply for making that observation is a bit churlish.
Amos.
We definitely could spend 30m, the money is there. It's less of a risk to buy a few players that might make it big cheaper though, isn't it?
shewore
'We only need 2 more world class players' is the standard fantasy football mantra from the supporters of every club that has fallen short of a trophy throughout history. The supposition is that you can simply go out and buy them as and when you want them from wherever you wish at the price you want and you would then be able to sweep all before you. It seems easy doesn't it? It's a tad less straightforward than that though.
Amos.
Plain ridiculous comments from Wenger. Cahill, Michu etc all signings very much in our price range...
Sajit
It seems to be a tough question since Wenger doesn't seem to want to answer it - instead, he always deflects this question by quoting 30-50M prices. I don't under estimate the amount of effort it takes to sign a player of that quality, it's not a simple 'on switch' to sign a player (you're also taking the argument to an extreme), it's not a fantasy mantra - it's the job of the scouts and the legal suits at Arsenal football club. A professional set up that complains about the constraints and says 'hey dont judge me on the outcome due to those constrains' is not that professional in the first place, is it.
prits
In the recent past anyone likely to be available definitely worth £30m will have been snapped up by City or the Chavs for £40m.
Amos.
"The point is not that we cannot spend £50m or £30m on this or that player, or that anyone is asking the club to do so, it is that other teams have been doing so" Actually Amos, i don't think that's the point (at least it's not mine). Forget what the other teams have been doing, for a min. We have some money in the bank to spend 20-30 M on 2 more players, we have a net transfer surplus consistently - can that money not be used more effectively so that we can challenge more effectively for honours?
prits
It isn't really a tough question is it prits. At least tough isn't the adjective that best describes it. Why haven't you bought more players for £10 or £15m? Sincerely, ask yourself how you would expect anyone to answer such a question. Really. It's clear that you don't understand the effort it takes to get full value for an outlay of £10 or £15m. Can you imagine the sort of effort and agonising and decision making that would go into such expenditure, even as a one off, in much larger and more profitable businesses than AFC? Only in the fantasy world of football supporters can £10 or £15m each on a couple or so players, and in each and every season, be taken so glibly.
Amos.
It is the point prits. Instead of thinking about wages and transfer fees as though they were somehow different things, start thinking of player budgets (wages plus transfers). AFC have the fourth highest player budgets in the PL. Only City, Chavs and ManU have consistently spent more. Spend more on transfers and you have less to spend on wages and vice versa. How much bigger would our player budgets have to be to ensure we would have challenged City, Chavs and ManU more effectively for honours over the last 6 or 7 years? I'll leave you to do the maths on that one but you can only answer it to your own satisfaction if you 'forget what other teams are doing'. In other words ignore the very point that answers your question.
Amos.
Ah, so that 30m or whatever it is we have in the kitty is impossible to spend on one top player? As Citeh or Chelsea would snap them up?
shewore
We could always spend £30m on a £20m player I suppose! Would than make you any happier? Personally I'd prefer to spend £12m on a £20m player though Wyn was rather upset that we did. Maybe I should have told him that a few weeks back you'd rated Cazorla as a £30m player - that would have really *****ed him off! :)
Amos.
ha, i still do - although we haven't seen the best of him lately. I don't think Wyn was saying that, he was pointing out that we wouldn't have spent that money - i.e. what he was worth.
shewore
"How much bigger would our player budgets have to be to ensure we would have challenged City, Chavs and ManU more effectively for honours over the last 6 or 7 years?" I'm not saying that by spending on 2 more 15 M players, we would have won the title (I do realize the financial gap between us and those 3 clubs). Are we using our resources effectively? The amortized transfer fees of 2 players will be 6-7M per year (assuming combined fees of 25-30M over 4 years), add 8M in wages to that (80K per week for 2 players) - we could afford another 15M in costs in our financials (and yes, I have gone through those numbers as well). Can we afford that? Yes. Will that result in a better outcome than what we're currently achieving? Maybe, maybe not. Should we be taking that risk, irrespective of the uncertain outcome? Yes, most definitely. It could result in a comfortable 3rd or 4th place finish, rather than the scramble we've been seeing recently, and maybe a cup win since we have more quality in the squad. We should at least be trying.
prits
The profit after tax for the last 3 years was 61M, 12.6M and 29.6M. My case is simply advocating that we spend 15M out of that every year, and yes, that 15M does include the transfer fees and salaries. You know Amos, it's reasonably easy to read the finances of the club and understand it (as well as football finances in general). By claiming that anyone advocating spending 15M every year lives in a fantasy world or is being flippant, that is just incredibly arrogant and presumes that the person making the point has not done any research whatsoever.
prits
And I'm not saying - spend for the sake of spending. Do the normal due diligence before making those signings, evaluate the player and take a reasonable risk (just like we do with every signing). The club can agonise over it all they want - again, I'm not advocating flippancy. But take a risk on 2 more players. There was a telling comment that Wenger made - it seems like our scouting team is afraid to take risks. Perhaps, we're not identifying players because of that. And those are things that can be fixed internally, even though the competitive constraints are enormous.
prits
"Can you imagine the sort of effort and agonising and decision making that would go into such expenditure, even as a one off, in much larger and more profitable businesses than AFC?" I do not need to imagine that. That is part of my professional work on a daily basis - to evaluate investments made by my company, track if it's successful or not, and decide which areas need further investment, and which areas need curtailing. I'm not sure if that question was rhetorical, but thought I'd answer it anyway :).
prits
We all know the club can spend more. They freely make that claim themselves. But simply spending more on transfers doesn't guarantee that the success would be proportionate to that spending. Indeed both Spurs and Liverpool have regularly spent more on transfer budgets than we have and have achieved less. Therein lies the flaw in your argument. In order to achieve more you have to find players that add value - irrespective of what they cost. What Wenger was saying is that our scouts possibly weren't taking risks at a low enough level. Hence they missed players like Michu at £2m because they were looking for your £10 to £15m players.
Amos.
Shewore, that's exactly the point I was trying to make, but as usual Amos is playing devils advocate. Alas, We are all illogical simpletons who should simply pay up and shut up. Well feck that. Wenger is paid a shedload of dosh to win this club honours, not run a finishing school. He doesn't have to spend 30m on a single player but he does actually have to spend money to achieve success, and until very recently he hasn't really been doing it. He's been selling and replacing, and in some instances not replacing. Its just a question of whether you're prepared to wait to get a cut price deal when things are desperate, or are prepared to go out and get what you need when you need it. I resent the implication by Wenger that our expectations are too high and scoff at his complaints about pressure. Are we not a BIG club?
Wyn Mills
"Therein lies the flaw in your argument" If there are 2 such players who can add value to the side, it gives us a better chance (not a guarantee) of a trophy win. I don't understand the flaw in that argument. I'm saying that the scouts could be doing a better job in finding value in the market (alternatively, they could be finding them but Wenger may be reluctant to spend, we just don't know). You don't agree with that, fair enough. I don't see how that makes my argument more flawed than yours, especially when I've made the point that spending the 15M may not necessarily result in a better outcome.
prits
Incidentally prits your £15m additional transfer spending each year really represents a marginal increase in the order of 10% on our present player budget. Would you really expect that to make a significant enough improvement in our fortunes? Especially when you consider that the spending by Chelsea over the last 10 years is in the order of about 50% above our player budgets and that City over last 5 years have spent something like double our player budget. Even ManU have managed some 20% more (at present rates at times much higher) on player budgets but over a longer period. When you consider that Abramovich's 10 year binge has bought 3 titles (30% success rate) and Citys 5 year fest 1 title so far (you can forget the domestic cups in terms of investment returns) a marginal increase of 10% isn't likely to ensure we would have done any better over the last 7 years. While you're considering your investment appraisal also bear in mind that though we have significant cash reserves we still have much larger net debt. If we spend £50m of our cash reserves our net debt increases by £50m. Most is long term debt but it has to be factored in. The reality is that improving sustainable revenues at a time when excess spending elsewhere may be inhibited and ensure that your marginal increase could have some real relative impact. In which case you may come to appreciate that the club didn't spend as much chasing rainbows when the investment had less chance of realising a return and allowed themselves the opportunity to invest at the right time. Investment levels are one thing but when you invest is as important, if not more important, as where you invest.
Amos.
Has Wenger lost his mind? He lets a 29 year-old RVP go to United of all places, then brings in a 31 year-old from La Liga half-way through the season?
Gunnerfan1987
All great points Amos, mostly because I'm also saying the same thing. Saying 'where you invest is important' is the same thing as 'do your due diligence before signing a player'. Where we seem to disagree is the risk appetite. Your view seems to be that since the gap to the other 3 is so large anyway, the incremental spend would have made no difference. My view is that, we can afford it (though it is a stretch, it does not endanger Arsenal football club. Your point on net debt is valid, but can still afford it). It gives us a much better shot at competing in the league (maybe the gap to the champions will not be so large, maybe we'll be closer to a CL/FA Cup win). There is a significant impact on perception - current players could stick around longer, some top players could choose us over Man City (not talking about those who choose only money) if the points gap was not so large.
prits
What I was saying was also that 'when you invest is important' not just where. You seem to be saying that if we'd invested more over the last 7 years we still wouldn't have been able to match the resources of those clubs that have dominated and we would in all probability only have achieved what we achieved anyway - just a little more comfortably. However we would also have increased our indebtedness and reduced our potential to invest now or at a time when those who have dominated may find their potential to invest on the scale that they have done inhibited while our relative resources should still increase. We have the 4th largest playing budget now. Upping that by the levels you suggest would still have left us with the 4th largest playing budget. Taking a risk is fine but if you're going to do so then take it at a time when it stands a good chance of being rewarded. Otherwise you're just chasing rainbows.
Amos.
The Arshavin situation was different. Arshavin is clearly a special player just an extremely selfish and self-centred one. The situations that exemplify it are the game against Liverpool, where he kept saying he was going to score 4 goals, and he did nothing else in the match but try to score 4 goals, when he scored against Man U and made that gesture towards the bench, also when he scored the winner against Barcelona, and his shirt had a direct message on it to Fabregas - I suspect he has a very fractious relationship with Wenger as well. You can't predict that about a player. Messi picked out Arshavin as the player on our team he most liked to watch, even now you'll still find a lot of Gooners who complain Arshavin was simply being played out of position because his quality is blindingly obvious. It's not a question of quality, but one of temperament.
Arsenales F.C
theres is no point in having a scouting-network unless you have a fanbase that buys into the strategy... with most 'fans' of the bigger clubs they dont cos all they want are FAMOUS PEOPLE who happen to play football.. these are the FAMOUS PEOPLE currently potentially open to transfer: Falcao, Llorente, Damiao, Isco, and a handful who used to be FAMOUS PEOPLE currently plying their trade in Italy.... hands up for Llorente !!... yeah Llorente, he's FAMOUS.
Viyyash-Ramosh
Looking up Arshavin briefly, only taking comments from the last day "I know one thing, Arshavin and podolski are much better than gervinho." "can't believe he has been left to rot at the club. He is miles better than the likes of Gervinho" "most underrated player in football today" "We have a world class player 2 footed and we play podolski like WTF ? he is what we need" "Wish Arshavin would get more games". His quality is blindingly obvious - what is also blindingly obvious is that he fell out with everyone at the club and will actively cause division within the team, such as that celebration shirt taunting Fabregas. In retrospect it was obvious from the moment he dissed Pavlyuchenko in his first interview, but we lapped it up as Pavlyuchenk was a Spurs player, we didn't think "hang on that's his strike partner for the national team he's captain of". Temperament is unforeseen that's no excuse to not buy a well-regarded player.
Arsenales F.C
Viyash people generally want "famous people" because those are the players they've seen most of. Now that Boateng has said he'll meet his agent to reconsider his future in Italy you'll certainly hear calls from Arsenal fans wanting Wenger to sign him, that's not because of some fame-complex, it's because we've seen what he can do (namely the 4-0 demolition of us at the Emirates and the 3-0 reverse when he was absent). If you know me I've been talking about the unnoticed players like Jack Cork and Yacob, but of course if a player like KPB becomes available I want us to compete for him. Going for an unknown is risky. Years ago I was advocating Gojko Kacar and Arturo Vidal as potentials, because back then you could buy from the German League cheaper than you can now. Vidal has gone on to be possibly the best player in the world in his position, Kacar is now an unknown. Similar situation with Yacob and Cork right now, they both look like potential greats, but you end up having to take a gamble. With a player like KP he's played Prem before and excelled, hr demolished us 4-0 and we whipped them 3-0 in the reverse fixture where he was absent, of course people will want KPB. People see Llorente demolishing Man U with a team like Bilbao, rated ahead of Torres in the Spanish National team of course they'll want Llorente.
Arsenales F.C
That's true Arsenales. You're prepared to take a chance on KPB based on the product of two games against us. One that he did play in and one that he didn't. As a supporter such superficial judgements are easy to make. Truth is he's had a very modest PL career and the Italian League currently is one of the weaker European Leagues. Is he really any better than what we have already? But you've heard of him so he must be I suppose.
Amos.
"Is he really any better than what we have already?" In my and probably every serious football fan on the planet's opinion, yes. I'm not even going to respond to that snipey little claim of judging him on 2 games, I'd recommend instead that you consider a career writing for the Daily Mail, your ability to extrapolate something from nothing and present it as something valid is ridiculous. The worst thing is you don't even realise you're doing it. I now see why you swallowed that bs the Daily Mail writer wrote about Rooney's book deal being scrapped, without quotes, without evidence, without even consulting the thought process the publishers would've gone through when looking at the sales figures (poor Euro 2012, Olympic success -public anger against overpaid footballers). You think making stuff up on based on no evidence is fine because you do it all the time.
Arsenales F.C
Remember when no one left us under Wenger and done better for themselves? How sad this whole thing really is. Good bit of business tho! Nothing we could do about it!
shewore
Comprehension not a strong point I see. Hence your tantrum. The article didn't say the Rooney book deal 'would' be scrapped simply that it was 'likely' to be scrapped. Join it up with the facts and the thought process makes perfect sense. Assuming you can think that is. So every serious football fan on the planet would agree that we should sign KPB do they? Really? Without exception? And you're not making stuff up based on no evidence? Wind your neck in and try to engage in proper debate.
Amos.
I guess that's a reference to RvP saving the game for ManU again shewore. Not a good bit of business simply the best we could make of a bad business. Right that there wasn't anything we could do anything about it from the position we were in though. Maybe you're beginning to grasp some of the complexities and nuances of player contract law at last. :)
Amos.
Answer me this - do you think he was sold for "footballing reasons"?
shewore
Depends what is meant by footballing reasons. If, being in an unprotected period of contract, it's that he told the club within 15 days of the end of the season that he intended to move on then yes - footballing reasons it was. Taking him to court would have been the alternative but for footballing reasons that would have been very unwise.
Amos.
No that's definitely not footballing reasons i'm afraid. Footballing reasons would be for the good of the football team, he was cashed in on for business reasons.
shewore
I think you're letting your prejudices get the better of you. Footballing reasons are what's good for the club. What's good for the club is what's ultimately good for the team. The team is never a constant - only the club is.
Amos.
I think what's good for the owners and what's good for footballing reasons are different things. There is some correlation, sure, but taking a financial hit can mean an improvement in the footballing side of things
shewore
I'm not sure how taking a financial hit comes into this scenario exactly but taking such a hit can only mean taking a football hit eventually. Any club has to take a risk, sometimes they pay off sometimes they don't but if it isn't proportionate to the clubs resources it can lead to footballing distress (take a peek at Villa's recent history for example). What's good for the club can only be good for the team and by definition also for those associated with the club - including its owners. In exactly the same way if what's happening isn't good for the owners it won't be good for the club and therefore not ultimately good for the team either.
Amos.
When I first read Wenger's quotes I essentially interpreted them as Wenger blaming the unrealistic expectations of the supporters for making his high-paying job so very, very difficult, poor dear.
elbondo
Agreed, I was talking about the last 3 years, not the last 7. So the risk would have been lesser than what you're making it to be - I don't think it that amount would significantly impact our investment strategy today. 7 years back, we were not in a position to take such a risk.
prits
Keeping Van Persie definitely would have been a financial hit. It wouldn't have gone to court and you know it. I think your logic is too simplistic, i'm sure some owners are in it purely for the money, and this would mean they put that above on field performances, which in the long term can be detrimental to the team - although not the cash reserves short term.
shewore
It's true that our finances have improved as the property developments have matured and yes we could have spent £10 or £15m more in each of the last 3 years (incidentally the player budget between that last two audited financial years - wages plus player amortisation - jumped some £35m) But in all probability we still wouldn't have achieved more than we did in those 3 years as the competitive environment would have remained the same just with £30 to £45m higher net debt and fewer reserves. It is progressively easier to now take a risk only because the club had been pragmatic previously. Over the next 3 years that competitive environment should change as commercial income increases and excess spending meets some restrictions. Timing is the difference between chasing rainbows and investing in the club.
Amos.
I think you're the one being simplistic shewore. Keeping RvP wouldn't have been much of a financial hit at all. We had to shell out for Giroud which we wouldn't otherwise have done and RvP would have been on relatively moderate wages for another year plus he would have been 30 when his contract ended and may not have been quite so attractive to other clubs. The cash reserves can only be useful to the owners if they draw on them. They haven't though ManU's owners have (indeed they've always paid dividends) and it hasn't yet impacted on their performances. In order for the owners to benefit they have to have a successful club which requires a successful team but you can't have a successful team unless you're a successful club in which case the owners will benefit. Of course the owners are only in it for the money which means the club has to make money which means the team has to be successful which means they have to invest in it hence we currently have the fourth highest player budgets in the PL. The alternative to having owners who are only in it for the money is to have owners who are only in it for personal aggrandisement.
Amos.
That's a nice idea, and would work well if actually "success" was rewarded with trophies and cash - but infortunately our idea of success is a top 4 finish, purely driven by money. So the owners don't want what the fans want, trophies, they want money - and the best way to get that is to sell high, buy lots of low, and hope Wenger can keep them in the money through top 4 finishes. The financial hit i'm referring to is turning down the 24m for VP, that's a hit in anyone's book.
shewore
So we only finished 3rd or 4th because the owners didn't invest as much as Chavs, City and ManU and thereby exposed themselves as selfish owners only in it for the money? If they gone heavily into hock and spent more than City in order to ensure we gave the fans what they wanted they would have been good owners would they? As I said you're being too simplistic. We couldn't prevent RvP leaving but in your eyes we shouldn't have taken £24m for him we should have allowed Fifa's dispute resolution committee to set the 'compensation' instead. Precisely how does that make our owners better owners?
Amos.
You're putting words in my mouth. Where did i say spend as much as them? You're doing a Wenger, i dont wanna spend. 50m on one player Amos! When has this FIFA resolution been used in top leagues? And for what players? Van Persie would've played on, as you're well aware, is a top pro
shewore
No I'm not. You're saying just spend a little bit more than we do but not as much as ManU, City and Chavs and we will do better than them. It's not words in your mouth I'm attempting it's some thoughts in your brain. Player contract law is used all the time as I've explained before. It's still there if you want to re-read it. What parts of unprotected period and player contract rights don't you understand? RvP wouldn't have played on. If he'd intended to do so he would have said nothing - there would have been no need to say anything if he were happy to stay. He was going this summer whatever the club wanted because player contract law allows him to do so. In doing so he was just acting very professionally on his own behalf. All the club could do was to also act professionally on theirs.
Amos.
Who's to say that replacing some of our key crocks ( Rosicky, Diaby) with a couple of lavish signings, we wouldn't have kicked on? Obviously we won't know because the club are simply not willing to take these risks and the associated balance sheet hit. The optimum for the club is for them to do the bare minimum required to reach the promised land, and the virtual trophy associated with it.
shewore
You'd be feeling exactly the same if the club had spent another £15m every year over the last few seasons and we still hadn't achieved more than we had. It can't be guaranteed of course but looking at the activities of those we've been competing with and the circumstances in which we've had to compete it is the more logical though less romantic conclusion. If we'd spent that extra £15m chasing rainbows you wouldn't be saying 'well done owners for giving it a try' you'd still be saying that we have poor owners because they should have spent another £15m on top of that. The optimum for the club isn't to do the bare minimum (we have the 4th highest player budgets in the PL) it is to do what is sensible to compete as well as we can consistent with the objective to allow us to continue to compete as well as we can on an enduring and growing basis - that's to say look after the long term health of the club as well as the short term health of an ever changing team.
Amos.
Tell you what, show me an example of us actually improving the team in the sumer over the past few seasons and i'll show you a happy shewore. But is hasn't happened, has it? Top 4 and not accounting for a Chelsea eff up is the height of our ambition.
shewore
Yes, we have the 4th highest player budget in the PL because we have the flatest wage structure in the PL. Giving reserve players like Djourou 50k a week is just crazy, and just a little bizarre given the financial prudency shown by management in other areas. I guess there will always be some who are not bothered by our trophy drought and see no correlation with our ability to retain and attract the best players. Football happens to be one of those businesses where its vital to look after short term health if you want to see
Wyn Mills
...Long term benefits.
Wyn Mills
Team improvement in terms of acquisition has happened in most summer and a few winter transfer periods. Our problem over recent periods has been with player retention and external circumstances outwith our control for the most part has been at the root of that. It won't make you or any one else any happier but some attempt at understanding the world we having to operate it 'the complexities and nuances' as someone else put it might provide some degree of satisfaction. Football is a business where it is vital to look after the long term health if you wish to enjoy short term health. Plenty of clubs have experienced short term health only to regret its impact on their long term health. If you only look after short term health you'll only be satisfied for a short time.
Amos.
in terms of acquisition.... but not in terms of the improvement of the team tho, as I said.... good silver tongue speaking though! Anyway, big game in 40 min, come on you gunnerrrrs
shewore
Amos, there is virtually no chance of this club doing a Leeds or Blackburn. Weve been spun this particular horror story for far too long. There is however, a real chance of this club doing an Aston Villa/Everton under the sort of pragmmatic managment that values safety and underinvestment above glory. All that will do is lock you into a slow death of dwindling crowds and low expectation.
Wyn Mills
Wow, resorting to insults again, eh? Okay lets see how much mettle you really have, I'll bet you £100 that Rooney's book deal is not scrapped. The book was released in September it's January now, lets be sporting and give it until April, the end of the fiscal year. If you truly believe that crap put your money where your mouth is. And well with that KPB statement, I thought I'd try your tactics for once and see if I could get away with it. I was going to talk about how Boateng single-handedly dragged the worst group of players I ever recall seeing in the Premiership (some of the worst players I ever recall seeing on a football pitch) to an FA cup final, how he turned around a seriously ailing Milan midfield, leading them to a league title, his play for Ghana, producing standout performances and genius goals at crucial times against some of the European and Italian greats including us. But I thought why bother to list what I think are his credentials if I'm facing this BS? Why not just try an Amos and stretch the truth until it no longer resembles the original. The amount of traffic KPB's play gets compared to that of our players makes the truth self-evident, but why bother to put up all the evidence, when I can just make it into a tabloid headline. Yes, most football fans think KPB is superior to the players Arsenal have in that position, so why not?
Arsenales F.C
Not silver tongue speak shewore just plain English and easily understood for those with the willingness to do so. The acquisitions have by and large improved the team - though not in all cases of course but that's always been the case, and for all teams. The inability to retain key players has weakened the team over the last 2 or 3 seasons particularly but we have also coped well with it at times in the past. However, there are reasons for the present difficulties which are a little deeper than just a lack of desire to 'spend some ******** money'. It doesn't require a silver tongue to explain what those are but it does require more than a closed mind and a receptivity only for the superficial. As for Aston Villa you need only look at what they've tried to do chasing the rainbow of CL qualification beyond the resources they really had to understand that particular example doesn't help your case Wyn. I agree there's no chance of Arsenal doing a Leeds, or an Aston Villa, which is good for their short term health as well as their long term.
Amos.
Frankly Arsenales you're acting a bit dumb. I recognise that's an insult but also a fair reflection of your reaction (not that acting dumb need necessarily be the same as being dumb of course). Nobody said the book deal would be scrapped only that the deal for another 3 books over the remaining 6 years of the deal is 'likely' to be scrapped based on the facts at hand (i.e poor sales only the second a series in 6 years which had already been delayed for 3 or 4 years). Not that I care a great deal about Rooney's book deal which you only introduced into the argument as an irrelevant point masking your ignorance of the club's role in image rights. Your 'evidence' that most football fans think KPB is superior to anything we've got is based on what exactly? Or is it just the opinion of some - most critically you? In which case why not just say so?
Amos.
Villa suffered years of chronic underinvestment under Doug Ellis, as you well know. They then made the error of throwing Lerner's money at a succession of managers and inflated player wages ( around 88% of turnover). Initially a problem of underinvestment, but then one of mismangement.
Wyn Mills
Commercial deals irrelevant to the value of a player? Because that was the topic at the time. I don't want to have to argue that potential commercial deals are relevant to the value of a player, but you keep on making statements that I'm forced to challenge. And the idea that most fans of global football believe that Boateng is superior to the players who play in a similar position to him is accumulated evidence, from traffic of player footage to fan comments, the most pertinent being around the time of the Arsenal-AC Milan game last year. Yes it's my opinion (though one gathered from evidence) but if you're entitled to state your opinion based on no evidence that I only know about Boateng from 2 games, I feel I'm entitled to state mine. As I said, I'm just gonna make the same kind of statements you do. Btw, the article you used said quote: "however it is now believed that the remaining three books are likely to be scrapped." Not 1 book or 2 books, I want a bet on the remaining 3 books of that deal to be scrapped, otherwise admit it was BS you pulled out of your arse.
Arsenales F.C
So let's just agree that it's impossible to say we've improved pur team over the last few transfer windows, ins and outs. Really not up for debate, is it. Number of players in, i.e. deflecting the question and assigning it to "player acquisition" is the stuff that Alistair Campbell would be proud of. I'm just picking up on your point of "you would never be happy if we spent more money cos you' still want more" is not exactly proven true, cos i genuinely haven't been happy with our transfer dealings over the past 4/5 years, and if that is short termist, then so be it - not everyone has the confidence we'll be winning stuff again when ffp rides to the rescue. Which i'm sure you have reservations about. It is a shame that you genuinely never, ever question the administration behind Arsenal Football Club to be honest, it's one thing "looking the other way", and providing "rational" analysis, it's another refusing to see any faults.
shewore
Not all of a players image rights or commercially activities are related to their club contract. Those that aren't aren't relevant to the club. Unsurprisingly for you Arsenales you've misquoted from the Daily Mail article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2221065/Wayne-Rooneys-latest-book-flops-sales.html which actually says "The lack of interest makes it more unlikely a further three books will see the light of day before the deal ends in 2018." but even if you hadn't misquoted it still only says they are 'likely' to be scrapped. Not that no further books will ever be published so even if one book is published then by definition the 3 book deal would have been scrapped. Now stick your thumb in your mouth, grab a corner of your security blanket in the other hand and go and have a lie down. You're in desperate need of it.
Amos.
I question the decisions Arsenal as a club makes all the time but it's not hard to know when they've got things wrong. It's much harder to understand why things haven't gone as we'd have hoped and concluded that even if they hadn't then the decisions taken at the time made sense. I'd turn it around the other way and say it's a shame you never make a genuine attempt to understand what is happening and why it has happened beyond superficial judgements. You can't judge whether a team has been weakened in a transfer window. Arguably when we signed RvP he didn't strengthen the team but he became a strength. Similarly Walcott has been derided for years now many are saying he's a key player. This whole business or judging even before the season has kicked off which team has weakened and which team has strengthened simply based on which players they have or haven't signed is really the most superficial of judgements. It isn't so much a refusal to see faults that's a problem it's the refusal to see the many good things that have gone into building the club. Any fool can see flaws - understanding the reasons for them and the background behind them takes a more rational analysis.
Amos.
Isn't that mismanagement at Villa you refer to Wyn just a club looking after it's short term health at the expense of it's long term health?
Amos.
No, its a club that after years of underinvestment hit the accelerator pedal, lost control and crashed into a wall. For me the danger is our club losing its will to compete even in the short term, falling further behind year by year (perhaps almost imperceptibly) and then being forced to invest massively to get back to where we were. The likelyhood of hitting that wall in those circumstances becomes greater, especially if we no longer have a manager like Wenger, who for all his faults at least has an eye for talent.
Wyn Mills
I'm not sure your distinction makes much sense. Hitting the accelerator is just a club spending more resources than it has chasing rainbows (aka looking after the short term). We have increased the investment in our player budgets every year. We have the 4th highest player budget consistently in the PL and it's still growing because the club has retained the capacity to grow. Accusing the club of underinvestment simply isn't true even if there's an argument that we're capable of doing more. It's precisely because we haven't under invested that we are still capable of investing. What will prevent us hitting the wall in the way that Villa have and you fear is that the club is stronger and stronger each year. The only hope that a team has of becoming stronger is if the club itself is strong. It's so basic I'm surprised anyone has any trouble seeing it. At the same time while the background of the last 10 years have tipped the odds against us that background appears to be changing. It doesn't appear that they'll remain as marked as they have been and those odds should narrow. In my view your fears for the club are misplaced. The best chance of enduring success other than to sell out as some billionaires plaything (it may be too late for that) is to continue to mange the club the way they have been doing. They're getting all the big things right which should mean everything else will come right in time.
Amos.
The problem is we're not spending the resources we have on improving squad quality in depth. And the more we don't spend or underinvest in the team the harder we will end up hitting that accelerator in the long run. That's the point of the analogy. You keep referring to us having the 4th highest player budget as if its some indication of investment, when many believe we're actually overspending on mediocrity. The team (as opposed to the club as a whole) is not as strong as it could be because we've lost world-class quality and not adequately replaced it (some recent aquisitions excluded). One could state the counter-argument that clubs become stronger as their teams do and for the first few years under Wenger this happened. But we've been close to the bottom of the league in terms of net spending on the team for a few years and its not something you can simply attribute to the increased spending power of Chelsea and City.
Wyn Mills
You can attribute a great deal of it to the spending of Abramovich and Mansour and in years to come this period of footballing history, at a time when player contract law has favoured them, might well be understood much better. You don't think having the 4th highest player budget is an indication of investment? What do you think it indicates then? How do you think we've managed even the level of consistency we have done over the recent barren years? Your focus on net spending is too narrow and those with higher net spending on transfers yet lower overall player budgets haven't performed as well as we have. It's total player budgets that determine how competitive we can be and only three teams do better than we do currently and have done consistently. To continue with your analogy hitting the accelerator is possible for us. We need have few fears about that. The engine has been souped up, there's plenty of power available and the fuel tank is full. Precisely because of the way the club has been managed over a period of significant changes.
Amos.
The fact we're spending more on player wages doesn't necessarily mean we're investing in quality in the team, although its an easy assumption to make. In our case the popular view is we're spending more on mediocrity. The wage structure at the club is a topical subject at the moment, and for good reason. Its making it difficult to both sell and retain players. Wenger won't publicly say this but we know its a real problem. We may well have been consistently achieving our CL place (increasingly by the skin of our teeth) but we've also consistently crashed out. This year the slow draining away of quality may just finally catch up with us, ironically just as we're beginning to spend more. The club may be starting to press that accelerator but with Wenger's contract expiring next season you do wonder who's going to be driving.
Wyn Mills
The fact that net spending on transfers is high doesn't mean you would necessarily be investing in quality in the team either, although its an even easier assumption to make. There's an interesting article over on Swissramble about Dortmund and the resurrection of the club following an ill fated belief that high net spending on transfers would bring them success. In fact it only works if you can do it on the scale of City or Chelsea. Since then they've learned their lessons well and now their 'youth policy' and a net transfer spend of minus £5m over recent seasons has enabled them to pay high wages keep much of the talent they've developed while continuing to invest in the team and win a couple of titles. The German league doesn't have the same degree of financial distortion that the PL has and though Bayern are financial stronger than anyone else there're constraints even on them which gives other well managed clubs a chance. That doesn't yet exist in the PL. Wenger has done the job so well in steering us through the last decade and a half that it matters less now who is doing the driving. All that his successor needs to know is that if you press the accelerator the power is there to respond.
Amos.
Interesting article on Swissramble. However the very first graph only appears to illustrate that Dortmund achieved their success following a modest level of spending between 2008 and 2011. The appointment of Klopp was probably also a factor. I find the reference to Dortmund also an apt one in that they are now perceived as a 'selling club' who may encounter problems maintaining their level of competitiveness if they can't replace the quality they sell. Their high commercial based revenue is astounding and may help them, but if Arsenal are to get to anywhere near those levels we will certainly need to increase our success on the field. And that means buying and developing quality.
Wyn Mills
I honestly hadn't read Amy Lawrence's article before today but it obviously picks up a lot of the debate over Wenger that's been swirling around the club and between supporters over the past couple of days: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/jan/05/arsene-wenger-arsenal-swansea
Wyn Mills
I think what Amy Lawrence's article misses, and quite a lot of similar superficial analysis also misses, is that Wenger isn't operating in the same environment he could before 2003 when Abramovich led the sugar daddy tendency and again in 2008 when contract law made it harder to retain players and Mansour scaled up Abramovichs previous distortion. Glib talk of a Midas touch like magic hats is just fantasy stuff. It's all more scientific than that. The important thing about Dortmund is that they are still very strong. As I've said before teams are never constant. Even Chelsea with all their resources only managed 6th last season though they had the fortune of the CL to compensate. Teams fluctuate and along with injuries, loss of form, managerial changes et c., but they can always recover if the club itself is fundamentally strong. If they've blown their stake money chasing rainbows, trying to find a magical Midas touch they probably won't without a serious period of retrenchment. Nowadays the player is King and wages are more important than transfer fees in team building. In a player budget whatever you spend on transfers and associated agents fees is less to spend on wages. If FFP succeeds and the oligarchs have less freedom to spend obscenely on overall player budgets it's likely that transfer fees wouldn't be the priority. It may also take some form of FFP in the PL, as is currently being contemplated, and even some equalisation of broadcasting rights in Spain to really bring it home but the most successful teams will be those who can spend on wages. If folk don't understand the changes that have taken place over the last 10 years then they'll struggle to come to terms with those that will take place over the next 10 but I'm confident that AFC isn't as blind as others have been.
Amos.
Amos, are you around at the mo? Got a question for you re the Dutch Badger.
FunGunner
@ Wyn Mills - we don't set out to buy what you call mediocrity. Some players just don't develop as expected, or fail to adapt, or lose motivation, etc. That's a problem all squads have and a problem that will probably never go away completely. There is a reason for the fairly flat wage structure - a recognition of the nature of football as a team sport. There is room within it for extra remuneration for a special player like Cesc, or RvP if he'd been willing to re-sign. And don't forget there may be performance bonuses and the like to add to basic salaries as well, to further reward the really good players.
FunGunner
FG, I'm sure no club sets out to buy mediocrity. However unfortunetly that's what you will more often than not get when you don't invest in proven quality or 'special players' and instead spend inefficiently on wages. You also don't generally win anything. That's when you start losing attendances and commercial revenue, which for Arsenal is a very big deal indeed.
Wyn Mills
Just post your question on this thread FG or open a thread in the forum. It maybe someone could come up with a better answer than I could. As a codicil to the 'why couldn't we keep RvP' issue it seems that there have been two prominent cases of players invoking Article 17. One was Guttierez when he left Mallorca to join Newcastle in 2008. Interestingly the Guardian report at the time includes a telling phrase the player has cited Article 17 of Fifa's statutes, which states that a player aged between 23 and 28 who has fulfilled three years of his contract can move to another club for "footballing reasons". It seems that Gazidis's reference to 'footballing reasons' being behind RvP's move wasn't accidental and he was telling us what had really happened. Another move which gives pause to players thinking they can buy out the value of the contract based on the value of wages is that of a Brazilian Matuzalem who tore up his contract with Shakhtar in 2009 after 3 years to move to Zaragoza where the original £6m compensation settled by Fifa was increased to £11m by CAS. The issue is clear though. There is nothing to stop a player leaving after 3 years (2 years if over 28 when signed) of his contract no matter how long he has remaining and all the club can do is get the best deal they can for the club.
Amos.
@ Wyn Mills - well, let me put it another way - we DO set out to buy or recruit quality. You claim that we have worsened the situation by not buying proven quality, but it comes down to money again. Proven quality comes with a premium. For reasons which you are aware of, we have up until recently had to choose between experience and quality. We haven't been able to afford to buy proven, experienced top quality unless we could cut a good deal or get them on a free, eg Gallas. So we mainly bought/recruited and developed a mixture of 1) kids with top class potential, notably Cesc and Wilshere, and 2) players in the 21-24 age group who we thought were on the verge of greatness - rough diamonds or undiscovered gems. Nasri, Sagna etc. There was the odd player brought in purely for experience eg Silvestre or Squillaci. Now of course we've started to get in more of the seasoned quality players. But even there, nobody can get it right all the time. There is no club in the world who does not have "dead wood" who are being paid more than they are worth. It is not a problem unique to us or created by us.
FunGunner
@ Amos - thanks. I was wondering why the club/AW thought they had any chance of keeping the Dutch Badger even before he published his statement, given that the last year of the contract was unprotected. Do you think it was just a case of hanging in there until it became impossible? Also, what do you think was the impact of the statement on the club? I know I may be asking you to hypothesise, but I'd be interested to hear your views.
FunGunner
You never know with transfers of course. A few years back Vieira looked nailed on to go to Real. The deal was made and then he pulled out at the 11th hour. There was always the chance, no matter how slim it might seem now, that RvP might not have got an attractive enough offer. The only significant European club to show an interest was Juventus who just didn't have any money (but could probably offer trophies). It's still arguable whether this was a good deal for ManU given the costs over 4 years. There's no doubt he's been full value (and more) for it so far this year and may even give a return next year but years 3 and 4 might not seem quite so rewarding and the costs will still be there. Though their revenues are strong they're also finite and I think this was more of a case of Fergie doing a deal for Fergie rather than for ManU. I know City were in for him but I don't think they ever expected to get him and simply looked to push up the costs for ManU. I don't think that RvP's statement would have been a great surprise. He'd have told the club within 15 days of the last game of the season (effectively end of May) that he wanted to go. The statement was just an invitation for clubs to put offers in for him. It could serve no other purpose. It's all conjecture of course and in truth none of us know more than about 30% of what goes on in any transfer saga but I'm sure that the club would have wanted to hang onto him for a couple of seasons more but Article 17 allowed RvP to do what was, at this stage of his career, best for RvP. You can't blame him for that and all that AFC could do was to get as much value as they could.
Amos.
FG, that would all be understandable if we weren't struggling to a) hold on to our best players and b)get rid of at least half a dozen assorted crocks and abject failures. Do you really believe Arsenal, a club with the sort of global profile and income that we have, should be experiencing these problems? I would argue the problem of paying over the odds for deadwood (given our supposed budgetary restrictions) is fairly unique to us in this league.
Wyn Mills
Unique? City are still paying most of Wayne Bridge's salary while he's playing championship football for Brighton. There're are plenty of other examples too. It took ManU sometime to get permacrock Hargreaves off their books. They'd probably also be keen to get Bebe off their books rather than loaning him out and Anderson seems a waste of squad space. Liverpool might be keen to get something for Andy Carroll rather than just a loan deal. Wouldn't spuds like to unload Bentley if they could? Look into their squads and all clubs have players they'd like to shift. It helps if you can write off their values as freely as City and the Chavs have done but those clubs living on real money face the same problems. There's nothing unique about Arsenal in that regard.
Amos.
@ Wyn Mills - never mind understandable, it's an unavoidable and universal problem. We have to keep doing our best to reduce the numbers of those players but there will never be a time when any club doesn't have at least one or two who aren't cutting it for whatever reason. It can be a sign that the squad as a whole is improving if someone who was good enough two seasons ago can't get a game now. As for the point about losing players, we lose players against our will to clubs who can pay far larger wages which we could not match, regardless of the details of our wage structure.
FunGunner
@ Amos - thanks for the response. I do understand what was in it for RvP but I find I can blame RvP. :) I think he is an arrogant ingrate. I am trying to rise above it and it would all be so much easier if the Greedy Badger wasn't banging in the goals quite so consistently at ManUre.
FunGunner
RvP is a professional footballer, taking advantage of the rules of the game and doing what's best for him and his family. It's hard to see him doing so well at ManU I have to agree but in the modern game players are transient. For the time being the team is weaker having lost him but the club isn't and all our star players are eventually replaced by other star players. The other side of the coin is that the supporters only value loyalty for the players they want to keep. Loyalty doesn't enter into it for the players seen as deadwood. It was only a couple of seasons back that RvP was one the 'assorted crocks' we were burdened with and many wanted rid of. Players are no less loyal than many supporters.
Amos.
I agree that the club is bigger than any player, and ditto regarding the transience of players. I also think you've hit the nail on the head with the issue of reciprocity of loyalty, but not in my case. I know players don't lose form or get injured deliberately! I would have been one of those defending RvP, Rosicky and Diaby as well as Denilson, Chamakh and Squillaci from the ship-'em-out brigade. While they play for us, I support them and want them to do well, since that will help the squad as a whole. But Robin... Robin was a special case. I would get excited for RvP every year, only to see him go back to the treatment table. We stood by him in his court case as well. I'm not deranged, I know that my stance as an individual doesn't matter to anyone, but I am trying to explain why I felt so betrayed. And above all others, he seemed to understand and embody the vision of the football that AW wanted. So it was a betrayal on that level as well. I compare him to Rosicky, who turned down gazillions at Anky McSkanky or whatever they're called. I realise that Ankhi are not ManUre and the Russian Leagues are not the PL, but still, it shows that some players are capable of a degree of loyalty. I suppose in his mind, he thought we should be grateful he hadn't left the summer before.
FunGunner
Anzhi Makhachkala. My apologies to any of their fans or anyone connected wth that club who might be reading.
FunGunner
RvP was always a favourite of mine too but I still don't see it as betrayal. His first duty is to himself and his family We'd have had to have replaced eventually but I would have much preferred that it be later rather than sooner. It isn't worth getting too attached to players in the modern game I've concluded. Enjoy them while they're here but all our irreplaceable players are replaced with other irreplaceables. If FFP can inhibit the predatory feeding of the last few seasons maybe we won't have to replace them quite so often.
Amos.
That's just it - it was sooner rather than later. I know his first duty was to his family but he wasn't exactly on minimum wage and we'd have given him silly money, too. It was a move in the hope of instant success - ie about RvP professionally, not his happy and settled wife or kids. We treat our players well, and it would be nice if they returned the favour now and then - we didn't even get that much playing time out of him over the eight years. I can't help getting attached to players - while they play for us. When they're gone, they're gone - Henry excepted, still love him. I can usually let them go and I thought I was succeeding, but clearly I was mistaken in my feelings! But he's in the past now and as you say, someone will take his place soon. Cheers for the chat, see ya.
FunGunner
What is unique to us seems to be our decreasing net transfer spending in relation to a huge rise in wages spend. The fans are predominantly funding this and what we see on the field among the good stuff is a good smattering of mediocrity. So when Wenger makes statements about fan expectations you wonder whether he truly appreciates why the questions arise. As for us not being able to but top quality, isn't Wenger's mantra that we won't buy unless we find top top quality that will improve the team? And then he goes and buys Park.
Wyn Mills
Again purchases like Park aren't unique to Arsenal for whom read Bebe for ManU. Not quite in same the league as Bentley for Spurs though but every team has them and most with far worse examples - Andy Carroll for £35m anyone? Of course Wenger understands about fans expectations and the inevitable questions that arise while also understanding the superficial nature of many of those questions when it comes to transfers. What's important isn't any decreasing nature of net transfer spending (we're still pretty high on gross spending and we have a net transfer gain simply because we buy better and therefore sell better!) but the overall and consistent increase in player budgets alongside our capacity to sustain that increase. That's what will determine our ability to compete on an enduring basis.
Amos.
@ Wyn Mills - And he also bought Mertesacker and Arteta. You win some, you lose some. Nobody knows for sure who is going to make it. Many doubted Merts. AW never touted Park as top top quality. He barely got an introduction on arsenal.com when he signed. When asked about signing Park in the presser before the infamous ManUre away game, AW said that Bendtner (our third choice striker) had just left on loan, leaving a space open, and he had a hunch about Park so he hijacked the transfer to Lille that was 90% done. You could say it was an impulse buy which didn't work out. Happens to every manager now and again. I won't get into the wages versus transfer spend question because I'm not au fait with the details, but from what Amos was saying before, can we assume the reduction in net transfer spend would enable the necessary rise in wages, since it all comes out of the same pot? What I do know is that there has been exponential wage inflation - for professional players of all abilities - ever since Chelsea came on the scene. As a consequence, our wage bill, both as an absolute amount and as a proportion of our turnover, has had to rise.
FunGunner
Of course there is nothing unique about Arsenal having deadwood in the squad, but it hurts us more because there isn't a blank chequebook to pay for their wages, like Man City and Chelsea. Can we afford to sign a player for 18M and let him go on loan (like Chelsea have done with Lukaku)? For this reason, we need to have lesser of these players, which is a constant effort, but something which is holding us back from reaching optimum levels. Gazidis' success will be measured on this, after another 1-2 years, once he's had enough time to unwind the contracts of poor performers and replace them with better quality.
prits
Wage inflation has also happened due to the bumper TV deals that seem to be increasing every 3-4 years. When that happens, there is pressure to increase the wages. If a particular club does not raise the wages, a player will look for a move to another club that is willing to pay more.
prits
It doesn't hurt us more than it does anyone else other than Man City and Chelsea. Arguably it hurts us less because we tend to buy well overall. If we had high net transfer spending it would certainly hurt a great deal more. Wage inflation has its roots not only in increasing revenues but also in the liberalisation of player contracts. That's why of your player budgets it's far more important to build and retain the ability to pay well than it is to spend on transfers.
Amos.
While I understand the general rise in wage spending and the ability to pay well I don't understand a 'socialist' structure that rewards deadwood and crocks. Surely our problem is we pay the mediocre and perennially injured far too well and our proven top quality players too little, with the joint effect of keeping the players we don't want while losing the ones we do? The point prits makes about having deadwood in the squad is valid, because unlike the sugar daddy clubs we really can't afford to have these players taking up places in the squad,or even on loan, while paying the generous wages we are. We can't shift these players until their contract expires and they leave for nothing. Witness Alumunia admitting he should have moved earlier but the money was too good. How many others are happy warming the bench because the dosh is great? Only Chelsea, Utd and City's wage bills have increased more than ours, while on the other hand our falling transfer spend is only reflected by teams such as Newcastle and Blackburn. I will have to agree to disagree with you gents. Spending more money on less quality seems to be our modus operandi these days.
Wyn Mills
Our transfer spend isn't falling. You're being misled by net spending. Our gross spending, the total amount we spend on transfers is very high but obviously not as high as Man City, Chelsea and ManU. The only other clubs that have spent more on transfers over the last 10 years are Spurs and Liverpool but critically, despite both having higher gross and net spending on transfers they haven't performed as consistently well as we have. Neither Spurs or Liverpool have spent as much on overall player budgets as we have. So we have high transfer spending we pay better than anyone other than City, Chelsea and ManU and we consistently perform better than anyone other than those three. Our 'socialist' structure has its failings but it has its merits too but really if we're to compete at the highest level then invariably there're going to be fewer clubs that will pay as well as we do and therefore fewer clubs that can match our wages. That's not to say that a number of other clubs find it any easier to move players on that they no longer need. Spending more money on less quality is the preserve of those over spending on transfers not those that pay well.
Amos.
Incidentally Almunia's wages for the whole 2 years he was out of the first team (partially offset sending him out on loan) was less than just 1 years amortisation of Arshavins transfer fee.
Amos.
"Almunia is world class" GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
shewore
Is he? Did anyone anywhere ever claim that? Or is it just a straw man point? If it's not ok for Wenger to make a point with the more accurate fact that most would like us to sign Messi or that we can't pay £50m for a player then it must be less so to try to make one with a statement that isn't accurate at all - let alone feign anger with it.
Amos.
Smoke and mirrors again, Amos. You know as well as I do that our net transfer spend over the last 10 years was probably close to if not the lowest in the league. While its true that on average we spend more than anyone with the exception of Chelsea, City, Utd, Liverpool and Spurs, this is more than offset by sales, which I believe since 2003 have outstripped every other club. And crucially those sales have involved world class talent leaving the club and in many cases not being replaced. While some may laud Wenger for his frugality and spending so little in achieving so many runner-up places I tend to be more critical in terms of what I feel he could have achieved with just a little more investment, and also what i feel the cumulative effect of underinvestment in the team will be (ie: not a single piece of silverware in over 7 years - Emirates Cup excepted). Anyway I'll stop now as I'm just repeating myself. Maybe I'm just a half glass empty kind of guy.
Wyn Mills
The smoke and mirrors is the obfuscation of net spending. That just shows that we buy better than most but we also spend more than most. A characteristic we should take some pride in but we also have the 4th highest total player budget in the PL. That we develop so many world class players and generally add value to the players we recruit is both a blessing and a curse in a league as financially distorted as the PL is currently. You can be as critical as you wish of course, and if your glass is always half empty then you can only be critical, but there's little evidence to support the idea that just a little more transfer spending would improve our position enough to get us consistently above City, ManU or Chelsea but would simply reduce our capacity to spend on wages. There's even less evidence for the reasons I've already given for the contention that Arsenal are really guilty of underinvestment by any rational standard.
Amos.
Er yes, Wenger did say that. The very thought of Almunia just revives all types of memories.
shewore
@ Wyn Mllls - you're still arguing as if we know in advance who the "dead wood" will be. JD was our saviour in central defence a couple of seasons ago, now he's "dead wood" to some. Will Podolski or Giroud be the same in 2014? We don't know. All clubs have this problem, whatever type of wage structure they have, or even if they just deal with each contract on an adhoc basis. It's not the wage structure that causes it, it's the vagaries of human nature and the inability of human beings to see into the future. It's unavoidable and our wage structure in itself doesn't make it more likely to happen - non-performers or injury-prone players could be on any club's highest or lowest salaries or anything in between. It is a problem we can and do anticipate or minimise the effect of by judicious buying and striking loan deals respectively, but we will never eradicate it. Nobody will. There are more options to strike a loan deal when your player isn't paid an above-average salary, but we have to pay above-average salaries to attract and retain good players. Which goes back to my point about not knowing in advance who will fail to justify their pay. And on your point about transfer spend, my hunch is that you are confounding the concepts of net transfer spend and gross transfer spend. But that's me going above my pay grade! :)
FunGunner
All types of memories but few of them accurate. :) Footballers are usually either heroes or villains. Some supporters find it hard to allow any space between.
Amos.
Wenger was definitely the panto villain re Almunia!
shewore
@ Wyn Mills - Forgot to finish my point. It is harder to get a player on a high salary out on loan, but that is because you will almost certainly be sending him to a smaller club, maybe to a comparable club in dire need, but very unlikely to a bigger club which pays higher wages. Eg Everton might send a player on loan to Brighton, or even Reading, but unlikely to send one to us, ManUre, Chelski or Money City. So the amount the parent club pays is kind of a red herring.
FunGunner
Fun, why assign everything to the vagarities of human nature? Isn't that like saying the sky is blue? We pay players too much before they've had a chance to prove it, this is even acknowledged by all this socialist crap. Let's face it, it's a punt that they'll come good and be loyal to the club if we look after them brilliantly from day one, and it hasn't really worked. How can a man who's on about 7m PA talk talk about how pleased he is that everyone's within a similar bracket of wage? When his earnings far outstrip any of theirs?
shewore
What was Almunia's wage at Arsenal? 50-60K? We can't be sure of the exact amount but what we can be sure of is that he will never get that sort of deal again... anywhere...ever. Same for Djourou, Denilson, Vela, Chamakh, Park, B52, Santos, Diaby, Squillaci, etc etc. Only we throw our money at average or perenially crocked players like this. No wonder none of them are putting in transfer requests and are simply running down their contracts. Its deeply flawed.
Wyn Mills
I think a section of the support were the panto villains in respect of Almunia. Until he became the panto villain himself. Oh yes he is! Oh no he isn't! I don't know how much Wenger earns (is it published anywhere?) but few would doubt that he earned whatever he's being paid. In fact it would be very socialist to deny him or the players the fruits of their labours. Maybe the club are a bit too capitalist by nature?
Amos.
He's on a lot Amos, best paid in the league? 4th in the world?
shewore
Socialism = tax the rich and throw benefits at the poor. Sounds like our wage structure alright. Its a pity the same system doesn't operate when it comes to ticket prices and board member renumeration.
Wyn Mills
Apparently Fergie earns more in the PL. Understandably I guess. Depends which reports you trust but some put Ancelloti, Hiddink and even Capello (when with England) ahead of him as well as all the usual suspects. A number of others are put pretty close to him too. With the resources he has had I think Wenger has been good value (relatively) for what he's produced for the club but I'm not sure what point you're making - or even if there is one. Most people associated with football, certainly at PL level, seem to make obscene amounts of money. Some earn it more than others.
Amos.
Taxes are mandatory but nobody compels anyone to buy football tickets or Sports TV subscriptions if they don't want to. Football wages are an example of capitalism at its rawest. Socialism doesn't come any where near this scenario other than in the taxes the players and club officials pay.
Amos.
I think in this instance Wyn doesn't mean Tax as in the tax you see on your pay slip, but more to do with "tax" in the form of holding back money your talent or weighting within the team should command and give it to players who are yet to prove themselves, ir order for it to be more socialist.
shewore
Nobody was complaining about the pay structure when we were winning things. It would have appeared perfectly sensible then. The question is which other remuneration packages appear more successful? City, Chelsea, Barca, Real maybe? Complaints about overpaid players are just the discontented looking for another stick to beat the club with. But Gazidis has said that's something they're prepared to look at and if they find a formula to satisfy Walcott then maybe it's flexible enough not to handicap us. Whatever policy we adopt it wouldn't enable us to better what City and Chelsea have been offering (or Real and Barca by virtue of their TV rights) but distortions aside we can compete well enough. That's all that really matters.
Amos.
I think they pay structure was different when we were winning things, this whole socialist stuff is a product of the approach of getting a load of youth players to buy into the club, and the way they're treated. Which of course, didn't work. I remember Vieira signing a 50k a week deal, which was massive money then. Unreal really what's happened since then.
shewore
I think you'll find that both Merson and Parlour have said they benefited immediately from Wenger's more balanced pay structure after he'd joined. Nothings changed except the perception, because we haven't won a trophy for a while. Some still find it difficult to accept that the major changes are external rather than internal. Hence the belief that if we'd just change our pay structure we'll automatically do better than City, Chelsea or ManU.
Amos.
^ who has said we'd do better than those clubs? No one on here that i've seen?
shewore
And also Merse could't have been on that much cos he was easy enough to shift on, Parlour was a key squad player and a real winner - see where i'm going with this? Anyway, no one's said if "we just change our pay structure we'd do better than City, Utd & Chelsea", that's just putting words in peoples' mouths.
shewore
Nobody said Almunia was world class either but if there isn't a problem with our pay structure that prevents us competing with the teams that do better than us then what's the purpose of changing it? No I don't see where you're going with it. Merse was sold at a time when Abramovich and Mansour were unknown in the world of football. Wage inflation was less of an issue then. But there're some hints to Arsenal's 'renowned' pay structure in this article from 2004. http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/wenger-no-vieira-pay-hike-6983603.html
Amos.
Wenger said Almunia was world class. Why do you refuse to believe it?! http://www.arsenal.com/news/ladies-news/almunia From your link - oh how times have changed! ""We are not in a situation where we want to make money on any player and if there was a bid of £20 million or £30m, could we really say no to it? Of course we could."
shewore
@ shewore - if the problem is created by our wage structure, how come everybody else has the same problem?
FunGunner
Fungunner - What other clubs created a nucleus of young players, paid them very healthily indeed, and they either didn't make it (and we can't move on) or did make it (and we couldn't keep?) does "every other club" have that issue?
shewore
Ah in 2009 - I suppose on the back of the 2007-2008 title tilt when he'd displaced 'world class' Lehmann that might just have been possible to claim but an opinion difficult to sustain in hindsight. He'd have come to change his mind after that. Times of course have indeed changed, you're beginning to grasp the 'complexities and nuances' at last. The Webster clause hadn't impacted on player contracts in 2004. That was what prevented Vieira becoming a ManU player in 2001 - a contract was a contract back then.
Amos.
Those clubs that have a policy of developing youth players have that issue shewore. Those that rely on paying top money for developed players that don't make it have other issues. But every club has issues whatever their recruitment policy. Some are just more sustainable than others.
Amos.
I'm not saying other clubs don't haven issues, i'm just curious as to who has "the same problem" as us.
shewore
No, shewore - if it's just due to our "socialist" wage structure that we have dead wood, how come other clubs also have a problem with dead wood?
FunGunner
The clubs with poorer players than we have won't have the same problems to the same extent as we do but ManU took a young Ronaldo, gave him his chance to develop and couldn't hang onto him. City and Chelsea don't bother developing young players but it took Chelsea a while to shift Kakuta. The problem of shifting players you don't want isn't confined to young players though they are usually easier to place than older players. Arshavin seems pretty immovable and he's no youngster. The fact that the predator clubs find our talent so attractive is in some ways a mark of a successful policy. Football has to find a way to stop them feeding from our labours quite so avariciously but it's an external issue not an internal one and as both John Henry of Liverpool and Marwood at City have both said the see the future for their clubs adopting the same policy presumably they are willing to embrace the same problems.
Amos.
We also have deadwood because Wenger tried to convince us that players like Almunia and Fabianski were world class, and paid them accordingly. Lucky for him and us Szeznsny was a half decent keeper and spared his blushes. More accident than design though coz our two duds were going nowhere.
Wyn Mills
"The fact that the predator clubs find our talent so attractive is in some ways a mark of a successful policy." Shouldn't that read the reason the predator clubs find our BEST talent so attractive is that as a result of our policy they are easy to tempt away? Show them a vision, double their wages and hey presto....gone! You said it yourself Amos. Wages are an example of capitalism at its rawest...except of course at Arsenal.
Wyn Mills
Not a result of our policy but more the consequence of looser player contract law (refer to the arguments above). A number of our best young talents have just signed new contracts so it's not universally flawed. It would only be a valid example of capitalism if the markets were considered efficient. Neither City nor Chelsea can afford to pay the wages that even we can pay without enormous subsidy. Most capitalist economies frown on such predatory behaviour and were it any other business then the OFT or anti-trust laws would prevent it happening. If an oil rich oligarch decided he wanted to be the biggest distributor of luxury cars in the country and started to sell top of the range cars at 40% or more below the cost of production they would quickly dominate the market and take the title of number one car distributor. They would lose a lot of money to achieve that glory except that it wouldn't be allowed to happen. The authorities would step in to prevent such unfair competition and ban predatory pricing as it would clearly be economically destructive. Football is now waking up to the destruction that such practices has caused and are causing to their industry.
Amos.
@ Wyn Mills - Can you identify for me the clubs which, due to their superior wage structure or unwillingness to sign young players, don't have "dead wood"? AW doesn't always get it right when he predicts potential or future performance. It happens with all managers. It's not even mainly the developed youth who are the problem at Arsenal, either. The first team players whom the club is trying to offload at the moment are Squillaci, Arshavin and Park. Chamakh has only just gone. Of the players who we developed, I can only think of Denilson and Bendtner who outstayed their usefulness to the first team squad, and they are both already out on loan. I'm not including Djourou because he is still wanted by AW. Fabianski I'm not sure about, but I think he is the one who wants to leave - AW wouldn't let him go last summer, though he told Almunia he was free to leave. And AW didn't accidentally sign or promote Chesney, btw. He was scouted and assessed like everybody else.
FunGunner
Some good news - Diaby, Frimpong and Santos played in an U21 match today. (Arsenal U21 1-1 West Brom U21, since you ask.) All unscathed, all three involved in Arsenal's goal.
FunGunner
FG, I'm still waiting for the answer to Shewore's original question about which other clubs have the same problem we do with shifting deadwood at the same time as losing their best players every season. Its the inverse question, but one I would have thought slightly easier to answer. The fact that you say its not mainly the developed youth that is the problem is surely more alarming, because it calls into question Wenger's judgement in buying deadwood in the first place. As far as Chesney is concerned it was the coincidence of Almunia being off form and Fabianski/Mannone suffering log term injuries that saw him promoted to No1 at such a tender age. Not convinced Wenger would have taken the chance otherwise. Are you?
Wyn Mills
It's a bogus question Wyn. We don't lose our best players every season though over the last couple of seasons we have lost players we would have wished to hang onto. But I guess if you take a look at Spurs and Liverpool and Everton maybe they might be the more visible examples who have lost players they might have wished not too and struggled to move on players deemed superfluous. Even ManU would have preferred to hang onto Ronaldo but were unable to keep him or Tevez for that matter. It affects all clubs with the exception of those clubs not restricted by normal financial considerations. As for Szczesny again it's bogus speculation as the fact is that Wenger did take a chance and it's not as though he has ever shown any reluctance to give players a chance at a tender age is it? Now you can feel free to answer FG's question.
Amos.
Like I asked earlier, when was the last time we improved the team in the summer? Your answer was definition of bogus! 'well we've improved squad recruitment', doesn't really answer it. We've lost more than players that just 'we'd like to hang on to', wouldn't you agree? We've lost our Captain the last 2 summers & best player, coupled with some others that we may wanted to have kept. You're using that Ronaldo anomaly again ;) and the Tevez one was covered off, it was a loan, he was owned by a company, not a football club, not really viable examples. Are you saying Chesney wasn't forced into the first team then? He was put there after injuries to other keepers that were never, ever good enough to be no1 for us, they just weren't up to scratch. I say 'injuries', actually it was more like 'howlers'. I think that's a fair assessment, I don't think you can dismiss that as bogus speculation to be honest, it was there for all to see.
shewore
Fun's question is similarly rhetorical in that no-one here is claiming other clubs don’t suffer from dead wood or have good players poached. I'm just struggling to think of another PL club who have such a high proportion of loanees or unwanted first team players on high wages, or who have lost more key high profile players on such a consistent basis than we have. Virtually every summer for the past 7 years we have lost one or two of our top players, usually our captain. Arsenal should have a natural advantage in keeping and attracting top quality in that we a) play in the Champions League and b) are supposedly a big club. And yet we still contrive to limit our investment in top quality, and we lose many more high profile players than the particular clubs you have quoted, none of whom are in the CL. Have we ever really pushed the boat out or taken a risk, even when there’s been a reasonably good case and time for doing so? Crying foul and pointing at the sugar daddy clubs doesn’t help anyone (least of all ourselves) if we under invest in our own team. After all who’ll buy our top players at a premium when FFP kicks in and they stop spending?  The sad hard capitalist truth is, generally the more you invest well in quality players, the better you do and the greater your income from TV and sponsorship deals. Everton are arguably currently benefiting from just a moderate increase in investment last winter and again in summer. No-one is asking for Messi or even big names. The investment in more proven experienced quality (in addition to potential) is the message the board are hopefully picking up from the fans and supporters trust.
Wyn Mills
Still not answering the question yourself I see. As I said above the process of team improvement doesn't always take place in any one transfer window except in the simplistic, superficial analysis of some supporters. Some of the players recruited in a transfer window don't improve a team immediately as I explained. RvP wasn't an immediate improvement but we improved the team by recruiting him. In other instances you can lose your best player (Henry) and recruit a virtual unknown (Sagna) in a position most fans wouldn't have seen as a priority and improve the team. Supporters are hopeless at determining what would improve a team. We all think we know what's best but in truth we know very little. The point being made was that we lose our best player EVERY season. That's palpable nonsense. We've lost Cesc and RvP who we might describe as pivotal (though all players are eventually). We might have preferred to hang onto Nasri and even Hleb at the time but neither were really indispensable and were replaced. Why is Ronaldo any more of an anomaly than Cesc or RvP? Please explain your reasoning. ManU agreed a fee of £25m for Tevez, and offered to make him one of their highest players. So clearly, by definition, having been with them for 2 years, he was their player and one they wanted to hang onto but couldn't and lost him to a competitor. In claiming that isn't a viable example you're just deceiving yourself. What do you mean by Szczesny being forced into the first team? If injuries gave him his opportunity earlier than he might have expected that's pretty much an everyday occurrence in football. Almunia only got his chance because 'world class' Lehmann was absolutely crap at the time. But why should anyone think how Szczesny got his opportunity as something to whinge about? The fact is that he was given the chance. In your determination to only ever see the negatives in the club you're becoming increasingly petty. Complaining about the circumstances of Szczesny's inclusion in the team as though it were a failing when many would have preferred us to bring in Given or Green or Schwarzer and delayed his inclusion even further is a good example of such silliness.
Amos.
Not at all, I still think Shesney could do with an experienced keeper to learn from, he makes his fair share of mistakes, and is still massively young for a goalkeeper. Not saying I don't get behind him though, likewise Almunia, but it's clear to see he's a far superior goalkeeper to the average Spaniard. Wouldn't say I was complaining per se just pointing out that he's there through luck more than design, and Wenger classed the 2 in front of him as "world class" when it was clear as day they weren't. I don't see Tevez as a good example for the pure fact that he was at a club, on loan, for 2 whole years, and they only made their mind up that they wanted to sign him right towards the end, that's going to have an affect on the player and his value of self worth (which is clearly massive anyway), it's not like they'd been trying to sign him for ages is it? Ronaldo if anything, works against your argument cos Fergie managed to keep him for one, maybe two more seasons that he wanted to be there, in the mean time he almost single handedly won utd the league and CL, and then he sold him for 70m! Ronaldo's situation was completely unique, and expertly managed by Fergie who extrapolated not only the maximum amount of value in a footballing sense, but the most money that's ever changed hands between football clubs as well (by some margin i may add). We've managed to get about 50m for both Van Persie and Fabregas, how many trophies? How much of that has been spent on the team? It's been used purely to balance the books.
shewore
You claim underinvestment Wyn yet, for the umpteenth time, we have the league's 4th highest investment of any team in the PL. Your argument is that if we invest more we will improve our position. Yet the only teams that do consistently better than us are those teams who have greater resources to invest than we have. There's always a case for bringing in better players as and when we find them but a little more investment isn't going to reduce the the resources of those other teams. As for other teams with a high proportion of loanees on high wages take a peek at City. It's even more painful when those loanees are players you're also having to write down large transfer fees over each year of their contract. As for FFP kicking in and nobody buying our top players isn't that exactly the position we want to be in?
Amos.
Put Wengers claim about Almunia and Fabianski in the proper context of the time is was made and it's understandable. Plenty of others at the time were claiming that Given, Green and Schwarzer were also world class. It's a silly nit picking point to whine about. No matter how much you wriggle around the Tevez situation he was still a player they had on their books for 2 years and wanted very much to keep but couldn't. There's absolutely no difference between that and any player that we would have wished to keep but couldn't. ManU kept Ronaldo for one year more than he wanted to stay and we kept Cesc for one year more than he wanted to stay. There is absolutely nothing unique about Ronaldo's situation whatsoever. Worse if anything as despite their success they still weren't able to keep him (though I think you'll find the money they got for him were necessary for them to balance their books far more than the funds we received for Cesc and RvP were needed to balance ours). How much of it has been spent on the team? We have the 4th highest team investment in the PL.
Amos.
No wriggling at all, can you really not see the difference between Tevez and Van Persie situations? Really? If not, then no point in discussing it further. What is the correct context for Almunia and Fabianski being called World Class then? It is what it is, Not sure many people have said Rob Green's world class to be honest, think that's something you've just made up. Utd didn't really need to balance the books though did they? As long as they keep winning things they're not gonna have cash flow problems are they. I don't think Cesc's final season is in any way comparable to Utd's with Ronaldo either.
shewore
RvP's contract situation didn't allow us to keep a player we wanted to keep. Tevez's contract situation didn't allow ManU to keep a player they wanted to keep. There is no difference to be seen. Consequently, as you are unable to explain the difference, you don't want to discuss it. A bit Violet Elizabeth but no great surprise. The context is in the time that it was said. After a season in which Almunia performed splendidly in a serious title challenge and Fabianski's international credentials were very positive it was understandable. The fact that not many people were claiming England keeper Rob Green was world class (though some were so it wasn't made up) is no more relevant than the fact that not many people were claiming that Almunia or Fabianski were world class. You still felt it worth making a point of though. ManU need to balance the books to continue to allow the Glazers to take as much money out of the club as they have done. Take a look at their accounts and you'll see that ManU need to do so far more than we do. What's the relevance of Cesc's final season compared to Ronaldo's final season in this argument? Both stayed a year longer than they wanted to and neither club were able to keep players they wanted to keep. In your desperation to find some fault somewhere, somehow with something your negativity is getting ever more obscure.
Amos.
Does this all stem from my comment about Almunia and you saying "no one said that"? Don't be so sensitive, it was a throwaway comment, as i said, Almunia was never good enough for us and was plain to see at the time. If you think there's no difference between Tevez and Van Persie's situation then good luck to you, Van Persie (as i've said, time and time and time again) is a top professional, if we'd have demanded he stay, and not cash in, or used some people skills and maybe got him not to take us to court (as if!) then we potentially could've got a year out of him. Tevez was obtuse and had advisors around him purely in it for them - is that not obvious? Honestly? Why do Utd need to balance the books as much? Didn't they take money out of the club whilst leveraging it against debt? Is that balancing the books?
shewore
Fun's question, as I have previously stated, is rhetorical (or ‘bogus’ to use your description) because its not based on any statement I have made. He’s chosen to misinterpret my comment about Almunia and Fabianski being world class deadwood and somehow concluded I had claimed that there were other clubs which don’t have this problem. I’ve said no such thing. Amos, it sounds like you know more about team improvement than the rest of us. I'm neither a scout nor a manager so accusing fans of being hopeless at determining who would improve a team is a rather empty and unnecessary dig. Its ironic that you use RVP as an illustration of someone who wasn’t an immediate improvement given his immediate impact at Utd. While none of us are 'experts' you need to at least give us credit for being able to recognise a good footballer from a bad one. I do believe Wenger to be much better at this than I am, but at the end of the day his performance is there to be questioned like any other manager. In fact he has specifically requested it so I'm baffled why he is surprised by the feedback. Is it really palpable nonsense that we’ve lost pivitol players of the calibre of Cole, Vieira, Pires, Henry, Hleb, Flamini, RVP, Song, Cesc, Clichy, Nasri? Honestly, no one is complaining about Szczensy's inclusion in the team , merely pointing out it was a fortuitous set of circumstances that saw him promoted above THREE more senior keepers ahead of him, two of which Wenger had previously insisted were world class. You will remember at the time Szczesny complaining about a lack of opportunity at the club.
Wyn Mills
"not many people were claiming that Almunia or Fabianski were world class". Yes, you're right about that, with one notable exception: http://www.arsenal.com/news/ladies-news/almunia
Wyn Mills
Much of this thread is founded on your sensitivity to Wenger's references to 'Messi' and '£50m' players so you're hardly on solid ground when it comes to an exchange stemming from insignificant comment. I simply thought you were in need of some appreciation of context. For the reasons already given at length we could not demand that RvP stay, and nothing was going to make him stay, any more than ManU could demand that Tevez stayed. You're determined not to understand player contract law simply because you don't want anything to challenge your myopic view of the club. Fair enough you can't see it because you don't want to. Take a look at ManU's accounts if you really want to understand their need to balance the books but you probably won't want to see that either.
Amos.
Ah silly me, being sensitive to something that Wenger said (that was completely wrong and out of context), i forgot, i am on a completely level playing field with the gaffer - everything I say has the same audience and reach, no matter the significance. Wyn i posted that link earlier, apparently the context in which he said "world class" doesn't actually mean that, cos some fans posting on forums said Schwarzer and Green were world class at the same time.
shewore
Yes I saw that Almunia link Wyn which rather makes my point and takes the whole argument full circle. I'm at a loss to understand what it is you're complaining about then Wyn. You now seem to be accepting that other clubs have the same problems that we do which isn't obvious from your earlier posts. The only thing ironic about my reference to RvP's effect on the Arsenal team is that you can't see the difference between the two recruitment stages. How many of your list of former players were really pivotal when they left? Not Vieira, Pires & Henry at the time they went. How can Cole and Clichy both be pivotal when one followed the other? Clichy certainly wasn't pivotal when he left and Gibbs is a better player. Song wasn't pivotal either and while we might have wanted to hang onto Flamini, Hleb and Nasri at the time none were irreplaceable. Only Cesc and RvP were special at the time they left as were Ronaldo and Tevez when they left ManU. So the problems we have aren't unique to Arsenal yet they're proposed as though they are. I don't pretend to be any more of an expert on team improvement than anyone. On the contrary I appreciate that it's all rather more complex than you do so your empty dig at me has even less justification than me pointing out that it isn't as simplistic as you suggest. Of course Wenger expects to be challenged he has said so many times himself but he spoke recently at an address to journalism students when he expressed the view that opinions aren't offered as opinions as any more but as 'self evident' truths. They are proposed without any allowance that they might be under informed, that there's no acceptance that they might not know as much as those they're challenging. Yet it is those very opinions that mustn't be challenged as much as Wengers are. One such example is the constant assertion that we're under investing when by any rational standards investment is very high and that while there is scope to do more that scope only exists because the task of investing wisely and not emotionally is taken seriously and not on the simplistic basis that some supporters would have the club invest.
Amos.
Still struggling with the meaning and consequence of 'context' I see shewore. But at least I understand the reason you don't feel inhibited in making facile arguments and observations is because you don't feel important enough.
Amos.
No, I just pay attention to what Wenger says, apparently I shouldn't? Or should I, and just realise that it's just excessive statements to make a point? Or maybe fans really do want Messi!! And maybe we do only want 50m players!! What a nonsense. Sorry but when he says stuff like that i'm entitled to point out how painfully ignorant it is.
shewore
It isn't ignorant if you understand context. Ignorance of context does make it difficult to appear anything other than ignorant though.
Amos.
In an earlier post I stated an opinion that we're probably unique in terms of paying over the odds for our deadwood. I can't prove this which is why it remains an opinion. So my beef is with the wage structure, which to be fair the board are looking to address. It won't roll back the years but its at least a tacit acknowledgement that there's a problem. Linked to that problem is our ability to invest in better quality given the need to free squad space and funds. Simply put I believe we're under investing in real terms because we're losing quality and not adequately replacing it. To some extent I think our net transfer spend reflects this.
Wyn Mills
We can't be unique in paying over the odds for our deadwood if in most cases that doesn't include substantial transfer fee amortisation which comes out of investment funds. For example Arshavin's amortisation alone I believe runs at some £70,000 per week - that's without his salary. Apply that to deadwood at other clubs with high net transfer spend and we won't be unique or even the worst sufferers. At the same time I think net transfer spend is a blunt measure (it can be seen as a positive investment sign) and gross transfer spend and the size of our total annual player budget spend are much better indicators of investment. I not questioning anyones right to have an opinion but all our opinions should be challenged just as much as any actions of the club if there're grounds to do so.
Amos.
Amos is an undercover PR agent working for AFC, we know how social media savvy the club is :-)
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