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The Flamini Fallacy: why selling Robin van Persie is good for Arsenal

(Editorial note: I changed the title of this article at the last moment, and in so doing so mis-spelled the name of Flamini.  I have now corrected it.  Apologies).

By Tony Attwood

During my week off in Cornwall I spent a pleasant hour outside a pub on Porthleven harbour thinking about players who had left Arsenal because they wanted to move on to pastures new.  Not players that Arsenal wanted to sell, but those who wanted to go.

I wondered: how did they do? And slowly it occured to me that Mr Usmanov and his allies in the Guardian newspaper (of whom more in a later article) may have missed something very profound – for his vision that it is awful that we are losing a top player, may in fact be the reverse of the truth.  The historic facts of the Wenger reign reveal something utterly different – that Arsenal’s apparent inability to hold onto top players has actually strengthened Arsenal and damaged some of our rivals.

Here’s a list of the players I found who I think wanted to leave when seemingly (in some, although I admit not all) the club didn’t really want them to.   Of course I have missed some out and made some mistakes – I am after all still technically on my holidays, so maybe we can fill in the gaps.  Throughout Arsenal have huffed and puffed about losing these players – and sometimes quite rightly.  I don’t think Arsenal wanted Cesc to leave – but I am starting to believe that quite often Arsenal were very happy to see the players move on.

Nic Anelka.  Here is the prime example of what has happened over and over again.  In 1997 he signed for £500,000.  In 1999 we sold him for £23m.  Within a year he was back with PSG, then Liverpool…  By 2005 his value was put at £7m.  His transfer fee paid for the new training facilities.

Cesc Fábregas.   Fàbregas joined a team that had won three La Liga titles in a row and two Champions League titles in three years, and … came second in a two team league.  The profit to Arsenal was virtually his total fee, and the club actually improved its league position without him (although I am sure they would have liked to have kept him).  Barca (in order to end Real Mad’s endless laughter at them for failing to hold onto their children) were forced to buy back a player for £35m whom Arsenal had taken from them for 1% of that amount.

Samir Nasri.  Was an obvious choice for every match when at Arsenal but managed only 31 for Man City.  He did indeed get the medal he craved (on goal difference), was warned by the manager that he had to up his game if we wanted to play more often, and played in the Europa league and League Cup.  Arsenal’s profit: £13m.

Emmanuel Adebayor left Arsenal to join Man City on a five year contract in July 2009 for around £25m.  In under two years Roberto Mancini confirmed that Adebayor, (along with Craig Bellamy), were no longer part of his plans and could leave Manchester City.  But knowing a free lunch when he sees one he went to Real Madrid for whom he played 14 times before they had seen enough.  He refused to train with the reserves.  He then went on to Tottenham and suffered the ignominy of Man City subsidising his wages while there.  He is now back with Man City.  Arsenal’s profit for a player who has made trouble everywhere he has been was around £12m.  Man C are still paying his wages.

Mathieu Flamini after whom the Flamini Effect is named had one brilliant season for Arsenal playing alongside Cesc, but then decided to move.  Unfortunately his move was a cock up from the start as having announced his move to Milan, he found that Milan failed to qualify for the Champs League while Arsenal, as always, did.   (I remember him playing in the Europa League for Milan vs Portsmouth).  In the four seasons with Arsenal as he found his feet and moved from being a reserve to a first teamer he played 102 games.  In the four seasons since, as an established player with Milan he played 78 games, many of these as a last minute sub.  In 2007/8 he played for France 3 times.  Since then, zilch.  On 20th June 2012, he left following the end of his contract but then reached a new agreement for a 1 year contract, at a much, much lower salary. Good one Mat.

Alexander Hleb.  At least Alex has had the honesty to admit leaving Arsenal was his biggest ever mistake.   After just 19 games for Barca (remember guys, they eat players alive, and don’t always pay the wages), he has been out on loan to Stuggart, Birmingham City, Wolfsburg (four games), and is now with Krylia Sovetov Samara.  Ooops.   Barca paid around £15m for him, which with wages makes his price just under £1m a game.  Ooops again.

Lassana Diarra.    Diarra looked to be one of the exceptions to the rule, moving quickly from Arsenal (claiming that he had been promised a place in the starting line up) to Portsmouth (remember the management team of that club at the time as this story goes on) to a dream place at Real Madrid.  Then the French financial police investigated that transfer from Portsmouth to Real Madrad, and Diara was investigated for tax evasion and money laundering.    The transfer fee was being estimated at EUR 20 million at that time.  Arsenal made a considerable profit from the sell-on clause.

He played 7 times for Arsenal, 25 times for Portsmouth and 85 times for Real Madrid over the last three seasons.

Thierry Henry.  Terry Enry went to Barca and played 80 games.  The transfer fee is quoted at around £22m.  His salary was reported £4.6m per season.  He was there for 3 years and the total cost to Barca was £35.8m.  His goal account dropped to 0.43 per game from the 0.69 he had at Arsenal over a much higher number of games.  The cost to Barca was thus £447,000 per game, and considering that a number of these games were as sub, it doesn’t look like a great deal for them.  I doubt that it was that good for him either, although the bank balance would have looked good given Spain’s low level of tax for foreign players.

Ashley Cole.  Horrible oik though he is, Cole is the one man who beyond doubt did well on leaving Arsenal.  He went because an offer of £50k a week made him feel physically sick (yup, know the feeling).  He played 156 times for Arsenal and 181 for Chelsea.

David Bentley. We could call this the Bentley Bollocks instead of the Flamini Fallacy.  A player of reasonable talent he played 88 times for Blackburn, 42 for Tottenham, 13 for Birmingham, 5 for WHU.  Tottenham paid £15m for him, and his salary was estimated at £2.5m a year.  That is about £8m salary and £15m transfer for 42 games making his cost to Tottenham £547,000 a game.  I last saw him playing in a reserve match against Arsenal reserves whose average age was 18.   He scored an absolute stunner.  I wonder what he thought.

Patrick Vieira.  Patrick must have thought he had broken the jinx on ex-Arsenal players when he signed for Juventus and won the league.   But then it was taken away from him, as Juventus were relegated in the “Bribesville” scandal.  Last time I mentioned Juve some of their supporters wrote in and said I have got the scandal wrong and that most people now agreed that Juve’s relegation was fixed by Inter.  Which makes Italian football even more crooked than I thought.  Interesting also that Patrick went to Inter after Juve.  In the six seasons after leaving he  played 126 games – average 21 a season.

It is rare that I can say “a very high source in Arsenal told me” because a) I don’t get told that much by very high sources, and b) most of the time I pick up anything, I am told that this is not to be said ever to anyone, but is given by way of background explanation to me.   But I was told, without any command not to repeat it, by an incredibly senior person at the club, that after Patrick left Juve he was endlessly back at Arsenal, looking to see if there was any way back.   (Endlessly meaning, if he was playing on a sunday, he’d be at the Arsenal training ground on the monday).  Makes you think.

Juve paid about £19m for Patrick, and a year later got £8m back for him.

So what do we conclude?  First that players regularly want to leave Arsenal.  And second, Arsenal often manage to move them on just before their form goes, for a price that would herald bankruptcy in most sane businesses.

In this regard we must note that the transfer of Van Persie, and the Nasri-Cesc affair last season are not unusual in the modern era.   It is much harder to find such transfers before Mr Wenger took over – we think of Brady, Stapleton and Kennedy leaving against the club’s will, and flourishing.  Not too many others left, supposedly against the club’s wishes, and then didn’t do that well.

As such the Flamini Fallacy does several things

a) It brings the club a profit on players who are just about to see their value drop.   Of course some players are excellent when they leave – Cesc is an obvious example – but looking at most of these players two years after leaving Arsenal there is no doubt that they are really not producing it any more.

b) It costs some of our rivals sensational sums of money for players who really can’t be worth that much.  I worship Thierry as much as the next season ticket holder, but watching him on TV at Barca was a deep disappointment, and when you come to see how much he cost them per game one wonders about their judgement, not Mr Wenger’s.

The fact is that the nutter clubs like Barca are funding Arsenal by buying players whose career is faltering.  Compare much of Nasri’s work this season with last.

So to RVP who has played an average of 24 games a season and scored 0.49 goals a game.  Last season, by any analysis was extraordinary.  The question is can he do it again, or will he go back to being injured quite often?  The chances are, the latter, and indeed before I knew he was going I assumed that the new forwards we were buying were coming in to help cover for his absences.

My point is that this tactic of buying, getting the best out of a player and selling on for crazy sums has been going on since 1997, and is a standard part of club policy – and a very effective part of club policy.  No one complained about it during the double seasons and the unbeaten season, before Chelsea and Man City got their billions.

Of course it doesn’t work every time – but it has worked brilliantly much of the time.  Watching Nasri at Man City was he worth what they paid?  Or Anelka at Real Mad?  Or Henry at Barca?   No – their value had declined greatly – it was just that no one told the buyers.

I do believe that Mr Usmanov has mistaken the situation here for it is not the policy of Arsenal that is weak – that policy has served the club brilliantly for years.  Rather it is the arrival of Man C and Chelsea that has changed matters.  For Mr Usmanov not to realise this suggests a weakness in football knowledge that bodes ill for any club that he takes over.

The Van Persie files

What now

Gone in 60 seconds

A poem

Prevention and curing

Who is playing which game?

 

 

79 comments to The Flamini Fallacy: why selling Robin van Persie is good for Arsenal

  • avatar Stuart

    Tony,

    Another aspect affecting the players I believe boils down to the fact you don’t have to be an amazing player to do well in the Arsenal set up, it is the way we play that works well and provided you are disciplined enough to follow the managers instruction, you will fit in and flourish. I also believe we have benefited from these players choosing to leave as they have all in some way been the focal point of the team. This worries many and you hear them saying “what will we do without him” but I think the truth is by taking that central focus away, another player who is being held back gets the opportunity to come forward and take the focus. It has happened time and again and as long as we keep playing the style we do which is dependant on passing, our dreams will come true one day soon.

  • avatar Adam

    A good article but a couple of points if I may. Firstly, I think we would still be better side with Fabregas. I mean a committed Cesc of course and secondly, surely the success or otherwise of Arsenal’s policy could also be considered in light of the arrival of those two clubs. It may well have served Arsenal brilliantly for years as you say, but is it still doing so today? I imagine you will answer in the affirmative. I am unconvinced.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Agree Stuart.
    I think that even with my wobbly knee I could have scored some 20 of the RVP goals of last season. He was the one who should be there to finish those things off last season. Now it will be Giroud or Podolski to be at the right place at the right time.
    Of course RVP has scored some cracking goals that are memorable.
    But as long as we play our passing game we will get chances and we will score goals.

  • avatar Dal

    I think the only two that have really crashed and burned are bentley and hleb. The rest have done alright for themselves. Winning medals of some sorts, with a couple of them winning the highest honors in European football. I believe if arsenal do invest well this summer, £80mil! then this investment, along with a few younger players coming through. Will see us right for the next 4 years. Then the board can concentrate on paying the stadium of/ lining there pockets, while we challenge for honors. If RVP wants to leave, then I think we should cash in on him & re-invest the money. Do not sell him to man city, at any cost!

  • avatar ziggy

    I remember after Henry left the team started playing better as a unit instead of always trying to find him and Stuart is right the way arsenal play every player looks good because it’s based on teamwork and unity rather than a singular star player dictating to everyone do as soon as you leave you feel isolated and Petitt also admitted to making a mistake going to Barca 2weeks after he left. Regarding Vieira it’s not a surprise then that there is a growing animosity towards Arsenal because we wouldn’t have him back. Even Cesc hasn’t hit the form which Barca came for. If the players realised they’d defy Wenger at their peril.

  • avatar perrygrovesworld

    two explayers you missed out were Emanuel Peitit and Marc Overmars. Their stories hold the key to the story you are trying to tell……………

  • avatar Kurt

    A great article. Neverthelss, regardless of what RvP is going to do, there is only One Name on the Shirt – Arsenal. Nothing else counts!

  • avatar ODMA

    U’ve gotten it right. But wot most fans have not understood is that Mr. Wenger knew a long time that RVP would leave and that is why he brought in Podolski and Giroud before end of the season. RVP scored those goals because of the services he got from the team as a whole. i don’t see any better strikers out there who are far better than the two he has brought in. So let Wenger bring in a strong midfield enforcer like M’vila then we will be okay. After all the team was not that bad and still remains intact a part from the RVP issue. So let move on. We will be challenging for trophies next season.

  • avatar DarthWenger

    Tony, two very high profile names that you forgot – Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars. Both of them were cult figures at Arsenal and sold at a very hefty fee to Barcelona. And just like all the players mentioned above – both of them had very mediocre careers after leaving The Arsenal!

  • avatar Johnny Deigh

    Robin is probably asking for a 4 year deal around 200 per week. That comes to a 40 million pound contract. Now what if another club offered Arsenal upwards of 30 million for Robin? That may be an offer too good to refuse.

    And really, with the signing of Podolski and Giroud (both left-footed), was it any wonder Robin would be looking to be on the way out?

  • avatar Armin

    I guess we wont get lot of money for RvP thanks to his “update for the fans…”. If that is case, I would keep him till end of contract. Just to prove no one is bigger than Arsenal and no one can blackmail club.
    His short cameo on Euro Cup, showed how much he worth without Arsenal behind him, so if his ambition is to get medal in same way as Reina got one for winning Euro Cup, ok, your choice Robin.

    But what I dont understand (assuming his statment is true and nothing but true), how couldnt he imagine, his picture together with Right, Bergkamp, Henry, Rocky on Emirates?

    I am wandering on what would Shaqueel van Persie be more proud, on dads big picture together with Arsenal legends all over the Emirates or on Reina stile EC winner medal?

  • avatar Amos

    You are trying to make yourself feel better about this situation. You fail to mention that we were a team that won trophies or at least had a very realistic chance of winning them with most of these players. You and I both know that you can only win with good players in the team. I am sure that Arsene would prefer players like Cesc and Viera to some of what we now have. There is nothing good about selling your best players unless you replace them with even better players which of course we never do. Are you seriously saying that we are better off without RVP and Cesc? Stop deluding yourself.

  • avatar Armin

    Sorry too much wine last night Ian Wright is right :)

  • avatar elkieno

    Anelka was good at Chelsea, but he went around the world first.
    Also I love this site, love Wenger and dont want to change anything. I also think that Usmanov is untrustworthy, but I think I am a big fan and love everything that is Arsenal. I wouldnt be able to come up with all that, I don’t think as fast but I am still a good fan.
    just saying..

  • avatar lorenzo

    i must say i wish majority of arsenal fans saw this the way you say it. but there is a flip side to this; improvement as against renewal. make a case for the financial side as much as you will you’ll find it hard to convince anyone that had we kept the cesc-flamini-hleb midfield together we might have done more than we have/did. the thing is that the consolation of us making money from it, hardly makes up for the sinking feeling at the the beginning of the season or the what ifs at the end of the season. what wouldn’t we have given to have had cesc and nasri on the bench (@75% fitness)against AC Millan? this season would have been something else.
    why do we give long contracts to the wrong people? (bendtner djourou denilson to name a few) that’s something we need to adress because if Walcott and Song get their heads turned, Wenger will have a hard time explaining that to himself not to talk of the rest of us.

  • avatar Craig

    Thanks for the great article and the timely reminder that the grass is rarely greener.The team is always more important than the player.arsenal for life

  • avatar Englishmik

    Great post. Sure it would have been great to keep Cesc, but we all knew he would eventually go back.
    We heard all of the same anti Arsenal media crap last year.
    We still came third after having so much disruption at the beginning of the season. New signings came in late. Injuries to Jack and at times all of our full backs (4 center half’s across the back 4) Sure RVP scored so many goals, he was the only striker. How he stayed fit for the whole season was a mystery to me. Arteta was a good signing, Santos will have a good second season. Because of Wengers youth policy we got the chance of another absolute superstar in Ox.
    We are developing at least 4 future England stars in Wilshire, Theo, Ox and Gibbs. The mercenary’s who left have all been foreign, mainly French and real prima donna’s.
    With the 2 new signings and the squad and talent we have I am quite happy about the future.
    By the way when was the last time RVP actually scored from a free kick, seeing he insisted in taking them all.
    By the way 2: If he had not got himself sent off against Barca 2 years ago we might have won as the way to beat Barca is in the last 20 mins. and if he had not missed the 2 foot sitter against Milan this season we would probably have moved on, then who knows what could have happened (look at Chelsea)
    The most important thing at Arsenal is that Jack Wilshire recovers from injury.
    Karma is a strange thing and to diss the ones who have stood by you during your constant injuries and still kept faith and paid you, and to diss the fans who treated you as god, your standing and reputation have taken a big hit. Your next injury could be very much Karma.

  • avatar Asif

    No matter what you think about Cesc but I think him leaving the club has helped us a lot! As was the case with Henry, even with Cesc we had the issue of every player looking out for him to pass the ball and there were so games where the opposition managed to tackle Arsenal by just dealing well with Cesc! Moreover if you look at the frequency of his injuries at Arsenal to that with Barca or Spain…I feel like questioning if there is more than what meets the eye!

    Nasri – is just digging his own grave. City are already on the lookout for one creative midfielder and then Nasri would be shown his right place. Everyone knows that he was overpriced and even at the end of season, almost every player rating review had put him as under-par! Maybe he’ll pick a fight with Balotelli over nothing and the coach can then show who he loves!

    RvP – no need to look beyond the Dutch team’s performance to tell what RvP is getting into. Last season there were 12-15 goals that Walcott or Gervinho had served to him on a platter…I don’t imagine any other team would build a style to suit him. Moreover, Arsene definitely allowed him to protect himself and hence you hardly ever saw Robin get into a nasty on with the defenders…but I think sooner or later he would be asked to engage the defenders! Maybe another season in the treatment room!

  • avatar zdzis

    The problem with Cesc, Nasri, and also Clichy is that we will only know if it was good for Arsenal to sell them after they turn 29 or 30. They are all very young, around 25, which means that their transfers robbed Arsenal of a CHANCE to exploit their talents whil in their prime. It’ll hurt me to see Clichy touted as EPL’s top left-back, Nasri as Man City’s MVP, or Cesc as the next best thing to Messi.

  • avatar Johnny Deigh

    The thing is Arsenal have probably been shopping Van Persie around trying to get the best price for him and Robin is frustrated by it.

  • avatar Clint

    Great article. Also, great comments above.

  • avatar Richard

    Tony -Wenger has changed a number of things at the Club relating to players contracts, how we bring players in, from where they come and when they go. Back in the day we regularly lost players who were tapped up by other clubs (Brady, Anderson and Stapleton spring to mind) as well as shipping out heros at the right time (Radford and Armstrong being two that upset me at the time).
    With lashings of hindsight, including a knowledge of who came in to replace the departees, some decisions look great and some still make me think of ‘what might have been’.
    Actually we now seem to have got greater control over things than I ever remember from the pre-Wenger era and even the younger players who you might expect to be retained turn out to be flashes in the pan (Flamini)or trouble makers which we are better off without (Adebayor and maybe Nasri).
    There may always be clubs willing to pay over the odds and more than we do but FFP should put the breaks on that as it gains a firmer grip in the next few years.
    The next contract will be RvP’S last. He needs it to be a long and as lucrative as it can be. And that was always unlikely to be with us. Don’t forget only Arsenal know how often he went onto the pitch last season without being fully fit and really wanting to be there. Arsene really does know best.

  • avatar kc

    Very good point. Only Cesc is stillperforming at the top level. Nasri has become Nasty. His arrogance…..
    RvP will soon be a forgotten man, most likely he will be added as one of your stats.

  • avatar david

    Tony, great article as usual… But why is Flamimi’s name spelt wrong in the title?

  • avatar Brickfields Gunners

    Sometimes the transfer of a player makes way for a better alternative .Case in point – Henry for Anelka .Too bad Nic – or your statue would have been at the Emirates instead !
    I would not be shocked if at his new club RVP morphs into either Robin Von Prissy or Robin Von Pussy !
    Just imagine this team of malcontents atMan.Shtty – RVP , Tavez,Brawlotelli and Adibywhore -who starts ? And starts what ?Their training ground would be a riot .

  • avatar Alfred Godwin

    please who want to leave should leave. Arsenal is still a more better club without them.

  • avatar goonerjack

    Sorry Tony, I don’t think anyone would argue with what you’ve said, but isn’t the problem the players we bring in when we’ve sold the real problem. When we sold henry, our greatest ever striker, what did we do to replace him? buy eduardo for £2mill! Yes, we did better by every measure (except CL) the year after henry left, but come on… is it too much to ask for the occasional signing of a world class player entering their peak?

    (I’m keeping everything crossed that Podolski will be that player…)

  • Gooner Jack, I think the point that sometimes we can’t replace like for like is fair enough, but the price is not always the issue – it is the quality. Remember Henry in his first year – I have always put my hands up to the fact that I said he was clearly not the right player, and that Wenger needed to buy a forward. I was even critical of Pires in his first year.

  • avatar Taher

    that policy has served the club brilliantly for years. Rather it is the arrival of Man C and Chelsea that has changed matters..
    U hve summed it up.. the arrival of Man c and Chelsea has changed things.. so as well Arsenal should change teh policy..
    We could say the policy is still a success if we were winning things as in the Invincible days..

  • avatar Shard

    Players come, players go.. We don’t even necessarily need like for like replacements. We change our style of play. I never assumed Arteta was meant to be Cesc’s direct replacement. Yet people seem to compare Cesc and Arteta, and say we have not adequately replaced him. He’s a different sort of player, but no less important.

    In any case, looking at Podolski’s stats, they are quite similar to RVP’s. He probably won’t produce the season Robin did last time, but then, in all probability, neither will Robin. What I think losing Robin means, is that Podolski will not play on the wings, and instead will be the main clinical striker, and so, I think we need to buy a winger (who can also play AM) Because out wide, we now have Theo, Ox, Gerviho (and Ryo perhaps), and Gervinho will be going to the ACN again. Ox might be needed to play AM at times too. So, to replace Van Persie, we need to buy a winger, and not a ‘world class’ forward.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Shard,
    I rather think that Giroud will play up front and Podolski coming from the left (or from the right) as a winger.
    And then having Podolski, Theo, Ox, Gervinho, Ryo as the wingers

  • Great, great post. I do believe you are right about RVP as well..Last year was an amazing year for him but he probably can’t do it again anytime soon.His performance at the Euros and should be a red-flag for any club looking to sign him.

    Probably it’s also good to note that whenever a socalled star leaves the team, the Professor will somehow find another of equal or better quality to replace him like Cesc for Vieira, Henry for Anelka, Wilshere for Cesc/Nasri and so on. I have no doubt in my mind that when RVP leaves, another will step into his shoes in no time.

  • avatar punkoso

    agree about all the players but i leave Fabregas out…i still think that Arsenal would be better with Fabregas in the squad

  • Excellent post, Tony.

    @David at 9.48am.
    Because he’s on holiday and possibly half-pissed.

    @amos at 9.01am (and most others)
    I think (respectfully) you’re somehow missing the main point of the article.
    2nd paragraph: …”how did they do?”, as opposed to “they should have stayed”.
    Tony is assessing and evaluating the post-Arsenal careers of various players. He is not saying that we are better off without RVP and Cesc.

    Most of you have gone off at a tangent, that is, veered completely away from the actual intention of the post (imo).

    exceptions: perrygrovesworld; Darthwenger;
    @Craig 1st line: spot on!

    No offense intended to anyone; I just wish we could all ‘stay on course’.

  • avatar goonerjack

    I don’t really disagree with you Tony, but I think price might actually play an important role that we are missing. Take the example of cesc’s departure. No, obviously I don’t think we could have found a like for like replacement, and certainly Arteta was not seen as this. In all likelyhood Wenger see’s our boy Jack as his successor. However, losing cesc (as expected as it was) was a massive blow to the morale of the team and the image of what arsenal is about. A big signing would have made a big difference to this. (Don’t forget that the image of the club can reflect directly on income from foreign markets)

    Looking at the Henry situation. If he wasn’t going to retire a Gooner, then this was probably the perfect timing for a departure, for both him and the club. However I have to be honest and say that I think this directly influenced the departure of Reyes, and the following season Flamini and Heleb. I know they have gone on to do little since leaving, but they were doing the business for us and there’s no reason they wouldn’t have continued to (infact Flamini and Reyes could have gotten better). If we had kept hold of them we would have had some much needed continuity at a time when we were loosing players like Pires, Lungberg, and Gilberto because of their age. Just one big signing could have changed all this, just like one big signing when cesc left might have meant RVP and Walcott weren’t eyeing the exit.

  • Whilst creating my tuppence-worth I now see Tony’s arrived.
    Am I correct in my point, Tony, as to how I perceive the intention of your post. If I’m wrong obviously correct me. Cheers.

  • avatar bob

    Tony, all
    (In light of your forthcoming piece on the Guardian:) In today’s paper, the unspeakable Paul Wilson of the Manchester Guardian’s football department has launched his expected broadside against AFC in the wake of our recent events. His poisoned keystrokes stand starkly against the very strong pro-AFC/AW articles that commenters here have cited in the last two daze; and mark him as, so far, the leading media enemy of self-sustainability. His arguments qualify as the all manner of AA’s current talking points; now honed to a fine point – better than Usmanov or RvP and handlers could put their own cases. His tone so wallows and delights in Arsenal’s pain, that imo he’s the Exhibit A of Arsenal-hating media. And, at the Guardian, that’s saying something; given his stable-mates Hytner and Williams. The so-called fair broker, Amy Lawrence, knows where her bread is buttered and has revealed her opportunism (or perhaps realism, if she’s to break bread with the boyz of that ilk) over the weekend. But imo Wilson takes the lead; so bad, he is self-toxifying. For readers wishing to blog-battle against Wilson’s jorno-slime, consider weighing in on the current battle royale at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/jul/07/arsenal-robin-van-persie

  • avatar ARSENAL 13

    @ Shard..

    These days people want instant replacements. You have a flat tyre in your car, replace it. Therz no time for repair. That impatience is, from where these voices appear.

    I was reading else were, a fellow reader was pissed at Ramsey. And he comments of Ramsey not being good enough to replace Cesc. And he had stats 4 goals and 6 assist not good for an attacking midfielder. What people forget is Cesc had similar stats for 2-3 seasons..

    As Tony said, Mr Wenger knows. People blame the board for not paying high wages, BUT low wage is better than no wage.

    What ever Cesc talks these days: Arsene , my father figure. Arsenal close to my heart. One day I’ll come back here…..BULLSHIT. He back stabbed Mr Wenger and thats the truth.

  • avatar Shard

    Walter,
    Looking at Podolski’s numbers while playing for Koln last season, it seems to me that he is going to play in the middle. What do I know through.. We’ll just have to wait to see what our manager does..

    However, playing with that line up will give us enough Wingers but If Giroud gets injured in say January, just when Gervinho is off to the ACN, we might have only Theo and Ox. Miyaichi MIGHT not be ready for playing for us. However, there is also a possibility that we keep, and play Park. He can play like a wing/forward too. So, that would be enough depth. Apart from any young players. But we’ll see.

    My positions to be filled include Winger, DM, backup GK.. don’t know if we’ll get them all, but I am excited about next season, and think we can go all the way. We’ll need some luck, and some fair refereeing (what chance of that eh?) but we can do it.

  • avatar bob

    Tony,
    Are you actually referring to x-Cesc when you write “Barca was forced to buy back a player for £35m whom Arsenal had taken from them for 1% of that amount.” To leave it at that is so one-sided a reduction of that situation that, in this case, “even” you surely know it, and meant it as a wind-up. How, in fact, do you arrive at that figure? How do you know when there’s been scant to no public details on it? Do you justify that as true market value at the time? Have we gotten that sum back yet from Barca? How do you know? And do you justify AFC not kicking back by formally protesting the blatant tapping up of x-Cesc and Barca’s doing so at the very time we loaned them our facilities for their London match last summer? And have we ever filled the creative midfield vacuum that was left? Many would think not, and that it remains an unhealed wound. I’m sorry, but to ignore all this whilst reducing it to a financial bookeeping triumph is both to air-brush our recent history and to distract attention from a deeply-problematic – because still unacknowledged and unfixed – episode.

  • avatar colario

    You cannot stop a player leaving who wants to leave. Most of the players who left wanted to leave. The principal exceptions being Henry and Veira.

    At the sametime you cannot make a player leave who doesn’t want to leave.

    So when a player makes it known he wants out you have to get the best deal you can.

    We now know that Arsene’s wages policy for his players was that of near the same for every member of the squad. This has come to mean too little for the best players, and too much for the not so good.

    Result.
    1) Best players want away for better wagers ( and who can blame them for that) and the lesser players want to stay because they can’t get better wages (who can blame them for that).

    2) The money taken up by the lesser players makes it difficult to increase the wages of the better players and therefore difficult to attract top international players.

    We can understand Arsene’s concept of equality of salaries in the team. However when a top player knows he can get a lot more and if transfered to one of the now billionaire clubs around Europe double his salary. What is his agent going to advise him?

    So in this aspect of football although admiring Arsene’s Ideal perhaps dare I say this I’ll whisper it. he got it rong.

    I never thought I would say that.

    When it was announced that Arsene was to be our manager I was the happiest of supporters because I knew of his work in France as a manager and as a man of integrity.

  • avatar Stuart

    @ Goonerjack
    Intriguing figures you bring up about how we improved in every comp after departure of TH14 except Champions League. I seem to remember the complaints at the time being that he didn’t turn up to Champions League games.

  • avatar lee

    David, u spelt it wrong yourself as well. Its not Flamimi hahahaha

  • avatar bob

    Arsenal 13,
    Agreed, he is a back-stabber. How about them “back problems” which masked him going on strike on-the-pitch (and thereby serving notice to Arsene on what to expect next season if he were forced to stay); whilst giving a wink and a nod to Barfa’s tapping-up operation off-the-pitch; whilst donning their jersey during their victory celebration; whilst gifting them a goal during their CL/Bussacca-aided victory over us. So many layers to this Cesc-pool. And Robin follows the script, with Dein the Lesser as an abettor in both cases.

  • Perry Groves world – I am not too sure about Overmars and Petit, and whether they really wanted away, or whether the manager was concerned about their impending injury problems and decided to sell them. That’s why I left them off the list.

  • avatar bob

    colario,
    It’s not he who got it wrong, by your new standard: It’s every team save 2 or 3 in EPL, save 2 in La Liga, and so forth. The billionaire takeover model will have replaced the self-sustaining model with a league-wide self-devouring model. Unless the vast majority of fans prove to be gluttons for infinite punishment – which you might want to argue – who would spend their dwindling incomes on a non-competitive set of FIX-tures? Getting it “right”, you see, by your new standard, is to win a pyrrhic victor. Football for pay will not be sustainable, if being seriously competitive still part of its allure. If there’s neither FFP, the last hope, Barclay’s EPL will give way to a Super-Champions billionaire league which will help, ironically, return football to its local roots. And maybe that’s an affordable, self-sustaining future worth attending.

  • Bob – to try and explain….

    I am putting forward the point that Arsenal’s tendency to sell players for much more than they paid has been going on for a long time, and that most press and Usmanovian reaction centres on the idea that this has only just happened in recent years.

    Also I make the point that generally we have done very well out of this since not only have we made a profit we have also sold on players who, for their new league clubs, have not reached the highest level, either if measured personally or in terms of group performance.

    To go on to the rest of the points would indeed be valid, but would take up another dozen articles – and I do believe that such articles as this are worth writing even though they are always in essence incomplete.

  • avatar Shakabula Gooner

    Tony,
    Very good article. I also very much like Wenger’s defiance, expressed over the weekend, that he wouldn’t change his policy of using high potential youths to replace players with over-blown egos who have their hearts firmly set on the exit door. Most of all, I very much like it that he strongly believes that his strategy can also win trophies.

    In view of the easing of the financial pressures of building the Ems and the entrance of Chelsea and Man City and perhaps, on account of the timing and involuntary nature of Nasti and Cesc’s loss in 2011, it is apparent that there have been subtle changes in Arsenal’s transfer policy and focus in preparation for 2012/13.

    For example, it seems that more than at any other time since Viera’s departure, Arsenal is intent of ensuring that there is intense competition for all positions in the club – using both players promoted from the youth program and new players from without to compete with even our established stars.

    Thus, for the first time in a long time, our current stars, such as Song, Wilshere Theo, TV5 and the urrent No.1 Gk, can look forward to more intense competition in the starting eleven than had hitherto been the case.

    I believe this fundamentally show up the lie of RvP’s excuse and is the clear route (plus a healthy dose of luck) to eventually having a winning team in Arsenal.

    I strongly believe that if we keep getting young and unknown players and bringing a few experienced and reasonably priced players (e.g. Arteta, Per, Podolski and Yossi) over the next few years, the era of losing our emerging and more experienced stars will recede into the past.

    If our luck holds throughout a season over the next 1-3seasons, we can win a title. This is no better than Chelsea, Man city or Man U can hope for in any season either. as we can see in 2011/12: Mighty Man city required the good luck of a Joey Barton madness to hand the trophy to them on goals difference – people tend to forget this; they now talk as if Man City’s expensively assembled team blew everybody away and won the EPL with a 20point margin!

  • avatar bob

    p.s. that is, the teams (play things) of the Billionaire’s Only League will have triumphed over the rest, and, the price of their victory will be to have lost the greater majority of fans worldwide. That is, as long as the 10 teams of the Billionaire’s League do not succeed – via the allure of the idiot box TV – to turn (monetize) every fan in the world into a “fan” of one of the 10 teams (in addition to their local team) and watch them on TV. Perhaps this very scenario is what the Billionaire’s Only Leaguers are actually aiming at? Globalized Football.

  • avatar bob

    Tony,
    I do understand your point and your focus and need to focus. I’ve continually wanted to push you further toward writing one or more of these further articles about the Cesc-pool, so please do consider at some soonish stage. Cheers.

  • avatar BobbyP

    Tony
    July 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I think your spot on with regards to Arsenal selling players at a profit and how long its gone on for. Realistically this is what 99% of clubs aim to do.

    If worked properly is can present huge opportunities to the selling club.

    The most recent example of this is Newcastle selling Carroll, look how those funds were used to rejuvenate the side.

    The issue comes when these funds aren’t used properly. Arsenal failed when using the toure and ade money. Much of the money was used on contract renewals for players who are no longer at the club. when going through the list of 17 players who were offered renewals between july 2009 and june 2010 when glazidis said that we spent the money on renewals some of the contract extensions offered by the manger and front office are huge busts.

    We are yet to see a big improvement via the cesc and nasri money, but the club cant miss again. We need those funds to elevate us.

    The manager must turn the sales of these players into significantly improving the side. This is why he is paid what he is. Tactically he is far form the best around but he makes up for that with his eye for talent. If we cant make the best out of players sales we will be in huge problems goign forward.

  • avatar bob

    Shakabula Gooner,
    Indeed, ManShitty can now be remembered as the winner of the Joey Barton Grant Trophy.

  • avatar goonerjack

    @stuart; It’s a hard one to quantify really. There were other changes to the team and we played against completely different opponents. The fact is though, we went to the final with Henry and went out in the first knockout stage after he left. Personally I think it could be something to do with the Crouch-effect/Vieria-effect dichotomy.

    The Crouch-effect; When you have a player of outstanding ability or attribute it forces the opposing team to change the way they play. We see this all the time with Walcott. When he is played against teams that are not naturally defensive and play a high line, he forces their back line to play deeper, creating more space for the rest of the team.

    The Vieira-effect; When you have a playmaker (usually club captain) who is heavily relied upon to instigate forward moves, or alternatively a top scorer that a team always looks to to score the goals, which creates a predictable system which is easier to negate than a more fluid system.

    The interesting thing is that Henry produced both these effects. When he left, we no longer had a player that struck fear in opponents hearts, double making him and creating space for others to play in (the fact he’d often drift out to the wing made him more effective in this regard) However, in his last season, it was apparent to all that the rest of the team seemed to think that the only person allowed to shoot at goal was Henry. After he left the team looked more fluid, less one dimensional and everyone seemed to want to get on the score sheet (hence the better return in the league)

    It certainly seemed last season that the Viera-effect was present when it came to RVP, so it’s possible we could actually play better without him!!!! (also this could explain Gervinho’s and Chamakh’s reticence to shoot, certainly Chamakh did a lot better before RVP came back into the team??????)

  • avatar Goodluck (Nigeria)

    One of the best blogs I have ever read.

    Arsenal should not think of keeping RVP as we have lost faith in him rather he should be sold to PSG or Juve and then bring in a world class talent (not just big name) as replacement. UP GUNNERS 4 LIFE

  • avatar Ajay Patnaik

    Very well worded article. However, what you fail to talk about, is how Arsenal have been strengthened by the loss of these players. Except for last season, no other season has improved subsequent to a player leaving. And even there, the improvement was only in league position. We still went out in the CL(earlier, in fact than previous seasons), exited the FA Cup fairly early, and didn’t repeat last year’s progress in the CC.

    Further, Henry left the club and got exactly what he left for. The Champions League Trophy. And how many 30 year olds do you know who are still in demand at the highest level?

    I agree that players leaving is ultimately a disaster for their careers so far(with the exception of Cashley and Nasri so far), but how exactly does it benefit Arsenal? We get money so we can buy more equipment, and pay off debts. But how does that investment translate on the football pitch?

    The sad truth is, it doesn’t.

  • avatar M.V

    Agree with this Article. It’s the system that’s important. Coming from Norway this kind of reminds me of Rosenborg in the 90’s (early 00’s) when they sold: Iversen, Carew, Bergdølmo, Kvarme, Heggem, Soltvedt, Bjørneby (and AC Milan wanted Hoftun) abroad, but always managed to compete, and usually got better. When the manager (Nils Arne Eggen) left in 2001 that’s when the decline started.

    Oh and Yeah, that guardian blog on Van Persie made me laugh…because it’s so WRONG. But good to see some sensible comments down the page.

  • avatar udehsam

    Well structured Article!

  • avatar top guns

    glass half full!!!
    Good spin on a dire situation, call it want you want but when we sold Vieira & Henry they were both past their best.
    Anelka’s sale was too good an offer to turn down.
    Nasri & Cesc were at their peak and we havent replaced Cesc adequately.

    Your article shows we have made millions from buying and selling players and i dont think anyone can argue with the financial model, thanks to Wenger we’ve managed to consistently sell ou best players yet remain in the Champions league, its a miracle to be honest.

    But as a footballing model its flawed and you know it, we are no different from Ajax(a football factory) we develop players and sell them on for profit.

    I dont get any satisfaction from knowing we have a healthy bank balance, i want my team to compete and win trophies but unfortunately our business model means that selling our best players is not only a norm its a necessity.

    The frustrating thing for me as a fan is i know that if we could just strengthen the squad a bit more we would be even more successful thus generating more money for the club.

  • avatar alex

    TOP GUNS
    I agree with you when you say with a couple of addition we would have won something.True but the coming couples wages and transfer fee according to the current budgeting seems impossible.The only one you can point the finger is the our great owner.But he is not Abramovich who breathes Chesea and he dont give a toss about loss.
    The difference Stan is here to make profit.Period.

  • avatar LRV

    goonerjack: How exactly do you keep a player who does not want to be kept? Do you have it on good authority that all those players that you mentioned wanted to stay?

    If you own a small retail shop; and a staff member says ‘I have got a bigger and better offer with Tesco.’ Will you break the bank just to keep the staff and run the risk of collapsing the whole business? To show what exactly? It is the problem of the staff if he fails to realise that with the bigger outlet comes a bigger risk of underperfomance and therefore a sack may result.

    Before them, there were players. If they do not wish to stay, they will make ridiculous demands. If they did, it is best to just let them go. After them there will always be others.

    If you get to a shop, and you find something extraordinary that you fancy very much, but it is very very expensive. You do a mental sum of your finaces and find that yes there is enough money to buy it, you might not be able to pay your mortgage or your rent for quite a few months though. What would you do? If you went ahead and bought it ‘at all cost’, but then loose your home as a result, where would you keep your treasure? Will it bring you joy that you sought or sorrow and untold hardship? What then will be the point?

  • avatar Woolwich Peripatetic

    I’d like to propose that our couple of additions be Mr Michael Riley’s left and right testicles, sadly I don’t think Sir Alex Ferguson is going to let them go for any reasonable transfer fee.

  • avatar top guns

    To LRV:

    Your point is valid but didn’t we lend money to build the Emirates, using your analogy we took out a mortgage cos in the long run we would reap the benefits and it makes more sense than paying rent. Likewise you could decide to buy a car instead of using public transport, to make your life a lil bit easier and for better time management and as long as you can afford the repayments then it makes sense.

    Arsenal on the other hand sell our best players and instead of using the profit to buy an equally as good or even better player we go for the cheaper option.

    If we sell RVP and for instance bought Higuian, then who would complain, cos it shows our ambition.
    Then we wonder why our team struggles to win trophies, its not rocket science.

  • avatar Wooby

    Tony, good stuff. Of all the players you listed, I think the only departure that has hurt us was Cesc. In most of the other cases, a replacement had been identified: Henry for Anelka and then RVP for Henry, Song for Flamini, Cesc for Viera, Clichy for Cole etc.

    In Cesc’s case, we modified our formation around his talents, going from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 and I think we suffered the first part of this past season because Ramsey struggled to find his form and take over Cesc’s role. It was only when Rosicky found his form in the AM role that we began to consistently achieve results. I am not going to dump on Ramsey as I remain a big fan of his and am hoping he takes a step forward in his development this next season. If he does not make progress, I suspect the Ox will take his place (at which point we will then get a winger – Ryo perhaps? – to take the place of the Ox out wide).

    Now that I have had time to cool off from the initial emotions re: a potential RVP departure, I am fine if we do sell him. As many have noted, it was quite a miracle that he managed to stay healthy for one season and debatable whether he can do so again. Secondly, we have already lined up replacements (Poldi / Giroud) who will have a full pre-season to integrate with the team. It is also important to note that these replacements are not youths with potential but players on the verge of stepping into their prime years (mid to late 20’s).

    @top guns, I think many of us share with your frustrations about the lack of trophies because it seems we are always “so close, yet so far away”. When the team you support is committed to young players, one thing that is required though, is immense amount of patience. It’s like working in a garden, you plant a number of flowers/shrubs/trees but it takes an enormous amount of work to nurture them to full bloom. Along the way, some will need pruning, some will need to be pulled out. Unexpected (and uncontrollable weather conditions) may cause some to bloom earlier than expected and then fade, or others to bloom much later than expected. The gardener will make some mistakes as well. I cannot help but feel, regardless of whether RVP stays or not, we are on the verge of a window of success. We had one generation built around Cesc + RVP which has been cut short, but the next bunch, built around Szcznesy, Kos, TV5, Jack, Rambo, Ox and Poldi, is ready to bloom. Yes, some on that list remain unproven, but I think they are all talents any of the top clubs around the world would be glad to have. For the first time in several years, Wenger has shelled out money for players in their twenties (Poldi/Giroud) instead of youth. Contracts with sponsors are coming due in the next few years and should result in additional funds for acquiring players as required to reinforce the squad. We have (finally) started making pre-season tours to Asia which has vast marketing potential. This is not a spin to make the glass half-full but facts about where our club is at presently with respect to the future. It is more important than ever that we stay patient.

  • avatar nicky

    Tony,
    A brilliant thesis on why we should let Van Persie have his way.
    As soon as his decision was made public (by him) I felt this was a perfect opportunity for Arsenal to part company with someone who had, in part, repaid the faith but who now wanted out. We have seen the best of him and a fair transfer fee in order to obtain a replacement is too good to miss.
    All I hope is we do not hear of a series of boring and wearying talks persuading him to stay. My advice to Arsene Wenger is to seize the nettle for the die has been cast.

  • avatar Matt Clarke

    Tony,

    The way you portray those events you make AW out to be some sort of football managerial genius: such capability with bringing players on and melding a team; such vision with assessing when they have peaked; such market acumen, buying and selling at the right prices; doing so consistantly for many years…wait…oh yeah, that’s right, he is :)

  • avatar Mandy Dodd

    Can see a lot of these very valid points, just a shame it has come to this losing our best players. It is unsettling for those who remain and the fans and gives out bashes so many sticks to beat us with. To me, player retention was one of the risks with the way we went into the youth policy, but from recent signings, it seems as though this policy has been at least partly tempered, as well as the likes of Ox and EIsfeld, we are bringing in players into their twenties.
    Rvps comments may have made him untenable in many ways, but I guess one thing worth remembering, we will want 25 to 30 million for a player asking, reportedly 220k plus pw, for a four year deal, that adds up to around 70 million for an injury prone 29 year old in the last year of his contract. As good as he was last season, and to my mind, over played, taking away the spin and paper talk, is anyone really going to pay that if we stick to our guns, and the player sticks to his? City do not need him, for some reason, they seem intent on destroying us, but that is a hell of a price to pay. Despite initial certainty he was off, I really am starting to wonder. Seventy million for two seasons……at the very most. Are even citeh that insane?

  • avatar bjtgooner

    Interesting perspective Tony. The important thing is when 11 players put on the Arsenal shirt they are fully focussed, committed and united to give their all for the team. Last year I thought this was largely the case, but towards the end of the previous season it was fairly obvious that some players were not fully committed.

    Despite the RVP antics we still have a good squad – but they must be focussed and not distracted come the 18 August.

  • avatar Gunnerare

    Your analysis is fair, profit, plan and profess with the professor. Not many pLayers go onto having sterling careers after life with the Gunners. Why is that? I was hoping Van Persie will stay after his true break out season without injuries, a first, however if he wants to go please let him go pure profit. On the other end with the youth system they do invest heavily, and with certainty, 50% of the lads don’t cut it. Lost investment in planning, this is the nature of the business. The FairPlay rule when enforced will certainly help Teams like Arsenal, because our Economics professor never was convinced that a player is worth anything in the 22 million stratosphere, except when HE sells them.

  • avatar Peter Northcott

    Key point that I can’t see anyone else has made explicitly (although the sub title of the website is a clue!).

    Being a football manager requires a variety of skills including coaching, tactics, motivation, scouting, negotiating, financial management, strategic planning etc.

    While Wenger may be a little flawed with some of these, I don’t think anyone can argue he is an absolutely outstanding coach. Perhaps one of the best ever. I do not believe it is any coincidence that most players who leave Arsenal fall from the level of form they achieved under Arsene. Similarly, relatively unrecognised transfers in go on to develop and excel (not in all cases, but… probably a higher hit rate for the money spent than anyone else) – e.g Koscielny.

    I find it extraordinary that players agitating for a move away don’t recognise this (although it is clear why their agents couldn’t care less). Why doesn’t RVP speak to the likes of Hleb, Flamini, Adebayor (er…) etc. The grass is not only not greener, it is generally rather a musty shade of brown.

  • avatar asd

    This article would have made sense if it was talking about barclays or hsbc or anything other bank.
    You are comparing Arsenal, a club to individual players? That’s like comparing apple to oranges.
    Would you have been happy to make the move to the emirates if Danny Fizman had said “wé are moving to the emirates so we can sell our better players”?
    Tony would you be happy if your bank marketing line was “winner of the bankers rugby league”?

  • avatar Ben

    Hi Tony

    Not sure if you read the article by Martin Samuel at the Daily Mail.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2170609/Arsene-Wengers-taste-medicine–Martin-Samuel.html

    But he says what is happening at Arsenal is similar to what is happening to Southampton where their best young talent go to bigger clubs.
    I also feel someone ( i feel it is someone from the inside) is unsettling the players at Arsenal on purpose and making them leave. Like Walcott is meant to be next.

  • avatar Johan Greening

    Has anyone said anything about the Trend in these transfers. If you look closely the trend is for players leaving more towards the middle of their careers not the tail end of their careers.

  • avatar James N

    Hey Tony,

    I just want to say I love the site and really enjoyed this article in particular. One request, to all fans out there, please stop saying things like “I worship Thierry as much as the next season ticket holder”. I know you meant nothing by it but it makes me think of a yank on tv answering a question about terrorism “as a mother”, just because not everyone can say it doesn’t mean your opinion is somehow more valid. I don’t want to go through labour (nor can I) and I don’t want to have to eat used Arsenal tickets for my dinner on a Sunday because I can’t afford food.

    I apologise for the rant, if not thought provoking I hope it was at least entertaining..

  • Don’t apologise James H, I think it is a fair point.

  • avatar Gouresh

    the actual point is completely missed here. the playes whom we are refering to left for 2 reasons only, they wanted to win cups and get more money…..how much contribution they gave is debatalble. all these playes got what they wanted….! if you want to compare how foolish the clubs are when they purchase players at inflated prices, which most of the clubs are, then yes, this is a brilliant article.

  • avatar SouthernGunner

    Great write up, Tony.

    Not sure if you intended leave out Kolo Toure from that list either, but thought I’d mention him. City reportedly paid Arsenal £16m for him, when he was roughly the same age as RvP is now. Also, letting go of Gallas (even though we didn’t get a tranfser fee) freed up funds to invest elsewhere.

    With the four players we’ve sold to City so far (totaling around £65-70 million), Clichy seems to be the only one playing like he did when with us.

    Also regarding the sales to City, so far it’s hurt our other rivals more than it has us. Chelsea, United and everyone else are now finding it all the more harder to compete with them.

  • interesting article, not read all 77 replies but id add that i always thought we loaned van bronkhorst to barca and then let them keep him after that 1 year loan in exchange for cesc to keep them quite.

    another player pre wenger who wanted to leave was steffan schwarz & i vaguely remember reading that petrovic wanted to go too but both for personal reasons rather than the bright lights of some giant club (although fiorentina are giants and florence is a beautiful place)

    i think most of the ones you mentioned that went abroad did so because foreign clubs owners are like small children, they always want what the other children have so stamp their feet and waive their euros until they get what they want then like most things in life want another new toy 12 months later and no longer want the most recent new player and offload them for half the money elsewhere

    i am very harsh on players who demand to leave ala henry, paddy, cesc et al and refuse to call them legends, legends do not want to leave arsenal, legends want to stay at the club they love for as long as possible ala adams, bergkamp, wrighty, seaman, dicko, nutty, keown, bould & others, harsh maybe but for me loyalty is more important than anything else

    i was only sad to see henry, paddy & cesc go, the rest can kiss my fat arse as we got a wheelbarrow full of euros for players who will show them as much loyalty and a lot less for than they did for us

    as for rvp, i honestly dont care, we get £25m, we have 3 players who can play upfront with great effect and he cost us £2.25m, he wont do it again and is almost 30, cash in, fill ya boots, i wont dislike him unless he signs for manc utd as they are a historical rival for many moons and i hate them almost as much as i hate spurzzz, other than them 2 clubs i dont care where a player goes

    only problem is the massive sums of cash we have brought into the club, the massive wages we have saved but the money is going into some ones pocket & prices keep going up (or games get re rated to double A or what ever they have just done)

    its no coincidence that as soon as mug owners are buying average players for over inflated prices and we are then not re-investing it all that we have failed to win anything

    we dont have to spend like they do to win stuff but we have to spend early before people like hazard show they are worth £30m at another club

  • avatar Nelson Wong

    Nice article.

    There is one small flaw though.

    It is a fact that the performance of many players drop a level or more after their move away from Arsenal but you have not taken into account that if they remain at the team, it would be better for both sides.

    I think it happens because of two reasons:
    1) arsenal has a more unique tactic, play or atmosphere that players find it hard to adapt to in other teams.
    2) Wenger cash out at the time that leaves players very little time for them to adapt. It is harder do change when players get old and learn the trade in a team like Arsenal.

    If these players stay in a team they developed and familiar with, they would have done far better. That includes every one of the names. The older guys can have 1 or 2 years at their prime and the younger ones would be the centre of Arsenal rather than fighting for the starting 11.

    Only the $$ side do not work out. Arsenal would not pay more, which I agree is wise for the long term but it also mean they loss the service of well settled man in at least coming 1 or 2 years.

    And for the players, they get more money for the short term while their career just stop to develop at best or crash for quite many.

    In the long run, this is very good for the team because either they keep producing financial burden for other teams or they too realise that its no use getting man from Arsenal. Those Arsenal guys cannot perform away from that team. There is only one risk, which is Arsene failing to supply good replacements.