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October 2016
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How Arsenal could buy the next Messi or the next Ronaldo

By Walter Broeckx

With the transfer window being open again we get the usual : “Arsenal must buy ….. (fill in)” to win the PL.

Let me spell it out once again: I am not against buying a player at all and I will welcome any player that we buy and support him. But in the world of football as it is today we only find a few players who can really make a difference.

Now first let me say what I mean by making a difference. Carroll made a difference when we played the formerly known club  West Ham United now known as State Aid United.  But in fact that was the only time in the season that he really made a difference and was allowed to make a difference by yet another weak referee performance.  That is a one off. Making a difference is a player who is able to win matches week in week out.

And such type of players are rare and only a handful in the world of football are capable of doing so. Players like the tax fraud aka Messi, the biter aka Suarez, the transfer fraud aka Neymar, the crying one aka Ronaldo. Some might add Bale to this but I do think he is one step below them.

Even Lewandowski is not the player who will make the difference. This is something you can see when playing for Poland. A bit of a weaker environment and suddenly he can’t find the back of the net.

Now with our business model and the fact that there are some oil/gas teams out there who can spend and spend and spend means that those players are unreachable for Arsenal. Then why are they reachable for teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid? I think the outcome of the examinations by the EU speak for themselves. I think the fact that they are involved in dodgy tax schemes, dodgy land deals speak for themselves.

One could say you have the money teams (Chelsea, Man City and PSG as the most well known) and then you have the fraud teams. We cannot compete with such teams.

So how would we get players of the type of Messi and Ronaldo? We can’t buy them once they are famous. It would take us a few years of not spending and then spend it all in one giant move. But the problem is that by then those players are embedded in their fraud systems and I can imagine that Arsenal is not really keen on buying players and help them to illegal schemes.  Doing it the right way usually gives you  a handicap but in my opinion it is the only way to do things.

And yes I am rather proud of Arsenal doing it their own way.

For me the only way of getting such players is… to produce them yourself. So this means that you will have to be on constant red alert (I learned that from the Sir Hardly articles) and sniff around in youth leagues to find that hidden talent that is still going a bit unnoticed.

Get them in at an age between 16 and 18 and then work hard and hope that they will develop in the way their talent would allow them to. But as you can see that only a handful of players worldwide fall in that category the chance of finding that player is rather small.

So creating your own Messi or Ronaldo is not just a case of working hard but also being very lucky to have him in your own club.

And then there is the minor problem of giving him a chance. If Mourinho had been the manager who had Ronaldo or Messi at his disposal when they were 16-17 they probably wouldn’t have made it under his guidance. He would have given them one match and then would have dropped them in an instant the moment his more expensive player was fit again. In fact both players were lucky to have been guided by a manager who saw their talent and wanted to stick with them.

Because people forget but Ronaldo was not always such a goal scorer. In fact in the first three seasons at Manchester United he scored 4, 5 and 9 goals in the PL. Can you imagine someone like Mourinho sticking to a player like that? But credit to where it is due Sir Alex Ferguson backed him in those early days and got rewarded.

But this shows that players at the start of their career need to be treated with some form of patience. Patience that a lot of our fans don’t have. We do have a manager who is patient and wants to give the players all the chances they need to improve. But alas too many fans just jump to definite conclusions because of the last missed chance, the last lost match…  Any temporary loss of form is regarded as a final break down of that player and we have to give him away and sell him.

And yet, the only way to have our own Messi and Ronaldo is to be patient. Patient with the young guns that stick their nose through the window (not the transfer window). Support them. Even when they miss a chance. In fact support them even more when they miss a chance. Because certainly for young players it is important that they feel the support.

So yes I do not see us buying Messi or Ronaldo any day soon. But what we could do is support our young players and hope that they not only have the talent to become such a brilliant player but also have a manager who guides them to be such a player. And we as supporters have to play our part. The part of supporting our players. Who knows? Maybe Iwobi, Mavididi, Nketiah, Willock or Malen may be the next Messi or Ronaldo.

But will our fans have enough patience to allow them to grow? I for one get more excited when I see a young player coming through the ranks and make it than when I see a player we have bought making an impression. Because players like Ramsey, Wilshere, Bellerin, Coquelin, Gibbs and  Iwobi feel like part of the family. Something that an expensive signing will probably never really become. They always be some kind of brother in law and not your own brother. Yes I know one can love their brother in law as much as an own brother but the real ties will never be the same. If I could use the Barcelona case: the DNA ties will never be the same.

So I am not looking at who will we buy? I am more inclined to be asking myself if Akpom can do the trick and step it up next season? Now wouldn’t that be great if he turned out to be the one we have been craving for.

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14 comments to How Arsenal could buy the next Messi or the next Ronaldo

  • Good talk Walter. Patience in mentoring is very rare indeed. I agree that we just might have our own Messi or Ronaldo hidden away somewhere, in-house or otherwise, waiting to be discovered. If there is someone who can make that happen, it is Wenger. But will he be allowed to?

  • omgarsenal

    Tony…….Wenger will find the sow’s ears and turn them into silk purses, regardless of whether they are youth,reserve or full first team transfers….that IS one of his great skills everyone acknowledges.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    As the Euro dwindles down (and yes, dwindle,…yesterday’s match was boring) I am starting to get excited about next year.

  • Leon

    Messi & Ronaldo are once in a generation players. I can’t think of anyone other than van Persie & Adams who came through our system to become world class. Of the current batch (and who I’ve actually seen) only Iwobi stands out as someone with the makings of a future star.

  • Leon

    ….speaking of whom, he’s pulled out of Nigeria’s Olympic squad. apparently because he’s worried that he may lose his place in the team if he takes time out. That’s sensible thinking for the young man.

  • Leon

    And Bellerin of course. Can’t leave Hector out.

  • Arvind

    Leon, Ashley Cole comes to mind too… if you ignore all the ‘I nearly swerved off the road. I was trembling with rage…’ 😀

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Both Henry and Bergkamp were having very poor seasons with their respective clubs ; often being ridiculed by the fans , before they signed for Arsenal and became the legends they are now.
    While they were not from our junior ranks ,yet , they were molded by the master into the great players they eventually became .

    But , like Walter and the rest , I get great joy in seeing one of our own making the grade and achieving success .

  • Leon

    Of course. So it’s not that many, but hopefully some of the current crop may make it to the very top.

  • Arvind

    Yeah I wonder though across clubs how good or bad it is. It seems like one of the hardest things to do, bringing people through an academy and playing them in the first team. I’m almost certain there was an article here once on that.. Barcelona was top I think – but Arsenal were fairly high on that list.

  • omgarsenal

    Arvind…..there was an article on that here, probably in the archives. The real challenges facing youth players are threefold;

    1)Is there a star they can challenge who is getting past his sell by date and who can be challenged successfully for a place in the starting squad or at least on the beach,
    2)Can the younger player avoid injuries that can derail; his career, at least until he has earned a place in the squad,and
    3)Will the manager be willing to take the risk of trying him on a fairly regular basis in the first team, or while he prefer to bring in a better immediate transfer to strengthen the side asap.

    Academy and youth players face tremendous challenges to break into a strong squad and even when they go out on loan they face challenges to adapt to the host team’s style and approach. If I remember correctly, only about 1 in 10 of our academy and youth hopefuls actually ever get a first team appearance. We have adopted the Barca model, without the child abuse and commodification of kids,and this has paid dividends, both short,medium and long-term.It’s ALL Wenger’s fault!!!

  • Arvind

    Yes that’s right omg. And if you look at it, even Barca pay big money these days (last 5 years) to get people in. Once the Valdes, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol generation goes away.. its a similar problem to that of Man United when the Neville, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes.. etc went away. You have to pay.

    A 4th factor if I may, is the AAA equivalent at other clubs, under whose pressure clubs bow. If there isn’t an AW equivalent at those clubs, its hard.

    Which is why I’m pretty desperate for the ‘English’ generation at Arsenal to come good .. pretty soon. If Ramsey, Theo, Ox, Gibbs etc etc come good.. and that’s a massive IF, we’re set for a few years. Else once AW moves on, I fear a bit for us. We’ll be up there, sure… but I wonder if we’ll ever see years like we have.

    And no, the trophies do not even count for me. Before someone starts talking about how long… blah blah blah

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Should I Really Join Facebook?

    Read it all the way through! It’s a good laugh!!

    When I bought my Blackberry, I thought about the 30-year business I ran with 1800 employees, all without a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter.

    I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook, so my seven kids, their spouses, my 13 grand kids and 2 great grand kids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

    My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation.

    I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my golf bag.

    The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or library. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Bluetooth [it’s red] phone I am supposed to use when I drive.

    I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes and Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I got a little loud.

    I mean, the GPS looked pretty smart on my dash board, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time.
    Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, “Re-calc-u-lating.” You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me.
    She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then, if I made a right turn instead. Well, it was not a good relationship…

    When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.

    To be perfectly frank, I am still trying to learn how to use the cordless phones in our house. We have had them for 4 years, but I still haven’t figured out how I lose three phones all at once and have to run around digging under chair cushions, checking bathrooms, and the dirty laundry baskets when the phone rings.

    The world is just getting too complex for me.

    They even mess me up every time I go to the grocery store. You would think they could settle on something themselves, but this sudden “Paper or Plastic?”
    every time I check out, just knocks me for a loop. I bought some of those cloth reusable bags to avoid looking confused, but I never remember to take them with me.

    Now I toss it back to them.

    When they ask me, “Paper or plastic?” I just say, “Doesn’t matter to me. I am bi-sacksual.” Then it’s their turn to stare at me with a blank look.

    I was recently asked if I tweet. I answered, No, but I do fart a lot.”

    We senior citizens don’t need any more gadgets. The TV remote and the garage door remote are about all we can handle !

  • Pete

    Leon – Koscielny. Unknown French Div 2 player. Now possibly best centre back in Europe.

    Walter – Ferguson didn’t do as well with Pogba though…