By Tony Attwood
What the newspapers don’t say has these days become more interesting than what they do say. For example, the Independent is currently running the headline “Arsenal should look at United to see dangers of transfer failure” which might lead one to think that, at least in passing, they might consider the amount of money Arsenal and Man U spent last summer, and then consider where each club ended up in the league.
Last summer Man U had a net expenditure on players of £33.6m, and came fifth in the the league. Arsenal spent under half that much (£15.6m) and came second. Manchester Airport spent nine times as much as Arsenal (£124.4m) and came fourth.
But it was Tottenham who were the clever clogs in all this – managing to make a profit last summer on their transfer dealings of £6.7m, and they, as those of us who were present at the Aston Villa match might recall, came third.
All the way through the league, last summer, the summer before, and the summer before that, the amount of money spent on players bears no relationship to the position achieved in the league. We’ve analysed it just on the amount spent, and on the net spend, and neither of them get us anywhere in terms of finding a link.
And yet day after day we are told not to believe the evidence of our own eyes – the numbers that are freely available – but believe instead that this year it will be different. This year, for the first time, money will determine who wins the league.
The news that “Tottenham’s attempt to sign Georges-Kévin Nkoudou is on the brink of collapse after a breakdown in negotiations with Marseille” in the Guardian may be true, or may not be true (it was written by a newspaper journalist so there is no telling), but there is a bit of detail about a loan deal for Clinton Njie the other way. But it seems Marseille “are unhappy with the structure of the payments being proposed by the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, having previously agreed to pay the majority of the fee up front.”
Now I am sure that Tottenham supporters being reasonable and chirpy chappies are quite ok with this, because Mr Levy has delivered unto them Champs League football without the necessity of a play off for the coming season. But if this were Arsenal, there would be hell to pay, screaming abuse and wild rantings galore.
But although the supporters may be smiling and jolly at the thought of the season starting in the next few days, not everyone at the club is ok – according to “reports” as they say in the public houses next to our nation’s news offices.
Paul Mitchell , we are told, has resigned as Tottenham Hotspur’s head of recruitment. He was whisked away from Southampton under two years ago, to have an overview on recruitment and analysis. Apparently he got on fine with Mauricio Pochettino,.
It is said (and this might be wild speculation – how would I know), that he had had problems with Mr Levy who gets personally involved in player recruitment. He was responsible for bringing in Toby Alderweireld and Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Clinton Njie, and maybe not all four were great successes. But that happens.
This summer they have these transfers, as far as I know (but I may have missed someone)…
|Vincent Janssen||AZ Alkmaar||£17m|
As I say they may have brought some others, but at the moment they seem to have spent less than Arsenal, and Arsenal as we know refuse to spend anything. £9m has been recouped by selling Alex Pritchard to Norwich.
Anyway, that story was in the Guardian. But the Telegraph has something else saying, “Telegraph Sport understands that the club’s head of player identification, Rob Mackenzie, brought from Leicester City in February 2015 has also left Spurs, in his case for Derby County. He worked closely with Mitchell on scouting and profiling potential targets and was another major part of Mauricio Pochettino’s operation.”
And then, using the lingo that we have become familiar with in terms of criticising Arsenal they add, “The decision of Mitchell will once again call into question the role of chairman Daniel Levy among Spurs fans, amid claims the pair had fallen out and were barely on speaking terms.”
Interestingly it also seems that Leicester City don’t have a head of recruitment either. So maybe this transfer window business isn’t quite as important as the media like to make out.
The Telegraph’s conclusion is that “Levy has always taken an active role in recruitment and transfer negotiations and that remains a problem for those who work in senior recruitment positions. Levy’s hardline stance on transfer negotiations and the club’s wage structure can make it difficult for Spurs to do business with clubs.”
Which seems quite interesting, because it now appears that the media are suggesting that both north London clubs have problems doing transfer business.
It is odd really, because according to the press, transfers are everything – the most important part of the season in fact. But both north London clubs have problems with transfers, and Leicester don’t even have a head of recruitment. Still I am sure all three of those clubs did very badly last season. Let’s have a look at where they came.
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