By Walter Broeckx
In a world where people expect everything to be done now and get everything immediately the transfer window is a long frustrating period. Or at least for many people it is. Not really for me as I don’t refresh arsenal.com every 5 minutes to see who Arsenal has bought. But for many people it is the period of the season in which they want “it” done now.
Is Arsenal doing transfer business a bit frustrating? Well it is if you only take your own wishes and desires as the way to look at it.
In many ways Arsenal is a special club (and that is one of the reasons I love them a lot) and this is certainly the case when it comes to transfers.
“Spend the fucking money” they shout. ”Wenger never spends” they proclaim. But let us take a look if this is really true. Facts you know. And let us try to find a source that can be accepted by most. Let us take the Swiss Ramble’s numbers. http://swissramble.blogspot.be/search/label/Arsenal
And in that article you can find the Premier League Net Transfer Spend – last 3 seasons (2013/2014 to 2015/2016).
And we see that in first place we have Man City with £241M spend. In second place we have Man Utd with £199M spend. And then in third place we find… Arsenal with £111M spend.
So over the last 3 seasons Arsenal has been in the top 3 of teams of the net transfer spend. So from whence comes the spend the fucking money and Wenger never spends mantra? From the past? Are people stuck in the past and for the sake of it just repeat the same mantra?
Now the funny thing is that while we have spent half what United did and even less than City we came in second place last season and City scrambled in to 4th place and United will surely win the Thursday league after having spent another crazy amount of money this summer.
So Wenger does pay money. But one could say that our money was wiser spent than certainly United’s money so far. So anyone repeating the same old lines can be considered as not being up to date.
But why is it that it seems that Arsenal is “difficult” in transfer periods? To answer this we have to watch to the way Arsenal is working and this is contrary to most other clubs. You may like that way of working or completely dislike it, but it is part of what makes Arsenal, The Arsenal.
A few seasons ago (the winter before the Özil transfer) I was told by someone from Arsenal that the times were changing. And that transfers would be built on two different angles. One would be the low budget transfers. This was money used to buy players who are young and have potential. If they work that would be great, but if they don’t work then there would be no man overboard. Spending £1-2m on a young player not making it, is sad but mostly for that player in question. The club will not suffer that much from it.
But the other end of the transfer business would be to buy big players. Since then we got the summer of Özil, Alexis and Cech. Three top players. Anyone who denies this is someone who has an agenda I think. So the person who told me this has lived up to his promise.
So what is so frustrating for the moment? We bought Xhaka already and he is the third most expensive transfer we have ever made. Not starting him in the first match is maybe not a real surprise as this is how Wenger usually works with new players unless he has to bring them because of other players not being fit enough. Wenger usually gives them time to adjust to the league and let them come on to get a first feeling of the PL. But that is not the point I want to make here.
The others we brought were in three young players. Holding who was forced in to the team because of the injuries to Per and Gabriel and the Euro’s from Koscielny. We also bought Asamo. Both can be said to fall in the category of young and promising players. If it works we could have saved us £20-30m in the future, if not… no much lost.
Now I know that we are looking for an experienced central defender. And the people throw names around of defenders that have moved. Williams from Swansea to Everton. That is the way to do business they say. But with all respect….Williams is not Arsenal material. First of all Williams works perfectly in a packed defence. Like the way Wales plays and like the way Swansea play a lot. But he is not a defender that would flourish in an attacking team like Arsenal. Hence he went to Everton who also play a lot of defensive matches in that style.
So you can be sure that Arsenal is looking to add a quality central defender. But they cost money. And if there is another difference between the biggest spenders and Arsenal is that the others can afford to get it wrong. Pay £60m for central defenders that don’t work? Well we throw them out next transfer window and the sheikh will write another cheque for an even bigger amount.
If Arsenal were to make a mistake of £60m in a transfer market we would be in big trouble. Big, big, big trouble. It could throw us back for 2-3 seasons. And that is why Arsenal have to make sure that if they buy and spend big the player will be worth it and will pay back the investment. We cannot afford mistakes in the transfer market on the high quality players. And as we have shown many times only 25% of the big transfers are a success from the start. Arsenal has to make sure that all their big transfers fall into that 25% success stories.
Now one could say of course: just spend it and give the others what they want. But this would mean that we would and could get bad value for our money. And once spent, it is gone and we have to be patient to get new money for transfers.
Arsenal will not pay over the top and if they feel they get in to a bidding war they usually pull out. And then we come to the next frustrating part of the Arsenal transfer dealing: the sound of silence.
- Why the evidence of your own eyes does not reveal what is happening with Arsenal
- Fear and loathing at the Emirates; supporting the club or foul mouting it
- Ref Review: Arsenal – Liverpool