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October 2016
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Total transfer expenditure last summer v this summer and what it means for the clubs involved

By Tony Attwood

In the end, the preliminary figures from the transfer window show Arsenal spent the fourth largest sum in the league, behind Man U, Man C and Chelsea in that order.  The figures below only reflect the summer transfer window.

Spend pos Club 2015 spend Lge Position 2016 spend
1 Manchester Airport £153.0m 4 £153.85m
2 Manchester Mourinho £108.1m 5 £157.25m
3 Liverpool! £78.4m 8 £67.92m
4 Chelsea Roubles £66.15m 10 £120.11m
5 Aston Villa £54.3m Relegated  
6 Tiny Totts £49.3m 3 £70.13m
7 Newcastle £49.25m Relegated  
8 Southampton £36.7m 6 £44.12m
9 State Aid Utd £33.9m 7 £52.96m
10 West Bromwich Albion £32.5m 14 £22.44m
19 Arsenal £10.0m 2 £96.05m

As we have seen before the amount spent has nothing much to do with the position that the club ends up occupying at the end of the season.  Two of the top spenders from last summer were relegated, and the club that won the league wasn’t even in the top spending list.  Leicester actually spent less than Watford last summer.

In one sense all this ought to be obvious.  A player’s ability to fit in and deliver for a team is not primarily related to money, but much more to what the rest of the team does, the tactics, whether he gets injured, how well his style, approach and personality fits with the rest of the squad and the manager.

For the team the success does of course depend to some degree on the players brought in.  But the transfer table ignores home grown talent, managerial ability, the merging of players together, and the players’ psychological ability to fit in and adjust to a new environment, learn a new language and so on.

All of which explains the figures we have seen before, that only 25% of big name transfers really have a significant impact in year 1.

Of course if transfers did predict position in the league we would now know that in 2017 the champions will be Manchester Mourinho, followed by Manchester Airport.   But if we take the result of last season’s summer spending we could say that two out of this season’s big spenders will go down.

However there is more because during the window we have noted the failure of both Liverpool! and the Tinies to spend wisely the huge sums they accrued from the sale of Suarez and Bale.   In this window we’ve seen Liverpool’s one time big hope Ballotelli (one of the buys with the Suarez money) go on a free transfer to Nice.  The majority of Tottenham’s purchases with the Bale Fund have now left for less than they cost.

I might be tempted to say that Liverpool’s usual cock up with transfers was rather nice for Nice but I suspect it won’t be, and besides that would be far too obvious and silly.

We will in the near future publish the final results of the Great Transfer Index in which over 100 players were listed as being on their way to Arsenal and just about everyone was listed as leaving.  Quite obviously the vast majority of them got lost on the way in or out of the club.

So the only question left is the big one: “Why?”  Only one word but it leads to multiple issues.

Why do blog sites and newspapers publish endless lists of stories about who is going where, when clearly we all know something like 98% of them are not true?

How come with all this expenditure of effort on the transfer tales, could it be that some of the players we actually do buy are not listed as possible transfers until the moment before they arrive?

How is it that people are fixated on the cost of a player when we have seen already this transfer window, as we have in others, that price is not a determinant of quality.   Look at Holding for £2m; he looks a stunning player, and yet his arrival was not so much heralded but whispered.

If we must look at players in terms of money (which given the result of Aston Villa’s and Newcastle’s expenditure last summer seems a bit silly) why do we not include the home grown players and give them a value?   Players in Arsenal’s case like Iwobi, Bellerin, Coquelin.

How come it is so easy to ignore the effectiveness of players who come in for lesser amounts.  I’ve mentioned Holding, but we could add to this Elneny, who to me (if no one else) has looked like a player with abilities far beyond his price tag.

The answers I fear are fairly mundane.

Reducing football to transfers makes it simple; something that can be expressed in one headline and one chant with no time or money spent on research.  And that is where the media – social media, newspapers and broadcast media, wants us to be: in a world of utter and total simplicity.  For if we can persuade people that the world is a simple common sense sort of place in which one does A and gets B, then it is easier to write headlines.

But it is not like that – which is why managers will be sacked this season.  The expectation is that it is simple, managers buy into it, and then when they fail, they go.  Around one third of all league managers only ever manage one team.  They get sacked or leave of their own volition and never return.  Given the level of insanity one can see why.

Last summer the story was that Arsenal was the only club in the Premier League / Europe / the world not to buy an outfield player.   And Arsenal went on to finish second, suggesting that in a simplistic cause and effect universe if only other clubs had stopped buying outfield players they would have come second too.

Of course second then became the new relegation, just as the FA cup became not a trophy, and so on and becoming one of the only two clubs around who make it into the Champions year after year, became something to be derided rather than praised.

And of course I have no idea where Arsenal will end up in the league this coming season.  But I rather suspect that where Arsenal end up will have little to do with how much was spent in the transfer window this summer, any more than it had anything to do with the amount of money spent in the transfer window last summer.

Rather, I still suspect that during this season we will find ourselves watching another young emerging player and marvelling at his qualities.  Not a player who cost £££ but a player who has come up through the ranks.

We now know it won’t be Gnabry, and I am sad about that.  But it could be Chris Willock, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Krystian Bielik, Chuba Akpom, or even a re-emergent Zelalem.  Or someone I haven’t thought of like Julio Pleguezuelo.

What I do think is that even without Jack Wilshere we do have a greater depth than I have seen for some time, and although we’ve busted the myth that Arsenal get the most injuries (along with busting the myth that transfers have much to do with where a club ends up in the league), strength in depth can be a good thing.

Let’s wish Jack and Joel well on their season long loans, and hope we do see them again in a year’s time. And now let’s try and find a good novel or three to read (along with the pages of Untold) until the latest international nonsense is done and dusted.

The final Index will come along shortly, and then watch out for the first transfer rumours ahead of winter window.

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Anniversary of the day

  • 1 September 2009:  Uefa banned Eduardo for two games for “deceiving the referee” in Arsenal’s play-off match against Celtic after a furore by the media.  This totally overturned the standard view that the referee’s view was final.  He was subsequently found not guilty and pardoned.

The complete Arsenal day by day index now contains 5000 anniversaries and you can find them all here.  The anniversaries of the day are shown on the home page each day of Untold Arsenal

61 comments to Total transfer expenditure last summer v this summer and what it means for the clubs involved

  • Robert

    Julio Pleguezuelo is on loan with Mallorca for the entire season. If you read you’d know that.

  • You are of course quite right Robert – but there are more polite ways of saying such things.

  • Robert

    “All of which explains the figures we have seen before, that only 25% of big name transfers really have a significant impact in year 1.”

    Tony, you’re referring to the subjective analysis of 53 players prepared by a Liverpool supporter.

    Why don’t you do your own analysis of Arsenal players instead?

  • Andy L

    What a missed opportunity the Jack Wilshire transfer was for us . What we should have done is given Jack to Bournemouth and then in 2 years time bought him back for £89M because ‘that’s what big clubs do ‘ ! ( according to Man U’s scumbag manager ) . I suppose we will have to remain a small club in North London ( NOT ).

    Talking of small clubs in North London , the Tiny Totts weasel negotiator managed to pull off a masterstroke by signing Sissoko for exactly the price Newcastle wanted for him . No sense of last minute panic buy there , although we are told that our new forward Lucas was ! .

    Finally the Balotelli transfer to Nice was being celebrated on Talkshite last night as ‘ a marvellous bit of business’ until one of the guests pointed out that they should be asking who thought it was a good idea to buy him in the first place .

    We should thank our lucky stars that Arsene does not get drawn into any of these ‘ celebrated ‘transfers and that he does what he thinks is best.

  • Chris

    I’d be curious to know what Leicester have spent in the end ?

  • Jacobite Gunner

    ah Robert-a, Robert-a, what a lovely name

  • Gunnerjoe

    I can’t wait for the day when this site busts the myth that it all evens out in the end.

  • Gunnerjoe

    Just because our player is at Mallorca doesn’t mean he can’t have a break out season.
    After all is that not one of the reasons for sending players on loan.

  • nicky

    All I hope for this season is that after strengthening the team’s spine, all supporters will now back the squad AND the manager until the term’s end.
    There has been far too much backbiting this Summer on this and other sites and now is the time for all who follow our great Club to produce a season of faith and confidence. 😉

  • Rich

    Well, I’m really happy with squad now. We’ve even got the option of an all-spanish-speaking defence, if the story of Gabriel’s language troubles is correct.

    Love the strength in depth and versatility of midfield options, defence looking good, a new attacking option as an alternative to Giroud and perhaps to play with him at times also.

    All good.

    Sorry to see Gnabry go- can only guess we were left with no option there.

    Wilshere came as a shock and is hard to get used to. Positives are that he does have a much greater chance of getting lots of minutes there, and with our final week exits there is just a little bit of room to afford youth players some chances over course of season.

    Would love to know how the Wilshere loan came about. Sky Sports casually said it was the club who told him to go and get minutes, but that seems likely to be wrong.

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I was never putting him in my first 11 as I thought about team each week, and I don’t think he was usually my first choice for a substitution either.

    If Wenger had similar thoughts, maybe the loan, though bold and with it’s own risks, is a good, calculated complex gamble.

    Anyway, everything crossed he stays fit; he’ll surely do well if he that’s case. The slaughtering we’ll get as that is taken as proof we have mismanaged him all along will be infuriating but is ultimately a price well worth paying.

    Now hurry up and finish international window. I can’t wait to see team play again.

    Big decision looms about whether to throw Mustafi in with no training against Saints, or with perhaps a session or two (?) away to PSG (cheers again, international break, cheers)

  • Andy Mack

    Robert, there have been quite a few articles in the national press over the years defining the effectiveness of big transfers If you can find the right combination of words and are prepared to trawl through thousands of irrelevant options thrown up by google then you can find them yourself.

    If memory serves, the only difference between them all has been the figure they use to call something a BIG transfer, but they all come out with similar results, being that in the eyes of the writer around a quarter of big transfers end up as failures, a half take a season before they hit any consistent form and a quarter are 1st season successes.

    The quality of them does have some effect in as much as Ozil was seen by many of our own supporters as a failure in his first season, although most people that know anything about football and actually watched him play (rather than just looking at his numbers) thought he was a success even though he clearly hadn’t hit top form.

  • Jambug


    “As we have seen before the amount spent has nothing much to do with the position that the club ends up occupying at the end of the season.”

    Well, apart from the fact that since Arsenals last title 12 years ago in 2003/04, and Leicester’s amazing triumph last year accepted (anyone see that happening again this year only?) the only Clubs to of won the Premier are:

    Manchester United


    Manchester City

    The 3 top spenders over those 12 years.

    They’ve also won a high proportion of the 2 domestic cups despite the notoriously unpredictability of such competitions.


    Sorry Tony, you really are deluding yourself with this continued notion that persistent ‘big spending’ doesn’t create (buy) success.

    As usual I wont be expecting an answer as I appreciate you seem to of convinced yourself beyond intelligent debate.

  • Jambug

    Can I ask, if you don’t agree with my post don’t just tick dislike, please tell me why, because that post is NOT an opinion, it is a fact, so I would be interested to know WHAT you don’t like about it.


  • Mick

    I agree with you, the facts are indisputable.
    Come on Tony, how about a response.

  • Leon

    The story I’ve read suggests Wilshere (or his agent) instigated the loan because he’s “devastated” at being omitted from Sam’s England squad and wants to get fit to get his place back.
    Apparently his good pal Afobe talked him into Bournemouth.

  • Leon

    Of course spending equals success, and you don’t need to look much further than the top of the PL to see where the likely winners will come from. Last season was a once only anomaly.

  • Jambug


    From the Likes/dislikes it seems most people disagree with our interpretation of the facts, which is fine, it’s just a shame non of them have the inclination to explain why.

  • Leon


    Looks like it’s your turn to be the dislikes magnet, usually it’s me. Anyway “it all evens out in the end”, although in my case probably (deservedly) not. 😱

  • porter

    Whilst it is obvious that big spending on a forward doesn’t necessarily mean that he will score or provide a hat full of goals , what it does do is enable a squad of more than capable players to be built which means that you never go into matches weakened or shorthanded.

    Which means Jambug that I am with you too. Furthermore it would be nice if the dislike people put some meat on the bones and chose to discuss their objections as it furthers the debate.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    If I am not mistaken club wages are more predictive of outcomes than transfer outlay.

  • doc

    @ Jambug. I didn’t click the dislike button, but I gather that you and Tony are making disparate arguments. You’re arguing about cumulative spend and Tony is about the spend in the window…. each taken separately. I suggested that you leave it alone in the past, and would do so again. You are both correct imo.

  • Jambug


    “Furthermore it would be nice if the dislike people put some meat on the bones and chose to discuss their objections as it furthers the debate”.

    Indeed it would, but it appears arguing with indisputable facts is beyond them, understandably so.

  • Rich


    I’d heard that angle,too. Seems an overreaction to me.

    More likely is that his omission came on top of talks with Wenger in last few weeks about the lay of the land, or led directly to talks for first time.

    Who knows. I’m pretty sure Wenger is honest with players about where they stand. It’s possible that costs us sometimes in the short term- maybe we miss out on a few signings, or lose youngsters who haven’t been given false promises- but overall it’s the best policy.

    As it happens with Wilshere and England,though, I think he’s right up against it with Allardyce in charge.

    I reckon the cunning plan is to emulate Iceland, Wales, Leicester, only with better resources. Problem with that is he’ll face constant bus-parking in qualifying and be unprepared for playing big hitters in the finals.

    Wilshere meanwhile is, in my opinion, much more reliant than the majority of top players in needing players and a system around him which specifically compliments him and covers his weaknesses. Good company though as Pirlo is a big name who was the same.

    If Jack stays fit, there’s every chance this loan will go very well, which could in turn make clear to us and England where he needs to play in order to excel. * Fingers crossed.

    *There, so despite how strange it seems it could be a perfectly sensible and intelligent decision. i just have to ignore the fact his eyes look bloody sad in the photos from yesterday.

  • porter

    I am quite happy to be proven wrong if I am . It’s not a problem . Tony puts up his arguments like a spread sheet and all credit to him ,I was bought up on the back of a fag packet so to speak and often see thing differently. I would like more debate on the subjects which this site goes into which are different to the mainstream .

  • Jambug


    Thanks for your response.

    I have read Tony’s take on this many times, and in my opinion he is definitely NOT just saying that spending big in the Summer is no guarantee of success the following season.

    We all know this. It’s obvious.

    This is born out by the likes of Liverpool and Spurs who have sporadic splurges that palpably fail to deliver success, as well as seeing City, United and Chelsea spending big, then failing to immediately deliver a trophy.

    As I say, we all know this.

    But, unless I’ve completely got the wrong end of the stick, that is not what Tony is saying. Tony’s argument seems to be that there is NO correlation between big spending and winning trophies, full stop, which is clearly not true.

    If I am wrong I apologise, but to be fair all Tony had to do was to clarify exactly what he was saying, he has had plenty of opportunities.

    For my part, I Contest that consistent, ongoing ‘mega spending’, as has been undertaken by City, Chelsea and United, with average seasonal net spends of £50 Million and above, is a guarantee if success.

    But what has to be remembered is that with 3 ‘mega spenders’, the law of averages says you should only win the title every 3 years. And that might even be beyond you if you make terrible management choices, who in turn make terrible purchases, as Man Utd have.

    But by and large, and given decent (not even necessarily brilliant, a la Man City and Chelsea a couple of times) management choices, the mega spenders will share the titles around over the years fairly evenly as has been happening.

    Mark my words, if one of them suddenly stopped spending ‘mega bucks’ they would fall away as quickly as they rose.

    If I have misinterpreted Tony’s argument maybe he’ll have the decency to let me know this time.

  • Wengers Warriors

    Wiltshire should have gone abroud and not to a team who are more likely to be relegated, Roma wanted him. And the amount of money spent does make champions, man city and Chelsea are indisputable proof of this, Real Madrid Barcelona, juventus Bayern all win throphys due to buying the best players. This season it will be Man U or man city who win the premiership because they have the best two managers in the world and have spent the most money. However I still prefer arsenals way of doing business and the fact we produce a good amount of youth players and promote instead of just throwing money at the situation. I can’t wait to see willock and malen play in the first team, do we really think either would get a chance in Manchester

  • We produce a good amount of youth players and promote .

    Now where’s that Olympic superstar Gnabry gone sure he was here a minute ago

  • But at least we’ve still got Sanogo phew !

  • Rich

    Very well put in your last post, Jambug

    As I expect you know, I’m with you on this one.

    I’m almost sure that a while back Tony did post something which was a direct response to your questioning of his position on spending; if I remember right, I wasn’t convinced by it and it wasn’t that much of a departure from the normal argument.

    I don’t see how you can successfully argue against continuous mega-spending, relative to your rivals, ensuring you will win something before long, and guaranteeing those you massively outspend will have a very tough job defeating you.

    I don’t get resistance to a nuanced position which accepts that, but also argues that lots of money is misspent and it is very easy for expensive individual transfers to fail,etc.

    It feels like a defensive response to all the criticism, the vast majority of which was unfair, about our spending over the years. One which goes unnecessarily too far and contains contradictions (if spending is unimportant and as likely to harm as help, why did we fall away from perennially fighting it out for the league?)

  • Josif


    I agree with you to the certain extent. It’s not how much you buy, it’s what you need, what you buy and how you fit what you bought. Real Madrid had won just one league between 2009 and 2013 and had had no CL success despite expensive purchases such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka’. Similar thing happened at the beginning of this century. Vicente del Bosque once said that he had told Florentino Perez that he would need a striker and a central defender. Perez responded by breaking the world record to sign Zinedine Zidane, a playmaker. Inter Milan had been an example of big spenders who don’t plug defensive holes but sign big strikers instead for over a decade.

    Back to the whole “buy what you need and make him/them gel”-thing.

    I think that Arsenal have signed what we needed:

    -one quality and experienced yet rather young central defender and one of the brightest talents among English defenders,
    -a central midfielder who can both protect the defence, make our transition go smoothly and participate in the attack either with long passes forward or by switching the ball to either flank,
    -a mobile striker who has an eye for the pass.

    We basically have two players for every position in the team without dropping the level of quality…well, mostly. Ozil is obviously of a unique quality, same goes for Alexis.

    However, I see Chelsea as the first favourites to win the league though. They have most of the team that glided through league two years ago, a manager who doesn’t care how to win the game and there are now Kante and the Belgian guy from Marseille I have never learned to spell his last name. They don’t play European football this season and that should be their biggest advantage.

  • Jambug

    “However I still prefer arsenals way of doing business and the fact we produce a good amount of youth players and promote instead of just throwing money at the situation.”

    Just to be clear, none of my comments relating to the relative successes attained on the back of ‘mega spending’ are in any way meant as a criticism of Arsenal or Wenger.

    I stand 100% behind our self sustaining model and believe that given the relative available funds Wenger has performed brilliantly.

    I believe that had Wenger had similar funds available for transfers between ’03 and ’13 to those of City, Chelsea and United he would of won 2, maybe 3 more titles. Speculation I know, but given his net annual expenditure over that period was around 1/10th, 1/8th and 1/ 5th of theirs respectively, I don’t think that’s unrealistic.

  • porter

    Think the club put a stop on the Roma idea , possibly to keep him away from Szczesney and a crafty fag behind the dressing rooms.

  • Arsene made the right decision with Wilshere (still sad to see him go)

    One Arsene Wenger.. We trust.

  • Wenger did not have funds. He’s the best coach in the world to keep us in the top 4 with minimum budget..

    Up Arsene

  • Jambug


    Thanks for your comments.

    If Tony did eventually respond then I missed it, but I did make a conscious effort to avoid posting, and reading for a while too, so that would be why.

    Amongst other things I Just got fed up with all the negativity. Having had a fruitful window and won our first game I felt it might be worth engaging again as the mood is fairly buoyant. It will no doubt remain that way until we drop another point in which case I’ll see what happens.

    As for this coming season, I don’t know about you Rich but I cant wait for it to really get going, damn these International breaks, because it’s going to be some ride.

    But here’s the rub. Despite our relatively high spending this is what we are still up against.

    Net spending the last five seasons:

    Man City…..£404 Million

    Man Utd……£390 Million

    Chelsea……£243 Million

    Arsenal……£205 Million

    Although closer, our net spend is still HALF that of City and Utd, so why under any circumstances should we finish above either of those?

    But we still get the ‘if Wenger doesn’t win the title this year he has to go’ type comments.

    My question is, how, under any circumstances could finishing behind those 2 be considered a failure?

    Even Chelsea, who have actually cut back a tad over the last couple of years, have spent £40 Million more than us.

    And whilst on the subject of Chelsea:

    In the Summer of 2014 they only spent £5 Million Net, but went on to win the title for 2014/15.

    In the summer of 2015 they only spent £9 Million Net, but this time they only went on to finish 10th.

    You see, yes they can win a title on the back of one quiet transfer window, but 2? It seems not.

    Lets be honest, how well do you think Chelsea would fair this season if they had had a third Summer with a Net spend of Under £10 Million?

    Given this windows £108 Million Net spend it seems Conte thinks not very well.

  • Net spending gives false story because we did not have the riches of Chelsea which gave them head start

  • I think Wenger deserve huge credit than you give he’s the best manager ever who keep us in top 4 year after year.

  • Polo

    Here’s another interesting article. Read the Arsenal and Spurs section.

  • bjtgooner

    @Jambug & Mick

    I agree with your points on the relationship between spending and success. Of the three clubs you mentioned, the Manures always had the reputation of buying success while the Manchester Oilers and Chelski did not have any sustained success until vast sums were spent on their squads – so vast that player value started its unnecessary upward spiral.

  • Rich


    Yep, I think this could well be an amazing year in the league.

    I find it a shame that it’ll have to play out in the atmosphere of the moment, with every dropped point treated as a disaster,etc, when it seems even clearer than ever that the right thing to do, partly because the level of competition means any opposition can provide a huge challenge on any day, is to be behind the team all the way.

    I’d say the level of competition is unprecedented (France had a sort of budget version of it for a few years, but that was a different thing) in any major league since I’ve watched football. Just have to try enjoy it on my own terms and edit out a lot of the noise when necessary.

    Gotta say, no way would I be looking forward to it so much had we not made the 3 big signings (with Holding a terrific bargain bonus). We needed each one of them. We got them.

  • Jambug


    Thanks for that. I get all my transfer spending stats from and they seem pretty reliable, but as with all these things, our accuracy is in there hands.

    Anyway, these are there stats from the start of the PL and they’re pretty similar. (All figures are Nett spend):

    1) Man City…….£870,177,000 or £35,000,000 per season

    2) Chelsea……..£757,574,000 or £30,000,000 per season

    3) Man Utd……..£569,960,000 or £23,000,000 per season

    4) Liverpool……£351,505,000 or £14,000,000 per season

    5)Arsenal………£227,541,000 or £9,000,000 per season

    6) Middlesbrough..£180,230,000 or £7,209,000 per season

    7) Sunderland…..£177,765,000 or £7,110,000 per season

    As you can see from the table, even though these figures go back prior to the ‘mega’ bucks arriving, which evens them out a bit, Citys, Chelseas and Uniteds spending has significantly dwarfed ours. Even Liverpool have spent a third more than us.

    I have included Middlesbrough and Sunderland, the 6th and 7th biggest spenders, just to show how Arsenals Net spend is in fact miles closer to those 2 than it is even to Liverpools, let alone the other 3.

    Just compare how Borough and Sunderland have faired compared to us on an relatively close Net spend.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the difference in net spend over the period between Arsenal and Man City, at £642 Million is approximately the same as the combined cost of the Emirates Stadium, the new Training ground and Medical Centre.

    So it looks like, despite protestations to the contrary, we did ‘spend the fucking money’ after all.

  • Va Cong

    “So it looks like, despite protestations to the contrary, we did ‘spend the fucking money’ after all.”

    Made me laugh @Jambug classy as usual! 😛

  • Gord


    $URL = ‘http://what.ever.d/path’; # Fill in as appropriate
    $adjective = $URL =~ /talksport/ ? ‘interesting’ : ‘crap’;
    print “Here’s another $adjective article\n”;

    It is possible that sites other than talksport be flagged. I hate Telegraph, so:
    $adjective = $URL =~ /(talksport|telegraph)/ ? ‘interesting’: ‘crap’;

    The above is just a quick hack, really one should parse $URL to extract the DNS part from the path and process.

  • Jambug


    Agree, this must be the strongest league ever, in terms of depth.

    In truth there is hardly a ‘gimme’ amongst the lot, especially away from home, but rest assured a point dropped, even away at the likes of Man City, will be hailed as a disaster by some.

    Agree the signings have wet the appetite, but I honestly felt, given a fair run on injuries, and a fairer rub of the green from the refs, we would still of been in and around the top. But fair enough, these signings may just be what pushes us over the line this season, and anyway, what’s not to like about shinny new toys? We’ll have to see.

    But as I said, even if we come up short I wont be calling for heads, lest we forget, we are still battling against the 3 biggest spending Clubs in the World. No shame in finishing behind them.

    But less of that, I really believe we can crack it this season.

    As for the ‘noise’, I’m afraid I don’t seem to be as good at editing it out as you do my friend, so alas if per chance it gets too loud I shall withdraw again gracefully.

  • Gord

    In terms of spending, the “cost” of buying an established player in the transfer market is probably close to real cost. The cost of bring a youth player through the system isn’t. The facilities need to be purchased. People need to be hired and used. If a single person is supervising 40 youth, and works 40 hours per week, is that 1 hour per youth per week? I suspect it probably counts for significantly more than 1 hour. 48 weeks per year? Youth in system for 6 years? How many staff working with that group of youth at any given time? Probably more than 1.

    Taking guesses at some of that, it isn’t hard to get to 10,000 person hours (or at least over 1000 person hours) for any given youth.

    So, saying some youth cost O(100,000) because that is what the transfer fee was is probably not reasonable. Maybe a person can justify ignoring things if the youth transfer fee is O(1,000,000) or more?

  • Josif


    Excellent post backed up with the evidence but I would add a few more details to that list.

    If I understand it, that list takes ALL 25 seasons of Premier League football including the current one.

    If that’s true, then we should take a look at Manchester City with a special pair of glasses as their net-spending has increased since 2009. Since then they have won two league titles, an FA Cup and two (?) League Cup trophies. One could say they are pretty much in the frame of the law of the average. I suppose their net-spending since 2009 is ridiculously bigger than anyone else’s which is understandable given how poor their stature had been before 2009.

    Chelsea have had a very expensive squad since the days of Ken Bates but the really big spending has started since Abramovich’s arrival. So, maybe we should consider their results and spending since 2003 (four league titles) which would make their average net-spending much, much bigger. They have won four league titles, a CL, a EL and a few FA Cups. Above the law of the average and more successful than City but one should bear in mind had been in a much better position than Man City before their tycoon arrived – they had been a CL participant or close to CL positions at worst.

    Now, Liverpool… They haven’t had a sugar-daddy in the mould of Abramovich or Sheikhs and it’s difficult to pick one period when they were all about the spending money without selling anyone so I think their net-spending is more accurately spread over the last quarter of the century. Their inability to win the league remains hilarious though even if they have won two European trophies in the same period. It’s interesting how neither Liverpool nor Tottenham didn’t learn a thing from the example of Luis Figo’s transfer from Barcelona to Real. Barcelona sold Figo to Real for a record transfer fee (in fact, Real activated his release clause) and tried to replace one world-class player with a few very good, even excellent players (Overmars, Petit, Alfonso Perez, Gerard Lopez Segu) but with a little or no success at all.

    When it comes to Arsenal, we haven’t made a big sale of an important player in the mould of Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor, Henry…since Van Persie’s departure to Manchester United. Vermaelen’s departure was a departure of the third choice central defender. Our net-spending has raised since 2013 and Arsenal have won four trophies (two FA Cups and two Community Shields) with our final position in the league improving year after year (after ending up 4th but with a FA Cup trophy we ended up 3rd with two trophies in our trophy room and 2nd with a Community Shield to our name).

    Then again, as I have written before, it’s all how you spend and what you do with your purchase afterwards. Inter Milan broke the world-record to sign Christian Vieri from Lazio in the summer 1999 adding him to their already fantastic attacking line-up that included veteran Roberto Baggio, one of the famous toothy Uruguayan forwards Alvaro Recoba and the football legend Ronaldo. Inter paid 76 billion lira and gave Diego Simeone to Lazio. Lazio used the money they had received to fund a purchase of Juan Veron and won the double while Inter were nowhere near the title challenge.

  • Jambug


    Thanks for your response.

    Indeed the figures in the post you refer to do encompass the entire 25 years of the Pl, but as I pointed out this does distort the figures a little as it spreads Chelseas relatively short term spending (10 years or so) over the 25 years.

    As we know, Chelseas spending and trophy haul has to be split into pre and post RA.

    Pre RA, relatively low spending for very little in the way of trophies and definitely no titles.

    Compared to post RA with spending well in excess of £50 Million Net per season and a trophy haul to match.

    Similar can be said about Man City but even more so.

    Regarding what you touch on in your last paragraph with respect to ‘it’s all how you spend and what you do with your purchase afterwards’ you have a point. But the true crux of all this is about whether you, as a Manager/Club, have to ‘balance’ the books or not. This is massive, I mean massive. And this is where Man City, Chelsea and any other state/Oil sponsored team really win out, even over the likes of Man United, because even they have to balance the books to some degree.

    When you can just print money you don’t have to worry about the age of the player you are buying because his sell on value is largely immaterial.

    When you can just print money you can keep your experienced players till the end of there career. You don’t have to ‘cash in’ your chips earlier than perhaps you would like simply because you have to get some money in. This is a minefield that Wenger has trodden remarkably well, selling the likes of Henry, Pires, Vieira, RVP at a time when he could recoup pretty good money, when in some cases, they only had one more good season in them. I have no doubt Wenger would of loved to of kept some of them on, if only for the experience they would pass on to the up and coming players, but it was simply not possible.

    When you can just print money you can pay the transfer fee, and the wages, no matter how much over the ‘going rate’ they are. This is why it is pointless getting in a bidding war with them because no matter what you bid, they will out bid you. Overpaying in auctions is a guaranteed route to bankruptcy.

    When you can print money you can take irresponsible gambles on players and just shrug your shoulders when it goes pear shaped. Read Torez for a prime example of this. If Arsenal had taken that gamble, as some at the time suggested we should, it could of been a disaster and harmed the Club for years.

    One of the reasons the likes of Chelsea and City can often as not get there transfers done early is because they more or less just pay what the selling club asks, and likewise pay the wages the player asks for. When you have a budget and books to balance, this is simply not the case, hence deals going to the wire whilst negotiations swing too and fro. But then again I suppose some would say Wenger should just pay whatever is asked. I would suggest that would be in laymen’s terms, madness.

    Yes, basically it is important to get the right players and to be able to ‘mould them’ but printing money circumnavigates this to a massive degree because of some, or all of the above.

    A shrug of the shoulders and just buy the next one.

  • Andy Mack

    Wengers Warriors,
    Who is “Wiltshire”?
    If you want anyone to take your comments seriously then Number 1 on the list of things to do is probably ‘Spell our players names (or nick-names) correctly’.

  • Andy Mack

    I’m with you that success comes from consistent big spending over a 3 year plus period, although even that isn’t a guarantee as someone else can also big spend over a long period etc. But you need to factor into the spend what the market price would be for ‘in house players’.
    So how much would we have paid for Gibbs, Bellerin, Iwobi, Coquelin etc. Add to this that around 25% of transfers aren’t successful, add another amount for the player/s we would have bought and then sold on. 😀

  • Pat

    One Arsene Wenger
    There’s only one Arsene Wenger
    One Arsene Wenger
    There’s only one Arsene Wenger ….

  • Pat

    Andy Mack

    To pick on somebody for mis-spelling a name is rude.

  • Andy Mack

    Pat, I won’t call you Pam,

    It’s rude to get a name wrong when it’s referring to you or me. It’s unforgivably rude to get Jacks name completely wrong like that.
    Similarly with the Carzola instead of Cazorla as too many lazy people do.
    How can you support a player and make a mistake like that?

  • Polo

    @ Jambug, I look at the transferleague site too but was lazy to add up the net spend, so took the lazy option of cut and paste links.

    @ Gord, I only know how to cut and paste 🙈.

    @ bushido, my apologies you were correct with Perez having the number 9 shirt instead of 10 😊

  • Gord


    And you probably don’t know Perl either (programming language). 🙂

    No, I just don’t trust talksport to be honest and forthright on any topic.

  • Gord

    I think we need to cut a few people slack on Xhaka’s name to begin with. Few names start with X, and to most people it sounds like a Z.

    One that gets me, is this nonsense about Gabriel’s surname being Paulista. Paulista is a nickname, it means someone is from the state of Paul (Paulo, …). Just call him Gabriel, if you can’t be bothered finding out his surname and using it.

    Gabriel Armado de Abreu

  • Andy Mack

    Gord, there’s a difference between pronouncing a name poorly (which is easily done in a different ‘mother tongue’) and misspelt. Using a nickname like ‘Gabby’ is a better alternative than ‘Gaybrital’ and although I don’t understand why someone would have a problem with Xhaka, ‘Granite’ is probably the best alternative than ‘Jayka’.

  • Josif

    “Xh” in Albanian is pronounced similar to “J” in English. That’s why having Jack and Xhaka in the middle would be funny. 🙂

    For those who are a bit lazy:

    If you want to write Gerd’s or Thomas’ last name in a proper way (unless you write it as “Mueller”), type ALT+129 to get those two dots above “u”.

    If you want to write Mesut’s last name, use ALT+153 (or write “Oezil”).

    Alexis would be happy if you call him Alexis but if you go with his last name, then use ALT+0225 to write “a” in “Sanchez”.

    If you have a few hours of spare time to write where did Xhaka play before Arsenal, use ALT+148 to write “o” in “Monchengladbach”.

  • Pat

    You know, Andy Mack, there are plenty of people who have difficulties with spelling that may not be their fault. Should they be barred from being allowed to write and mocked if they get things wrong?

    Obviously I don’t know if this is the case here. For all I know spellcheck may have altered the spelling. All I’m saying is, let’s try not to be so snobby.

  • Andy Mack

    it’s not about spelling words correctly. Plenty on here do an amazingly well as not native English speakers. I give people loads of leeway (much more than most others do) in general comments.
    But to get the name of the player wrong like that is 100% pure laziness.
    Have problems remembering how to spell a players name then is just a click away.

    He’s not a county.

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