- FA once again get away with incompetence over Charity Shield kick off
- There is something fishy about PGMO referees (even more than we knew before)
By Tony Attwood
The Daily Mirror is one of the leading purveyors of football transfer gossip and most of it is pretty unappealing stuff, but they do occasionally come up with a gem, such as in the article “How last summer’s 20 biggest transfer signings have fared”
They don’t cover every transfer from summer 2022 of course, but they do get through some of the bigger ones and they grade them from A+++ to D.
And what is interesting is the number of transfers that they rate as poor.
- Matheus Nunes: Sporting Lisbon to Wolves, £38m. Grade D
- Cristian Romero: Atalanta to Tottenham, £41m, Grade D
- Kalvin Phillips: Leeds to Manchester City, £42m Grade: E
- Gabriel Jesus: Manchester City to Arsenal, £45m. Grade B
- Raheem Sterling: Manchester City to Chelsea, £47.5m. Grade: D+
- Lisandro Martinez: Ajax to Manchester United, £48.5m. Grade A
- Richarlison: Everton to Tottenham, £50m Grade: E
- Erling Haaland: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City, £51m. Grade: A+++++++
- Marc Cucurella: Brighton to Chelsea, £56m. Grade E
- Alexander Isak: Real Sociedad to Newcastle, £59m. Grade B+
- Darwin Nunez: Benfica to Liverpool, £64m. Grade C-
- Wesley Fofana: Leicester to Chelsea, £70m. Grade D+
- Antony: Ajax to Manchester United, £82m. Grade D-
So there we have 13 big-time transfers from last summer, and the Mirror, which is one of the big players in telling us all the time who is signing for whom, telling the readership that so many of these transfers have been flops.
On the issue of Gabriel Jesus what they say is, “Frustratingly for Jesus and his employers, a knee injury derailed his campaign. Yet the 26-year-old showed plenty of promise – scoring 11 goals and providing seven assists in 26 league games – and is clearly good enough to lead Arsenal’s attack for years to come.”
So let’s consider this for a moment. 13 transfers costing £694m, and only two of which are graded with A ratings, and two with grade B. One is Grade C, four are grade D and one is actually grade E.
Surely the conclusion from all this is that buying in players at huge costs is more often than not a total waste of money. If we take As and Bs as being successful, then over two thirds of all high fee transfers last summer were failures.
Now it could be argued that this is simply how it is, and clubs have to acknowledge that more often than not the transfers are going to be flops. Certainly, that is what Arsene Wenger appeared to believe as he spent far more time bringing in unknown players for low amounts and trying (often successfully) to turn them into star players.
But Wenger was repeatedly harried in the media for this approach. So it seems the media want things both ways. First, they want the mass of speculation about who is going to buy whom, as that makes for free copy day after day.
They then want the big spending to continue because that makes a story when it happens, and then they quite enjoy the players being flops because that makes another story. And none of this costs them anything in terms of research.
It is in the midst of such a situation that we hear that, “Arsenal agree to sign Kai Havertz from Chelsea for £60m plus £5m in add-ons” in the Guardian (a story that is only fractionally bigger it seems than, “Design error forces Arsenal to withdraw new home shirt”.
Back with the player we are told he was bought by Chelsea for £72m in August 2020 with a huge reputation – “one of the most exciting young talents in Europe”. But since then he “underwhelmed” and although I haven’t checked as yet I suspect the headline somewhere will be “Arsenal buy Chelsea flop”.
The Telegraph however offers an explanation of sorts saying, “Part-striker and part-midfielder, Havertz has rarely looked completely comfortable with his role at Chelsea. The German “hybrid” has played under three managers at Stamford Bridge, operating in a variety of different systems, and even now it is still not clear what his best position might be. “
However it seems, “Mikel Arteta is a long-time admirer of Havertz and believes he can help his team bridge the gap to City. His arrival is expected to be followed by that of Declan Rice. Arsenal had a second bid of £90m rejected by West Ham on Tuesday but should sign the midfielder soon, more than likely for £100m.”
The Telegraph however does want us to think that Arsenal are marching ever forward getting all the players they want as they say, “Manchester United ready to rival Arsenal for Declan Rice with player-plus-cash offer“.
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds
- Brentford v Arsenal: tackles, fouls, yellow cards and the home v away record