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Victory Through Harmony
Transfers, deadlines and lots and lots and lots of money.
By Dale Higginbottom
February 1st and the January transfer window closes after a flourish of activity from Premier League clubs. Liverpool and Chelsea were the big players on this day
Liverpool, well where do you start? After years of financial mismanagement and an ever-spinning revolving door of young players too and from the club they found themselves without a squad and with an ok staring eleven on paper. On paper is not the same as on grass and even with minimal injuries this season they have failed to get the results, largely down to under-performing, want-away players. So, some idiots were desperate for a striker and Liverpool held out for a great price.
Hats off to Liverpool, a glimmer of common sense, sell an injury-prone player who no longer wants to put in the effort for more than double what you bought him for. We did a similar thing with Adebayor and look how well that worked out for us. Anyway, long story short, one 26 year old striker out, two younger strikers in, THAT’S squad building, well done you’re getting the hang of it. You can argue the relative value of a £35 million Andy Carroll or a £22.7 million Luis Suarez but they have not spent massively above their means for once.
In addition, Charlie Adam remains a Blackpool player. Maybe that’s Liverpool holding out for the summer to get him for free? Possibly more clever work from the people with the bank accounts at Liverpool?
The reason that Liverpool could go out and spend this sort of money was as a result of the biggest transfer of deadline day, the £50 million move of Fernando Torres. The move has been seen by the media as a big statement of intent by Roman Abramovich. The signing of Torres, along with the reported £21 million transfer of David Luiz is a huge step away from Chelsea’s transfer strategy of recent seasons.
Recently, one line coming out of Chelsea has been that Mr Abramovich has decided not to play ball any more and that he believes that the players there are good enough to win the Champions League, he’s just been struggling to find a manager to do that for him. The other line has been that Chelsea are putting a lot of faith in their youth academy and the group of 18-22 year olds that they have prised from other clubs at knock-down prices. These efforts to avoid spending big money on transfers have also supposedly been with an eye to meeting UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules for the 2014/2015 season.
Well, yesterday’s statement was not that of a club that is looking forward and aiming to be financially stable. True, if Chelsea fail to get in the Champions League next season and the season after then they’ll lose the amount that they have just spent just in TV revenue and gate receipts but still, to spend £71 million on a day that they report a loss of almost the exact same amount for the last financial year, strikes me as very much as short-termism by their Russian owner. Did he wake up on Monday, see the financial results and say to himself, screw this for a game of soldiers, we’re never going to meet FFP better win the Champions League this season or next.
This looks to me like a last ditch attempt by a man who thought that money could buy anything, but has come to the realisation that it’s now a gamble. City will always outspend him and he’s got an old squad, if he doesn’t win the Champions League now it’ll cost him £200 million plus to try again. That’s assuming the FFP rules will allow a benefactor rule. No, this is likely his last shot at it, his last attempt at European glory and what if it fails? Will he care? Will he still want a loss-making club that have no future in Europe? Probably not. Maybe another club will look appealing in 2014? Maybe another sport? But I can tell you something, Chelsea will be doing extremely well to still be playing in UEFA competitions this time in four years.
An eventful day for some but meanwhile, what of Arsenal? Well, with a league game the following day to prepare for their deadline day transfer activity was well, non-existent (and thankfully so, if I can say so). In fact Arsenal’s highest profile move was our very own Jack Wilshere who reported on his Twitter page
“BREAKING TRANSFER NEWS: I have just moved from the sofa to my bed!!”
So, why do I feel happy that Arsenal are not part of this deadline day fiasco? Well, I honestly don’t know, I’ve no idea. Apart from maybe the fact we are not in a position where we need to spend upwards of £70 million just to maintain our Champions League status, I don’t know. Apart from the fact that we don’t need to spend over £57 million on two strikers because there is no-one else at the club that can do the job, I really don’t know. Apart from maybe the knowledge that we have three strikers in van Persie, Chamakh and Bendtner that combined cost us less than 10% of an Andy Carroll, I have no idea.
Our new players will be the return of Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Vermaelen. We don’t need to spend stupid money on Andy Carroll, surely Bendtner is a better player and he cost us next to nothing. Transfer deadline day is fun, it’s exciting, and it’s entertaining to watch the headless chickens throwing numbers at any player that moves (or even doesn’t move in the case of Carroll at the moment).
Yesterday’s spending was by two clubs that we at Untold Arsenal have commented about all season for having very thin squads and have suffered as a result. Their only solution has been to spend big money and bring in proven players. Arsenal on the other hand just keep them rolling in through intelligent scouting and great work by our academy and reserve team coaches. Long may the non-spending continue.
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