By Tony Attwood
My last piece showed that what the manager of Chelsea says isn’t always accurate, which really didn’t come as much surprise.
But there is another element to the story which really ought to be mentioned – that Arsenal in recent years would have found it a little harder to make ends meet without the co-operation of Barcelona, who have often insisted on paying rather interesting sums of money for Arsenal players – presumably just to show that they can.
And what makes it even more amusing is that quite often they have not really got much value for money.
Indeed as the Daily Mail rather cutely put it last year, “Barcelona have spent £123m on Arsenal players over the years (and most have flopped)… Barcelona’s transfer fees cover almost a third of the cost of the Emirates.”
I wonder if Arsenal put the selling of players to Barcelona in the business plan they submitted to the banks when the new stadium was first mentioned.
Much of this comes into focus with the fact that of our most recent signing the other way around – Alexis Sanchez for £30m from Barcelona. Was he worth it? I certainly think so and I guess most people would agree.
Some of the transfers are so odd that you couldn’t really make them up. Like Cesc Fabregas coming to us and then Barcelona moving heaven and earth to get him back because of some freaky stuff about his DNA. And then there is Bellerin – a staggering talent, but apparently not really worth anything to Barcelona who were too busy trying to work out how to deflect interest from their dubious and illegal transfer dealings with children.
Or poor old Thomas Vermaelen who cost Barcelona £15m but turned out to be injured.
- Cesc Fabregas £31m
- Thomas Vermaelen £15m
- Alex Song £15m
- Aleksander Hleb £12m
- Thierry Henry £16m
- Gio van Bronckhorst £2m
- Marc Overmars £25m
- Emmanuel Petit £7m
It all started in the summer of 2000, with Barca desperate to get Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit for a combined price of £32m. Marc Overmars played 97 league games for them, across four years, before the injuries finally caused him to retire.
That expenditure of £25m transfer plus about £20m salary for 97 games makes it around £464,000 per game for that one player. Quite a lot really. And of course no sell-on fee at the end. He was crocked.
As for Petit he lasted just one season. And then there was poor Alex Hleb who has openly said that moving from Arsenal to Barcelona was the worst decision of his life.