Why big name transfer window signings are more likely to flop than succeed

By Billy “the Dog” McGraw

One of the big problems with analysing the emergence of playing squads is that the media has fixed the agenda so that only the transfer window is important.  It can have a place in developing a squad, but there are other mechanisms.  Since the media refuse to acknowledge them, I guess I will have to.

Since the Summer 2014 window closed five players have come into serious contention in Arsenal’s first team.

  • Coquelin – whose current ratings put him in the top five defensive midfielders in Europe
  • Bellerin – like Coquelin highly criticised when he first emerged last season but now a player most European teams would welcome as a permanent fixture
  • Cech – highly regarded keeper; a dodgy start in the first game but picking up the pace now.
  • Monreal – joined us in January 2013, and although he played a fair bit before, it is only in the last year that he has emerged as our first choice in his position, and become utterly reliable and a key player.
  • Gabriel – joined in the last transfer window, and rarely played but is stating to look like a brilliant purchase, first to provide cover in the centre of defence, and then to take over a full time role.

Now if those five players had been bought to the club ready made and ready to play, in the two 2015 transfer windows, there would probably have been a much muted line of discontent from the media – although they would have found something else to moan about.  They are five superb players – and although there are still people who write in each day to Untold complaining about Coquelin and the need for another defensive midfielder (we’ve stopped publishing them as they just say the same thing again and again) it is interesting that none of them ever report Coquelin’s figures from the second half of the season.

Indeed, just to pause on that thought for a moment, having moderated the discussion points this morning, I was struck by just how many items we get that simply say, “you are wrong, he’s rubbish” or words to that effect.  As I say, they we stopped publishing most of them a few months ago as it was getting boring.

Anyway, back to my main point.  An introduction of five regulars from a combination of sources (under 21s, backup players, new purchases) to my mind is rather a good ploy, since it stops one being utterly dependent on other clubs.

Indeed this transfer window some teams have particularly come unstuck.  (I will return to this at the conclusion with an analysis of just how many top transfers do actually work, but first… Tottenham.  Our old chums this time around failed with their famous hard line take-it-or-leave-it tactics, (the story is their offer for Berahino was seemingly somewhat less generous than the media made out and contained various stage payments) and they also find themselves stuck with Emmanuel Adebayor.  The latest rumour is that Tottenham are trying to off load him on loan to WHU, with Tottenham continuing to pay the old buzzard £600,000 or more during the course of the year.

Incidentally Berahino has now stated that he will not play for his club again, and so has put himself in breach of contract.  A quick tribunal should reveal that the player need not now be paid, and he can just sit there until he changes his mind.

But getting fewer high profile players like Monreal and Gabriel, and letting them mature, and capturing future top players as teenagers looks to me like a clever move – not least because those occasional transfers can come in under the radar, and who knows what other players will emerge this season.

Who knows if Bielik, or Adelaide will come through this season.  I don’t know if Zelalem, Crowley, Maitland-Niles, Gnabry, Haden, Akpom, Jenkinson, Martinez, Crowley, Toral or Willington Silva will emerge as Coquelin and Bellerin have, but I would certainly guess from what I have seen of these players that at least one of them will. Indeed I would be surprised if we don’t see two emerge into the first team by the end of this season.

But of course the media don’t want to know.  Their game is different and it runs like this:

  1. Determine that only big money transfers count.  Everything else is irrelevant – so never mention the transfer in of Ramsey and players of his ilk, who took several years to develop and become first team regulars.  It upsets the argument.
  2. Announce that Arsenal have signed a big money player even though it is not true, the player is irrelevant to the needs of the squad, and is not for sale.
  3. Ensure that the other papers pick up the story, and then constantly re-run it as the Mail says the Metro has reported it, and the Metro says the Mail has reported etc.
  4. When the story is exposed as gibberish in that the player deemed to be the great goalscoring centre forward isn’t, rely on those poor saps taken in by the circulation boosting charade to blame the club for being too slow.
  5. Start circulating another story – such as “fans demand Wenger gives his salary back because of his failure” – while very carefully ignoring the five players who have emerged as first team regulars in the past year.
  6. Quickly get the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust to demand an inquiry into transfer strategy after Arsène Wenger fails to buy a single outfield player – and again ignore the players who have emerged as stars these last 12 months, or the fact that Wenger’s big money purchases (like every other manager) are as likely to fail as to succeed.  For every Henry there is Reyes.
  7. Always ignore the fact that Chelsea have not brought through a major first team player from the youth team since John Terry or that Man City despite spending £200m on their academy have so far just given first team experience to Dedryck Boyata.  (Daniel Sturrridge was the star of the FA Youth Cup team, but he was sold).  And of course keep knocking Jack Wilshere for post FA Cup chanting, because having home grown players come through from the age of 11 is just embarrassing.
  8. After the transfer window is over talk about an Arsenal supporter revolt, season tickets being torn up (have you actually tried to rip one of those plastic cards in half?) etc.
  9. Start running transfer rumours on the day after it is all over – and about a month later start the stories about high cost players who have not since played for their new club because they are not nearly as good as everyone hyped them up to be.
  10. But don’t ever do that last bit in detail….

Because it is really interesting.  I must admit gathering the data on the “what happens to top buys” was beyond my ability to put together.  So this comes from TomkinsTimes an excellent Liverpool web site.  I don’t agree with every analysis, but my goodness  this guy can do his work and I agree with most (and who is to say he is not right and me wrong).

The site analysed the “53 most expensive ‘big club*’ signings between 2003 (when Roman Abramovich started driving up prices) and 2014” and with some very detailed and sophisticated workings out that are totally beyond my maths, allocated each into one of three categories:

  • Total flop – 14 out of 53
  • Instant Hit – 14 out of 53
  • Mixed Bag / Slow Starter 25 out of 53

So only one quarter of the big money transfers since the start of Abramovich, have actually made a total early impact, and to be fair, a few of the slow starters did go on to be real greats – but then others started ok but faded.

To use Paul Tomkins memorable phrase, “by my calculations, 74% of the most expensive signings since 2003 failed to have a clear and sustained impact from day one. That’s three-quarters who didn’t set the world alight early on, beyond perhaps a good game or two.”

Now as I say Iv don’t agree with the writer’s analysis of all the players in the list, but no one ever would – but there is a broader point here.   Buying in high value players is the riskiest way of developing a squad and can lead to utter disaster.

Developing your own, or buying lower price players and letting them develop (while knowing it is not a total financial disaster if they don’t) is much more likely to get results.   Bring in a big name player and you have to play him, no matter what.  Bring in Coquelin and you can wait.  Bring in Monreal and you can use him as a reserve in his position until he develops, and then use him.

The papers hate it, because it is a slow intricate process, but then, who needs the papers any more?


Untold Anniversaries – the full list of today’s anniversaries is here – just scroll down the home page

  • 2 September 1893: Woolwich Arsenal 2 Newcastle Utd 2.  This was the first ever league match of the club with the goals coming from Shaw and Elliott.  Also see this report   And the original reports in the press
  • 2 September 2014: Arsenal confirm the signing of Danny Welbeck from Man U.for about £16m in the last few hours of the transfer window.  It was a transfer that surprised and to some degree split the fanbase.

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66 Replies to “Why big name transfer window signings are more likely to flop than succeed”

  1. at last some sense. arsenal have the team but the selections are wrong play sanchez at centre forward with ox and walcott as the pace men what a strike force the six in defence remain with ramsey and oliz or carloza . sanchez is a physical player strong in the air – why not give it a try.

  2. It’s a pity that so many fans think that just wanting a player can manifest itself into getting a player. Top class players are finite, hence the term top class. Therefore anyone criticising Wenger should ask a themselves a simple question, of all the transfers actually completed anywhere in this window, which one would’ve made Arsenal much stronger? I can only think of one definite and that would be purchasing Cech. In fairness I think Sterling would’ve been a great signing, but firstly thats’s subjective and secondly would 50M be a definitive upgrade on Theo or AOC. Wenger knows what he’s doing and you’re lucky to have him.

  3. QPR Voyeur – at last someone who is responding to my questions, albeit from an outsider perspective! Thank you.

    I think you are right with Sterling. Potentially a very good player but not currently superior to Chamberlain (who is a similar age). And Arsenal don’t have £50mm to spend on a duplicate of what they’ve already got.

    Good luck for the season.

  4. Your article sounds more like a case of sour grapes to me. Are you seriously telling me that our squad is good enough to challenge for the title? You touched on the famous ‘internal solutions’ and buying less acclaimed players and developing them. But that is not good enough to win the title. We shouldn’t care if big money signings don’t work elsewhere, spurs included. All we should care about is whether everything is being done so that we, as a team, have a genuine chance of winning the title. Maybe you should not dismiss other teams signings so quickly. Atleast they are being proactive or reactive in some cases. What are we doing? Nothing. There is absolutely no chance at a title now. Open your eyes, wake up!

  5. Ajinkya
    Shh.Common sense is not allowed here.If you start talking about how great Arsene is then you will be home here.

  6. I pick up on one point here:
    “but then, who needs the papers any more”

    Never a true word said. The “professional” media should just pack up and go, there are so many “amateur” media around to suit any taste, and although many are following the pattern of the old guard, 🙁 many are becoming a gem in their own right. 🙂

  7. Ajinkya

    “You touched on the famous ‘internal solutions’ and buying less acclaimed players and developing them. But that is not good enough to win the title.”

    Oh the irony

    Jose Mourinho Porto 2004 might disagree
    LGV Ajax 1993 might Disagree
    SAF 1996 might disagree
    Pep Guariola Barcelona 2009 might disagree
    Jurgen Klopp Dortmund 2012 might disagree
    Laurent Blanc Bordeaux 2009 might disagree
    Diego Simeoni Atletico 2014 might disagree

    Is that list Ivy league enough for you?

  8. Let’s start a poll about which club you should support once Arsene leaves the club with options being PSG,Chelsea,Spuds and Mancs.

  9. Ajinkya/Up the Gooners

    Of the players that moved clubs this summer (anywhere in the world) and we can therefore assume were available:

    1. Who would you have bought?
    2. How much would you have paid?
    3. Which current player would they displace from the first team?

  10. @ QPR Voyeur :
    Porto, Ath Mad make bright signings. And we have too in the past. But we live in a different world now, with different market dynamics. Barcelona is the best team in the world. We fall in the second tier of teams world wide. To buy world class players, we need to loosen our purse srings or hope to find discards such as Ozil or Alexis from such teams which is not going to happen every year.. And don’t talk about French or dutch leagues.. how can you compare them with EPL??? Don’t just argue for the sake of it man..

  11. Pete
    Do you believe that there was not a single player in the world who would have improved the third best team in England?i am sure if we had lost against Newcastle or Liverpool we would have bought a few players.Players would have been available from a supermarket in that case.

  12. QPR Voyeur,

    Thanks for your great comments.

    We just have a few fans who think that the only way is to buy, buy and buy some more.
    I believe in growing and building and so do most of us on here.
    Our squad last season once not hit by massive injuries could keep up the pace of Chelsea and City. We added a good keeper and kept the rest of the team that was involved in that great run.

    Apart from a slow start I cannot find much wrong with the squad we have. Hitting top form seems to me the only problem we have for the moment. But once we hit that I think we can go far in the league.

    Best of luck to your team by the way

  13. @ Pete:
    1) I would have bought players like Schneirdelin, Sterling, Pedro etc.. Even players like Payet, Ayew, Kondogbia, Jackson Martinez, Greizmann,etc would have brought great depth to us
    2) I would have paid whatever amount that needed to be paid so that they didn’t go elsewhere.
    3)And they would come into the team to replace players that need to be replaced so that we win.
    if you think Schniderlin or Pedro wouldn’t have improved this team this year or Fabregas last year or Suarez the year before then you are living in a bubble and I rest my case because there is no point discussing.

  14. Ajinkya, yes the first tier teams is Barcelona and Real Madrid with their money grabbing from the rest of the teams in Spain. Bayern Munich who is a bit like MU when it comes to having more money than the rest from a historic point of view
    And then you have the money teams like Chelsea, City and PSG.

    The rest is second tier you might say. So unless we go in to the money teams we will have a big handicap compared to them. That is the reality. In fact I am proud that my team is doing it in the way they are. Only growing slowly will bring us in to the tier of Bayern Munich of MU.

  15. @Ajinkya
    ‘I rest my case because there is no point discussing.’
    You are right, no point in discussing. Bugger off then.

  16. QPR Voyeur is a non existent entity which is the creation of some on here who would go to any extent to defend their Lord.

  17. Ajynka;

    “I would have paid whatever amount that needed to be paid so that they didn’t go elsewhere”

    LOL. That’s the way to do it on playstation I guess….

  18. That Dutch team won the Champions League and reached the final the next year and lets not that Bayern 2012 although they are a huge club won the UCL with five homegrown players in their line up too. so when exactly does the present era start?

  19. Following up on Ajynkya,

    He would have bought Schneirdelin, Sterling, Pedro .
    They were bought for
    Schneirdelin: 35M euro
    Sterling: 40M euro
    Pedro: 27 M
    TOTAL 102M euro or around £75M
    Pay whatever they wanted he said.

    So that would mean start a bidding war with 3 teams that have unlimited deep pockets (City, Chelsea and MU)

    So how much would those prices go up if we start a bidding war with them you think Ayinkya?
    Up to £100M for the 3 of them?

    And then you add Payet (bought 15M euro), Ayew (free), Kondogbia(30M), Jackson Martinez (35M), Greizmann(?)(30M euro)
    That is another 110M euro so in pounds another 80M or there about.

    So you would be spending around 180M and end up with more than the 25 names in the squad that you can register.

    And apart from spending all the money like that you would be leaving us with no more money to pay the wages… but that is probably not your problem of course…

    Thank god we don’t have you running Arsenal…. Otherwise the question that Up the Gooner ask would be : who would you support once Arsenal is bankrupt….

  20. Up the Gooners

    I think therefore I am. Under these conditions I’m not sure what you must be.

  21. May I add that I think we have a great generation of young and upcoming players that will kick in when the older players we have will start to leave us in the next years.

  22. I really don’t understand you guys. Yes Mick, I will bugger off. But before I go, let me say on last thing. I’m not saying that we should buy just for the sake of it or because other teams are buying. But you all can’t be oblivious to the fact that essentially this same team has finished 12 points behind the league leaders last year. Every time has to deal with injuries and so should we. We should buy to have that requisite depth so that when other players come along, we win those matches and they are not just making up the numbers. We had Monreal playing centre back last year and the year before that we led for the first half of the season before withering away because we didn’t have the squad depth in numbers and quality. I love Arsene Wenger, he is one of the best managers around. And I’m proud of the way we play football. But you cannot be blind to the faults. Otherwise we will never improve. We have to be bullish and aggressive if we are ever going to compete with the ”rich” clubs. Mind you, we are one of the top eight teams financially but we hardly behave like one. Who is to blame if we can’t find ”world class players”? And why should they come to us? After all we make asinine offers like 40 million and 1 pound for strikers who score goals willingly. And finally to Walter Broeckx.. Yes, I would pay whatever amount that needs to be paid. You can’t be stubborn in a market. Do we let players go cheaply? Are we a charitable institution? No, right. Then why should other clubs let go off their assets cheaply just because we are miser, stubborn and stingy. It’s our fault if we are lacking. And to all those who take succour and comfort in the miseries of other teams when their buyings don’t work out, I have just got two words. Grow Up!

  23. p.s to walter.. thank you for showing that you can add.. I didn’t say that we should buy all those players.. what a silly idea.. you think none of those players would have improved this team!! get serious..

  24. Last season was last season. No matter how many points in front a team was or behind, it doesn’t count anymore and has no influence on what will happen in the future.

  25. Let’s forget about big name transfers because we won’t sign any of them until New Year’s Day at the earliest.
    We have Welbeck, Sanchez, Chambers and Debuchy, beginning the vital second stint of their time at the Emirates. When so much will be expected of them as they settle in. In one respect, it should feel like new signings.
    We have much to look forward to as the full squad begins to gel. A settled positioning for Walcott and Ramsey would appear vital.
    No more recriminations about the nil return in the recent Window…..that’s history and cannot be recovered.
    A bright future awaits in Europe and the EPL. 😉

  26. And once again the majority of football fans and, frankly, Arsenal fans prove just how stupid and gullible they ae by allowing themselves to be led by the nose by the media agenda following the end of the transfer window. To cover up for the fact that 99.9% of their transfer stories were utter guff and that they have n more of an ind=side track than the bloke who picks up the rubbish outside the stadium once match days are over, they whip up storms of indignation from those with an absence of critical faculties in order to distract them from considering what an epic con the whole “Player x will sign for club y” shitfest is.
    As a result we see self-important, irrelevant non-entities like the AST “demanding” reviews of the transfer policy, misdirecting their anger and frustration at their impotence in terms of control in their own lives at a group of succesful people with a reponsibility to safeguard a company – primarily to shareholders but also one of guardianship of a 100 year old institution.

    Honestly, you people are just a group of drunks standing in the park shouting at pigeons.

  27. And where do you all get this idea that this season is going to be a good one? what evidence do you have other than blind hope? The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour and right now i’m not seeing what you guys are so happy about? 4 games in and we look shit for the want of a better word… West Ham rolled us over, Palace deserved something from the game and Liverpool whilst we were unlucky with the disallowed goal… we got out played. So what is causing your positivity? doing the same thing time and again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity

  28. Oh Mick, you are still in school. It figures! And here I was, thinking you are some self righteous hyprocrite prick. Have fun in school and hope you behave 🙂

  29. I don’t believe Arsenal are capable of winning the league this season. I would love to be proved wrong, but I just don’t have that faith. On this website apparently that makes me an ‘AAA’ or something. So why do I think this?

    – Recent history – Arsenal have ‘flattered to deceive’ for a decade now, Arsene’s annual declaration of intent made to look foolish by the reality. Every year we hear about the spirit in the squad and the prospects for winning the league, then end up 4th. Obviously, some teams would love this, but it is not a trophy.
    – In particular, the squad appears light in a couple of crucial areas. Coquelin will get injured at some point, or need resting he is still relatively young, and the brutal treatment dished out by Newcastle is likely to be commonplace.
    – Going forward, Giroud is the only option against ‘park the bus’ teams, i.e. most of the PL when playing Arsenal. Walcott is a bit of a luxury in that he can be effective when there is space to run into, but against 10-man Newcastle (or anyone playing similarly) he is blunted. None of the forward options are particularly efficient (i.e. they miss too many sitters), and after Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck there is little experience. Last season would have been a complete train-wreck if not for Sanchez, not really an out and out CF. It is too much to expect him to rescue every game.

    I take the point that there are not to many forward options out there, but this is not the case for the DM position. There are more than enough games to allow for rotation, I think at the least Wenger should have strengthened here. Forward is a difficult position to buy for, granted, but Arsenal are lacking in this area. Some teams would have punted £50m on Cavani: Arsene chose not too for reasons that make sense, but that is the sort of calculated gamble that would have been needed for a realistic tilt at the title. As it is, I think 3rd place and 10 points of the lead is the best we can hope for. Note I am not calling for ‘buy, buy, buy’ and actually find it quite absurd that pointing out weaknesses in the squad is characterised in this simplistic way – it is as ridiculous as calling for Wenger’s head after every bad result.

  30. Well goonerjay, doing the same thing time and again and expecting different results is a rather simplistic definition of insanity. One could say, looking at the last couple of weeks and drawing conclusions from that is a definition of insanity.

    But if you really want to know I would say I draw my positive feelings from

    a) winning the FA Cup twice in succession – a very rare achievement in English football
    b) 10 February to 4 May last season.

    After 4 May we fell away, I acknowledge, but that was because it was clear we would not win the league, but had a cup final to deal with.

    c) The league last season which showed us scoring only two fewer goals than the champions, and letting in four more. Those margins were very slight
    d) The incoming players who are young and still growing – Bellerin, Coquelin, Gabriel

  31. Those gullible enough to listen to employees of Newscorp which is to Manchester Utd as Madrid is to Marca can be seen to be repeating themselves yet again. Witness how Newscorp attempts to portray Madrid snagging Utd’s ‘keeper on a freebie as six of one and half a dozen of the other.
    At least when one of the spanish big two tapped up an AFC player AFC got £30M + Bellerin in return.

    Last season these spoilt toddlers were croundhog Day?
    rying over “six defenders in the squad” which meant they didn’t accept, because others told them, that Bellerin (the same bellerin that came when the F Word F’d off) was up to the job.

    Groundhog day?
    It certainly is. For those who spend their time snorting and squealing how could it be ever be any different?

    Grow some Footballs. Please.

  32. At the fans forum event in the summer of 2014 Ivan Gazidis stated that it was the Clubs long term intention to develop 50% of the first team squad internally (through the Academy) and to bring in a further 25% as teenagers from other clubs. This leaves only 25% as bought ‘off the shelf’ as ready made ‘stars’. This is only half a dozen, potentially big money, signings.
    This may have been a marketing led statement and and may never be achieved (like Chelsea breaking even by 2010) but it shows the Clubs intentions and, amongst the top clubs (at least in this country) may well prove to be a unique way of doing things.Being unique is a brave thing to do but, then again, Arsenal are a very brave Club.
    By and large it is also much closer to the strategy employed by the Club over the past 50 years or more than the spend, spend, spend one that is parroted by those who do not look at history or choose to misinterpret it.

  33. @Upthegooners

    “Do you believe that there was not a single player in the world who would have improved the third best team in England?”

    But we don’t have the world to choose from. That’s silly. Arsenal are amongst the top clubs in Europe. Take the striker position; Giroud has a goalscoring record of nearly 1 goal in every 2 league games. Who of a better class is available (their club wants to sell) and wants to come to Arsenal? By definition we are fishing from a smaller pool of talent, not the “whole world” because to replace Giroud in the team you are talking about looking at top, world class talent. A handful of players come into this category unless you want to gamble big on potential like United and City have just done.

    It’s not the end of the world. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the season. My enjoyment of watching Arsenal isn’t dictated by what happens in transfer windows.

  34. Ajinka,

    That same team that was 12 points ahead of us is now having a worse start to the season than we are.

    Football is a funny old game; spending money doesn’t guarantee anything. Liverpool and Tottenham are proof of that. How many 100’s of millions have they spunked on players, just to get into the CL. Look at how much the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City spend on “top class” players and only one can win the league.

    ColG, if you dont believe Arsenal can win the league, then why even bother caring? We do have a squad capable of beating any other team in England. Football isn’t a numbers game, it is influenced by ‘luck’ with decisions from referees; with badly timed tackles just missing the bone… or breaking it. With teams playing a level above their usual and “giant killing”. The path to winning the title is rarely easy; it just looks it when a team keeps on top form and dominates. Arsenal can win the title; and it’ll be that much easier if we didn’t have ‘supporters’ who don’t know what the word means.

  35. UptheGooners – You did not answer a single one of my questions in your response to my comment.

    Ajinkya – At least you named players, and implied prices (ref Walter’s post). But you were NOT specific as to which players should be replaced. Are you saying we should be spending the monies indicated just for squad players? Really?

    Goonerjay – Of the players that moved clubs this summer (anywhere in the world) and we can therefore assume were available:

    1. Who would you have bought?
    2. How much would you have paid?
    3. Which current player would they displace from the first team?

    CoIG – Cavani for £50mm to replace Giroud? Possibly good for a season or two – but very expensive in those terms. And the BBC were talking about £70mm for him although that may be wrong (and I hope it is otherwise the world really has gone mad!). You talk about a player to rotate with Coquelin… who? How much for? Is it good value to pay a significant sum for a bit-part player when there are other DM options already there (Arteta, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere – and perhaps in the future Hayden and Bielik).

    The KEY point is that Arsenal do not have unlimited money to spend. We have to buy carefully and wisely. And the other thing to remember is that if the money isn’t spent now it can still be spent in the future… It is not like one of those stupid films where someone has to spend a large amount of money in a short period of time!

  36. And if any of you are getting bored by me banging on about the same questions I assure that that is precisely the discussion that is taking place behind the scenes between Wenger, Gazidis and the rest of the staff.

  37. As a long term reader, I watch the posts on here with interest – it’s very biased toward AW, but that’s OK.

    I did feel compelled to first time post though.

    By any stretch of the imagination we have not had a good transfer window. I accept all the various arguments about lack of targets etc., but to simply think that “pluck” and “spirit” and “togetherness” will bridge a gap of 12 points to where we need to be is a little naive.

    I think what I and a number of other supporters are finding increasingly unsettling is that we do have money to spend. 200m by last reckoning and all the words coming out of the club suggest we’re keen to spend it.

    And then we don’t spend it. I do agree with some of the sentiment on here: we have a small squad (24 I think), a terrible history of soft tissue injuries and we couldn’t find a single player to add to the squad. I wasn’t saying spend big; but there are good solid squad players out there we could have got.

    And I just can’t see an overall plan at the moment. I hope I am wrong.

  38. The BBC website has an article written by a certain mcnulty, who they say is their chief sportswriter, titled something like ‘the transfer window winners and losers’. It opens with an image of Wenger, head in hands, and just below another image of a celebrating Benzema after scoring; not difficult to see why the juxtaposition of these two images, unless you’re blind. The article itself states we didn’t sign any outfield players in this window (Adelaide and Fortune, anyone? Perhaps they don’t count as outfield coz they didn’t cost £58m each?).

    Half the article is all about Arsenal, it may as well been have labelled something like Arsenal’s failures this transfer window, or something like that, and would have been still relevant to the article. There is no mention whatsoever of Manchester United’s dealings, apart from only when talking of Chelsea’s signing of Pedro; no mention of how they failed to find a striker in this window, how they paid 58m for an unproven teenager, or how they find themselves with 4 goalies. Are we to assume the failure to mention Adelaide and Fortune was an oversight on the writer’s part?(even though the fact this is the chief sportswriter makes it inexcusable). Supposedly it was an oversight, how about the lack of talking about united’s business? How about their loss of 24m loan man Falcao and 60m man Di Maria? Is a window just about incoming players, and not outgoing players? I seem to recall our club being derided as a selling club after losing our key players every summer. Now that it’s not us losing players, even though we were not making huge losses in losing our key players, it’s no longer important to talk about players leaving. Only those joining.

    Liverpool’s outlay of over £60m on Benteke and Firminho is described as a good piece of business. No mention of the losses of flops Markovic and Balotelli who cost more than 36m last summer. Or that after spending all the Suarez money last season on half a dozen flops, Liverpool do not seem to have learned their lesson as they’ve already spent the Sterling money on two players. When we point out these inconsistencies and obviously different treatment of our club versus other clubs we’re called paranoid. What do some people have for brains, I wonder.

  39. “What do some people have for brains, I wonder”

    I think they’re still waiting to be told. And to told how they’ll feel about it too.

  40. Bergkanpisgod – I believe the squad is at or close to its size limit? Per above, I think – finally – that improvement is happening regarding injuries.

    The transfer window has been OK. We didn’t lose anyone we didn’t want to. Several new contracts were signed. OK – only one first teamer in (Cech) but that’s fine.

    Just because the money is there doesn’t mean it should be spent on an overpriced player for the sake of it!

  41. Al – you might also want to look at his article, prior to the transfer window, where Mr McNulty forecasts what might happen: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/34091368

    So out of 9 predicted transfers, only 1 actually happened (van Dijk). Januzaj did leave on loan – but not to one of the suggested clubs. The other 7 were out and out wrong. Not impressive.

    So wouldn’t worry too much about his opinions!

  42. So Walter what would you like to see happen to the 100+ million we have?? Spend some on improving the squad or letting the owners keep it and share it amongst the shareholders?will it ever be spent? I think you’ll find it probably won’t.

  43. Clubs that are deemed to have had ‘a good transfer window’ are often the ones who, with hindsight, have had bad ones before. Many of the players bought this summer have been to make up for mistakes in the past – often the very recent past.
    Because Arsenal have got it more right than most others in the last year or two they started in a stronger position that was very much more difficult to improve on. Chelsea and Manure have made some huge errors recently and have had to spend to make up for them. Arsenal have barely put a foot wrong since they had the new money to spend and have seen just as much internal progress to complement it.
    I’d say Arsenal have had the best run of transfer windows for a very long time and the definition of the best one is not to need to buy at all.

  44. I believe the Boss is upbeat and more than capable to handle any pressure from any Arsenal fans group. The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust are reported by the media to have demanded for a review of the current Arsenal transfer policy. Which as it stands, the Boss calls the short on players recruitments based on the club standing policy of, to produce 50% of their players internally through their youths academy, 25% as teenagers from other clubs to be developed by Arsenal and the remaining 25% through the transfer market for ready made players as enumerated above by insideright. It was reported by the media at the end of last season that the Boss will receive £50m for his 2015 summer transfer kitty. He brought in Cech for a reported £10m, thus leaving him with a balance of £40m which is not that enough to bring in a top quality striker of the status of Karim Benzema or Cavani who the Gooners dearly want to see in Arsenal shirt. In as much as the Boss will like to strengthened certain positions in his playing first team, it is tourted he won’t buy aging players at over the odds price. And he hasy neither considered to sign Victor Moses for a right wing position upgrade to Wilshere & Ramsey who I tailored to him to buy at a steal price. However, on a 2nd thought, that signing may not come to fruition due to the strained relationship of the Boss & Mourinho after the non handshakes at Wembley. I should have thought of this failings before marking my recommendation to the Boss. I think the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust should not start any meltdown against the Boss’ current summer transfer single deal, but look holistically at the Boss’ current actions. The Boss could be bettered off to save his remaining £40m summer transfer kitty and add his £25m winter kitty to it to have £65m total winter kitty to do a possible transfers that can upgrade or reinforced certain positions in his squad. Arsenal can do without summer squad reinforcements or upgrades now. But they could need to do it in January which used to be the time the Boss needs to reinforced to upgrade failing positions in his squad. The Boss has a belief and he believed that belief, Arsenal will re-win the Premier League title and also win the Champions League giant trophy for the first time this season. Let’s join him in this his belief and support him with prayers to have his belief come to pass for our happiness.

  45. Pete
    Thanks for that link which proves he’s a muppet. Unfortunately some of our own fans here will lap up all his drivel as gospel…

  46. Couple of things that might have escaped you Billy –
    Barahino is a striker. Well at least he says he is on strike. 😉

    The papers are still useful – they were used as toilet paper during the war. 😉

  47. Saint, I think you’ll find it will. Now where did that get us? You give your opinion, I give me. And so what? With any evidence or rationale or historical analysis, it is just hot air.

  48. Saint – Apart from a £3mm service fee no money has ever been taken out by the owners. The money will still be there next window to be spent when we can get the right player at the right price.

  49. For all those that don’t believe Arsenal will win the league & are so certain, please give me odds of 20 – 1 & I will gladly bet a grand.

    I know there are people out there who have some idea that Arsenal are quality. That is why Arsenal are second favourites to win the league. Chelsea started as favourites & Man City were second favourites. However, Chelsea are now at bigger odds than Arsenal.

    It’s that old money where your mouth is saying that very quickly shuts idiots up.

  50. esxste – let me rephrase. Arsenal ‘can’ win the league this season, in the same way I ‘can’ win the lottery (well maybe more likely than that). I just don’t think it is very likely.

    I personally think that with a couple of signings (cover/rotation for Coq, and another attacking option) Arsenal could have been in with a very reasonable shout. On their day, as you say, they can beat anyone – unfortunately, with this squad, I believe ‘their day’ won’t come quite enough, once injuries and tiredness creep in (as they have for pretty much every season for the last 10 years).

    Does that make me a ‘bad’ supporter, or just a realistic one? That is a matter of opinion – I am not calling for Wenger to be burnt at the stake, I am happy to support the team (and Wenger), but more in hope than expectation.

  51. Billy , if you need help to man the phones , I ‘m your man ! Would love to get stuck in with ‘them’! Or we could spam them with help from our friends the world over !

    Guide: How to Deal with Telemarketers

    If you hate receiving an uninvited sales call, you are a member of a very big club. In fact, very few people don’t belong to this club, including the people making the sales calls. Sometimes you can just hang up, but usually they’ll just call you later, and you really would like not to be disturbed. Here are 10 excellent and funny ways to rid yourself of that pesky telemarketer!

    1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money. Ask, “How long can I keep it? Do I have to ever pay it back, or is it like the other money I borrowed before my bankruptcy?”

    2. If they start out with, “How are you today?” say, “Why do you want to know?” Or you can say, “I’m so glad you asked, because no one seems to care these days and I have all these problems, my sciatica is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died . . .” When they try to get back to the sales process, just continue on with telling about your problems.

    3. If the person says they’re Joe Soap from the XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name, then ask them to spell the company name, then ask where it is located. Continue asking personal questions or questions about the company for as long as necessary.

    4. This one works better if you are male.
    Telemarketer: “Hi, my name is Judy and I’m with Canter and Siegel services….
    You: “Hang on a second.” (Few seconds pause) “Okay, (in a really husky voice) what are you wearing?”

    5. Crying out, in well-simulated tones of pleasure and surprise, “Judy!! Is this really you? I can’t believe it! Judy, how have you BEEN?” Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where the heck she could know you from.

    6. Say, “No,” over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each no, and keep an even tempo even as they’re trying to speak. This is the most fun if you can keep going until they hang up.

    7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and Friends plan, reply, in as sinister a voice as you can muster, “I don’t have any friends . . . would you be my friend? Do you want to go out to eat tonight?? What’s your favorite color???”

    8. If they clean rugs: “Can you get blood out, you can? Well, how about goat blood or human blood – chicken blood too? What about bone fragments? I sure could use the help!”

    9. Let the person go through their spiel, providing minimal but necessary feedback in the form of an occasional “Uh-huh, really” or, “That’s fascinating.” Finally, when they ask you to buy, ask them to marry you. They will get all flustered. Then just tell them you couldn’t give your credit card number to someone who’s a complete stranger.

    10. Tell them you work for the same company they work for.
    Example:Telemarketer: “This is Bill from Watertronics.”
    You: “Watertronics!! Hey I work for them too. Where are you calling from?”
    Telemarketer: “Uh, Dallas, Texas.”
    You:”Great, they have a group there too? How’s business/the weather? Too bad the company has a policy against selling to employees, ha? Oh well, see ya!”

    …and, of course, there is always the Seinfeld classic! Tell the Telemarketer you are busy and if they will give you their phone number you will call them back. If they say they are not allowed to give out their number, then ask them for their home number and tell them you will call them at home (this is usually the most effective method of getting rid of Telemarketers). If the person says, “Well, I don’t really want to get a call at home,” say, “Yeah! Now you know how I feel.” (Smiling, of course…)

  52. Menace – only an idiot would offer odds of 20-1 on Arsenal winning the league. Whilst I don’t think it will happen, this suggests no more than I think it is more likely not to happen than to happen.

    PS: thanks for the heads up on Chelsea – sounds like now is a good time to put some money on them!

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  54. Pete – a fair point (or 2).

    Cavani would be very expensive for a 28 year old. However, I believe purely from a football point of view he would have improved the squad. It would certainly be a calculated risk – one perhaps van Gaal or Mourinho might have taken, and Wenger (as we know) would not. In any event, how much is winning the league actually worth? Quite apart from the direct money, you get increased fan base, sponsorship etc, all of which adds to long term growth. If the gamble paid off (i.e. they won the league) it would pay for itself.

    Coquelin – the options you suggest are very makeshift. Might do for the odd game or two, but would get seriously found out over a lengthy absence for Coq. If teams target him in the brutal way Newcastle did, an injury is waiting to happen. He is still a young player, and surely shouldn’t be playing more than 30-40 games in any event.

    At the end of the day I am a fan, not Arsenal’s accountant, and would rather see the best team possible – I am afraid I really can’t get excited about how much money they have stuffed away in the bank.

  55. Even the Telegraph gave Arsenal an above average 7 out of 10 for their transfer business.

    Remember who we kept as well. We’re no longer having to sell our best players – as Arsene Wenger has pointed out a few times.

    By the way, not only did we win the FA Cup twice in a row, we hold the record.

  56. I cannot see how this transfer window could be deemed a success, even with the most optimistic mind set. Surely we could have found one outfield player to improve the squad! Admire the optimism but strongly feel its misguided.
    I love that we are no longer selling our best players, but that was a disgrace in the first place for a club of this size. I very much hope that I’m wrong, but I think we are in for another 3rd/4th place finish. A 3rd FA cup would be very impressive and that seems our most realistic chance of silverware this season.
    I don’t want our great club to buy for the sake of it and I respect how careful we are with the clubs money, but signing reinforcements and using the transfer market to improve the squad are very much part of the game. We have missed a real opportunity to add to an already good squad. Disappointing and questions should really be asked.

  57. GoonerDave – Of the players that moved clubs this summer (anywhere in the world) and we can therefore assume were available:

    1. Who would you have bought?
    2. How much would you have paid?
    3. Which current player would they displace from the first team?

  58. @Pete-
    I’m not a football manager so my opinion is worth very little. We have a vast scouting network and a team of negotiators. My hope was that they could identify players and get the deals over the line.
    But for what its worth – in my opinion, Kondogbia, Schneidelin, Sterling, Di Maria and lots of other players moved who would have improved us. As for what I’d have paid? I’d have paid market value. Who gets displaced? Well, Walcott should have improved a lot more than he has in a decade. Flamini and Arteta aren’t getting any younger, Ramsey is a little bit patchy, and Cazorla will hardly be able to play every 3/4 days when things heat up.
    I think we have missed a big opportunity.

  59. To win EPL Arsenal needs vidio technology and permission to challenge refery three times during the game.
    When someone mentions 12 points deficit last year, it immediately remines me of shameless referring of Atkinson in our game with Chelsea. Just that game would bring the deficit to 6 points.

  60. I ignore the “popular, Newspapers”. How can you buy a newspaper with headlines featuring “soap stars” or other T V
    “personalities”. The “populars” are dinosaurs, by the time they print real news its already history. Can anyone remember when any of them last broke a Scoop? Their sports editors must sit around chomping at the bit waiting for the transfer windows. Was I the only one holding his breath hoping we didn’t get Cavani? A fool and his money are soon parted.
    Bundles of dosh doesn’t guarantee a player will perform or fit in, yet people still pay up for the likes of Balotelli and any number of other Spuds and Liverpool rejects. (To name but two irresponsible spenders). Thank god Arsene doesn’t tend to get sucked in by names and reputations. Schweinstieger has been a great great player, but would you lay out £35 million for him, and at his peak would Guardiola have sold him? The prudence of Arsene Wenger has made us a great club playing the sort of football everyone wants to watch. Back the man, he wont let you down.

  61. GoonerDave – thanks.

    Of your list of players I think we could only have afforded one, maybe two at most.

    Of those you suggest are displaced they are all squad players with the possible exception of Cazorla/Ramsey. For what its worth, I don’t think Kondogbia is better than either of them. Nor do I think Schneiderlin is better than Coquelin. And I would rather have the Ox than Sterling. Di Maria possibly, but very expensive.

    So we seem to be spending an awful lot of money without really strengthening the first team? I don’t think that is sensible…

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