By Tony Attwood
The league table of players bought and the money paid has changed quite a lot in the past week as the top five for numbers of players and money spent shows:
|Pos||Club||Money Spent||Number of players|
Arsenal’s figure and that of Everton are depressed because one of Arsenal’s two signings came as a free because of the end of the contract. Chelsea have their amount paid reduced because one player is a youth team player who has come on compensation (typically well under £1m) and one as a free agent (meaning of course that he has been released by his last club.)
Liverpool have taken on a released player as well, and as for Everton, half of their ten signings cannot be accounted for financially for one reason or another.
Here’s the updated table…
|Sead Kolasinac||Schalke||June||End of contract|
|Man C||Bernardo Silva||Monaco||July||£43.6||£172.10|
|Man U||Victor Lindelof||Benfica||June||£31m||£106m|
|Nathangelo Markelo||FC Volendam||June||Unknown|
|Wayne Rooney||Man U||July||Free?|
|Southampton||Jan Bednarek||Lech Poznan||July||£5.7m||£5.7m|
|West Brom||Yuning Zhang||Vitesse Arnhem||July||Undisclosed||£12m|
|Ben Pierce||Free Agent||July||Free|
*Player purchased then loaned out.
Tottenham will presumably now start spending money, given that they have sold the player who knocked up the 7th most minutes on the pitch for them in the past season, and thus might be deemed to have had some value to the club.
But what we don’t know, and I think it would be tough to work out ahead of the season itself, is how many players each club has who are ready to step up from the youth team.
For Arsenal we’ve often talked about the number of players in the squad who have come up from the youth team (and I would include Bellerin in such counting, since he came into the youth set up first at a time when Barcelona couldn’t be bothered to continue his education and development). Add in Coquelin and Iwobi, the Ox, Theo, Martinez… that I suspect is in itself a bigger list than most PL teams have – but I would love someone to do the research for me.
Now looking at the current crop we find Maitland-Niles, Bielik, Bramall, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah, Holding, Chambers, Reine-Adelaide.
So I am not trying to say that all of these guys will make it, nor indeed that other clubs don’t have youngsters coming through the ranks, but the failure over the years of Chelsea to find another John Terry has made me wonder if this ability to bring through youth players should not be counted when we look at transfers. Is it not a fundamental part of Arsenal?
After all, we don’t need another right back because we have Bellerin. We don’t need another wing back come central midfielder come winger because we have the Ox. And I know Theo has been reduced to a squad player, but let us not forget that last season he played in 24 league games and scored 10 goals, which is not a bad return for the money. Include the Champions League and the FA Cup and it was 19 goals in 33 games. No wonder the talk is of £30m for the player.
So just as I thought, in starting this column, that buying quickly was neither here nor here, so I am not sure that the number of transfers nor the amount of money paid are quite as indicative as we might think. But I will keep on tracking these ten clubs (the top ten from last season) through the transfer window just to see what turns up.
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