By Tony Attwood
We’ve been trying to keep tabs on all the transfers that have gone through this summer involving the top ten clubs from last season buying players in. The latest table is below.
In terms of the number of new players coming in the table reads
- Everton: 13
- Manchester City 6:
- Chelsea: 5
- Bournemouth: 4
- West Bromwich Albion 4:
- Manchester United: 3
- Liverpool: 3
- Arsenal: 2
- Southampton: 2
- Tottenham: 0
Of course thinking of Arsenal we know we were just about the only club to have 25 players listed in the “25” squad last season, and we have a fairly exciting number of under 21s coming into the team. Just as Iwobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Wilshere, Walcott, the Ox, Akpom have all either come up totally through the ranks or been brought in at an early aged and brought through to the first team, so we now have more players knocking on the door: Le Jeff, Bielik, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah, Macey… any of these could get significant experience this season, at the very least in the Europa and League Cups.
I don’t have enough insight to know if other clubs have a similar number of youngsters coming up, but that is of course not the only issue besides transfers, for there is also the social psychology of each club’s situation. We know that Arsenal have a real problem with the media and the bloggettas, whose collective fairy stories this summer has exceeded all bounds of reality. The remorseless commentary that “Arsenal fans will be worried that…” written by someone whose insight and understanding of football supporters probably goes no further than his three mates down the pub, does, I suspect, ultimately have an impact on young players who are trying to decide how to keep their career on track.
It was such thoughts, as I put together the updated list of all the transfers this summer (full details below) that led to me wondering if I could express in a few sentences how I perceived each club at this moment. Unlike the bloggettas I am trying to make it clear that this is just me reflecting how I feel – and as many people have said so often before, I am totally delusional one it comes to football. (Indeed it has been said so often both by Arsenal supporters and those of other clubs that I have stopped publishing such commentaries).
Self-evidently I am an Arsenal supporter, and if you have read Untold before or looked at the banner heading here or seen our banner on display inside the Emirates (“Football should be an art”) you’ll know I am very much pro-Wenger.
So from such a perspective, what do I feel about our rivals as of today?
Can you imagine the comments that would be circulating if Arsenal had a star player on strike and sulking in Brazil? Or a chairman distracted by his personal life? Or a manager who seems disenchanted? There is also the issue of leaving transfers late – something that has so deeply annoyed the anti-Wengerians, who now are anxiously pleading for a few last minute changes.
Worry Factor: Would I feel worried if Arsenal were like this? Yes, and I wouldn’t be able to read the papers either.
They scored the most goals and had the best defence, and let’s be fair, did look very good for much of last season. They were also the only club to beat us in our last 12 games. But they have so far signed no one, and there are constant rumours circulating concerning agitation for higher wages among players who recognise that they have just achieved the club’s highest position in the league (second) in 54 years. But perhaps the biggest issue for them is playing at Wembley. Trying to emulate Arsenal’s current record of nine successive wins on the Wembley pitch might be asking a bit much but if they don’t up the results level at Wembley from last season this could be problematic.
Still, just because we had a rotten time when we played Euro matches there for two seasons, it doesn’t mean Tottenham will.
Worry Factor: If Arsenal had signed no one I’d be worried, and again, wouldn’t be able to pick up the newspapers.
They are already banned from signing academy players and under threat of being completely banned for a year – we are still waiting for the CAS ruling. Which is presumably why they are spending all the money now. The question is will they also get caught out again on FFP? And how, with all this money did they let Chelsea get so far ahead of them last season?
Worry Factor: I can’t link to Man City supporters at all. In the build up to the first FFP breach Untold was running the story before everyone else, and we got it right, but those City supporters who wrote in were in total denial, even after the punishments were handed down, and some still claim FFP is illegal (we’ve written up the legal cases and their findings so often I’m not going down that route again). I’ve no idea if City will be found guilty by the CAS, but yes, I would be worried.
Caught out early on in breaking the transfer rules, and thus screwing up what looked like a really good deal for them, and like Man City banned from academy transfers, it is not clear whether the owner’s approach of making up stories and then bragging at a conference that they were untrue (as for example with the contractual arrangements with Suarez) is affecting their whole attitude to football.
But they have just qualified for the Champs League for the second time in eight years and Klopp is such an amiable fellow whose approach looks very promising, so maybe it will all work out.
Worry factor: My worry would not be about the players or the manager but the dolt who screwed up the deal with Southampton. And the owner of course. Or maybe they are one of the same.
Mourinho regularly wins championships in his second year and they have huge amounts of cash available to spend without getting anywhere near FFP problems. With that sort of money and a manager of that pedigree they should be out of sight by Christmas. But Mourinho also has problems: as we saw in his two dismissals at Chelsea. Maybe he’s overcome his anger management issues, and if so the club ought to be champions.
Worry factor: The only worry would be Mourinho imploding in season two instead of later.
But as I say, these are just my imaginations. Clearly I am not a supporter of any of these teams, so it’s just in my head.
Here’s the updated chart…
|Arsenal (2)||Alexandre Lacazett||Lyon||July||£46m||£46m|
|Sead Kolasinac||Schalke||June||End of contract|
|Chelsea (5)||Antonio Rüdiger||Roma||June||£29m||£126.7m|
|Álvaro Morata||Real Mad||July||£58m|
|Man City (6)||Benjamin Mendy||Monaco||July||£52m||£217m|
|Douglas Luiz||Vasco de Gama||July||£10m|
|Man U (3)||Victor Lindelof||Benfica||June||£31m||£146m|
|Liverpool (3)||Andrew Robertson||Hull||July||£8m||£44.9|
|Everton (13)||Cuco Martina||Southampton||July||Released||£103.7m|
|Nathangelo Markelo||FC Volendam||June||Unknown|
|Wayne Rooney||Man U||July||Free?|
|Southampton (2)||Jan Bednarek||Lech Poznan||July||£5.7m||£22m|
|Bournemouth (4)||Asmir Begovic||Chelsea||May||£10m||£30m|
|West Brom (4)||Ahmed Hegazi||Al Ahly||July||Loan||£13m|
|Yuning Zhang||Vitesse Arnhem||July||Undisclosed|
|Ben Pierce||Free Agent||July||Free|
- The 89 players now tipped to be joining Arsenal this summer. The Index vol 9.
- Arsenal’s Opener: The good, the bad and the unpredictable.
- Dramatic Arsenal transfer news as all credibility flies out of the window and Jack needs more surgery
From the Arsenal History Society