By Tony Attwood
The time will come when Arsenal need a new manager. I don’t know when, but it will happen.
Three options are available: a promotion from within, bringing in a famous managerial name from elsewhere, or finding a person who (like Mr Wenger when he joined) will be unknown to most supporters, unless they avidly follow world football.
But let us not forget that before Mr Wenger, Arsenal appointed managers from within the British game. Post war the list excluding temporary managers reads
- Tom Whittaker*
- Jack Crayston
- George Swindin
- Billy Wright
- Bertie Mee*
- Terry Neill
- Don Howe
- George Graham*
- Bruce Rioch
- Arsène Wenger *
Four of these marked with an asterisk won the league. All of them were British except Mr Wenger.
So what will the club do when the present incumbent leaves? Presumably they will search around looking for the right man for the job and I am not sure that will mean returning to appointing British men. So perhaps at this point we might hope that they don’t do what West Ham have just done and appoint a manager who has not had the most shining record in football management: a Mr D Moyes.
Interestingly the Guardian tells us that Moyes is only West Ham’s 16th manager in their history. That is counting only from 1902, and ignoring the Thames Ironworks phase. Count Arsenal’s permanent managers since 1902 and you get… 16. That “only” word is a trifle misleading, suggesting as it does that WHU are a rarity, a club that doesn’t move managers around much. Or maybe it is just a sloppy lack of doing any homework. Funny how the Guardian does this sort of thing.
Moyes has just left Sunderland after his team came bottom of the league. But in his long career he has won one trophy, the Community Shield. Arsenal win that so often we hardly mention it. And Moyes is a man with a growing reputation of being lazy. When he joined Sunderland he forgot to do any due diligence and so didn’t know that the owner wanted to sell and the club was £110m in debt. He only found out after he signed up!
And in April he defended himself with his now infamous phrase, “A lot of good managers have been relegated.”
Moyes is also a man who doesn’t seem to know much of the transfer market. While Mr Wenger has famously often pulled unknown names out of hats Moyes has regularly bought players he has managed before, in Sunderland’s case including Anichebe, Januzaj, McNair, Love, Pienaar, Lescott, Gibson, and Oviedo.
So if we don’t want a Moyesian character with Moyesian footballers what about one of the other type – one who spends money.
Here are some options showing who has spent the most money and how much they spend per player, with Mr Wenger included by way of comparison. Raw data is from Football365.com
|Pos||Manager||Clubs||Players||Cost||Avg. cost per player|
What we can see is that the notion that Mr Wenger doesn’t spend money is completely false – he is the fourth highest spending manager on the list. But he has the lowest cost per player on the list – something achieved both because of the years of austerity at Arsenal following the building of the new stadium, and his ability to spot youngsters who can come through to the first team.
In this regard we might note at present the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Iwobi, Bellerin, Maitland Niles, Nelson, Willock, Coquelin, and Holding all of whom came through to the youth team or were bought very early in their careers for modest fees. I am not trying to suggest that each one of these is, or will be, an star player, but modern squads need 20+ players in them and not all of them can be top stars (as they obviously can’t all play in the first team every week).
So what Mr Wenger does is mix a high level of expenditure (the fourth highest on our list) with an ability to buy players at a lower cost. Of course many of them don’t work out – and that is common to all clubs, but overall the price per player is kept down.
My thinking is that the owner of the club will look for another man who has the same approach. Of course he could go for someone who spends far more per player – Guardiola spends £16.1m per player on average – more than twice Mr Wenger’s expenditure per player, or maybe Mourinho, Ancelotti or Pellegrino, but I really think this is unlikely.
I think the next manager will be told to deliver more of the same – which means players at modest prices. Which could make it tough to see off the “spend anything no matter what” clubs like Man City.
- How the evolving referee scandal in Germany is causing the English media problems
- How fake news was used to manipulate the Man C story to avoid considering the issues
- Germany is facing its own refereeing scandal, by taking action, not hiding behind silence
- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?