By Tony Attwood
One can’t help but smile when one sees headlines such as “Jurgen Klopp facing defensive crisis as Liverpool lose Dejan Lovren to hamstring injury” in the Telegraph, especially if one thinks, “What would they have said about Arsenal? And come to that what they have said about Arsenal – although Liverpool didn’t (I don’t think) suffer a summer in which the blogs took each of their players in turn and said that they were so useless they ought to be kicked out the door even if no fee was gained. Which is pretty much what Arsenal suffered from Bellerin (simply not good enough) to Monreal (too old).
But these are difficult days for Liverpool. First they have had the chance of a record equalling unbeaten season snatched from them, leaving Arsenal supreme in that department (although of course some will want to mention that Preston in the 19th century with their 22 games unbeaten in the proto-league also did it). And now the chance of their first double since 1986 has gone too.
And what of Tottenham. How they coping? The Guardian thinks they have a problem as shown in the headline “Pochettino says Spurs will struggle to compete at top without spending”.
That headline comes from an interesting article that compares the work of Mr Pochettino with Mr Wenger in terms of running a club while keeping the club near the top. Mr Wenger did this with constant finishes in the league that allowed the club to collect Champions League income, and the Tottenham manager, although not being asked for so much, is being asked for a lot.
The Arsenal manager was of course derided for his efforts with the ceaseless “Fourth is not a trophy” commentary from the blogs, and it was perhaps with him thinking of this that Mr P made this comment about Mr W.
“I hope, if I have the opportunity to talk with Arsène Wenger, to ask if it was worth it? I don’t know what he would say.
“I have massive, huge respect for Arsène Wenger because when you talk about 22 years in charge of a club like Arsenal, you need to be so good – not only a fantastic coach but a great human being, to display the values you have. That is why it is a little bit sad the way it ended at his club. It shows how difficult this business is. But for us it is not a business, it is a passion. All that Arsène Wenger gave for Arsenal, to finish in the way it finished, yes, was a little bit unfair.
“Do I see the similarity between his situation at Arsenal and mine at Spurs? Yes, although it’s true this is only my fifth year. It’s true we work and we know the reality and sometimes we cannot expect that the people live the same reality or have the same knowledge about what happens inside.
“I hope or I wish to be here 20 years and decide to leave or to finish my career here. But I don’t know because I need to ask him one day if he is so happy in the way that he finished. From my point of view it was so unfair how the people treated him and talked. But we’ll see.”
It was with this, which I felt was a most interesting statement from a manager who (much as I don’t like to admit it, one must admit it) is doing well, that I thought it was time to see how the proto-window is evolving.
You might recall that I have pointed out how much Liverpool have spent of late, and immediately been slapped down because I have counted the wrong number of years. I’m not going to bother with that any more because I really think it is a dopey argument, but I hope there will be agreement that we can have a look at this window alone, and then at the end of it, add the sums to last summer’s window for a meaningful set of numbers. I know some will dismiss any findings, but still, it keeps me occupied…
|Club||Spent||Received||Players in||Players out|
|Chelsea||£58m||£0||Pulisic||Pulisic on loan|
So not too much movement thus far, but then Januaries can be quiet. For comparison here are last January’s net totals – I have just mentioned some of the main transactions not the full list)>
Arsenal: net spend £7.9m (Aubameyang in, Giroud, Coquelin and Walcott out)
Chelsea: net spend: £50m (Barclay, Giroud, Palmieri)
Liverpool: net receipt £31m
Manchester City: net spend £61.2m (Laporte)
Manchester United: zero
Tottenham Hotspur: net spend £25m (Loucas Moura)
All the Arsenal talk is of two men in, although which two is still a matter of some debate. We shall see.