By Bulldog Drummond
And so we approach the cup final. Transfermarkt has an interesting table showing the number of players in the squad of each team and the total market value.
|Club||Squad||Foreigners||Total market value|
Not quite sure why the “Foreigners” number pops up here, or indeed their exact definition of a foreigner, but I suspect it might mean non-British. If anyone cares to work it out, I’d be very interested.
So Chelsea’s team has a market value of getting on for a quarter of a billion pounds more than ours. Manchester City at the top with their unchecked spending will undoubtedly go into next season with double the value of our team.
Transfermarkt are the experts in tracking transfers, but some of the values that put on players look a bit out to me. You can see the whole chart here but I wonder, is Martinez only worth £7.2m? And I was reading this week the opinion that Mustafi and Xhaka were our best defensive players (thank goodness the boo-boys didn’t get their way and have them both expelled from the club).
Yet Mustafi is valued at just £13.5m only fractionally more than Calum Chambers. Rob Holding is just £8.55m – is that really right? As for Sokratis, he’s fallen in value over three years from £25.2m to a current valuation of £7.2m.
Anyway, going through the table our top players by Transfermarkt valuation are
- Pierre Emerick Aubameyang: £50.4m
- Alexandre Lacazette: £43.20m
- Nicolas Pepe: £40.5m
- Bukayo Saka: £31.5m
- Bernd Leno: £28.8m
- Hector Bellerin £28.8m
- Dani Ceballos: £28.8m
- Lucas Torreira: £27m
- Kieran Tierney: £25.2m
- Gabriel Martinelli: £22.5m
I’ve gone to 11 as I wanted to include Martinelli who was bought for just £6m. Indeed there are a couple of good deals here, including not least Bukayo Saka and Hector Bellerin who cost nothing.
But really it is the rise and fall of the value of Guendouzi that is of most interest. He was valued in December 2019 at £45m, and his value has fallen because he is now out of favour in the club. Which shows that while the manager’s disciplinary tactics might be valuable at bringing players to order, they come at a price. In this case £17m.
PSG gave Guendouzi to Lorient for nothing, and they gave him a market value in 2018 of £2.25m. We paid over the odds at £7.20m in July of that year, but watching him in the pre-season games it was obvious (and there was an Untold article on this, so this is not all with hindsight) that he was a stunning player.
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I still think he is and it is so sad that Arsenal have not been able to work with him to find a way of keeping him in the squad. Is discipline worth £20m in lost income – and indeed the loss of a great player?
Obviously the club thinks so.
Of course not all of those 11 most expensive players are available. Martinelli is a tragedy – it is predicted that he won’t play again until next year. and of course we have no idea if he will get back the form that we saw from him this season.
We also won’t see Leno, but everyone surely must be happy with Martinez, whose valuation of £7.2m looks ludicrously low.
But let’s move on. Here’s a list of the top five performing clubs in the FA Cup
|Club||Wins||First final won||Last final won||Runners-up||Last final lost||Total final
So whatever happens we will keep our record as the most effective FA Cup team in history starting this final with 20 previous finals on the books and 13 wins. (Incidentally the biggest failures in the competition must surely be Leicester who have reached the final four times, and lost each time).
If we take a look at just this century we find in terms of victories…
- Chelsea 6
- Arsenal 6
- Manchester United 2
- Liverpool 2
- Portsmouth 1
- Manchester City 2
- Portsmouth 1
- Wigan Athletic 1
Thus 12 of the 20 finals played this century have resulted in a London team winning.
So in the contemporary race there are two stand out teams, and one of these two will take the lead in this game. We have played each other in the final twice, both times in this century. In 2002 we beat Chelsea 2-0 and in 2017 we beat them 2-1.
A final thought for now. The biggest crowd for a cup final since moving to the “new” Wembley was for Portsmouth v Cardiff City when 89,874 turned up. The second highest was for Arsenal v Chelsea in 2017 when 89,472 were counted through. Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1.
This time, with no crowd, we will have the lowest ever attendance, beating the 1875/6 replay in which Wanderers beat Old Etonians 3-0 at Kennington Oval. 1,500 showed up for that one.