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April 2021
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Arsenal must not let the journalists push them into buying more and more players

By Tony Attwood

Even the rabid buy-buy-buy reporters recognise that Arsenal have some great young players.  What they don’t recognise is that Arsenal have nevertheless been spending record sums on transfers of late, and yet have ended up in their lowest position in the league since the middle ages (I made have got era wrong, but it was a long time ago).

Between 2010/11 and 2019/20 Arsenal have spent more than £0.7 billion.  Yes, over £700 million.  Now of course some of that has been recovered via sales but that still means we have actually spent over one third of a billion pounds net.

And for what?

In those seasons we have, spent one third of a billion pounds net on transfers this has been our results…

Season Net Total £m Pos League FA Cup Europe
2019/20 £92,400,000 1 8 W Europa 32
2018/19 £66,400,000 3 5 R4 Europa RU
2017/18 -£9,200,000 9 6 R3 Europa SF
2016/17 £86,190,000 2 5 W R16
2015/16 £13,200,000 6 2 R6 R16
2014/15 £65,400,000 4 3 W R16
2013/14 £32,500,000 5 4 W R16
2012/13 £8,600,000 7 4 R5 R16
2011/12 -£17,475,000 10 3 R5 R16
2010/11 £6,800,000 8 4 R6 R16
Total spent £344.800,000   6 x top 4 3 x FAC 1 x final
What’s more, as the table shows, we have not only spent one  third of a billion pounds. but also our top three biggest spending years have all been in the last four years.   So we are spending more and more and yes, winning the FA Cup which is good and important, but we have stopped getting into Champions League.

Here is why in detail.

1: The policy of spending more and more and more money has failed to take us up the league.  Instead we have fallen lower and lower.  Why take a failing approach, and then do it even more so?

2.  The fact that the media refuse to answer this question, or even admit it exists, is a total indictment of the failure of this policy.  If they have a positive reason for doing this over and over again, they would utilise it.

3.  The fact that the media are hypercritical of Arsenal despite Arsenal having followed the media’s recommendation of buy-buy-buy shows that the key reason for the media proposing this policy is that  they want Arsenal to fail.  It will give them a news story without their having to do any work – which is always their ideal.

4: Under this approach the youngsters won’t get games – players bought in are always promised games so the younger players get pushed to the bottom of the queue.

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5: Other youngsters, seeing what happens to the high-talented group, will drift away or not come to Arsenal in the first place

6.  Worse, not only does buying players not result in victories but it destroys the youth set up, so when the buy-buy-buy approach fails, we have nothing to fall back on.  By then, the youngsters will have left and we will be slipping into the Championship if not lower (which is what the media would love to see).

7.  It is self-evident that we  cannot compete with Chelsea and Manchester City and PSG etc in the transfer market, and we know Uefa will not protect us.  They tried – but made such a mess of the case against Manchester City, losing on the technicality of being out of time, that it is clear that no one is going to be able to take Manchester City on in terms of buying.  We need an alternative, and the youth approach is the best alternative there is.

8.  Arsenal’s owner is in the shoppingmall business not in oil.  And shopping malls are not the flavour of the day in the era of the coronavirus.   He’s not going to be able to give us more and more money to sustain this sort of transfer activity, even if it was successful – which it isn’t.

9.  We can see what happens to young players if we do not play them quickly enough.  We lost the wonderful talent of Serge Gnabry by not playing him fast enough.  That should be enough warning to everyone.

10.  Extremists take this argument and say “oh so we shouldn’t buy anybody”.  This of course is tripe, and shows the lack of depth of the buy-buy-buy argument.  In simple terms we can never outbid PSG, Man C and the like, so there is no point trying.  We need a rich and vibrant youth culture.  We don’t need to keep on spending more and more year on year, and then feeling obliged to play these players, or else find ourselves simply putting them on the shelf like Ozil.

We need a youth policy, and trying to play the transfer market is likely to continue to lead to the decline it has taken us through in recent years.

 

3 comments to Arsenal must not let the journalists push them into buying more and more players

  • Bertie Mee

    I can definitely empathise with your main point but Arsenal’s problem is predominantly that they have traded so badly . Liverpool , who have a similar financial model to us , have a net spend about £100 m lower than Arsenal but have made big signings in Van Dijk and Allison . But they have sold brilliantly . In the last window they got £9m for Lovren and £20 m plus for Brewster , We failed to sell anyone other than the best goalkeeper in the Premier League ( far too cheaply)
    We also added poor signings like Willian, Kolasinac , Mustafi and Xhaka for inflated fees and we have players on our books who are being paid while unable to play .
    It’s not just about who you buy but how intelligently you trade and we have not traded very intelligently

  • Menace

    OT – Well done Sir Lewis Hamilton another Knighted Gooner and about time too. Seven World Championships.

    Why has Chris Froome not been knighted for his 3 wins in the Tour de France? (Wiggins only won once with brown paper bag assistance) What is stopping Froome getting this honour? Why is there such obvious nasty bias against some great sporting heroes?

  • Bertie I agree; clearly if we had been buying a series of players like Henry, Bergkamp, Freddie etc we would be much further up the table. Indeed part of the miracle of Wenger was that when we had players who had reached their peak and were starting to decline he would sell them to Barcelona for a profit.

    My point is that this model is not working for Arsenal now, and therefore continuing with it is just going to get us deeper into the mire.