By Sir Hardly Anyone
Two stories of note are circulating today. One in the Guardian says Manchester City and Liverpool have got their key business done early – and raves over their forward looking approach to football in contrast with other clubs.
In this regard they are focussing on one transfer for each club and they note, “The arrivals of Erling Haaland and Darwin Núñez respectively will provide the clubs with great positivity going into pre-season and rivals will already be wondering how they can catch up.”
They then proceed to tell us the value of signing a player early in terms of having “as much time to settle as possible. Tying up deals in June means they can sort out the off-pitch details, such as where to live and, if necessary, arrange schooling for their children. That is a real help because it allows a player to focus on adapting to a new work environment and everything that comes with it.”
That all sounds logical and reasonable and fine, and so thumbs up for Liverpool and Manchester City who have followed this approach.
But the article then doesn’t leave it at that for they move on, hammering away over and over again on the further benefits, such that “Teammates will be given a huge boost when they see that a world-class player, who will improve their squad, has signed.”
And it goes on and on and on. I won’t repeat it all, because it does get rather tedious rather quickly, but they really do push this, saying how much it helps everyone’s mindset, although the whole process is somewhat undermined by the fact that the sum total of their evidence for this whole raving piece about the brilliance of Liverpool and Manchester City is that “I spoke to a player who said his team did not bring in anyone one season and they did not perform well.”
But there is still more and more and more.
“For those in the chasing pack in the top six it brings pressure to get things done. Seeing a rival spend considerable sums on a striker will leave players at those clubs asking why their teams are not doing the same…”
But if one steps back for a moment from this wild over-the-top raving in favour of the management technique of Liverpool and Manchester City, what does one find? Quite a surprise in fact because Arsenal have already secured Fábio Vieira for an initial €35m fee. And just to show there is constant attention to detail Arsenal have brought in Matt Turner for £3.2m to deputise for Aaron Ramsdale. And for the future Marquinhos from São Paulo, who we do take particular note of since if he is half as good as Martinelli who cost £6m, we’ll be pretty well pleased.
So Arsenal have made one major signing, one reserve and a talented youngster whose previous club did not want him to leave.
And what is interesting in the Carney model is that there is no room for real forward-thinking. No appreciation of signing Martinelli when Man U wouldn’t touch him, because of course, we then had to wait. In the words of Boris Johnson, Martinelli wasn’t “oven ready”.
So it is a very clear piece – giving praise to something that is quite good (buying in June) but ignoring the fact that the really clever move is to buy youngsters a couple of years before. Or even have a youth system that attracts Smith Rowe and Saka.
So let’s track the big clubs and see what they have done so far….
- Arsenal: 3 players in (no mention in the article)
- Chelsea: 0 players in (no mention in the article)
- Liverpool: 3 players in: Darwin Núñez (£64.3m) Fabio Carvalho (£7.7m), Calvin Ramsay (£4m) (wild raving in the article)
- Manchester City: 1 player in. Erling Haaland (£51.5m) (wild raving in the article)
- Manchester United: 0 players in (no mention in the article)
Tottenham: 1 player in Yves Bissouma (£35m) plus two free transfers (no mention in the article).
So what is the justification about singling out Manchester City and Liverpool? Yes they have spent more than Arsenal, who have spent £41m, but that is not the point of the article. The point is “doing the business early” and “leaving the rest behind”, and on that basis the article falls down.
But what this piece of arse licking does do is develop the myth that somehow Liverpool and Manchester City are ahead of the game. But in reality the only game Manchester City are ahead of, is spending money obtained via their official tractor partner and other fake sponsors.
It’s not a huge point in itself – it is just one article, but it is the constant drip drip drip of this type of story, combined with the decision to ignore the issues concerning (for example) which referees give victories to home teams and which to away teams, and which referees each club gets.
This story from the Guardian is trivial. But that is what they are reduced to running since they abjectly refuse to tackle the issue of the extraordinarily varied way in which referees oversee matches.
But then, with the media, it was ever thus.
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