Buying players does not mean success as last season shows…



By Sir Hardly Anyone

According to the Guardian, “Seeing a rival spend considerable sums on a striker will leave players at those clubs asking why their teams are not doing the same and why they are having to read transfer rumours in hope while City and Liverpool are integrating Haaland and Núñez. Watching others improve while you stagnate is tough for ambitious players. They will be wondering how they can match them when they are already on the back foot in mid-June.”

That is a lot of implied anti-Arsenal rhetoric to pack into three sentences.  But there is an issue that lurks beneath it all.   Every player with an ounce of intelligence knows what the league table looked like at the end of last season.  What’s more every player has friends in other teams and picks up from them what’s going on.

Last summer Arsenal brought in six players where a fee was paid despite there being over 130 different players mentioned in the media.

This list is in the order of the number of players the teams paid for last summer, with data taken from the Guardian.

  • Norwich City: 9 – league position: 20
  • Brentford: 8 – league position: 13
  • Leeds United: 8  – league position:17
  • Crystal Palace: 7 – league position: 12
  • Arsenal: 6 – league position: 5
  • Brighton: 6 – league position: 9
  • Southampton: 5 – league position: 15
  • Watford: 5 – league position: 19
  • West Ham: 5 – league position: 7
  • Aston Villa: 4 – league position: 14
  • Newcastle United: 4 – league position: 11
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers: 4 -league position: 10
  • Burnley: 3 – league position: 18
  • Leicester City: 3 – league position: 8
  • Manchester City: 3 – league position: 1
  • Manchester United: 3 – league position: 6
  • Tottenham Hotspur: 3 – league position: 4
  • Everton: 2 – league position: 16
  • Chelsea: 1 – league position: 3
  • Liverpool: 1 – league position: 2

What this shows is the of the top six clubs last season only one was a multiple buyer of players and that was Arsenal.  Or put another way, buying a team takes several years.

One of the problems with transfers of course is that the media immediately put huge pressure on the player.   Jesus is still finalising his contract but already the knives are out with the Guardian, for example saying, “the Brazilian has hugely underperformed, scoring fewer goals than would have been expected based on the quality of chances he’s received.”

The Mirror is doing its usual thing of telling us all the players we are about to sign, so at the end it can call the window “disappointing” noting that “so much was promised.”

And what we as fans should remember was that last summer we were bringing in new players right up to the last and got absolutely destroyed by a gleeful media who noted that having spent the most money of any club we had just had our worst start in 2000 years (or something like that).

But the Mirror will never give up saying now that “the Gunners are reportedly planning to turn their attentions to Leeds United winger Raphinha,” with Leeds asking for £65m

Then there are the background stories.  For example, the ones that the media don’t run are the fake news released “sources close to” each club put out to throw everyone off when another signing that they want to keep quiet, is on the way.

And then the tales of trouble within the camp, as with the Mirror’s  “Arsenal’s pursuit and potential acquisition of Raphinha could … be perceived as a warning to Saka and his team that, before they open negotiations, the club will not be held to ransom for huge wages when they have a ready-made, more experienced player waiting in the wings to replace him.”

It’s a story designed to upset Arsenal fans – and there are plenty of such tales around simply because some Arsenal blog writers seem to get upset so easily.

The Mirror is also now regularly portraying Arsenal as “desperate” as in, “Arteta’s spree, which could yet hit £300m in two summer windows is just the latest desperate roll of the dice from the Arsenal hierarchy to finally re-establish their position in the world game.”

It is an interesting sentence as it combines desperation and a complete lack of a plan.    But the Mirror keeps on plodding on with no opportunity missed as it now predicts Arteta’s dream 25 man Arsenal squad

Goal: Ramsdale, Turner, Okonkwo

Defence: Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney with Cedric Soares as back up.  Nuno Tavares is no longer an underage player so if he is the other backup, he’ll be part of the 25. Lisandro Martinez, if bought could be a backup left back.

Centre back: Everyone but everyone wants William Saliba back after his loan experience. We’ve also got White, Holding and Gabriel.   

Midfield: Vieira obviously takes his place and Elneny has re-signed.  There’s no sign of Xhaka going, and every sign that the manager has faith in him along with Partey and Sambi Lokonga.

Attacking midfield: Odegaard looked a perfect fit playing with Saka and Martinelli either side, and Smith Rowe fitting in where required.   If we do need another it could be Reiss Nelson back from loan.  

As for the front line we have Eddie and Jesus. with Martinelli joining them or playing out wide.  Add in Lisandro Martinez, Youri Tielemans, Raphina and the ever-improving Folarin Balogun and we’ve got a 25, give or take a few who won’t yet count as being in it, because of their age.

That does of course mean we are looking to sell or loan, Leno, Pepe, Holding Torreira, Bellerin and Maitland Niles.

Of course, it won’t quite work out like this, it never does, but maybe some of that will happen.

3 Replies to “Buying players does not mean success as last season shows…”

  1. They can say what they want, personnaly I believe that Arsenal are trying to do it right and developping a squad for a long term period, not some kneejerk team built just to spend.
    There are quite a few young guns who need to be integrated and as we’ve seen with Saka, ESR, Nketiah, it takes a few years not a few months.
    So we all need to be patient and let this team grow into a title contender. And screw all these idiots who just want to sabotage the whole process.

  2. Man City supporter here, and I’m actually going to compliment Arsenal. The deal for Gabriel Jesus is an excellent one for your club. As a finisher, he blows hot and cold, and will both annoy and excite you in that regard. He’ll blow sitters and then make a few impossible ones. In every other regard, however, you’ll love him. He gives 110% 100% of the time. I believe he and Bernardo Silva are two of the hardest working forwards in the world, although the latter also plays in more recessed positions from time-to-time. He is the perfect player to implement Arteta’s directives by performance on the pitch. Great at pressing, fighting for possession and tracking back. His best position is right wing, but you can play him anywhere along the front line. He also enjoys dribbling at defenders and creating for others.

    For what you paid for him, at his age, it’s a very nice piece of business.

  3. Philster thank you for your commentary, and indeed thank you for taking the trouble to write to the blog of another club. But most of all thanks for your positive thoughts. I don’t think many (if any) people think Arsenal can catch up the Manchester City this season, and what we are all looking forward is a continuing improvement. Hopefully you are right and Gabriel Jesus will be part of that.

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